The largest island in Thailand and home to some of the best beaches in the world, Phuket will undoubtedly amaze you. Here are the top Phuket attractions that you should dare not miss.
Thailand’s most visited island, Phuket has a slew of natural and cultural attractions that will entice anyone. And if you’re into diving or snorkeling, the island’s mystic coves and crystal clear waters will leave you breathless.
You can easily enjoy the most authentic Thai cuisine and unwind at one of Phuket’s sandy beaches when and if you get tired from the watersports. Everything is open year-round, including Phuket’s most amazing attractions you’ll discover below.
Nestled in a curved bay and surrounded by picturesque hills, Kata Beach is the best place to sip cocktails and relax. Compared to some other beaches, it’s more peaceful here as there are fewer hawkers.
Kata Beach is broad and covered in white sand, with a small islet close to its shore.
When you’re hungry, try some of the local snacks at the nearby stalls. There are also a few restaurants just a short walk away. Try a papaya shake and taste the beach’s unique flavor when you’re done hanging out at the beach.
If you’d like to go snorkeling, there are plenty of opportunities for you to do so at either end of Kata.
Phuket Town has a special place on the map of Phuket attractions. After all, it’s a bustling city situated in the southeastern part of Phuket.
The buildings reflect the area’s Portuguese and Chinese influences, which provides a nice contrast to the Thai aesthetics present throughout the city.
Its main attractions are the streets of Old Phuket Town adorned by Sino-Portuguese mansions, traditional shrines and temples, and restored shophouses. One site that’s particularly noteworthy is the Chinese Jui Tui Shrine.
If you’re down for a bit of art, go to the Phuket Trickeye Museum and explore the 3D gallery. When you’re done, you can stroll over to the Sunday Walking Street Market and taste the local street food.
Phuket Big Buddha
Overlooking the island, the Phuket Big Buddha is atop the Nakkerd Hills. It’s an iconic landmark offering a 360° vista of the area when you get to the summit.
The statue is rather new, dating back to 2004. It’s 100ft tall and covered in white marble, prayer flags, and little bells.
To reach the hills, you can go in a tuk-tuk or a cab, though the open-air tuk-tuk could be a better option just for the novelty. Take note that you still have to climb up steep flights of stairs to reach the Buddha.
Visit the monument on a clear day for the best view of the surrounding landscape. And if it matters to you, know that the place is less crowded in the morning.
There are 29 temples in Phuket, and Wat Chalong is the biggest and most famous. This temple houses life-size wax statues of two famous monks, Luang Pho Chuang and Luang Pho Chaem, among other figures.
A really cool thing is that the Grand Pagoda reputedly contains a piece of the Buddha’s bone. You’ll also find colorful murals portraying scenes from the Buddha’s life and many small golden Buddha statues in various poses.
When visiting Wat Chalong, know that it’s essential to dress appropriately. Women are expected to cover their knees and shoulders, and everyone must take off their shoes before entering the temple.
Sirinat National Park
For a quieter experience, Sirinat National park is the place to be. This park occupies a considerable chunk of Phuket’s northwestern coast that consists mostly of protected marine areas.
There are also four beaches in near-unspoiled condition. Hat Mai Khao and Hat Nai Yang beaches, in particular, are fascinating as they’re known as the nestling place of leatherback turtles.
Want to see it for yourself? The best period to observe the turtles laying eggs at night is between November and February.
Gibbon Rehabilitation Center & Bang Pae Waterfall
Those into wildlife conservation may want to make a beeline to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center. It’s where you can learn about Thailand’s gibbons and support their conservation.
The center rescues and rehabilitates these cute monkeys before returning them to their natural habitat. What’s sad is that many of the gibbons were actually retrieved from poachers in the illegal pet trade.
To ensure that the monkeys can go be returned to the wild, there’s limited contact allowed. However, some of the gibbons are permanent residents that you can meet up close and hear the stories of their rescue.
Entrance to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center is free, but not if you want to venture into the nearby park. It’ll be money well-spent, though, as the park is a stunning tropical forest that takes you to the Bang Pae Waterfall where you can take a dip in the natural pool.
One example of authentic Phuket attractions is the village of Rawai. It’s located in the eastern part of the island and offers first-hand insights into the lives of the Moken, a tribe of people better known as sea gypsies from the neighboring islands.
Despite being mostly found in Phuket, the tribe has kept much of its old customs and traditions. The tribesmen are either semi-nomadic or live off the sea. Some of them could even be your guides for sea excursions.
The village itself is beautiful. There is a small harbor and a beach that’s littered with fishing boats and coconut trees. You can even buy the freshest catch of the day at a local market and get one of the restaurants to cook it for you.
Phuket Attractions, Here We Come
The amazing Phuket attractions and activities promise to leave lasting memories. Whatever you have in mind, the island can deliver. All that’s left is to pack your bags and get ready for an adventure.