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13 Unique Attractions to Visit in Phuket

by ElenaSergeeva

When it comes to islands in South Thailand, Phuket truly stands out among the rest as a must-visit holiday destination. What truly surprised me about this island upon researching, is that it is actually the largest island in the entire country of Thailand.

Phuket and the country of Singapore are essentially the same size, which seems pretty hard to believe, but it is true.

After arriving at Phuket International Airport (HKT), me and my friends were excited and ready for our stay in the old town of Phuket. There are plenty of tourist attractions to explore in Phuket Old Town. This includes the marvelous Big Buddha Statue, and Wat Chaithararam which is seen as one of the most significant temples on the whole island.

Exploring Phuket was such a memorable experience, and there are honestly so many places to visit that it is breathtaking. 

In this guide post, I will detail all of the most unique and unusual attractions I visited on my trip to Phuket, as well as some epic hotels and restaurants which should be considered while visiting the island. Every attraction on this list is worth visiting in my opinion, and each one of them creates a complete cultural experience of Phuket.

I’m ready when you are. 

Okay, let’s go!

13 Unique Attractions to Visit in Phuket – My Memorable Stay On The Largest Island in Thailand!


    Getting Around

1. Journey to James Bond Island

2. See the Phi Phi Islands

3. Walk Around Phuket Old Town

4. Experience the Big Buddha Statue

5. Explore Phuket Walking Street Market

6. Play with Elephants at Green Elephant Sanctuary Park

7. See the Marine Life at Aquaria Phuket

8. Relax at Karon Beach

9. Spend a Day at Andamanda Phuket

10. Take a Trip with a Local Community (Pineapple Farm & Rubber Tree Tour)

11. Watch a Sunset at Cape Phrom Thep 

12. Go Shopping at Central Phuket Shopping Mall

13. Book a Marine Tour to Kahung Beach (Coral Island)

      Where to Stay in Phuket

      Hidden and Unusual Gems to Visit in Phuket



Getting Around

The great news about traveling around Thailand is that it’s never short of transport options.

If you are solo traveling on a budget, I would highly recommend downloading the Grab application and ordering motorbike taxis. Alternative to make travel easy for you I also recommend booking your transportation through 12go which is very popular in Asia.

These are not only the cheapest option, but they are typically faster than car taxis. This is because of their size and ability to move through traffic. I would also choose motorbike taxis over most forms of local transport because of their directness and the choice of personalizing your destinations.

However, if you are a fan of comfort and have more money to spend, it is hard to go wrong with renting a driver for the day or using car taxis. This is almost always my go-to choice in Thailand, and you can bargain with drivers to get a cheaper rate if you are renting for the day.

Two other options include both tuktuk’s and private car rental.

I don’t typically advise either of these for several reasons. For tuktuks, it is easy for drivers to charge much more money and rip you off if you aren’t careful. 

Especially if you aren’t familiar with the cost of transport in Thailand.

On the other hand, private car rentals will probably give you better value for your money. However, I would highly advise learning the roads in Thailand and in Phuket before renting a car. 

This is essential and will give you confidence so you don’t have any nasty surprises!

1. Journey to James Bond Island (Koh Tapu)

James Bond Island was one of the first attractions that I and my friends visited upon arriving in Phuket. As a huge James Bond fan, I was excited to see this iconic little island which looks similar to the formation of an iceberg underwater.

The local name for this island is Koh Tapu, and it is located on Phang Nga Bay.

Upon coming here, I was breath taken as it looked almost identical to the photos I had seen online. Koh Tapu was standing tall in the background of this gorgeous, tropical beach scene.

The emerald green waters surrounded our every step, and I made sure to get as many photos next to the island as possible while here.

On our guided tour to James Bond Island, we also visited several other stops including Panak Island, Koh Panyee Village, and Panya Beach. If you are interested in learning more about James Bond Island and the tour that we did, you can check out my guide which covers the full trip. One Marvellous Day on James Bond Island – A Guide to Khao Phing Kan

2. See the Phi Phi Islands

When it comes to significant and best places to visit in Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands should definitely be considered. These were a high priority for us, so we knew that we had to book a guided boat tour around them as soon as possible.

Maya bay also known as the beach from the famous movie with Leonardo di Caprio which was filmed here.

