Things to do in Phuket in 2024: 30 Unmissable Attractions

  • Mums & Bubs

With so many unique things to do in Phuket, it's no wonder millions of Australian families frequent Thailand's largest island year after year. Distinguished by its jungle-clad mountains, white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, incredible cuisine (pad thai, anyone?), and year-round balmy weather, Phuket offers so much to see and do for visiting families that you may never want to leave.

Whether this is your first or fifth trip to the 'Land of Smiles', there is always something new and exciting to explore on this tropical island (which is also a province, fun fact!), so without further ado, here are 30 unmissable things to do in Phuket on your next holiday - bon voyage!

Things to do in Phuket in 2024: 30 Unmissable Attractions

1. Go Island Hopping

The best things to do in Phuket
Phi Phi Islands is one of the most famous island groups in Thailand.

The Andaman Sea surrounding Phuket is a captivating expanse of tropical azure waters that graces the western coast of this enchanting Thai island. 

Known for its breathtaking beauty and serene charm, the Andaman coastline boasts crystal-clear waters that shimmer in shades of blue and green and is home to 32 impressive islands. Island-hopping is an absolute must when visiting Phuket, and while it would be nearly impossible to visit all 32 islands in one visit, there are some notable ones that won't disappoint.

The closest island to Phuket is Koh Racha Yai, which is a popular spot for snorkelling and scuba diving or if you just want to relax on pure-white sand beaches and soak up the sun.

The most famous island in Phuket is, of course, Phi Phi Islands, which is in fact a group of six smaller islands. The two main islands in the archipelago are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh and are about 45 minutes from the mainland by speedboat. Fringed by exquisite beaches and turquoise bays (hint: Maya Bay is the famous bay from The Beach), a day trip to Phi Phi Islands is one of the best things to do in Phuket.

For snorkelling enthusiasts, the Similan Islands offer some of the best snorkelling in the Andaman. Another close island to the mainland is Koh Mai Ton, which is a relatively untouched paradise for day-trippers keen to feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle. 

2. Visit Old Phuket Town

The best things to do in Phuket
Old Phuket Town

The cultural capital of Phuket is nestled on the eastern coast and is a captivating blend of history, culture, and architectural splendour.

This charming district reflects the island's rich heritage through its well-preserved Sino-Portuguese architecture, a legacy of its early Chinese and European influences. Strolling through the narrow streets of Old Phuket Town is like stepping back in time, with colourful, colonial-style buildings adorned with ornate facades and vibrant murals. The area exudes a nostalgic ambience, complemented by a plethora of boutique shops, cafes, and art galleries that have found homes in these historic structures. The vibrant street art, cultural museums, and quaint cafes create an eclectic atmosphere, making Old Phuket Town one of the best things to do in Phuket for those seeking a unique and authentic Thai experience.

Location: Mueang Phuket District

3. Pat Some Elephants 

Elephant splashing in water
Swim with elephants in Thailand.

Looking for unique things to do in Phuket? Phuket's elephants are renowned for being a major tourist drawcard on the island and for good reason. Getting up close to these gentle giants and maybe feeding them and giving them a bath is truly magical. 

It's essential to differentiate between the elephant parks and elephant sanctuaries in Phuket if you're going to visit some elephants while you're there. While elephants have long been revered in Thailand as symbols of royalty, spirituality, and power in Thai culture, elephants have also been exploited in the workforce for logging and other such practices. Luckily, elephant sanctuaries such as Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, and Elephant Retirement Park are working to combat exploitation by protecting and rehabilitating elephants. Elephants at these sanctuaries roam freely in beautiful surroundings free from abuse. Performance activities such as riding elephants aren't allowed, and the sanctuaries limit the number of tourist interactions per day so as to protect these beautiful creatures. 

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
- Paklok, Thalang District
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary - 2/12 Kathu, Kathu District
Elephant Retirement Park - Choeng Thale, Thalang District

4. Explore James Bond Island

James Bond Island
James Bond Island

A day trip to Phang Nga Bay is a must on your itinerary of things to do in Phuket. 

Characterised by dramatic limestone cliffs that rise from the emerald-green waters, Phang Nga Bay offers a surreal and picturesque seascape. The iconic karst formations, adorned with lush vegetation and hidden caves are famous in Thailand and not just for their natural beauty. Phang Nga Bay shot to international fame for its starring role in the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun back in the early 70s and was nicknamed James Bond Island.

I've visited the island many times, not because of the movie but because of its immense beauty. The towering limestone cliffs that pop out of the emerald waters are breathtaking. Plus, the mangrove forests and secluded lagoons further enhance the bay's mystique. 

