Updated: Apr 21
Phuket has a wonderful range of attractions. From natural to man-made, from land-based to water activities, there's something for everyone to see and do on Phuket Island. The best thing is that these activities are all within quick and easy access of each other, by car or boat.
There are some wonderful museums, extraordinary religious and cultural structures, exotic shows, vibrant nightlife and some beautiful beaches on which to enjoy the soft white sand, tropical surf and the amazing scenery.
There are plenty of really memorable things to do in Phuket. The island itself has a beautiful historical old town, great viewpoints and iconic cultural attractions. It's also a good base for exploring the nearby islands and their must-see attractions. These include world-famous places like Phang Nga Bay and the Phi Phi Islands.
The following list is our pick of the things which are definitely worth a visit while you're in Phuket. There's something among the best things to do in Phuket for virtually every kind of traveller.
PHANG NGA BAY
Phang Nga Bay's distinctive feature is the sheer limestone karsts that jut vertically out of the emerald-green water. James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are just 2 of the more famous spots in this bay. By far the best means of enjoying the spectacular scenery, with only brief encounters with the tourist crowds at James Bond and Koh Panyee, is by taking boat trips from the northern end of Phuket.
A leisurely day trip cruising through Phang Nga Bay's dramatic limestone islands, occasionally stopping to enjoy quiet beaches, is far more rewarding than the standard bus-boat tour.
Famous for James Bond Island, Koh Panyee, Samet Nangshe Viewpoint, The Limestone Cliffs and so much more this Bay is one not to be missed.
PHI PHI ISLANDS
The Phi Phi Islands are Thailand's superstar archipelago, particularly famous for Maya Bay's central role in the 2000 movie The Beach. It's the topic of conversation for travellers all over Thailand. For some, it's the only reason to touchdown in Phuket. Even with all the hype, it doesn't disappoint.
Phi Phi's beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to a beach-fringed jungle. To most, it's love at first sight.
Photo Credit: Travelling.com
Visible from most of the south of Phuket, the Big Buddha sits atop the Nakkerd Hills and looks down over Chalong, Kata and Rawai. It cost 30 million baht to construct and is 45 metres tall. Next to it stands a smaller golden image that's actually made of solid brass and there's also a shrine near the site's car park. The drive up to the Big Buddha takes you through some beautiful jungle and the view from the top is enhanced if you take a map to identify the many, many sights.
Location: Soi Yot Sane 1, Karon, Muang, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Open: Daily from 6am to 7pm
Phone: +66 (0)81 891 3827
The stunning Similan Islands are surrounded by amazingly clear blue seas and pristine white-sand beaches. Heaven for island-hoppers and scuba divers, the 9 islands are about 30 km off the coast of Khaolak. They're ranked among the best dive sites in the world for their lively and colourful coral reefs and perfect visibility. For non-divers, the famous Sailing Boat Rock is on Similan No. 8 and is an iconic feature of this must-see archipelago.
Location: Lam Kaen, Thai Mueang, Phang-nga 82210, Thailand
Open: From 15 October to 15 May (dates may vary each year)
PHUKET NIGHT MARKETS
Phuket has an impressive selection of night markets to choose from. Each has its own unique charms, but all offer interesting souvenirs at low prices. They're an excellent place to try local street food and snacks, and some also have street performances and music. Being open in the evenings means that you don't get too hot while getting your shopping fix.