The guided tour that we took covered the greatest aspects of these small and gorgeous islands. As I am a big movie fan as mentioned earlier, I knew that no tour of Phi Phi Islands would be complete without a visit to Maya Bay.

Of course, this is where the Leonardo DiCaprio classic was filmed, known as “The Beach”, so it was an essential stop!

Besides Maya Bay, some of my Phi Phi Island favorites include Bamboo Beach, Monkey Bay, and exploring the large Phi Phi Don.

I would highly recommend going to see the Phi Phi Islands, and if interested, you can also check out my guide on the full trip. One Complete Day at the Phi Phi Islands

3. Walk Around Phuket Old Town

What was most surprising to see in Phuket Old Town were the sheer amount of eateries and buzzing market streets there. The town is jam-packed with a wide array of tasty restaurants, as well as remarkable sights to see.

I was particularly amazed by the artwork that can be found unexpectedly displayed around random street corners. Especially with the sights of colorful houses flooding some streets,  painted with bright red, purple, yellow, and orange colors.

These fluorescent-colored houses reminded me of my travels around South America. When you combine the artistic designs of the town with its multicultural embrace, it really makes for a welcoming place for all tourists.

Although you can find restaurants for practically any kind of food here, I would highly recommend grabbing some local food. You can get local foods from either the Sunday Walking Street Market, Phuket Weekend Night Market, or the more convenient option would be to just look for local street vendors and stalls that you can find on most streets.

Before leaving Phuket Old Town, I would also recommend seeing the Shrine of the Serene Light. This is a hidden gem to most tourists, so it is pleasant to know that you are one of the few travelers that has visited it.  What makes this cute little place unique is the fact that it is a Chinese Temple.

These are especially rare in Thailand, and the temple gardens and outdoor scenery make for some epic Instagram photos!

Phuket Old Town is a must-see part of Phuket and I would highly advise visiting. Whether that is for a short walk around in the daytime, or in the evening.

4. Experience the Big Buddha Statue

Taking a ride to the Big Buddha Statue is an unmissable aspect of any trip to Phuket.

Why is this you might ask.

Well, this outstandingly giant statue is not only a total of 45 meters tall and 25 meters wide, but it is a huge representation of the religion in Thailand (which is Buddhism). A simple look at any photo of this insanely huge statue is self-explanatory as to why it is such an impressive tourist attraction.

When coming to Big Buddha Phuket, I would highly advise either ordering a taxi to outside the gate, or driving if your scooter is powerful enough. Another option is to hike up to the top, however, this is likely to take over an hour, and in the heat, this can get pretty uncomfortable to say the least!

It is important to note that this is a religious sight in Thailand. 

For this reason, covering up your shoulders and knees is vital, and you can do this with a sarong which can be purchased in most touristy areas in Phuket Old Town.

The Big Buddha Statue is a significant part of the Phuket experience. 

You are bound to be amazed by it!

5. Explore Phuket Sunday Walking Street Market

There isn’t a better way to embrace Phuket’s local food culture than to visit a local market. One of my favorites is the Phuket Walking Street Market which is open from 4pm onwards every Sunday.

Of course, this isn’t possible to visit unless you happen to be in Phuket on a Sunday. However, if you are, you simply cannot miss going to this walking street!

I love trying desserts at local Thai markets, and all of my favorites were featured at the Phuket Sunday Market. This includes Mango Sticky Rice, Banana Fritters, and yummy Pandan Cake that is simply irresistible.

If you aren’t a big dessert person, there are also a tonne of other food options to choose from. 

Pad Thai, Tom Yum Soup, Green/Red Curry, and Barbequed Meats are just a few of all the delicious foods to grab at cheap prices here.

After you finish eating, you can journey to the souvenir area of the market, which is perfect to grab something memorable to take home with you.

In addition to this, live local performances are also featured at the market. This spices up the atmosphere and makes this Sunday-only market even more worthy of your time!

6. Play with Elephants at Green Elephant Sanctuary Park

The Green Elephant Sanctuary Park is fortunately one of the more ethical elephant parks in Thailand. This isn’t the case with all of them, which makes it worth visiting if you happen to be in Phuket.

An awesome part about experiencing this elephant park is the fact that you get to see them in their natural environment. There is no sedation here, and the elephants are simply free to wander around in the public eye.

When booking a tour at the elephant park, you are given two choices which are either a morning tour or an evening tour. These are both the same price, so you can pick the time you want without the worry of possibly paying more.

