Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand, so there is a lot to do there. This article has tips on planning your trip to Phuket and what to do in 3, 5, or 7 days, including the best daily tours and attractions.
The best things to do and see in Phuket are the Similan Islands tour, James Bond Island, Coral and Racha Islands, Elephant Sanctuaries, Food Tour, Beach Clubs, Big Buddha Tour, and Rooftop Bar.
Itinerary in Phuket 3 Days
- Day 1: Similan Islands tour
- Day 2: Elephant Sanctuary, Big Buddha, and View Point
- Day 3: James Bond Island tour
Itinerary in Phuket 5 Days
- Day 1: James Bond Island tour
- Day 2: Elephant Sanctuary and Beach Club
- Day 3: Similan Islands tour
- Day 4: Coral and Racha Islands tour and sunset at the Rooftop Bar
- Day 5: Big Buddha Tour, Temples, View Point, and Old Town
Itinerary in Phuket 7 Days
- Day 1: James Bond Island tour
- Day 2: Elephant Sanctuary and Beach Club
- Day 3: Similan Islands tour
- Day 4: Big Buddha Tour, Temples, View Point, and Old Town
- Day 5: Coral and Racha Islands tour and sunset at the Rooftop Bar
- Day 6: Freedom Beach, Swing at Nui Beach, Mo Doo Bua Cafe, Phuket Viewpoint Cafe
- Day 7: Guided Phuket Old Town Food Tour (choose to do it on a Sunday)
What to do in Phuket in 3, 5 or 7 days.
The top attractions and activities to do in Phuket are listed below.
JAMES BOND ISLAND TOUR
The “007: The Man with the Golden Gun” movie was filmed on the island that the James Bond Island tour in Phuket visits. Everything is done by speedboat in the beautiful Phang Nga Bay, where everything is done by speedboat.
The tour goes by Panak Island, where the Ice Cream cave leads to a hidden lagoon. Hong Island, where a canoe takes you through the mangrove swamp and lagoons inside the rocks, and Panyee Island, which has a floating village. James Bond Island, where the movie was filmed, and Naka, where you can take a sea bath.
The tour was more for thinking than for swimming, which was a surprise to us. Ways to get out of the “beach-snorkel” routine are completely different. The van will pick you up at your hotel at 7 a.m., and the speedboat will leave the last island at 4:30 p.m.
SANCTUARY OF ELEPHANTS
The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary was what we did (the same one on TAGThai). At the beginning of the tour, you will learn about elephants, including where they came from, how they act, and why they are in this area. Then we learned how to cook food and take care of the animals’ health.
The next step is the mud bath, then the lake, and finally, clean water. The elephants are free to move around and don’t have to do anything. One person had just eaten and didn’t want to do anything else. We learned about the animal’s skin and the difference between land and water at this time.
Before lunch is the last step, which is a cooking class. The tour was a good way to learn. We didn’t spend much time with the elephant. Instead, we spent most of our time learning about it: how to care for it, how to talk to it, and what is good for it and what is bad for it. They are animals that can no longer live on their own in the wild and who calm down visibly when they get love.
There are two shifts. In the morning, the van picks up people at 6:30 am and drops them off at 12:30 pm. It leaves at 11:30 in the afternoon and comes back at 17:30. Get on the tour of the Elephant Sanctuary.
BIG BUDDHA AND VIEWPOINT
On top of the mountain is a big white Buddha statue called “The Big Buddha.” The tour goes to a few different places, including the Big Buddha, the Wat Chalong temple, and the Karon Lookout, which is the highest point in Phuket and has a great view in all directions.
Some tours take you to the Old Town, which is a very beautiful and well-kept old part of the city. If you want to do this tour in the afternoon, for example, after seeing an elephant, it’s best to save the Old Town tour for another time, maybe with the food tour (gastronomic tour).
