If there’s one place that offers a dazzling nightlife, unparalleled serenity, and intriguing wildlife all within the bounds of one geographical space, it is Phuket. An island 80 km (50 miles) long, Phuket is among Thailand’s must-visit places. Inspiring photography, unique food, multicultural flavours, and thorough relaxation – you’ll find it all here. A super popular holiday destination in Southeast Asia, Phuket is slowly finding its way to the travel bucket lists of many Westerners as well now. While you may already be aware of the most popular things to do in Phuket, we’ve brought you a trip down the untrodden path. Here are some exciting yet typically non-touristy things to do in Phuket. After all, once in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?
1. Catch the beguiling colours of the dawn
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint in Phuket is truly the kind of place you’d expect to see used as a backdrop in a romantic scene in a movie. It is located some 75 km (46 miles) off Phuket, about a two-hour drive from the famous Patong Beach, and is a 20-minute hike uphill. While enjoying views from viewpoints during daytime is common, staying the night is not. Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is famous among avid photographers and enthusiastic travellers who stay back overnight, camping underneath starlit skies. Bonfire, barbecue, singing, nature, and you – all become one here! If you’re able to pull off an all-nighter or can wake yourself up early, the sunrise view from here is a complete delight, so we really suggest you push yourself for this experience. Imagine opening your eyes to a stunning vista of the Thai karst cliffs standing proudly in the Andaman Sea against pinkish-orange colours of the dawn. Its almost like you’re admiring a painting!
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
Address: Khlong Khian, Takua Thung District, Phang-nga 82130, Thailand
Website: Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
Opening hours: 4am - 10pm (daily)
2. A tryst with quietude
Crystal clear waters, impeccably clean sand, fabulous little beach shacks, and a multitude of overhanging coconut palms – if you’re one who likes these, we strongly suggest you head over to the Ao Yon Beach. The access is quite steep, making it slightly difficult to reach and that’s perhaps why the beach has been able to retain its beauty and charm. You can enjoy a great picnic or sunbathe in the Thai sun, while your little ones make sand castles. There are even quite a few vacation rentals here, so you can even consider staying in the neighbourhood during your trip.
Ao Yon Beach
Address: 6/5 Soi Ao-Yon Khaokhad, Tambon Wichit, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83000, Thailand
Website: Ao Yon Beach
3. Unveil the secrets of underwater life
Another beach you must remember to keep on your list is the Banana Rock Beach. Pretty much isolated, it is 180m (590ft) of pristine waters and almost glittering sand stretching for as wide as the eye can see. Find yourself a comfortable spot at one of its northern or southern ends and leave yourself to be engulfed in the calm that abounds the airs here. Getting there can be slightly tricky as there are multiple routes you can take to approach the beach, depending on your mode of transportation, so its best you do your research well before starting the journey. You can rent a longtail boat or a beach chair and umbrella to enjoy all that the beach offers. Adrenaline junkies, plan your visit between November to April and explore the crystal-clear waters of the beach by going snorkelling here. Trust us, it’s just unbelievable!
Banana Rock Beach
Address: Choeng Thale, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand
Opening hours: 24/7
If you find yourself in Phuket between June to November, we strongly suggest a refreshing session of white water rafting in Phuket. Ranging from 5-km (3-mile) long routes to 9 km (5 miles) ones, you can choose the one you prefer best. After some initial training and instructions by the guide, you’ll be ready to go about exploring Phuket’s intriguing wildlife and impressive scenery, packed with adventure. While dinghies appear flimsy, they’re sturdy enough to navigate through challenging currents of the waters with up to six adults aboard. Before starting, you’ll be provided with life jackets and protective helmets, which you’ll ultimately be thankful for. So, add this to your must-do activities list and you’ll be in for an unforgettable experience.
White Water Rafting and ATV Riding
Duration: 1 day
Move beyond snorkelling and swimming in the clear waters of Phuket and get your sweat glands pumping with some rock climbing on the beautiful limestone cliffs here. A heady combination of thrill, excitement, and adventure learning how to rock climb is super easy in Phuket’s challenging landscape and safe environment. Your preferred location could be one directly on the beach or in the higher elevations. You can carry your own equipment or rent one from the several guided tours available across the town. Experienced climbers, as well as newbies, inevitably end up gaining an appetite for this, so do anything but don’t forget to get your hands dirty with some rock climbing!