The elephants at Green Elephant Sanctuary Parks are of all ages, ranging from just 7-month-old babies to fully grown 40-year-old adults.

After booking the tour and arriving at the park, you will be able to rub mud on the elephants while getting photos simultaneously for good memories. This is great for getting close to them and beginning to know them better.

Once you have finished playing with the elephants, it is time to enjoy a Thai buffet which is free with your ticket before being escorted back to your hotel by the park’s staff.

7. See the Marine Life at Aquaria Phuket

If you are an animal lover and visiting the Phuket Elephant Park isn’t enough for you, another fantastic option is to visit Aquaria Phuket. 

As you might have guessed, this is an aquarium based in Phuket and home to an abundance of different fish. My best memory of coming here was the sight of seeing a woman dressed as a mermaid swimming with the freshwater fish in the fish tank.

I can’t say I’ve seen anything like that before, so it was pretty stunning!

Besides the freshwater fish mentioned above, this Phuket Aquarium also features leopard sharks, otters, and even penguins to set your sights on. You can see all of these and more for around 966 THB ($27) per adult and 536 THB ($15) per child.

This aquarium in Phuket is worth both your time and money if you enjoy seeing marine life. The mermaid show was also great for kids, providing another reason why Phuket is a family-friendly destination for holidays.

8. Relax at Karon Beach

Karon Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island of Phuket. However, with all of the tourists that visit this spectacular white sand beach, you will be happy to know that there is still more than enough room for everyone.

This is because Karon Beach isn’t only one of the most popular beaches on Phuket, but it is also one of the longest beaches on the island. I love this aspect about Karon Beach, and that is in addition to the fact that it directly faces the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea.

Feel free to get a Thai Massage on the beach, or just simply grab a deck chair in the shade and get some rest. Whatever you want to do, Karon Beach is one of my favorites and a true display of Phuket’s natural beauty!

9. Spend a Day at Andamanda Phuket

Are you searching for some more fantastic and family-oriented destinations in Phuket?

If you are, I would highly recommend bringing the kids to Andamanda in Phuket.

With 37 slides in the entire waterpark, you and your family are guaranteed to be entertained for an extended period of time. The online reviews speak for themselves when it comes to Andamanda, and it is hard to complain about price per person in comparison with the numberof facilities that are available there.

Andamanda is split into 4 separate areas inside of the park. 

These areas are known as The Great Andaman Bay, Coral World, Emerald Forest, and Naga Jungle. All of these include their own slides, with The Great Andaman Bay containing some of the largest slides, and Coral World containing the smallest making it more suitable for young children.

This waterpark also actually sells yearly passes. This will most likely save you a bunch of money if you are a long-term expat living in Thailand with your family. A yearly pass will give you unlimited access to the waterpark for a full year, all while costing around 7-8 times more than a single-day pass.

That is huge value if you plan on coming here a lot with your family.

If you are just visiting here for a day, a full-day pass for adults will cost roughly 1500 THB ($42), while the children’s pass is around 1000 THB ($28). 

Pretty sweet!

10. Take a Trip with a Local Community (Pineapple Farm & Rubber Tree Tour)

Out of all of the experiences I had during my Phuket trip, the tour I took with the Bangrong Community still stays in my heart to this day.

The Bangrong Community is a local community in Phuket who are responsible for growing produce and helping sustain the island. They typically harvest pineapples, harvest latex from rubber trees, and pick coconuts along with several other activities.

It was wonderful taking the tour with them, and it allowed me to experience first-hand the challenges and struggles that Thai farmers face on a daily basis.

Along with trying some delicious pineapple tea and cookies at Bangrong’s hidden eco camp, I also did a Batik workshop there where I designed a traditional colorful bag. After working on the color and designs of the bag, it was time to venture to communities local farming areas.

The next part of the tour featured a local bus ride to a pineapple farm, a rubber tree forest, and a coconut farm that was close by. 

I loved harvesting pineapples and rubber at the first two stops. We then finished at the coconut farm where I successfully managed to extract some coconuts from the trees using a large stick-like mechanism.

There was nothing quite like spending a day with the Bangrong Community. They taught me so much about local life including the struggles that many of the labor workers have to deal with daily. 

I feel that visiting these communities is humbling and important for learning what happens behind the scenes in the place that you are visiting.