The Big Buddha, Temples, View Point, and Old Town are all on the full-day tour, which starts at 8:00 AM and goes until 5:00 PM. Taxi drivers charge 2000 baht just to go to the Big Buddha, so this is the best deal.
SIMILAN ISLANDS TOUR
Similan is a group of islands with soft white sand and water that is so clear it hurts your eyes. It looks like paradise, and you can’t help but be taken in by its beauty. Phuket’s most beautiful.
Similan Island is the largest of the nine islands that make up the Similan archipelago. The tour goes to 4 islands: Koh Bangu for snorkelling, Koh Similan for the beach and view point, Koh Payu for snorkelling, and Koh Miang to enjoy the beach.
Even though the archipelago is beautiful and full of sea life, the tour is tiring. It starts at the hotel at 6 a.m. and ends on land at 5:30 p.m. It takes a long time by van and another long time by boat. Remember this information if you have kids, get bored easily, or have plans for the evening.
Umbrellas and sunbeds on the island’s beaches cost 200 baht, which you pay before you sit down. But beach clubs are the best places to enjoy the beach. These are Phuket’s best beach clubs:
- Pine, Kamala Beach, with pyrotechnics at night
- Cafe Del Mar, Kamala Beach, with Ibiza/Mykonos vibe
- Tann Terrace, Karon Beach
- Coast Beach at Centara hotel, Karon Beach
CORAL AND RACHA ISLAND TOUR
The trip to the Coral and Racha Islands is to relax in front of a paradise-like sea with all the comforts of a quiet beach. The tour includes another transfer and lunch, and it’s a great deal since they’re only 15 minutes from Phuket.
The tour starts at Racha Island, where you can relax on the beach, go to the viewpoint, or spend half the time snorkeling on the other side of the island. On Coral Island, where lunch is served, there are beach bars, sunbeds, and snorkeling gear. This is because there are many small fish on the beach.
It’s the best way to see Thailand’s beautiful sea while still being able to do things like banana boat, parasailing, or just swim. The van leaves the hotel at 8 a.m. and returns around 5:30 p.m.
GUIDED FOOD TOUR IN PHUKET OLD TOWN (FOOD TOUR)
People who like to eat and learn about history should go on the Phuket Old Town food tour. During a 4-hour tour with a guide, you will try both sweet and savoury dishes and learn how they fit into the culture and history of the place. More than 14 tests are there.
This one is worth doing like the Bangkok and Chiang Mai tour because it has different tastes. If you don’t already know, the food in the north (Chiang Mai) is different from the food in the middle (Bangkok) and very different from the food in the south (the islands). This is because the people who lived in each area influenced the food in that area.
The tour starts in the middle of the morning at 10 am and ends in the middle of the afternoon, making it a great way to spend a Sunday. The afternoon tour begins at 3 o’clock.
SUNDAY MARKET IN OLD TOWN
Phuket Old Town is different from the rest of the island. There, the Peranakan and Sino-Portuguese architecture is still the same as it is in Penang, Malaysia, and Singapore. On Sundays, there is a good craft fair with prices so low that they have nothing to do with the beach. There is a food section of the market where you can buy dishes for 60 baht.
The Central Phuket shopping centre is in the Old Town of Phuket, where you can find everything (electronics, clothes, sporting goods, etc). The Gastronomic Tour takes place in this part of the country. It starts in the middle of the morning and goes until early afternoon, which is a great time to go to the Sunday market. Or, if you’d rather, you can go on the afternoon tour and visit the night market.
Thanlagan Road, where the market is, and the streets next to it and around it are worth seeing. These include Soi Romanee, Phang Nga Road, Ratsada Road, Yoawarat Road, Krabi Road, Dibuk Road and Ranong Road. Try to get there before 4 p.m., when the free Phuket Baba Museum closes. There, you can find out more about the Peranakan people and how they affected Southeast Asia.
