The Top 10 Must Do's for a Great Phuket Holiday
It seems like every website has to have a top 10 list so this is our list of the top 10 must-dos for a great Phuket holiday. Phuket has so many attractions and when you only have a 2-week holiday it can be difficult to know where to start. So here is our list of the things you really should do.
1. Go to the Beach
It might be obvious but no Phuket holiday is really complete without a trip to the beach. There are some quite glorious beaches along Phuket's western coast. In fact, there are so many great beaches that you could easily go to a different beach for every day of your holiday. During the dry season, the sea laps gently upon the golden sand while the sun glistens on the water. During the rainy season you should remember the large waves can be dangerous.
You can rent a sun-lounger and while the day away reading a book, taking the odd dip and keeping your sun cream topped up. A nice beachside restaurant is the ideal place to round off the day.
Patong Beach is good for people who like action. It is always busy with the sun-loungers lined in rows 3 or 4 deep while jet-skis and banana boats zip across the water. Kata Beach and Karon Beach are glorious stretches of sand that provide a more relaxing environment. Two other great beaches that are highly recommended for a visit are Nai Harn Beach at the southwestern side of Phuket and Nai Yang Beach at the northwestern side of the island. There are also some good snorkeling beaches for the more actively inclined. In this site we describe more than 40 beaches.
2. A Day Trip to Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay has become one of the iconic picture postcard images of Phuket. The famous James Bond Rock (from the Bond movie 'The Man with the Golden Gun') appears on promotional brochures everywhere. But there is so much more to Phang Nga Bay than just James Bond Island. The scenery is truly spectacular. Limestone rock outcrops tower vertically from the sea. Some of the limestone islands contain caves and hidden lagoons. You can take a kayak around the lagoons and enjoy lunch at the sea gypsy village.
Phang Nga Bay is just a short boat trip northeast of Phuket. You can join a tour or make your own way and rent a boat.Read all about Phang Nga Bay
3. Trip to an Island
There are some lovely islands around Phuket. You can do a day trip to most of them but we are going to suggest you really need to stay for a night or two to get the full island getaway experience. You want somewhere with nice beaches, stunning scenery, beach bars and beautiful sunsets. Perhaps you want great snorkeling. Certainly, a nice little bungalow and a decent restaurant.
4. Phuket Town
Phuket Town makes a nice change from the beaches and more touristy attractions. The town has genuine character, many attractions and offers a more authentic Thai experience than the tourist resorts. The only problem with visiting Phuket Town is you either have to be good at exploring or you need a guide. The town can be a little bewildering until you get your bearings.
You can visit Phuket Town for a day trip but there is so much to see and do that we recommend booking into a hotel and staying for a night. This will give you much more time to explore and really enjoy the town's attractions.
Start by exploring the streets of the old town area. Admire the charming Sino-Portuguese architecture from the old tin-mining days. Visit a few of the temples and Chinese shrines. Wander around some of the quaint antique and art shops and pop in to one of the many cafés for some light refreshment.
Next, jump into a tuk-tuk and go to the viewpoint at the top of Khao Rang. Take in the fabulous views across the town and out to the southern islands. You can take lunch here at the lovely Tung Ka Café.
Perhaps now it is a good time to go back to your hotel for a quick shower before shopping. Check out the bargains at Expo Market or Ocean Plaza before browsing the huge range of quality goods at Robinson's Department Store.
There are so many options for dinner. Maybe The Natural on Soi Phuton would be a good choice. Hopefully, you have some energy left for a bit of nightlife. Perhaps a few quiet drinks at one of the charming little bars in Soi Romanee off Thalang Road and then for something a bit livelier, finish off at Timber Hut.Read all about Phuket Town
5. A Night out in Bangla Road, Patong
Hey, some people do this every night but every visitor should do it at least once. It might not be to everybody's taste but it is certainly an experience. Bangla Road in Patong has the nightlife scene that people associate with Thailand; flashing lights, bars discos, go-gos, girly bars.
Take a wander down the road and soak up the atmosphere. Ignore the annoying touts and stop at a roadside bar for a beer and some people watching. Then go and see the 'katoeys' (ladyboys) at the front of Soi Crocodile. You can have a beer at one of the adjacent bars and watch them dance on the table. Are they really men? -- oh yes. You can take your photo with them but remember to pay them a tip.
If you are feeling a little daring then maybe you want to go into one of the go-gos to see the girls dance. Always check the drink prices before you go in and make sure there are no extras such as a 'show charge'.
Perhaps you fancy a bit of live music at Scruffy Murphy's, Margerita Bar or one of the other music bars. Maybe you fancy a boogie at one of the pulsating discos such as Hollywood or Seduction.