11. Watch a Sunset at Phromthep Cape

A holiday in Thailand isn’t quite complete without witnessing a gorgeous sunset.

Phromthep Cape is one of the most photographed tourist attractions in Phuket for good reason, and that is because it looks incredible. This is known specifically as a sunset-watching spot, so making it here at the right time will provide some of the best photos from your entire trip to Phuket.

So you might be wondering why this place is so special.

Well, Phromthep Cape is situated on the bottommost point of Phuket Island meaning it directly faces the ocean leaving Thailand. As you might be able to imagine, this means that sunrises and sunsets are extremely clear from this point, perfect for a romantic moment with your partner.

Are you a sunset lover?

If so, you will not want to miss one at Promthep Cape. 

To ensure you are there on time, aim to get to the cape at around 6-7pm local time to witness the stunning sunset!

12. Go Shopping at Central Phuket Shopping Mall

Is any vacation really a vacation without a shopping trip?

I know that wherever I am in the world, I always end up looking for a good place to shop, and Phuket was no different. Out of all the shopping malls on the island, it is difficult to argue with Central Phuket Shopping Mall being one of the best.

You can find practically everything inside of here including souvenirs, a central food hall and shopping department, a cinema, and even the aquarium which I mentioned earlier in this post.

Yes, the aquarium is inside a shopping mall!

Another contributing factor to this mall’s excellence is the broad range of designer stores present inside of it. This includes Balenciaga, Saint Lauren, Bottega, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci just to name a few of them.

The fun aspect of Central Phuket is that you don’t have to go here to shop. I came to the mall as part of a networking trip, and I loved the live performances that went on there. 

I would say this mall is ideal for getting a better feel for Phuket as a whole. It is one of those places which adds extra depth and dimensions to your experience of the island.

13. Book a Marine Tour to Kahung Beach (Coral Island)

Coral Island also known as the fun island is packed with activities for you and your family. These activities include scuba diving, parasailing, sea walking, banana boating, and speed boating. 

Another attractive aspect of Coral Island is the fact that it is essentially a small and secluded island. This gives it that extra sense of exclusiveness knowing there won’t be too many tourists joining you.

I ventured to Kahung Beach at Coral Island as part of a tour I did with the tour company known as Nikorn Marine Tour. The beach had hardly any other people there as expected, and we relaxed there and gazed at the ocean with drinks.

Kahung is known by many to be the most beautiful beach and attraction on Coral Island. The sand is some of the whitest I’ve seen in Southeast Asia, and the baby blue water is a sight to behold.

I would highly advise traveling here with your family or a large group. 

We went with our friends and the tour guides, and I believe this is the best way of visiting the island. It would be pretty boring if I went by myself, and this is reflected in its family-friendly nature, and the fact that there is a large amount of group activities to do while you are there. You can book this tour here.

Best Hotels to Stay in Phuket

I stayed in two of the three hotels during the TBEX Conference, a special event for travel creators which I have been attending since 2014. Their events are attended by travel creators and travelers alike from all over the world. You can read about my previous TBEX Asia here and TBEX Athens here.

All three of these hotels are some of the best in Phuket in my opinion. Especially when it comes to facilities, hospitality, and their accommodation options.

1. Marriott Courtyard Phuket

Quality: 4-star hotel

Reviews: Excellent

Average Room Price Per Night: 3544 THB – 4650 THB ($100 – $130) – For availability and rates on Booking click here.

Although the Marriott Courtyard in Phuket is technically a 4-star hotel, the service here is honestly some of the best I’ve received in Thailand. Our room provided an epic view of the city, and our beds were extremely plush and comfortable.

In addition to all of the above, this Marriott hotel in Phuket also includes a fitness center with an extensive range of workout equipment, a swimming pool with a pool bar for guests, and room service.

Not bad if you have a little extra on your budget!

2.  Angsana Laguna

Quality: 5-star hotel

Reviews: Very Good

Average Room Price Per Night: 9500 THB – 11600 THB ($265 – $324) – For availability and rates on Booking click here

Angsana Laguna was another highly-rated Phuket hotel that I stayed at during my trip. It is worth mentioning that a stay here is pricey, so it is probably best to book a slightly cheaper hotel if you are budgeting.

This is a 5-star hotel that is jam-packed with amenities along with amazingly comfortable rooms.

What truly separates this hotel from the rest are the facilities that are available here. It is not only possible to book a yoga lesson with a private yoga instructor, but the hotel also gives you free access to the nearby golf course.