ENJOY THE NIGHT AT A ROOFTOP BAR IN PHUKET
Phuket has a lot going on at night. But if you want a more elegant place to watch the sunset and have a few drinks, these are Phuket’s most charming rooftop bars:
- Vanilla Sky at Cape Sienna, Kamala Beach
- Haven, Karon Beach
- Patong Sunset View, Patong
- The Sundeck, Karon Beach
TOUR TO KOH PHI PHI
Koh Phi Phi is a group of islands that can be reached by speedboat in one hour. It is a tour that goes to the most important places, like Maya Bay, Pileh Lagoon, Viking Cave, Monkey Beach, and Bamboo Island. This is a great option if you don’t have time to stay on Koh Phi Phi. The van leaves the hotel at 7 a.m. and comes back around 6 p.m.
GASTRONOMY CLASS (COOKING CLASS)
Students in the part-time cooking class go to the market to learn about the ingredients and then cook them. Every day, four different dishes are on the menu, which change between morning and afternoon. Monday and Wednesday are our favourite days. It starts at 9:00 in the morning and at 14:00 in the afternoon.
Best time to visit Phuket
Between November and April, when the sun shines most and the temperature stays between 26oC and 32oC, is the best time to visit Phuket. Prices tend to go up in December, January, and February, which are the busiest months.
May and October are “in-between” months, when it might or might not rain. Don’t go to Phuket between June and September, when the sea is rough and it’s more likely to rain. If you can’t avoid it, do you know that the rains tend to be strong, but only last a short time?
How long to stay in Phuket?
At least three days is the best amount of time to stay in Phuket. So you can do the main tours of the island, which are the Similian Islands, James Bond Island, Big Buddha, Coral and Racha Islands, and Elephant Sanctuary.
How much money to bring to Phuket?
A lot depends on what kind of trip you’re taking. It will depend on where you stay, what you eat, how many tours you take, and if you drink alcohol.
To give you an idea, a simple meal will cost around 120 baht, and an expensive one will cost around 350 baht. Add this to the price of your hotel (see below) and the price of the tours you want to do. A drink costs about 210 baht, and a beer costs about 100 baht.
The island is a good place to use the Wise card. But always ask first if you accept it and have the physical card with you, because Apple Pay and Google Pay don’t always work in old machines.
How are the beaches of Phuket
Patong, Kamala, Kata, and Karon are Phuket’s best beaches. They have the most things set up for tourists. Not all of Thailand’s beaches have waves, but some do.
- Patong Beach is Phuket’s most well-known beach. But it doesn’t have a good name because prostitution takes over the massage parlours and the notorious Bangla street. Professional women and ladyboys don’t bother a man who is with someone else. It is definitely a foreign and unusual place to visit. It’s the best place to stay, especially if you’re going on a trip, because it’s close to restaurants, has good hotels, and is easy to get to and from.
- Karon Beach There aren’t as many tourists at this beach, and there are shops and places to eat. This is a great, quieter choice for people who like to walk and enjoy the beach.
- Kamala Beach is a very beautiful beach that doesn’t have a lot of people on it, but it does have beach clubs, hotels, and resorts with great daily rates.
- Kata Beach is just beyond Karon. The beach is quiet and family-friendly, and there are beach bars.
Where to stay in Phuket: Best hotels and resorts
Patong, Karon, Kata, and Kamala are the best places to stay on the beach in Phuket. In them, there are hotels and resorts, good restaurants, shops, and tour transfers.
Patong is the beach that has the most tourists and where the parties are. Karon and Kata are better for families with kids because they are quieter. Kamala is quieter and has beach clubs where the most lively people hang out.
- ANONA BEACHFRONT PHUKET RESORT: One of the most photographed hotels in Patong, it has large rooms with bathtubs and a view of the sea.
- LAYALINA HOTEL: In Kamala, it faces the sea and is close to shops. The rooms are large and have a bathtub, a hammock, and a view of the sea.
