What are the best things to see and do in Phuket?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Melanie Nayer

You’re going to find yourself pulled in many different directions during your trip to Phuket — beaches, snorkeling, day trips, city tours — so to help ensure you hit the highlights, our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend putting these things to see and do in Phuket at the top of your list:
1. Big Buddha. The 45-meter high Big Buddha is one of the newest sights to dot the Phuket landscape — and one of its most revered treasures. You’ll be able to see it at its lofty locale in the Nakkerd Hills from many southern points on the island, but the scenic drive up through rural central Phuket is almost as rewarding as the unbelievable views you’ll enjoy from the site itself.

2. Old Phuket Town. Head to this walkable section of bustling Phuket Town for a (temporary) break from the beach amid Sino-colonial architecture, maze-like markets and an abundance of cheerful Thai cafés. Bring your camera — this is one of the most photo-worthy parts of the city.

3. Island hopping. Escape the sometimes overwhelming crowds on Phuket by booking a private tour through your hotel of the many idyllic islands located within a short speedboat ride of the coast. Enjoy snorkeling, picnicking and taking a dip in impossibly clear turquoise waters.

4. Snorkeling in Phi Phi Islands. Speaking of snorkeling, Ko Phi Phi’s shallow waters and stunning coral gardens make it one of the best places near Phuket to get up close and personal with the area’s colorful underwater sea life. Public and private tours are available daily and can be booked through your hotel.

5. Phuket Island & City Tour. One of the best ways to see the many sides of Phuket is with a planned city and island tour. This five-hour itinerary includes a cruise down the west coast along popular Patong, Karon, Kata and Rawai beaches, as well as stops at Phuket Town, Wang Thalang Lapidary gem factory, Mookda Herbal Center and a Buddhist temple. Be sure to inform the tour company of any specific sites you want to see ahead of time.

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