14 Must-Try Activities in Phuket: Here’s What To Do

In a glittering city like Phuket, it’s not a question of what there is to do, but where to start. From the peaks to the sea, adventure awaits—and getting there just got a lot easier.

You’ll want to hear this, Nomads: Phuket’s Sandbox Plan is here to make your dream beach vacay a reality. As of June 12, 2021, the Thai Embassy has announced its “No Quarantine” Plan for vaccinated foreign tourists. Starting July 1, 2021, travelers who comply with the embassy’s requirements are welcome to explore Phuket as soon as they land—no quarantine necessary. Take note: visitors do have to stay in Phuket for 14 days before they can explore other destinations within Thailand.

Read more here: “No Quarantine” Phuket Sandbox

Ready to say hello to crystal clear waters, postcard-worthy views, and much-deserved R&R? We’ve got you! Here are 14 things to do with 14 days in Phuket:

Phuket Island
Photo by Unsplash (Vitaly Sacred)

1. Head to the islands

Top of the list are Phuket’s pristine shores—but is anyone really surprised? It’s called the Pearl of the Andaman Sea for a reason! With 32 smaller islands surrounding the main island of Phuket, summer paradise is literally just a boat ride away. Sail off on a private yacht charter, speed boat, or long tail boat of choice and set the course to the islands that strike your fancy.

Head southeast to peaceful Coral Island, where two main beaches offer an array of activities from snorkeling, banana boating, parasailing, and even batik-painting classes. Alternatively, go up north to Koh Naka and bask in its wide shoreline for uninterrupted quality time with the sun, sand, and sea. For a sight worth seeing, stop by the pearl farm at Koh Naka Noi to find out where these beautiful beads are sourced from. 

Note: Final details about which islands are open for travel are still under review by the Royal Thai Government. For regular updates, make sure to check the Thai Authority of Tourism here.
Man riding a wavePhoto by Unsplash (Jeremy Bishop)

2. Find your sweet surf spot

If you want to catch a wave, you’re in luck. Phuket’s got a lot of spots on the West Coast that serve as a surfer’s playground. The “Three Ks”—Kata Beach, Kamala Beach, and Karon Beach—are popular among locals and tourists, but there are certainly more hidden gems in the area for you to discover. Careful not to wipeout! 

3. Travel back in time in Old Phuket Town

Known for its iconic and bright Sino-Portuguese townhouses, Old Phuket Town is brimming with culture. Stroll through museums, shrines, temples, and old mansions to get a picture of its rich history, and be on the lookout for striking murals and street art. Afterwards, stop for a cool treat at Torry’s Ice Cream Boutique: their beautiful architecture is perfect for the ‘gram, while their homemade flavors and specialty desserts are great for winding down. With a charming selection of local cafés and restaurants, this stop is certainly a feast for both the eyes and the stomach.

4. Pay a visit to the Big Buddha

A distinct figure in Phuket’s skyline is the Big Buddha, a 45-meter-tall white marble statue on top of Nakkerd Hill. Delve into the culture with a private introduction to Buddhism, or climb all the way to the top for a panoramic view with scenes like Chalong Bay in the north, and Kata Beach in the south.


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5. Go high and head to Khao Rang Viewpoint

Drive up to Khao Rang Hill for an unobscured perspective of Phuket town. Surrounded by greenery and twinkling city lights, it pairs perfectly with a romantic lunch or dinner, and maybe a glass of wine.


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6. Or go low and deep dive near Koh Racha

There’s lots to see under the turquoise waters of Koh Racha, 20km south of Phuket. Two twin islands make up this well-known dive spot, so it’s teeming with marine life that is sure to stun both beginners and advance divers. For activities that the whole family will love, check out this article.