- NOVOTEL PHUKET VINTAGE PARK RESORT: The hotel is on Patong Avenue, one block from the beach and 10 minutes from Bangla. Some rooms have their own pools, and breakfast is included.
- THAVORN BEACH VILLAGE RESORT & SPA PHUKET: Private bungalows with sea and pool views. Most of our readers choose this resort because it is between Kamala and Patong.
- MUST SEA HOTEL: It’s at the start of the beach, a 10-minute walk away, close to restaurants, and right next to a food market.
- WATERFRONT SUITES PHUKET BY CENTARA: FWith a view of the sea, a swimming pool, and restaurants nearby.
How to get from Phuket airport to the hotel
You can take a shared van, a taxi, or Grab and Bolt from the Phuket airport to your hotel. All of the other options take an average of an hour in traffic, because it’s just too far.
A taxi from Phuket Airport to Kamala, Patong, Kata, or Karon costs 800 baht, no matter where you are going. Grab is a little less expensive than both the taxi and the Bolt, which is even harder to catch.
Shared vans to the hotel cost 180 baht, which is a fixed price. But they don’t leave until they have 10 people on board. When I get off the plane, I take a taxi from the same place where 3 kiosks sell the van.
We chose the van where more people were already waiting, and it left 10 minutes later. The van stopped for 15 minutes at an agency on the way to split the group of people going to each beach.
You can book your transfer on 12Go, the same site we recommend for booking ferries, buses, and trains between islands in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
How to get from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi or from Koh Phi Phi to Phuket
Koh Phi Phi can only be reached by ferry or speed boat. Even though the ferry is slower, it doesn’t shake. While the speedboat makes the trip in an hour and hits the waves at the end.
To get the most out of your time on Koh Phi Phi, it’s best to take the first one in the morning when you get there and the second one in the afternoon when you leave.
From Phuket: Phuket’s Rassada Pier is an hour’s drive from the airport. If you take a ferry from Rassada Pier to Tonsai Pier on Koh Phi Phi, the trip takes 2 hours. If you take a speedboat, it takes only 1 hour. Check the times for the Taxi and Ferry option as well, so you can get from your hotel to the pier.
- From Rassada Pier to Tonsai Pier: 08:30, 10:30, 12:20, 13:30 and 17:00
- From Tonsai Pier to Rassada Pier: 09:00, 11:00, 13:00, 14:30 and 16:30
How to move in Phuket: Transportation
Phuket’s Rassada Pier is an hour’s drive from the airport. If you take a ferry from Rassada Pier to Tonsai Pier on Koh Phi Phi, the trip takes 2 hours. If you take a speedboat, it takes only 1 hour. Check the times for the Taxi and Ferry option as well, so you can get from your hotel to the pier.
Transport on the island is expensive. A short trip can cost up to 600 baht, while it would only cost 300 baht in Bangkok. There is a mafia, and you can’t get away from it. Even app-based cars like Grab and Bold are pricey. Still, they are the fastest and safest way to get from one place to another.
A public bus leaves Patong, goes through Karon, and ends up in Old Town. It runs every 45 minutes, costs 60 baht, and takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to get there. It’s like a truck that was changed. The Ocean View Bar is on the other side of the point.
I really don’t want to recommend it because of the bikes. Traffic is hard to understand because there are a lot of turns, ups, and downs. Accidents are common.
Even if you have an International Driver’s Permit, it won’t help you drive in Thailand. Not even the police, who will put up barriers and give you a ticket, will accept it. On the spot, you will be given a fine of 500 baht, which you must pay on the spot. After that, you can ride the bike for another two days. I don’t know how to make sense of it, but that’s also how things work in Chiang Mai.
“According to Thai law, drivers, to drive in Thailand, must carry a Thai driver’s license. Foreign driver’s licenses or international licenses are not accepted to drive in the country, not even in the case of passing tourists (except licenses issued by some neighboring countries of Thailand).”
And remember that without a license, Travel Insurance might not cover an accident. Stay tuned!
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