Location: Phang Nga Bay

5. Soak up History at Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong
Wat Chalong

For things to do in Phuket that are more on the spiritual side, the island's famous temple, Wat Chalong stands as a revered testament to the island's rich cultural and spiritual heritage.

This ornate Buddhist temple, officially known as Wat Chaiyathararam, is a focal point for both locals and visitors seeking solace and blessings. The temple's intricate architecture, adorned with vibrant colours and delicate details, creates a serene atmosphere that invites contemplation and reverence. Wat Chalong is dedicated to two highly respected monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, whose statues and relics are enshrined within the temple complex. The pagoda is a prominent feature, and visitors can climb its tiers for panoramic views of the surrounding area. 

Location: Chalong, Mueang Phuket District

6. Go Snorkelling 

Banana Beach in Koh Hey
Banana Beach in Koh Hey.

The Andaman Sea not only serves as a picturesque backdrop for sun-soaked beach days but also as a playground for water enthusiasts with its rich marine biodiversity, making it a haven for snorkelling, diving, and other aquatic adventures.

You can pick just about any beach in Phuket on any given day and have a fun time snorkelling, but for the best chance at clear visibility and some colourful marine life, the best beaches for snorkelling in Phuket include Merlin BeachAo Sane Beach, Ya Nui BeachLaem Singh Beach, and Kata Noi Beach.  

If you'd like to make a day of it on a snorkelling tour, the Similan Islands are renowned for having some of the best snorkelling conditions on the island. You can also check out Banana Beach in Koh Hey (Coral Island), which is a small island south of Phuket that sits atop the abundant Andaman coral reef. 

7. Visit Thailand's Most Beautiful National Park 

The best things to do in Phuket
Khao Sok National Park

When you think of Phuket, images of tropical beaches and partygoers letting loose in Patong usually spring to mind, but these images are worlds away from the true natural beauty of Thailand: its national parks.

Ancient jungles, dreamy waterfalls, limestone cliffs, and abundant wildlife can be found in over 100 of Thailand's national parks. Choosing which national park to visit can be a challenge, so we're going to go with the one that's often touted as Thailand's most beautiful national park and the location of the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world: Khao Sok National Park.

Khao Sok National Park is located on mainland Phuket so it's easily accessible for day trips, however, there are only a few trails cut out for tourists so the park still maintains an air of remoteness and tranquility.

A day trip to Khao Sok National Park will feed your soul with hiking along jungle trails, visiting waterfalls, rafting along the serene Khao Sok River, and spotting some of Thailand's most impressive wildlife, including sambar deer, sun bears, wild boars, gibbons, elephants, Asian black bears, and more.

Location: Phanom District, Surat Thani

8. Get Your Thrills on at Andamanda Phuket

The best things to do in Phuket
Andamanda Phuket

A visit to Andamanda Phuket is one of the best things to do in Phuket if you're visiting with kids.

Get ready to unleash your inner child at one of Phuket's famous water parks. The themed water park is basically the exciting underground world of the Andaman Sea brought to life. Andamanda Phuket wows visitors with 100,000 square metres of themed pools, splash zones, slides, wave pools, rides, lazy rivers, swim-up bars, kids' zones, and plenty more. Be warned - the kids won't want to leave!

Location: Kathu, Kathu District

9. Say Hello to the Big Buddha

The Big Buddha
The Big Buddha

Roughly 94 per cent of the population of Thailand practise the sacred religion of Buddhism. What better way to pay tribute to the Thai people's beliefs whilst visiting their country than a visit to their sacred Big Buddha.

Phuket's Big Buddha is a seated Maravija Buddha statue that sits an impressive 45 metres tall. Known to the Thai people as the Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha, the Big Buddha is a sacred and revered site in Phuket, and as such must be treated with the utmost respect. It's offensive to wear revealing clothes when visiting. Sarongs are available free of charge to wear before walking up the steps to pay your respects.

Along with celebrating Buddhism, a trip to the Big Buddha awards you with breathtaking, 360-degree views of Phuket Town, Kata, Karon, Chalong Bay, and more.

Location: Karon, Mueang Phuket District 

10. See a Show

The best things to do in Phuket
Carnival Magic

The Thais certainly love to show their visitors a great time, particularly once the sun goes down and the glittering lights go on!

Theatre performances are big in Phuket, so much so that there are multiple shows and theme parks dedicated to night-time glitz, glamour, live music, and theatre.