If you get bored of the sporting and fitness facilities, feel free to grab a sun lounger and relax next to Angsana’s 323-meter swimming pool.

There is plenty to do here, and the price is well justified by the accommodation and services offered by the hotel.

3. InterContinental Phuket

Quality: 5-star hotel

Reviews: Excellent

Average Room Price Per Night: 8117 THB – 10370 THB ($227- $290) – For availability and rates on Booking click here.

The last hotel I had the pleasure of visiting twice during the TBX event, was the InterContinental Phuket.

InterContinental Phuket is a 5-star hotel with more than enough impressive reviews to back it up. What impressed me most about booking here was the various rooms you can choose from.

You can select rooms with the choice of a mountain view, a pool view, or even an ocean view. In addition to this, you can even book a villa in the hotel if your budget is high enough!

What else is stunning about InterContinetal Phuket?

Above the rest mentioned above, their evening entertainment provides the perfect end to the evening. We watched some of the dancers here, and they definitely knew how to put on a show!

Hidden Gems to Try in Phuket

Momus Coffee

Address: 123 Phangnga Rd, Talat Yai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000 Thailand (Get Directions)

Opening Times: 8am – 7pm

Momus Coffee is essentially a coffee shop, although it isn’t a typical cafe that you will visit on the street. The coffee they sell at this shop is specialty coffee, which means it is of the highest quality you can get your hands on.

I enjoyed spending an afternoon here with my friends, and the coffee is fabulous. You can also order pastries and cakes here although I didn’t try them myself.

If you are looking to stop for some high-grade coffee in Phuket, I would highly recommend visiting Momus Coffee.

Best Thai Beef – Phuket

Address: 5 Dibuk Rd, Tambon Talat Yai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand

Opening Times: 2pm – 10pm (closed on Monday)

Previously known as Best Country Beef when we went there, Best Thai Beef offered some mouth-watering steak choices.

The best part about coming to this restaurant was the fact that we were able to pick and weigh our own beef. I can’t say this is a common experience in most restaurants, so it was truly a pleasure to choose the steak we fancied before we ate it.

I can honestly say the steak and Australian red wine were top-notch, so it is understandable why the online reviews here are so good.

If you are looking for a solid steak option in Phuket, I would highly recommend visiting Best Thai Beef.

Anda Massage and Spa

Address: 5, 60 Soi Surin, Talat Yai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand

Opening Times: 10am – 10:30pm

My massage experiences have always been pleasant in Thailand, and going to Anda Massage and Spa was no different.

My friends found this place on our first day there and said that it was one of the best in Phuket, and the online reviews certainly did seem to reflect that. After arriving, we received what was honestly the best massage I’ve ever received in my life.

In addition to this spa’s impressive reputation, the prices are surprisingly very affordable, so you don’t need to worry about them being similar to more commercial spas.

I recommend Anda Massage and Spa as the top, budget-friendly spa to get a massage in Phuket. 


1. What is special about Phuket compared with other holiday destinations in Thailand?

This is a great question.

I would say this is down to personal experiences and what you like/don’t like. For myself, I would say Phuket is definitely one of the most family-friendly islands in Thailand. 

There are some stunning islands in Thailand. However, many of these such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Samui are smaller and offer less activities to do.

Phuket is a popular destination because there is something for everyone of all ages, and the shopping malls give the island a large city feel.

When it comes to islands in Thailand, Phuket’s large size and all that it offers make it possibly the best in the country.

2. How much time would you recommend spending in Phuket?

As you might have guessed from this post, Phuket has an enormous amount of interesting attractions and things to do.

For this reason, you could honestly spend as much time as you wanted here. However, if you have limited time I would recommend spending 2-3 days here in total. This is more than enough to get to know the island’s vibes as well as enjoy all that it offers but please keep in mind that there is heavy traffic and if you are planning to move around the island you will certainly need more time.

I personally stayed here for a full week, and this allowed me to see the island’s best attractions in their entirety. The ultimate answer would be that it depends on your itinerary and how long you are in Thailand for.


Before arriving in Phuket, it is vital to plan everything that you want to do on your trip.

This short guide covers everything I did while I stayed in Phuket and more, so you can live your Phuket experience out to the max!

Remember to bookmark this page for the next time you visit to ensure your trip is the best it can be!

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