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Best Things To Do in Phuket

From white sand beaches and breathtaking boat excursions to relaxing spa treatments and tours of Buddhist sites, such as Big Buddha and Wat Chalong Temple, there is a range of diverse things to do in Phuket. The only tricky thing is carefully planning your itinerary to ensure you're getting ample time at each attraction. Plus, if you're an animal lover, you'll also want to visit the rescued cats and dogs at the Soi Dog Foundation

How we rank Things to Do

Updated September 22, 2017

  • #1
    Things to do in Phuket
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    #1 in Phuket
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Where Nai Harn Beach is Phuket's southernmost beach, Promthep Cape (or Laem Promthep) is the island's southernmost point, and likewise, it offers an amazing view of the Andaman Sea. Visitors can also take a short hike from the cape (less than a mile) to a scenic lighthouse.

    Sunset is the best time to view the beauty of Promthep Cape, according to recent visitors, but they also say that this is no longer a secret spot: Travelers will usually have to share their vantage point with a host of others, but even so, a trip to Promthep Cape comes highly recommended. 

  • #2
    Big Buddha
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    #2 in Phuket
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Big Buddha is a giant statue of Buddha encased in Burmese alabaster that towers over Phuket from the peak of Mount Nagakerd. Construction on Big Buddha began in 2007, and Phuketians are proud of both the structure and the vantage point from which travelers can view the island. Visitors to Big Buddha will enjoy a bird's-eye view of the Kata Bay, the Karon strand and the islands that speckle the Chalong Bay.

    Although some travelers say they had a spiritual experience at Big Buddha, most reviewers say the views from the peak are what captivated them. To that point, visitors suggest bringing your camera (and a wide-angle lens). 

  • #3
    Nai Harn Beach
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    #3 in Phuket
    Beaches, Sightseeing, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Sightseeing, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Nai Harn Beach is the southernmost strip of sand in Phuket, and locals love it just as much as visitors. Picture gleaming white sands bordered by grassy knolls and rolling cerulean waves, and you'll start to be able to imagine the beauty of this seemingly remote spot. The beach also gets high marks for its authentic collection of nearby restaurants. 

    While experiencing all of the Nai Harn beauty, visitors recommend keeping your ear out for the lifeguards' warnings. They also suggest only swimming within the flagged areas, since Nai Harn is no stranger to strong, dangerous riptides – especially during monsoon season (May to October). 

  • #4
    Soi Dog Foundation
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    #4 in Phuket
    Tours, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    When you travel to an exotic Thai island, you might not think that an animal shelter would be high on your list of to-dos. But think again. Travelers call this innovative cat and dog shelter a must-do. The Soi Dog Foundation was established in 2003 to try and care for the tens of thousands of street cats and dogs as well as to fight the dog meat trade. Today, the shelter contains hundreds of animals that visitors can meet and play with. 

    Reviewers said that although the Soi Dog Foundation is a bit out of the way, it's completely worth it, calling their visit both heartbreaking and inspirational. To get the fullest experience, most suggest taking one of the guided tours throughout the shelter, and some even recommend clearing a few days in your itinerary to volunteer at the shelter. 

  • #5
    Kata Noi Beach
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    #5 in Phuket
    Beaches, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Kata Noi Beach is known for its brilliant white sands and transparent aquamarine waters, as well as its relatively calm atmosphere, especially compared to other popular beaches like party-centric Patong (located just north). Backed by the fancy (and sprawling) Kata Thani Phuket Beach Resort, the beach is described by recent visitors as "family friendly." 

    This spot along the southwest coast of Phuket is popular among travelers for its kid-friendly atmosphere and nearby facilities, including a handful of restaurants and shops and a 7-Eleven, which is useful for picking up drinks and snacks. 

  • #6
    Phuket Spas
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    #6 in Phuket
    Spas
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Spas
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Relaxing at a spa is a must-do in Phuket. The island's spas, like many in Thailand, feature aromatherapy, herbal treatments and traditional Thai oil massages, among other services, which makes for a unique experience not found stateside. Plus, for a relatively small island, Phuket boasts an extraordinary number of spas – hundreds – and compared to U.S. prices, spa treatments are relatively affordable in Phuket. 

    Travelers say their experience at Phuket's spas were amazing – even perfect – but as with most things, you get what you pay for. Visitors who spent a bit more for their treatments and went with traveler-approved spas tended to be rewarded with clean, relaxing treatment rooms and out-of-this world massages while those that went with cheaper, less-reviewed places had disappointing experiences. 

  • #7
    Phuket Boat Tours
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    #7 in Phuket
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Swimming/Pools, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Swimming/Pools, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    You'd be remiss if you didn't spend some time sailing the waters around Phuket, stopping for a snorkel break along the way. Whether you want to stay dry and view all the beauty of the sea and surrounding islands from the boat deck or you want to swim, stand-up paddleboard, canoe, or even scuba dive, there is a boat trip for you. 

    Travelers gush about their experiences on the various boat tours, calling them "a dream come true," wonderful, peaceful, entertaining and fun, among other descriptors. Still, it's important for travelers to do their research and book with a quality, well-reviewed tour operator even if the tours are a bit pricier. For every glowing review of the great tour operators, there are poor reviews of the not-so-great operators.

  • #8
    Wat Chalong
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    #8 in Phuket
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Wat Chalong is a colorful Buddhist temple and it's also the biggest and most famous temple on Phuket. Of particular note are the gilt statues of two monks, who are credited with helping halt the Chinese Rebellion of 1876. At 5 p.m. daily, visitors can see present-day monks praying. 

    Visitors highly recommend a visit to Wat Chalong, as well as a stroll through its impressive, clean and well-maintained grounds, saying that the temple complex exuded peace and serenity. Reviewers also suggest planning a midweek visit, as the temple can get very crowded on the weekends. 

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