|Things to do|
No Need to get bored on Phuket.
There is much, much more to this island than beaches - but you will have to make an effort to get up and go, for it is a big island and its attractions are widely scattered
It's a Big Island, offering all manner of things to do
It It’s surprising how that so many holiday makers, who are trying to get away from it all, soon get bored with that dreamy combination of a perfect beach, a comfortable hotel room and great food. After a few days, most people want more. They want to go places, to see how the local people live, and to experience new things. Happily, with Phuket being a large island, about 50 kilometres long, there are all sorts of interesting things to do here. Below we offer some suggestions.
Most of the topics briefly mentioned here briefly have separate pages offering much more information. Click on those with links.
Crowded beach, quiet beach - find the one that suits youSpend most of your holiday in Patong and you might think the beaches of Phuket are crowded. While Patong buzzes with people and activity, there are many other beaches to which one can escape in complete solitude. You just have to drive. As one moves away from Patong the beaches become progressively quieter. By the time you get to the top of the island you’re guaranteed kilometres of sand to yourself, even in peak season. Or and a density in between. Crowded beach, quiet beach; the choice is there.
Visiting Wats – Buddhist Monasteries
All Buddhist Monasteries are open to the public during the day, and visitors are usually welcome. Since these are holy places of worship, and the residence of monks, visitors should show respect and be culturally sensitive. Go to our page on Visiting Buddhist Monasteries for more hints information on how to act inside the Thai monastery.
The wild elephant population of Phuket was wiped out last century, but has been replaced in recent years by an influx of animals for the tourist trade. Today there are a few hundred elephants on Phuket islandIsland, all domesticated, most working in tourism.
Indeed, riding an elephant is an experience not to be missed. The lumbering monsters are incredibly agile. Taking an elephant ride helps to keep the beasts employed and, fed, and out of the cities, where many are taken by destitute owners in search of money and food.
Phuket Town is small and interesting, a potpurripotpourri of different cultural influences, of markets and shopping centres, restaurants and other entertainment facilities. Anyone spending a few days on Phuket island Island should take time to visit, be it for sight-seeing, cultural or historical interest, or shopping.
For information on what to do, where to go in Phuket Town, click click here.
ZooPhuket’s only zoo is small, but pleasant, displaying some of Thailand’s almost vanished wildlife. Their tigers are fed well enough that one can sit with them and have a photo taken. We recommend going early, or late, to avoid the tour buses that arrive mid morning and mid afternoon. It is in a small road off the east side of Chao Fah Road, about half way between the town and Chalong Chalong’s 5-way intersection. The turnoff is well signposted and easy to find.
FantaseaThis is Phuket’s Mega-show. It’s a cultural spectacle on the grandest of proportions, complete with armies of warriors, vast troupes of dancing girls and elephants that literally rise up into the sky. The show takes place in the evening with a dinner buffet. Located at Kamala Beach, mini buses run back and forth picking up customers from their hotels.
BungyBungee JumpConsiders yourself adventurous? Got real guts? If you haven’t tried bungybungee jumping yet, you should take the ride to the top of this with a big rubber band around your ankles and fight the internal struggle that every jumper meets when standing 54 metres above ground. Logic might tell us it is quite safe, but another part of our body screams “No! don’t Don’t jump!” But with their friends at the bottom, waiting expectantly, most people manage to throw themselves off. Then comes the real thrill.
Cultural VillageCultural shows featuring skilled Thai dancers from the different regions of the country, martial arts demonstrations, elephant rides and Thai dinners are all brought together at Phuket’s original cultural garden. There is also an attached orchid farm.
Jungle TrekkingWith most of the rainforest on Phuket long since eaten up by rubber plantations, it is not so easy to find ideal trekking grounds. Again, it’s best to sign on with a company providing this service. Often they take their trekkers right off Phuket into neighbouring Phang Nga province, where some beautiful areas of forest remain.
Spas; massage and herbal steam rooms
Health resorts, spas and herbal saunas are proliferating, and some fine examples offering a wide range of treatments are now found on Phuket. Thailand has its own traditional of herbal saunas, and there are several local ones around the island, notably at Chalong and Rawai. While many large resorts now feel they are incomplete without a spa, there are also several independent establishments. Best known is the Hideaway at Patong (Tel: 340 519) and Bang Tao (Tel: 271 549) and The Spa, Royal Phuket City Hotel in town (Tel: 354 027). The top resort spas are those at the Banyan Tree, Laguna complex (Tel: 324 374) and Nakalai at Thavorn Beach Village, north of Patong (Tel: 290 334-42) the Boathouse, Kata (Tel: 330 015).
View PointsPhuket’s most famous view point, Laem Phrom Thep at the very bottom of the island, is on the ‘must ses’ see’ list for every Thai visitor to the island. Thus it attracts a fleet of tour buses and cars each evening as people come to witness the sun fall into the Andaman Sea. Indeed, it’s often a spectacular sight. But there are many quieter places. The view point on the hill behind Kata Noi attracts fewer people. And when the heavens turn red, the view from any of the beaches can also be spectacular.
For information on shopping - what good buys Phuket has to offer, where to go, etc. - go to our special directory on Shopping.
Butterfly FarmColourful, tropical butterflies in their thousands float through this huge aviary. The miniature jungle is planted to resemble their natural habitat, with the plants they like the best. It’s an interesting experience. They also have an aquarium with 100s hundreds of species of coral reef fish, making this even more worthwhile to visiting.
The farm is located just outside Phuket town, on the northern side, and is quite difficult to find by oneself. Tuk tuk drivers will know how to get there.