Things to do in Phuket
You can enjoy Phuket anytime of day or night. During the day, you have everything from beautiful beaches to colonial architecture, rainforests protected by a national park, a Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre, temples and even golf courses.
The town really comes to life at night when the lights and music hit Bangla Road, and the Fantasea theme park starts to work its magic.
With over 30 beaches in and around Phuket, they are too numerous to mention all by name. You can choose from the better known Patong Beach, Karon Beach or Kata Beach or visit one of the lesser known and more tranquil beaches such as Freedom Beach, Banana Beach, Kata Noi Beach or Kamala Beach. The surrounding area of each is very different so it makes sense to do a search and find the one that suits you best.
Here are some of the other attractions to tempt you to Phuket:
The Big Buddha
The Big Buddha is, well, big! This 45-meter tall white marble statue is visible from all over Phuket and the views from the hill on which Big Buddha is seated are breath taking. The statue is coated in Burmese Marble tiles causing it to emit a beautiful warm glow. The Big Buddha has a great view facing the rising sun, and he misses out on another Phuket attraction which is the beautiful sunset right behind him.
There is also a smaller brass Buddha at only 12 meters high made of 22 tons of brass and well worth a few photos. Here you will also find a museum of the history of the Big Buddha.
Phang Nga Bay
No matter how many times you visit Phang Nga Bay, you will be amazed each time. This beguiling landscape will give you an ‘out of this world’ experience. Explore it by kayak and gently glide between magnificent cliffs and through narrow tunnels into the hidden lagoons (hongs). Taking the night trip is an exceptional experience with a unique atmosphere. You can glide under the stars by candlelight and see the beautiful display in the water of the bio-luminescent plankton.
Old Phuket Town and Thalang Road
Thalang Road has preserved most of its old colonial heritage, and here you can see the Sino Portuguese houses in this historical heart of Phuket. Old Phuket Town could become a Unesco heritage site if their application proves successful. Check out the many side streets for some hidden gems.
The beautiful temple Wat Chalong, built in the early 19th century, is the most significant temple in Phuket and should be on every visitor’s itinerary. This beautiful temple is the stuff of history and legends. It is reputed that healings and miracles took place here. The walls and ceilings illustrate the life of Buddha through beautiful paintings and many golden statues.
The construction of a special ‘Chedi,’ over 61 meters high, houses a fragment of bone from Buddha.
If it’s beautiful old-fashioned sunset photos you want, then look no further than Promthep Cape. This cape sits at the southern-most tip of Phuket Island. Be warned that you will be sharing the experience with hundreds of others all living the moment through the camera lenses.
You need to visit the Bangla Road just to say that you’ve been there. Bangla Road is the infamous core of Phuket nightlife. Night clubs, bars, live music and Go Go bars will vie for your attention. You can go with the flow and join the friendly girls with the big smiles for a drink if that is your thing. People-watching here is excellent, and you can check out the pole dancing skills of the girls (dressed of course) in the open air bars. Bangla Road provides good entertainment for everyone.
Everyone who goes to visit Phuket goes to Phi Phi island, and you should, it’s beautiful but if you have the time, I suggest that you check out the Similan islands too.
The Similan Islands are gems in the Andaman Sea just 100 km from Phuket. Even an average photographer can take great photos here. Stay overnight to get into the spirit of the place and go snorkeling. The water is clear as crystal and warm, and the coral formations are amazing with the hundreds of multi-colored fish. Sea turtles swimming around the boat are a common sight.
You will have time to visit two or three of the nine islands and spend time exploring the forests and white sandy beaches with a brilliant blue sea lapping the shoreline. You can’t fly there but can take a boat from Chalong or Patong in just a few hours.
This great theme park, now in its 20th year, welcomes over a million visitors every year. The main show features hundreds of stunning dancers and performers located in Kamala Beach. The story revolves around the legend of Kamala about a mythical palace in a jungle surrounded by elephants.
As if that is not enough, the Phuket Fantasea has pavilions of shops, fun fairs and an impressive restaurant, the Golden Kinaree, which seats 4000 people. If dining with 4000 others is a bit overwhelming, then try one of the many smaller restaurants around Kamal Beach.
The theatre has a capacity of 3000 people. Get yourself a ‘gold’ ticket to make sure you have a seat close to the action. The show opens with the huge elephants walking through the audience, followed by performers in Thai costumes. Although the opening is impressive, just wait until the sound and light effects hit you. The flying Thai Angels and acrobats start to spin and twirl above your head and then the show really begins…
This theme park is a great place for family entertainment.
Phuket Simon Cabaret Show
If you don’t know what makes the Phuket Simon Cabaret show famous then you must have spent your life under a rock! That’s right, it’s the ladyboys! The show is filled with flamboyant costumes, excellent performances, and even some good male dancers but it’s the ladyboys who really steal the show (and rightly so!).
The ladyboys are beautiful, talented and very very entertaining. The guys in the audience will be secretly impressed, and their female partners will be jealous of just how feminine and beautiful they look.
It’s a show not to be missed and an experience you wont get anywhere else.
Phuket is a holiday for everyone
The real beauty of Phuket is that it appeals to any tourist from backpacker to the family. There are deserted beaches and theme parks. There are camp sites and classy hotels. Much of Phuket Island’s coastline, destroyed by the tsunami in 2004, has been restored with coast rebuilt and hotels restored. There has never been a better time to visit Phuket.
Have you had the pleasure of visiting Phuket? Is there anything that I have missed that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments below.