While it’s renowned for its lazy holiday vibe and beautiful beaches, the Thai island of Phuket has plenty to see and do. Come rain or shine, here’s our guide to the top ten activities to enjoy while you relax in paradise.
1) Phang Nga Bay
This unique and picturesque bay will live in the memory well after your holiday ends. Its breath-taking sheer limestone cliffs jut out of the emerald green waters, which are perfect to explore on a leisurely daytime cruise. The bay is home to some of Thailand’s most spectacular scenery, as well as the famous James Bond and Koh Panyee islands.
2) Old Phuket Town
Boasting trendy shops and stunning Chinese architecture, Phuket’s sleepy provincial capital is perfect for a day’s leisurely exploring. We recommend wandering through the town and eating in the restaurants you stumble upon. The Amulet market is also a must-visit for tourists looking to take home some of the region’s stunning jewellery.
3) Bangla Road Nightlife
Let down your hair and put on your finest outfit as you take an after-dark stroll along Bangla Road. It’s about as far removed from your average night scene as you can get, so be prepared for some surprises. Sip on a beer or a glass of wine as you take in the colourful sights of the area’s lady boys and numerous extroverts.
4) Simon Cabaret Show
One of Thailand’s biggest cabaret shows, the Simon Cabaret stars some of the most talented and colourful transvestites in Thailand. This is a spectacular musical show and, with its stunning costumes and glitz and glamour, it really has to be seen to be believed.
5) Wat Chalong and Phuket Temples
Wat Chalong is one of Phuket’s most historic Buddhist temples and attracts thousands of tourists all year round. Beautifully decorated with tiny glass pieces, this is one you must remember to take your camera with you to see. The area of Wat Chalong itself is also Phuket’s spiritual centre, so be sure to explore the region to rediscover your inner zen.
6) Big Buddha
Visible across much of Phuket, Big Buddha is a recent, but popular, installment on the island. Set amid the hills of Nakkerd and watching over Chalong, Kata and Bawai, Big Buddha is one of Phuket’s most spectacular sights. We recommend driving up to the statue itself to explore the view from the top.
7) Phi Phi Islands
As one of the main backdrops for Hollywood movies, Phi Phi Islands are a tourism haven – and for good reason. The islands rise spectacularly out of the sea as you approach by boat, while beach-fronted jungle gives way to rugged cliffs. For a taste of paradise, you can’t afford to miss these laid-back islands.
8) Phuket FantaSea Show
Wacky, fun and truly spectacular, this hilarious Vegas-style show features trapeze artists, elephants and pyrotechnics. This is one of our ultimate must-sees when visiting Thailand, and we guarantee the show will not fail to enthrall – simply sit back and watch in wonder (and amusement).
9) Thai Boxing
Quickly gaining in popularity across the world, Muay Thai – or Thai Boxing – has to be seen to be believed. A dangerous contact sport, the boxers have to be trained in both mind and body – and the result is electrifying. Visit Saphan Hin Stadium in Phuket City to see regular matches, or head to Patong Beach, where you can also see the skill and dexterity of these super-fit fighters.
10) Phuket Viewpoints
Load up your camera and head to Promthep at sunset for stunning and unrivalled views across the ocean. We also recommend sipping a cocktail at the After Beach bar – based between Nai Harn and Kata – as the sun sets into the horizon, streaking the skies with a rainbow of colour.