Flatlay of delicious Thai dishes
Photo by Unsplash (Alex Block)

7. Dine real fine in Phuket Town

Days full of adventure will definitely leave you hungry for a good bite, and Phuket’s options do not disappoint. First, for Italian cuisine, you don’t want to miss, grab a seat at La Gaetana. It’s as authentic as it gets, since the pasta, gelato, and limoncello are made in-house. This crowd favorite fills up quickly, so make sure you reserve a table at least a week before.

For European Contemporary Fusion, there’s Surf & Turf. Don’t be fooled by the laid-back atmosphere or the no-frills menu; this pick received a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide and is definitely worth a try.

Meanwhile, on the more casual side is HEH Phuket, a Contemporary Australian concept that’s full of surprises (thus the name). Their dishes are not only delicious but also sourced from local fishermen, so you can expect that brunch or dinner is made with fresh ingredients bursting with bold flavors.

And for a chill option that’s worth raving about, head over to Dibuka Cafe & Restaurant for delectable dishes, awesome vintage aesthetics, and if you’re in luck, maybe even a live band.

Phuket is home to luxury villas as breathtaking as the beaches themselves. Check out these jaw-dropping beach-front villas that you’ll want to check into!


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8. Chase a good sunset 

Phuket’s gorgeous geography gives it many great vantage points for capturing the warm colors of sunset, like Kata Karonamong one of the most popular—and Promthep Cape, which is favored for its vast lookout point. Nearby, there is also Nai Harn Beach that gives off a more relaxed vibe, and the secluded Kata Noi for some peace and quiet. Whichever view is yours, the most important thing is to have your camera ready.

Dishes from Blue Elephant
Photo by Blue Elephant

9. Cook like a local at Blue Elephant

Take your appreciation for Thai cuisine to the next level and spare some time for a cooking class at Blue Elephant, with flexible arrangements that range from half-day to full private courses that are sure to fit your schedule. Learn how to make classics such as Pad Thai and Tom Yum, so that you can bring home a taste of Phuket!

Hand holding Chalong Bay RumPhoto by Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

10. Get your mojito straight from the source at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

No need to wait for happy hour! Grab a drink and learn a thing or two at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery, and sip on a mojito as you tour the facility. After that, you can opt to join their mixologists for a Cocktail Workshop, or dine at the Michelin Plate-awarded cuisine and creative cocktails at their bar and restaurant.

Photo of manicured golf coursePhoto by Phuket Golf

11. Putt your best foot forward at the golf course

Did you know that Phuket is named one of the best golfing destinations in Asia? Because of the city’s sunny disposition, it’s usually just right for a round or two. The Red Mountain Golf Club is one of Asia’s finest courses, but it’s only one of eight spots to choose from in Phuket, and they’re arguably some of the most scenic courses out there.

Two elephants on the riverPhoto by Tree Tops Elephant Reserve

12. Give back and support a cause

As a city that’s close to nature, there are plenty of opportunities to support various environmental causes in Phuket. For example, a visit to an ethical elephant sanctuary like Tree Tops Elephant Reserve allows you to get up close and personal with the animals, even feed and observe them, as well as find out what you can do to support their habitat. Another option is the Soi Dog Foundation, the largest animal shelter in Phuket, where you can spend some time with the rescued cats and dogs, make a donation, and even sponsor them. 

Lady doing a yoga pose
Photo by Amatara Yoga

13. Go with the flow at a yoga retreat

Leave it to a pristine place like Phuket to help you find your inner calm. How about signing up for a yoga retreat, like Amatara Yoga? Get a deeper appreciation for the practice and enjoy an experience that stretches your mind and body. If it’s your first time, check out this article for what to expect.

Woman getting a back massagePhoto by Unsplash (Alan Caishan)

14. Treat yourself to an authentic Thai massage

There’s no better way to wrap up a vacation than with a well-deserved, authentic Thai massage. Find out firsthand what makes their massage techniques so special, and let yourself unwind. It’s the perfect way to balance out all your adrenaline-fueled activities!

Looking for more Phuket inspo to fuel your wanderlust?
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