Things to do in Phuket, Thailand
Living in Hong Kong has been a dream so far! (Check out this post and this one for some Hong Kong highlights). So much so that it’s taken me a whole month to plan a weekend trip to other nearby cities. At the very last-minute, I decided on a weekend break to Phuket in Thailand. Skycanner always has great deals on and a found a hotel easily on Booking.com.
Phuket is an “interesting” city to say the least, but when you visit, here are some things you absolutely need to make sure you tick off your list!
Things to do in Phuket
See the Siam Niramit show
Probably the highlight of my whole trip, Siam Niramit is a colourful, visually stimulating and highly entertaining journey through Thai history. I used the Klook app to book discounted tickets. Transfers + Gold Seats + Buffet Dinner for just over £30 – an absolute steal! (This is basically half price compared to buying direct or through other vendors).
The show is set in its own grounds, and as you arrive you are greeted by performers marching through the halls playing drums and chanting/singing. Not to be outshined, elephants, guided by their keepers, amble past with grinning kids (and adults) on their back. Before the show even starts, you’re treated to a mini performance by the troupe in the outdoor area, followed by a whole parade of dancers in glittering costumes and the elephants of course!
By the time you head into the auditorium for the show to start, you are left wondering what more they could possibly do…and boy-oh-boy, do they deliver! Each scene walks you through a different age and/or kingdom in Thai history, with the most vibrant and elaborate costumes and sets. I was even picked to play a part in one of the sets – my claim to fame for sure. It’s an absolute must-see!
Eat Street Food at Jungceylon
To be clear, Jungceylon is actually a shopping centre (which I didn’t go into so don’t know much about). What you should be asking for specifically is Banzaan Night Market. It’s a collection of outdoor food stalls serving amazing local dishes! Food is super cheap and delicious. It might be best avoided if you have a super-sensitive stomach but otherwise I recommend trying different dishes.
To be honest, you can get street food just about everywhere. In fact you’ll often see locals on motorbikes with a mini-kitchen (complete with hotplates and pots) as the sidecar. They stop and set up shop selling pad thai, roti, pancakes or whatever delicious food they specialise in. And of course, don’t miss out on the fresh fruit – I was completely obsessed with the fresh mango!
Have Lunch “On The Rock”
Enjoy amazing views and delicious food at On The Rock, a gorgeous little restaurant on the edge of Karon Beach. They have a ton of tasty cocktails, the food is exquisite and the ocean is right on the doorstep. I recommend the bang-bang chicken, it’s divine. When you book, ask for a table by the water – you won’t regret it.
It’s quite a romantic spot, so if you’re on bae-cation, definitely one to add to your list. Not to say that you need to be boo’d up to enjoy it though. Head there for lunch so you can fully enjoy the view (and avoid all the couples gazing into each others eyes ha!)
Party on Bangla Road
It’s as simple as this – if you visit Phuket and you don’t have at least one night out on Bangla road, did you even go to Phuket??
So it’s one long road of bars, clubs and all sorts. The all sorts being the immaculately dressed ladyboys looking for customers, half-naked women advertising “European strip shows”, promoters trying to pull customers into “ping-pong shows”. I won’t go into too much detail on that point – all you need to know is it involves all sorts of household items going into or coming out of surprising places.
So if you’re into a more “alternative” scene, Bangla road is definitely the place for you, but they do also have more regular clubs and bars. I really liked the music at Shark Club and Tiger Disco had a pretty good vibe too.
Explore Phuket Town
Phuket Town is the old town of Phuket and is a flood of colourful pastel buildings. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t feel like you’re in Thailand and I really don’t know if that is a good thing. Cute little coffee shops and cafes scream of gentrification, not to mention the souvenir shops full of your typical tourist trinkets. I really hope I don’t sound jaded here but I can’t quite work out my feelings about this part of the island. Regardless I found it very pretty and met a few lovely locals.
And of course, how could I forget the local restaurant where I had the best roti and beef curry I’ve ever tasted!
Get Spiritual at the Big Buddha
The Big Buddha statue is on top of a mountain in the Chalong area of Phuket. Construction has been going on for a few years now but the statue itself is complete and breathtaking! Compared to the bustling, noisy streets of the main town and beach areas, you get to the site and feel almost overwhelmed by the near-silence. It’s sort of eerily quiet even with the crowds of people who flock there.
The first thing you should note is that it is a sacred/religious site so be sure to be respectful and not rock up in beachwear or some ashawo-shorts. (In case you missed it, I mentioned this in my post about surviving Phuket as a tourist, read it here). To be honest, even if you go under-dressed, they have sarongs you can use to cover up.
You can walk through the temple even though it’s under construction. In fact, you can donate a tile to be used in the construction. What’s also great is you can stop to pray or meditate in the temple. Depending on the time, you might also meet the monks prayers and hear them chanting. And finally the view! Given you are so high up you get a 360 degree of basically the whole island. What’s not to love?!
These are my top picks of things to do in Phuket but I’m sure there are loads more amazing spots that haven’t made it to my list. Where else in Phuket would you recommend? Share in the comments below!
Til next time,