One of the most famous theatre shows in Phuket is Simon Cabaret, a razzle-dazzle all-singing, all-dancing cabaret act that has become an icon of the island's nightlife offering. Carnival Magic is one of the newer theme parks that boasts a cast of over 150 actors who invite guests along to a night of aerial ballet, exotic carnival dancers, animatronics, and dazzling special effects followed by an invitation by the Prince into his whimsical palace grounds. For those keen to get swept up in the history, culture, and mythology of Thailand, Siam Niramit Phuket and Phuket Fantasea are showstoppers.

Simon Cabaret
- Sirirat Rd, Patong
Carnival Magic - 999 Kamala, Kathu District
Siam Niramit - Tambon Ko Kaeo, Mueang Phuket District
Phuket Fantasea - Kamala, Kathu District

11. Soak up the Sun at Phuket's Best Beaches

The best things to do in Phuket
Freedom Beach

You simply can't resist a day of soaking up the sun and incredibly warm waters of the island's best beaches when thinking of things to do in Phuket. 

From bustling tourist hotspots with sunlounger service to secluded bays, and off-the-beaten-track enclaves, beaches in Phuket are some of the best in the world.

One of the most famous beaches on the island is undoubtedly Patong. Stretching for 2.5 kilometres, Patong is big and busy since it neighbours one of the liveliest towns on the island. Patong is a favourite among families and those who love getting in and amongst all the water activities on offer, plus, the lovely Thais will treat you to drinks, food, and even some shopping from the comfort of your own sunlounger.

For those seeking a more secluded beach day, Freedom Beach is sublime. This relatively under-the-radar beach can be tricky to get to (accessible via a steep footpath or by long-tail boat) but if you're up for the challenge, you'll be rewarded with calm waters, and a touch of peace and quiet.

Kata Noi is one of my favourite beaches on the island as it has such peaceful energy with none of the commercialism of Patong, yet there are some restaurants and beach bars if you do feel like treating yourself. Oh, and the water is just incredible!

12. Release Turtles Into the Wild at the Turtle Sanctuary

Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation
Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation

Another one of the most unique things to do in Phuket, the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation is committed to the conservation of sea turtles on the island and, in particular, the nesting turtles and their ability to survive the next phase of life, and you can help!

Visitors to the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation can get involved in the program by learning all about the conservation practices on the island and even get the chance to feed some turtles!

Location: Mai Khao, Thalang District

13. Go Bamboo Rafting

The best things to do in Phuket
Bamboo rafting

Swap the beach for the jungle for the day on a bamboo rafting adventure.

Bamboo rafting tours run all around the island and will see you rafting through lush jungle waterways as you gaze at towering emerald canopies and listen as a cacophony of wildlife orchestrates a lively melody - bliss!

Most bamboo rafting tours include other activities such as ATV tours, jungle walks, visits to monkey caves, fresh lunch, and more. It's best to check with your hotel about which tour operators they recommend. 

14. Experience Bangla Road

Bangla Road
The famous nightlife of Bangla Road.

For things to do in Phuket at night, you simply can't miss an opportunity to visit the famous Bangla Road - it's a scene!

As the sun sets, Bangla Road comes alive with a kaleidoscope of neon lights, electrifying music, and an unmistakable sense of revelry. Colourful cocktails flow like liquid sunshine, and the beats of lively music spill into the street, creating an irresistible dance floor for party enthusiasts. Pop into one of the restaurants for a bite to eat or one of the bars for a festive night of live music. 

Location: Bangla Rd, Patong

15. See the Floating Village of Koh Panyee

Floating Village of Koh Panyee
Floating Village of Koh Panyee

Nestled on the serene waters of Phang Nga Bay, the Floating Village of Koh Panyee stands as a captivating testament to human resilience and adaptability.

Perched on stilts above the emerald-green sea, this unique community is a mesmerising sight. The village, seemingly defying gravity, is a labyrinth of wooden structures interconnected by a network of narrow walkways that meander above the water. 

A visit to Koh Panyee is an eye-opening experience, as you get to witness the vibrancy of daily life unfold – children playing by the edge of their homes, fishermen maneuvering longtail boats, and the aroma of freshly caught seafood wafting through the air. 

Location: Phang Nga Bay

16. Eat out at the Night Markets

Phuket Sunday Market
Phuket Sunday Market

Another brilliant night-time attraction that you can't miss is a visit to one of Phuket's bustling night markets.

