Spectacular scenery, stunning tropical sunsets and warm blue sea make Phuket one of Asia’s most popular beach destinations. The perfect palm-lined white beaches were a picture perfect backdrop for my first solo holiday and there was so much to do that my ten day trip flew by!
It may not be as quiet as some of Thailand’s other destinations (in high season it can get quite busy) but this does mean that tourism has brought all kinds of activities to Phuket. Whether you want to enjoy world-class diving in the Andaman Sea, embark on exciting eco-adventures in tropical forests or dine at authentic Thai restaurants Phuket is the place to plan a memorable holiday. Here are my top ten things to do in Phuket and a giveaway for any readers planning their own adventures so be sure to read on till the end…
1. See The Spectacular James Bond Island
Khao Phing Kan was made famous when it appeared in the James Bond movie ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’. The sheer limestone cliffs that jut out of the emerald-green water are mesmerising and a sight you can’t miss if you’re travelling to Thailand. It’s a very busy attraction with tourists standing on the shore in awe of its ‘why doesn’t it fall over’ outline so manage your expectations of it being as tranquil as the photos in tour guides. To get there you can book a day trip to Phuket’s surrounding islands which will give you a tour of the spectacular scenery of Phang Nga Bay. Hotel’s will offer to book them in advance for you but you can get a much better bargain by visiting the stalls on the streets.
2. Eat authentic Thai street food
Phuket is famous for its fantastic seafood so be sure to try the Phuket Rock Lobster if you’re enjoying fine dining on your holiday. When you’re not living the high life eating in restaurants the streets are a great place to find excellent Thai food cooked with authentic local ingredients. The night market on a Friday in Choeng Tale was a great place to experience Thai street food for the first time as there was so much on offer. The colourful dishes, enticing smells and flavoursome tastes made it a real sensory experience. Of course you have to try lots of Pad Thai (one of Thailand’s most famous dishes) but if you’re feeling adventurous you can also try Tom-Saab which is a spicy soup made with chicken feet – delicious!
3. Explore sea caves in a canoe
Phang Nga Bay is dotted with dozens of islands, limestone cliffs and caves. One of the best ways to explore them is by sea canoe! When I booked the tour I was worried about juggling my camera and the paddle but my friendly local guide took care of everything. She pointed out wildlife as we explored the Hongs which are cliff-lined lagoons only accessible by tunnels filled with stalactites. It really does have to be seen to be believed!
4. Shop at the colourful Thai markets
The markets of Thailand are full of beautiful gifts and trinkets you will want to take home so be sure to leave space in your suitcase! The silks and embroidered fabrics are so colourful and detailed. I bought a pair of sunglasses and this hand-embroidered clutch bag for a few pounds which was such a bargain. It’s also a great idea to buy some of the cheap packs of cooking spices or sauces to bring home as the locally sourced ingredients will give your Thai cooking a real authentic touch at home.
5. Spend the Night In A Treehouse
Keemala is a magical wonderland nestled away from the crowds of Phuket. The resort is focused on wellness so after the liveliness of Patong it was the perfect retreat to end my holiday. Positioned in the hills within lush woodlands I could focus on yoga, healthy eating and enjoying the luxurious surroundings. Everytime I stepped out of my villa I felt like I had walked into an enchanted paradise so if you fancy a magical and memorable stay in Phuket then you simply must visit.
6. Relax with a Thai massage on the beach
If you’re looking to be pampered, then Thailand is the perfect holiday destination for you! Every corner you turn there are stalls offering massages and an hour long treatment will only cost you about 300BHT (roughly £5). Traditional Thai massages focus on relieving muscle tension and they don’t use oil so if you prefer it that way be sure to ask. I usually chose an Aloe Vera massage because it was so soothing on my skin after a day in the sun. The ladies are lovely and the sea breeze felt so relaxing so I couldn’t resist treating myself to one every time I went to the beach.
7. Try an exhilarating watersports activity
The beaches of Phuket are dotted with resorts so there are plenty of opportunities to try an exhilarating watersport. I wasn’t feeling adventurous enough to try surfing but I gave paddleboarding a go and really enjoyed it. The serene lagoons of The Angsana Laguna Resort are the perfect place for practicing before moving on to the rolling waves of the ocean. And, if you’re feeling brave enough, you can work on your balance and try Yoga on your paddleboard.
8. Drink cocktails at one of Phuket’s Best Beach Clubs
Phuket is famous for its nightlife and where better to go for a cocktail than the beach! My favourite beach clubs were Xana Beach Club and Dream Beach Club. Both host parties with award-winning DJs and are located on Bang Tao Beach. You can order a passionfruit daiquiri (my personal favourite), listen to amazing music, meet new people and work on your tan – how else would you spend a Saturday on a tropical paradise?!
9. Enjoy a fresh coconut on the beautiful beaches
Soft white sand and shores lined with palm trees make Phuket’s beaches the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. I loved buying coconut’s from the local fruit markets and enjoying them on the beach with my book – absolute perfection if you ask me! It’s always important to remember to schedule a little ‘me-time’ so don’t forget to leave a day to relax on the beach in your action-packed holiday to Phuket.
10. Hike To The Big Buddha
The Big Buddha in Phuket is a very popular tourist attraction even though it’s not quite finished. It stands 45m high above Chalong Bay and really is a magnificent sight to behold! You can start from Karon Beach and part of the fun is the hike up towards the statue; the hills are crisscrossed with paths and the journey is full of wildlife. Be sure to take your selfie stick because the view from the top is spectacular!
Win Two Marco Polo Travel Guides For Your Next Adventure!
When travelling to a new destination I always feel a bit overwhelmed trying to balance experiencing everything a place has to offer but also relaxing and enjoying my holiday. I worry I will get on the plane home regretting missing something out but I also don’t want to spend my whole trip tied to a pre-planned itinerary at the expense of a bit of spontaneity! For that reason I always like to read a travel guide before I set off so I know exactly what sights are worth seeing. Marco Polo Phuket: The Travel Guide was full of insider tips which made planning my holiday a lot easier. The author’s Insider Tips encouraged me to experience Phuket in an individual and authentic way by recommending little restaurants and hidden beaches that I would have never discovered on my own.
Are you planning an adventure for this summer? Well I have just the thing for you! Two lucky winners will receive two Marco Polo Travel Guides of their choice each so enter my giveaway below for the chance to win. It’s really easy and takes less than 5mins – good luck!