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The Best Things to Do in Phuket, Thailand

  • Post last modified:October 25, 2023
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Southern Thailand has so many great places, and Phuket is definitely one of them. With gorgeous beaches and bustling markets, there are so many awesome things to do in Phuket, Thailand and its surroundings.


I had the pleasure of visiting this seaside city back in August, and got a nice taste of all that it has to offer.


In this guide Im going to share with you all I learned from how to get there, tips for visiting, and the best things to do in Phuket, Thailand. Let's jump right in!

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Where is Phuket?

Phuket is a beach town, and capital of one of the provinces in the south of Thailand, also named Phuket. It is located right along the Andaman Sea, and is great base for those wanting to explore around the islands of Thailand.

where is Phuket Thailand

Phuket is located in Southern Thailand on the coast of the Andaman Sea.


How to Get to Phuket, Thailand

Phuket has quite a few ways of visiting, by air, land, and sea. Here are the different ways to travel to Phuket, Thailand.


Flying Into Phuket, Thailand

Abu Dhabi, Almaty, Bangkok, Bengaluru, Chengdu, Chiang Mai, Chongqing, Delhi, Doha, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hat Yai, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Koh Samui, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Mumbai, Moscow, Muscat, Rayong, Singapore, Stockholm, and Udon Thani.


Traveling to Phuket by Sea

Another popular option for visiting Phuket is to come from Krabi, or from other islands around the Andaman Sea. There are direct sailings from Krabi, the Phi Phi Islands, and Koh Lanta. You can book them in person, or by clicking one of the links below:



Traveling to Phuket by Land

If you're in Bangkok and don't want to fly, there are in fact buses that go from Bangkok to Phuket. They take around 12-13 hours, and you can choose private or public transportation by clicking the link below:

sailing to Phuket

You can sail to Phuket from Krabi or the Phi Phi Islands.


Entry Requirements for Thailand

If you're looking to travel to Phuket, Thailand, you'll need to keep in mind the requirements to enter the country. Here's everything you need to know for entering Thailand.


Visa Requirements for Thailand

First thing's first- let's make sure you can enter Thailand without any problems due to visa restrictions. Currently Thailand offers visa free visits for up to 30 days for 64 different nationalities, and allows 18 others to receive their visa upon arrival.


If you'd like to extend your stay in the country to either 60 or 90 days, you can simply apply at your local embassy, or do so once you are in Thailand for $30. Another option to keep in mind is that you can leave the country to visit a neighboring one, and once you return you can restart your 30 days in the country.


If you'd like a bit more detailed info on the visa process, or to see if you personally need one, you can simply check the official website.


Covid Entry Requirements for Thailand

Thailand, as well as several other Asian countries have been quite conservative when it comes to opening up for tourism. As of this year though, Thailand is back open to tourists who are either fully vaccinated, or who obtain a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of their flight.


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Local Adjustments

Whenever traveling somewhere new, there are things that you may not think of, that may be different from where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind when traveling to Phuket, Thailand.


Language

The official language in Phuket is Thai. If you're from a western country, then it definitely won't be that easy to pick up. The good news is though that Phuket is  a very touristy area, so most people speak enough English to be able to communicate.


Currency

The currency used in Thailand is the Thai Baht. Currently (October 2023) every 1 USD or 1 Euro is equal to 36.35 Thai Baht.


It is important to note that it is very rare to be able to use a credit card in Thailand. Unless you are staying at a big hotel or dining at a fancy restaurant, cash is normally the only method of payment that is accepted. (There is also a transfer option, but this pertains only to those that have a Thai bank account).


Outlets

Thailand is actually great for many people when it comes to outlets, because they can serve both American and European appliances. The plug types that are accepted include types A, B, & C. The standard voltage in Thailand is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.


This is important to know if you have appliances from the Americas, because although the plug may fit, the energy will not be the same. In this case, you'll have to get an energy converter so you don't blow out your electronic devices.


Water Potability

The water in Phuket, Thailand is not drinkable, and some say you shouldn't even brush your teeth with it. We highly recommend sticking to bottled water. Our personal suggestion is to buy a large jug from a super market, and continue to fill up a reusable water bottle.


Tipping Culture

The tipping culture in Thailand is not really one that's set in stone. Tipping in Thailand isn't very typical. However, the fancier the establishment, the more likely you'll find others tipping a bit (up to 10%). For street food, taxis, and services such as salons, it isn't necessary to tip at all.


However, if you're dining at a 5-star establishment, then you could considering leaving something a little extra.