Phuket's night markets come alive as the sun goes down, transforming the island into a bustling tapestry of colours, flavours, and lively energy. Underneath a canopy of twinkling lights, rows of stalls unveil a treasure trove of goods, from handcrafted souvenirs and eclectic fashion finds to aromatic street foods made right before your eyes. 

The most famous night markets to check out include the Chillva Market, the Weekend Market (Naka Market), the OTOP Night Market, the Sunday Street Market, the Kata Night Market, and Malin Plaza.  

- Phuket Town
Naka Market - Phuket Town
OTOP - Patong Beach
Sunday Street Market - Phuket Town
Kata Night Market - Kata Beach
Malin Plaza - Patong Beach

17. Relax at One of the Beach Clubs

The best things to do in Phuket
Catch Beach Club. Image via Phuket 101.

A holiday in Phuket is all about relaxing and soaking up the chilled vibes, and what better way to do this than by lapping up some amazing beach views with a cocktail in hand?

From boho beach clubs where you can sink your feet into the sand to ultra-luxurious bars that host some of the biggest beach parties on the island, there's no shortage of beach clubs in Phuket to suit all tastes. 

Beach clubs can get pretty busy during peak season, which is why I love Tann Terrace at Karon Beach. It's large enough to occupy everyone and the interiors are sublime. Bang Tao's Catch Beach Club was one of the first beach clubs on the island and is the place to go for inventive cocktails and awesome music. Further south at Kamala Beach, there's the elegant Pine Beach Bar that offers artisan cocktails, live jazz, and incredible sunsets come night-fall. For the ultimate chilled-out vibes, Nomad Beach Club has a laid-back bohemian atmosphere where you can sip cocktails right on the sand at Bang Tao Beach.

Tann Terrace
- Karon Beach
Catch Beach Club - Bang Tao Beach
Pine Beach Bar - Kamala Beach
Nomad Beach Club - Bang Tao Beach

18. Go Ziplining

Ziplining through the jungle
Ziplining through the jungle.

For those who aren't afraid of heights, ziplining through the jungle is the perfect eco-adventure to add to your itinerary of things to do in Phuket.

Hanuman World is one of the most popular ziplining parks on the island that gives you incredible 360-degree views of Phuket, the Andaman Sea, and even as far as the Phi Phi islands. Get a boost of adrenaline as you soar through the treetops with experienced guides with you all the way.

Location: Mueang Phuket District

19. Sweat it out at a Thai Boxing Match

Muay Thai Boxing
Muay Thai Boxing

Looking for exhilarating things to do in Phuket? Why not sweat it out at a Thai boxing match?

Muay Thai boxing is legendary in Phuket, with crowds upon crowds venturing to the numerous stadiums dotted throughout the island to catch boxers battling it out for glory. Muay Thai boxing is highly respected in Thailand and is seen as not only a game of force and skill but also as a discipline deep-rooted in spirituality.  

Many boxing stadiums also run Muay Thai boxing classes if you're keen to get in the ring yourself!

20. Visit the Aquarium

The best things to do in Phuket
Aquaria Phuket

The aquarium is a must-see if you're visiting with kids or you're stuck indoors on a rainy day and looking for things to do in Phuket.

Aquaria is the biggest aquarium in Thailand and will dazzle with its huge variety of adorable sea life. Get up close with penguins, sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, and more from over 500 species of sea life. Plus, you can even tour the famous sunken U.S.S. Largato ship.

Location: Wichit, Mueang Phuket District

21. Visit the Tigers at Tiger Kingdom

The best things to do in Phuket
Tiger Kingdom

If you've ever wanted to get up close to a fierce tiger, here's your chance!

Tiger Kingdom is one of the best things to do in Phuket if you aren't afraid of getting face-to-face with a real-life tiger - yep, you read that correctly, face-to-face! Tiger Kingdom lets you meet, play, and interact with these incredible creatures in a safe environment - rest assured that the keepers are monitoring the tigers the whole time!

Location: Kathu

22. Hike to the Karon Viewpoint

Karon Viewpoint
Karon Viewpoint

On an island as beautiful as Phuket, you can't miss an opportunity to soak up as many views as possible.

Karon Viewpoint is one of the most famous viewpoints on the island, offering a snapshot of Phuket's geographical beauty.

Also known as Three Beaches Hill, Karon Viewpoint offers a breathtaking panorama of the Andaman Sea and a trifecta of three amazing beaches in one view. Observe the changing blues and greens of the waters at Kata Noi, Kata, and Karon from above as you gaze towards the north.