Rock Climbing Phuket - Day Trip
Duration: 1 day
6. Grab a drink with a view
If you’re one who enjoys their drink in the company of views to kill for, a trip to Phuket’s Wassa Homemade Bar is a must for you. A hidden gem, this bar is a perfect retreat after a day long going around the town. You can soak in some amazing views of the Patong Bay while sipping on one of their fantastic drinks (alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic). It is a family-owned restaurant and is touted to be among the best in Phuket. Split across various floors, the view from every table is equally amazing. It is an ultimate sundowner spot, so head there to calm your senses and rejuvenate for the next day.
Wassa Homemade Bar
Address: 50 Pi Road, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 50120
Website: Wassa Homemade Bar
Opening hours: 4pm - 12am (daily)
Price: 56 USD onwards
7. Drown yourself in some rum
Muddle, mix and enjoy! Book your cocktail workshop today: 093 575 1119Posted by Chalong Bay Distillery & Bar on Friday, 15 February 2019
Even if you’re not a Rum aficionado, we’d strongly recommend a tour of the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery in Phuket. An international, award-winning company in Phuket, this place prides itself in producing a rum that’s 100% natural – can you believe that? They use the best of Thai sugarcane crop and exclusive methods to distil their spirits, which make their flavours unique and distinct. Their handcrafted spirits and techniques allow them high-quality results and wide recognition. While in Phuket, you really must book yourself on one of their tours and go back home to flaunt some coveted tricks and tips to make cocktails spot on. Several tours are conducted around the clock, which goes on for about an hour or two, so check out their website and attend one that suits you best.
Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
Address: 14/2, Moo 2, Pa Lai Soi 2, Chalong, Phuket Town, Phuket 83130, Thailand
Website: Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
Opening hours: 11am - 10pm (daily)
Price: 55 USD onwards
8. A little bit of China in Thailand
Shrine of the Serene Light, also known as Sang Tham Shrine, is an ancient Chinese shrine hidden amid local shops in an entirely unassuming location in Phuket. While modest in size, the shrine more than makes up for it in appearance, which is extravagant in every sense. Once here, you’ll be transported into history with its distinct architecture and rich cultural heritage. The shrine welcomes its visitors with a vibrantly coloured gate, built in a traditional Chinese manner, with vaulted ceilings and pagoda-style structures. Entirely contrasting its exterior is its dimly lit interiors, strewn with candles and lanterns, giving the entire place a mystical feel. Most tourists to Phuket don’t even know about the shrine’s existence, so beat them to the chase and add it to your list right away.
Shrine of The Serene Light
Address: 72/1 Yaowarat Rd, Tambon Talat Yai, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83000, Thailand
Opening hours: 8:30am - 5:30pm
9. Take home some good luck too
Sitting just a few blocks away from the Fountain Circle is the Phuket Buddha image and amulet market. These amulets bear a picture of Lord Buddha in several forms and if there’s one thing you’re quite likely to see a Thai man sporting, it is these. They are available in several forms, ranging from pendants to bracelets to mini statuettes, so you can pick up whatever suits you best. While cheaper alternatives are available in several parts of the city, the real thing can look pretty damn exquisite and require a trained eye to distinguish. Head to Phuket Amulet Market for the best variety.
Phuket Amulet Market
Address: Ratsada Rd, Tambon Talat Nuea, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat, Phuket Town, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Website: Phuket Amulet Market
10. Scintillating views for as far as the eye can see
Sitting 530m (1,735ft) above sea level is among the highest points in Phuket – the Radar Hill viewpoint. If you’re one who loves walking the distance on foot, you’ll find yourself hiking up winding roads that go through villages and dense greenery. Don’t forget to make pitstops and soak in the quietude that abounds the airs of Phuket. However, it’ll be worthy to top up the gas before starting the drive uphill – it’s quite a distance and the road is quite steep at certain points. Carry your cameras along as there will be various picture-worthy scenes you’ll find here.
Radar Hill viewpoint
Address: Pa Tong, Kathu District, Phuket 83120, Thailand
Pearl of the Andaman
There’s enough reason Phuket attracts the number of tourists it does. Ranging from an impressive coastline to dramatic landscape, energetic vibe to a plurality of traditions, an extravaganza of flavours to pleasant weather, there’s everything here. While you’ll find most of its popular places packed with people all year round, some of these non-touristy activities will make you fall in love with it.
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