There are several good shows in Phuket but the one that must be top of the list is Fantasea. This is a fabulous extravagant show that regularly wins the award for top tourist attraction in Thailand. It is a spectacular mix of classic Thai dancing and costume with modern visual effects, magic and pyrotechnics.
Fantasea is more than just a show. There is also a surrounding park of entertainments and for an extra 500-baht you can enjoy the superb buffet.Read More About Fantasea
7. Big Buddha and Wat Chalong
Buddhism is an important part of Thai culture and there are two important Buddhist attractions close together near Chalong. So hire a car or motorbike or jump into a tuk-tuk and make a combined trip to both of them for a bit of Buddhist culture and some great photos. Head towards the Chalong traffic circle and then take the road signposted to Wat Chalong (Chao Fa Road West).
Big Buddha - as you drive along this road you should be able to look to your left and see the huge Buddha Image perched atop the hill 350-meters above. The turn to Big Buddha is 1km from Chalong Circle. After a fun 10-minute drive up the hill you reach the base of this hugely impressive statue. There is a Buddhist shrine and inside the statue will be a Buddhism museum. There are fantastic views across southern Phuket.
Wat Chalong - When you have had enough of Big Buddha, head back to the main road, turn left and 2km further on you come to Wat Chalong (Chalong Temple) on your right. This is the most important temple on Phuket with a rich history going back over 200-years. There are some beautiful pagodas and inside you will find many Buddha images and other religious artifacts.
Most people want to do a bit of shopping but if you want to find the real bargains, you need to get away from the tourist resorts. We have already mentioned a few of the shopping options in Phuket Town. Other places worth trying include the major shopping malls on the outskirts of town such as Central, Big C and Tesco Lotus. You can also find some real bargains at the weekend market on the edge of Phuket Town.Read all about Shopping in Phuket
9. Patong to Promthep Tour
Getting out on the road is a great way to enjoy Phuket. You can hire a vehicle or if you are not confident about driving yourself, then agree a deal for the day with a local taxi or tuk-tuk. You can have a fantastic day out following the coast roads from Patong to Cape Promthep. There are some stunning views and many points of interest along the way. It is a little tricky to find the winding route 4233 that runs near the coast from Kata to Cape Promthep. There is some lovely scenery, a couple of good viewpoints and a couple of lovely beaches. Do not forget your camera.
Kata Viewpoint - Just a couple of kilometers out of Kata and you come to Kata viewpoint. This is a view that appears on many picture postcards. Stretched out before you are three beaches, Kata Noi, Kata and Karon all enclosed in beautiful curving bays.
Carry on south along this road and you may wish to stop at the elephant camp. It is one of the better elephant camps in Phuket. You can feed the elephants and grab a light refreshment. Then carry on along the road. You are following the signs towards Nai Harn Beach and Cape Promthep.
There are two nice beaches along this route. Nai Harn Beach is a lovely sweeping stretch of sand with a hotel at one end and a lagoon at the other. There are a few small restaurants behind the trees. After Nai Harn Beach, carry on up and over the hill and you come to the charming little Yanui Beach. There is a pleasant little beach bar and some nice snorkeling just off the beach.
Cape Promthep - After Yanui Beach, carry on up the hill and you come to Cape Promthep (Laem Promthep), also sometimes known as Sunset Point. Do not rush to get here. Your aim is to arrive just half an hour before sunset. This viewpoint is famous for its sunset views. Crowds gather here every day to see the sun go down. There is a restaurant on the hill if you want a meal with your sunset.
Now it is dark and it is time to head home. You do not have to return along the winding country road in the dark. Instead carry on through Rawai and on to Chalong Circle. Then turn left and you are heading back towards the main tourist towns of Kata, Karon and Patong.
10. Thai Food
We cannot ignore the food. Thai food is generally recognized as one of the top cuisines in the world and there is so much variety. There are Thai restaurants all over the world but very few of them are serving food that compares to the real thing as served in Thailand.
Thai food can be a little spicy but if that is not to your taste then most restaurants will tone it down for tourists. If you are not sure then you could start with some of the simple dishes such as khao pat (fried rice), pat thai (fried noodles) or guay tiow (noodle soup). You really should try a few of the classic Thai dishes such as tom yam goong (spicy prawn soup) or tom kah gai (chicken coconut soup). Somtam is a Thai staple but it can be very spicy. Phuket is also renowned for its fresh fish.
There are great restaurants all around Phuket. You really should try as much of the local food as you can.Read More About Thai Food
That is our top 10 list but of course there are so many other choices. There are several other good shows apart from Fantasea. You may want to dive some of the stunning local scuba sites or perhaps take a snorkeling trip to a nearby island. Golfers may want to try Phuket's world class golf courses. You can have a relaxing Thai massage or pamper yourself at one of Phuket's top class spas. Phuket is your oyster.