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Things to Do in Phuket, Thailand

Now that you know the basics, let's get into the fun stuff! Here are all of the fun things to do in Phuket, Thailand.

Things to do in Phuket, Thailand

There is a great variety of things to do in Phuket, Thailand.


Explore Phuket Old Town

We absolutely loved the adorable old town of Phuket. With colorful buildings, cute shops, and plenty of restaurants, it's a great place to spend some hours just browsing around, having a bite to eat, or taking some cute photos.

streets of Phuket
streets of Phuket
things to do in Phuket, Thailand

The Old Town of Phuket is full of color and beautiful architecture.

Want a tour of Phuket? Here are a few different options:


Check Out the Markets

Our absolute favorite of the things to do in Phuket, Thailand was to check out the amazing markets. Especially on weekends, there are some really great street markets to browse through. Here are our favorite ones:


Phuket Weekend Market

This market is the most popular in Phuket, and is located all along the old town. You can find some great handmade goods, delicious food, and live music. It does get pretty busy, so give yourself some time and patience to see everything. Make sure to also have plenty of cash, as pretty much no one accepts card.

live music, Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand
Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand
Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand
Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand

The weekend market is full of crafts, food, and live music.

Chillva Market

This is the most beloved markets in Southern Thailand, and definitely rated by locals as one of the top things to do in Phuket. Chillva Market has everything from local crafts to clothing. It has plenty of food, and also has live music. It goes from 5 pm to 10 pm from Monday to Saturday.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

things to do in Phuket, Thailand pin
things to do in Phuket, Thailand pin
things to do in Phuket, Thailand pin

Naka Market

This market I also located just outside the old town, and has hundreds of vendors. This one is a bit more difficult to sift through, as you really have to search to find quality items. Nevertheless, we did have some fun finds, and spent a couple of hours going through all they had.

Naka Market, Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand
Naka Market, Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand

Naka Market has plenty of tables to enjoy the food outside.

Relax at the Beautiful Beaches

Another one of the best things to do in Phuket, Thailand is to enjoy the stunning beaches that the area has to offer. Some of the best beaches to check out include Karon Beach, Kata Beach, and Freedom Beach. There are plenty of amenities along the beaches in Phuket, with white sands and turquoise waters. You'll also find plenty of people selling clothing on the beach, as well as trying to give massages out.

beach, Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is known for its beautiful beaches.

Visit the Big Buddha

One of the best things to do in Phuket is to check out one of the biggest Buddhas in the country. Big Buddha is located a half hour drive outside of the Old Town, and is just 20-25 minutes from the best beaches in Phuket.

Big Buddha, Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand
view from Big Buddha
Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand
Big Buddha tree, Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand

The Big Buddha has meditation, a tree to write notes, and some great views of Phuket.

Entrance is free, you just need to make sure you are covered up. You can enter inside of the Buddha, write notes, pray, or simply enjoy the stunning views from up above the region of Phuket.


Want to spice up your visit to the Big Buddha? Here are some fun tours that you can take:

Climb Up to Monkey Hill

Want to get a little work out in and see some adorable monkeys? Well, Monkey Hill has great views over the city of Phuket, and is an easy walk up a paved road (only workers can drive up here though). It takes about 25 minutes from the drop off point, and you will experience a ton of wild monkeys hanging around in the area.


Note: Make sure not to feed the monkeys, and walk too close to them. If they feel threatened, or see something that looks edible, they may get aggressive. As long as you keep a safe distance, it is really a fun experience!

monkey hill, Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand
monkey hill, Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand
monkey hill, Phuket weekend market, things to do in Phuket, Thailand

Monkey Hill has great views and is full of roaming monkeys.


Moving Around Phuket, Thailand

The area Phuket is actually much bigger than I was originally assuming. There are a ton of things to do in Phuket, Thailand, as well as the surroundings. I personally would have loved to have a car or motorcycle to get around. However, there are also plenty of options when it comes to public transportation.


My personal favorite when it comes to getting around is tuk tuks, as they are fun, and a cheap option. There are also plenty of taxis that you can flag down- just make sure to negotiate, as they tend to try to rip tourists off. If there is a meter in the taxi, make sure they use it as it is much cheaper than what they will actually try to charge you.


Finally, you can download Grab, which is a taxi app that is popular throughout Thailand. This is great to use in case you want to go to further places outside Phuket town, such as some of the beautiful beaches. It isn't necessarily the cheapest option, but it eliminates the stress of having to negotiate with the taxi drivers.