Location: Mueang Phuket District

23. See Phuket's Famous Giant Water Lilies

The best things to do in Phuket
Phuket's Famous Giant Water Lilies

The famous giant water lilies are a relatively new attraction on the island and possibly one of the most unusual things to do in Phuket.

Located near Bang Tao Beach, Ma Doo Bua is a charming resort and cafe that is a little out of the ordinary, namely because it has a pond full of giant water lilies. Delicious Thai cuisine and hundreds of giant Victoria Amazonica lily pads are on offer when stopping off at Ma Doo Bua.

The water lilies are a huge tourist hotspot, with loads of visitors keen to grab the perfect Instagram shot, so make sure you leave plenty of time up your sleeve when visiting.

Location: Tambon Thep Krasatti, Thalang District

24. Book Your Little Rascals Into a Kids' Club

The best things to do in Phuket
Phuket Orchid Resort & Spa

Let's be honest, holidaying with kids is exhausting. Tired and whingy kids can often dampen even the chillest of holiday vibes. Luckily, there's a trick up your sleeve when visiting Phuket: kids' clubs.

Kids' clubs are the highlight of any family holiday in Phuket, and not just for us parents! Kids' clubs on the island are seriously cool, with epic pools, slides, games, and even bowling alleys at the disposal of energetic kids.

Make sure you check out the best family resorts in Phuket to bag a spot at one of the best kids' clubs so you can enjoy a little downtime.

25. Have a Drink at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

Chalong Bay Rum
Chalong Bay Rum 

If you're a fan of rum, you can't miss an opportunity to visit Chalong Bay Rum Distillery.

Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is run by a French couple who had a vision of combining the traditional French art of distillation with the rich sugarcane heritage of Thailand. The result is the award-winning Chalong Bay Rum that you can see being bottled right from the source on one of their famous distillery tours. 

Location: Chalong, Amphur Muang

26. Wander Through Phuket Botanic Garden

Phuket Botanic Garden
Phuket Botanic Garden

You can find a slice of tranquillity in the heart of bustling Phuket when you add the Phuket Botanic Garden to your list of things to do in Phuket.

The garden showcases an impressive array of plant species, from exotic orchids to towering palms, each flourishing in the island's tropical climate. Serene ponds adorned with water lilies and vibrant blooms add a touch of tranquillity while meandering pathways lead you through themed sections, such as the fragrant herb garden or the towering palm collection.

Location: Chalong, Mueang Phuket District

27. Play Some Golf at Dino Park Mini Golf

Dino Park Mini Golf
Dino Park Mini Golf

Little golf enthusiasts can practise their swing at Dino Park Mini Golf.

Step into a Jurassic World-themed mini golf park that's the perfect activity after a day at the beach. The courses aren't super hard as they're geared towards families, so if you're looking for a more competitive round of golf, I recommend checking out Red Mountain Golf Club or Blue Canyon Country Club.

Location: 47 Karon Rd, Karon

28. Go White Water Rafting

The best things to do in Phuket
White Water Rafting

One of the best things to do in Phuket for thrill-seekers, a white water rafting tour is an experience you won't forget any time soon.

Get ready for a heart-pumping adventure as you navigate rushing river rapids, feeling your adrenaline surge while working together to conquer the thrilling twists and turns of the watercourse.

Phuket Rafting is one of the premier tour groups on the island that runs daily tours by experienced guides, some of which also include a run on an ATV.

29. Zen Out at the Spa

The best things to do in Phuket
Amanpuri's Holistic Wellness Centre

If you've travelled to Phuket before you may have noticed that pretty much every resort comes with its own spa.

Wellness is most certainly celebrated in Thailand, with so many different spas and wellness retreats treating visitors to some much-needed relaxation.

If you're looking for some of the best spas in Phuket, I recommend booking a treatment at Asaya at Rosewood Phuket, Amanpuri's Holistic Wellness Centre, Jara Wellness at Trisara, or Sati Spa at the InterContinental Phuket Resort.

30. Catch the Sunset at Promthep Cape

Sunset at Promthep Cape
Sunset at Promthep Cape.

Phuket's sunsets are nothing short of a daily masterpiece, a breathtaking symphony of colours that transforms the sky into a canvas of vibrant hues. One of the most famous spots to catch a mesmerising sunset in Phuket is at Promthep Cape.

Promthep Cape is a dramatic coastal landmark at the southern end of the island renowned for its panoramic views, where visitors can witness a stunning sunset painting the sea with the changing colours of nightfall. Point your camera west at around 6.05 pm to snap the perfect sunset. 

Location: Rawai, Mueang Phuket District

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