Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is also one of the most visited provinces, with more than 5 million tourists enjoying its cultural and natural wonders. From beaches and islands to temples and towering religious icons, Phuket has Thailand’s best offerings collected in one place.
If you’re planning to visit, the best time to get a Phuket tour package is from November to late April. This is the sunniest season, so you can freely explore the so-called “Pearl of the Andaman.” Do you already have a tour package booked? Here are just a few suggestions for your itinerary to make the most out of your Phuket holiday.
Phuket Holiday – Kata and Kata Noi Beaches
Kata Beach is a favourite of both locals and visitors. It boasts soft white sand, tall willowy palms, clear blue waters, and a peaceful vibe. In fact, even if it’s a tourist hub, Kata Beach remains tranquil and laid-back. It’s also a famous surfing spot when the monsoon season strikes, which makes it one of the most active beaches in Phuket all year. Finally, Kata Beach is easy to navigate. The south end features top-tier hotels and restaurants, while the northern side hosts food and drink vendors for those on a tighter budget.
If you’re looking for more privacy, drive a little further and you’ll reach Kata Noi Beach. Its name literally means “Little Kata,” so you can expect all of Kata Beach’s beauty in a smaller package. A lot of Phuket’s high-end resorts are located in Kata Noi, along with sunset bars that have the best views of the sea and the horizon. Snorkelling is a popular activity in Kata Noi, while the central beach is almost perfectly smooth so you can swim and walk barefoot without worrying about hurting your toes. Meanwhile, south of Kata Noi Beach is the Karon View Point. As the island’s most popular viewpoint, it provides a great of the Andaman Sea and the west coast of Phuket.
Phuket Holiday – The Big Buddha
Sitting atop the Nakkerd Hills is a towering 45-metre statue of the Buddha, aptly called the Great Buddha of Phuket or just the Big Buddha for short. It’s one of Phuket’s most famous landmarks, not to mention the most noticeable. In fact, you can see it even from the city of Phuket, 10 kilometres away from Chalong where the statue is located. And when you get to the top, you’ll be treated to a 360-degree view of Phuket and the serene face of the Buddha.
Also called the Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha, the Big Buddha statue was built in 2004 using reinforced concrete and additional layers of Burmese white jade. It’s particularly beautiful on a sunny day since the white jade sparkles in the sunlight. And as a sort of companion, standing next to the Big Buddha is a smaller statue made from gold-coloured brass.
Because of its location close to beautiful beaches, it’s easy to forget that the Big Buddha is still a religious site. Remember to change out of your swimwear before you visit! There are sarongs available on site for cover-ups, but it’s still best if you simply come to the venue appropriately dressed.
Phuket Holiday – Phang Nga Bay
Some of the wonderful sights you’ll encounter in Phang Nga Bay include limestone cliffs, lagoons, stunning cave networks, and mangrove forests. You can spend the entire day here boating, swimming, catching gorgeous sights, or simply lazing around in the clear waters. You can even see some of the reclusive animals that find shelter in the area if you’re lucky.
What’s great about Phang Nga Bay is that the surrounding cliffs protect it from harsh storms, so that the islands don’t get ravaged. If you don’t want to miss out on the must-see spots, it’s best to hire a tour guide to show you around. For a bit of reference, James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are two of the most visited spots. They’re worth a visit, for sure, but you can ask your tour guide to avoid these areas if you’re looking for somewhere with less of a crowd.
Phuket Holiday – Elephant Sanctuaries
The elephant is the national symbol of Thailand and meeting them up close and personal is one of the most popular tourist activities in the country. However, there have been controversies surrounding the unethical treatment of these gentle and majestic animals for the sake of tourism. But for responsible eco-tourists who want to meet and interact with elephants, the elephant sanctuaries in Phuket are perfect destinations.
Here, most of the animals are rescued or retired from harmful activities, they stay in open environments, and there’s absolutely no riding allowed. The residents are also given a priority as a means of community development. You can find elephant sanctuaries in Bangtao, Naithon, Phang Nga, and the city of Phuket.
Phuket Holiday – Phuket Old Town
The city of Phuket is arguably the most unique, most charming provincial capital in Thailand. If you need convincing, go to its Old Town district. This is where you’ll find Phuket’s temples and shrines, museums, ornate “shophouses,” lavish Sino-colonial mansions, old-style printing shops, and small but charming coffee shops.
Old Town rose to prominence during the “tin boom,” when tin and its alloys were so in-demand not just in Bangkok but also in Europe, where these materials were used for tin cans, electronics, and various other products. But throughout the years, Phuket Old Town managed to retain its sense of grandeur, and you’ll definitely see the evidence of its past glory in every street corner.
Phuket is a popular destination for honeymooners, but it’s so much more than a romantic destination. Head on over if you can so you can take in its great sights and experience many fun activities for yourself.