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Food & Drink in Phuket, Thailand

I absolutely loved the food and Phuket. There were so many awesome options, from local Thai specialties, to international flavors. Here are a few of my recommendations for dining in Phuket.


Street Food

While this may sound pretty vague, the weekend market in the Old Town of Phuket is full of some of the best food we had in the city. You can find everything and anything here from local sausages to dumplings, and fresh fruit to local desserts. We suggest going on an empty stomach and getting small portions to try as much as you possibly can.

street food in Phuket
street food in Phuket
street food in Phuket
street food in Phuket
street food in Phuket

Phuket has such a wide variety of street food to try.

Lock Tien

Want some more super local flavors? Well Lock Tien has home cooked Thai style options at different stalls in the heart of the city. It's cheap, flavorful, and definitely an authentic experience.


Maimorn Seafood & Karaoke

Have a bit of a higher budget? Well we had an incredible meal at Maimorn Seafood & Karaoke. The game is in the name and it's everything you could want in a restaurant. The interior is open and has ponds with fish around it, they have karoake, and incredible seafood. I got the lobster and it was seriously the best I've had in my life.


They don't just cook the lobster, but they actually take the meat out, cut it up, and then sauté it with hot peppers and garlic. It was definitely pricey for Thailand, but truly worth a bit of a splurge.

lobster, food in Phuket

Maimorn's has incredible lobster.


Where to Stay in Phuket

There are a few different areas when it comes to places to stay in Phuket. You can either decide to stay in Phuket town, or to stay closer to the beaches. If you're more interested in the market scene, then we definitely suggest staying in Old Phuket Town, and if you want a more relaxing vacation, then the beach area will be a much nicer area to base yourself.


If you'd like to check for accommodation options in Phuket Town, you can check the map below:

Booking.com

If you'd like to stay close to the beach, you can check the options for places to stay by checking the map below:

Booking.com

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Is Phuket, Thailand Safe?

Overall, Thailand is a pretty safe country to visit. As Phuket is very touristy, you'll find solo travelers confidently visiting Phuket as well as other places in Southern Thailand. Walking around at night is perfectly fine, as there are plenty of people out generally. The only recommendation we have is to be a bit extra careful is with your belongings. Make sure to always watch your things so that you aren't an attraction for petty theft.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Phuket, Thailand

Now that you know how to get around, safety, and the best things to do in Phuket, Thailand, we have just a few more things to share. Here are some other things to keep in mind while visiting.


The Best Time to Visit Phuket, Thailand 

When it comes to the best time to visit Phuket and Southern Thailand, it truly depends on your intentions. For the biggest parties and the best weather, you'll definitely want to visit during high season. (This is also the dry season) from the months of November to February.


I visited Phuket in August, and have to say that I personally loved it. There were far less people than there normally are in the dry season, but definitely enough to be able to have a great time (this is when a lot of Europeans travel to Thailand). The weather was very temperamental though, so if you're craving sunny skies and perfect beach days, then you may want to rethink going during this time of year.


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Another important thing to note is the time of the month. This is something that we messed up on, because we forgot to put the full moon party into our planning. If you're doing a trip throughout Thailand that is a few weeks, try to align being in the area during the full moon. This way you'll be able to experience the epic parties! (They happen on the nearby island of Koh Phangan).


Finally, try to make it to Phuket for the weekend so that you can experience their awesome weekend markets!


Weather/ Packing For a Trip to Phuket, Thailand

Thailand has two seasons- rainy and dry. It is ALWAYS hot in Southern Thailand, so you'll definitely want to bring light beach clothing. Swim suits, sunscreen, a towel, and casual clothing is all you'll really need for the beaches, some sneakers for hiking, and cute clothes for exploring Phuket town. You'll also want to bring something to cover your shoulders and knees for visiting religious sites.

Big Buddha, things to do in Phuket, Thailand

Make sure to bring something to cover up for the Big Buddha!

Another thing to note is that if you decide on taking the speed boats to Phuket from the Phi Phi Islands or the  surrounding islands, and are prone to getting sea sick, you'll want to be prepared. Make sure to bring dramamine, as well as a plastic bag in case things go a little rougher than expected.

nature of Phuket

Phuket has some great nature to explore.


There are plenty of great things to do in Phuket, Thailand, and tons of reasons to visit. If you like exotic beaches, shopping, and colorful towns, then you'll love this area of the country. We only spent two nights, but would definitely suggest spending a few more.


Are you planning on traveling to other places in Thailand? We have travel guides for all over the county for you to check out, and a few more to come! Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.


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