A Thailand beach vacation often means a trip to its largest island, Phuket. Unfortunately, this incredible island destination is also on many travelers’ “list of places to see before I die,” making it one of the busiest tourist sites in the world, with over 5 million visitors every year.
Idyllic sandy beaches and crystal clear waters are the main attractions of the island. But with its lush inland environment and vibrant nightlife, Phuket has everything for everyone. Even if you’re someone who wants to get away from the crowd, the island has hidden gems for you to explore.
Find these off-the-beaten path destinations and activities that would make you want to fall in love with the island again and again, despite its crowds and commercialized status. The easiest way to do this is by booking tour packages through reputable sites like Traveloka, which offer great Phuket tour packages, like those found here: https://www.traveloka.com/th-th/packages/thailand/region/phuket-10000077.
Of course, you can also do a DIY tour of your own making, which will likely make your Phuket experience feel even more authentic and more fulfilling. Here are some of the off-the-beaten attractions to see on the island.
Discover the Island’s Secret Beaches
You could stay in the island’s most popular beaches like Patong and Karong, but be prepared to share them with most of Phuket’s tourists. Fortunately, secret beach hideaways can still be found within the Phuket and its surrounding islands. All it takes is a little more effort and time, but you will be richly rewarded with pristine beaches all to yourself. These include Freedom Beach, Koh Bon Beach, Paradise Beach, and Yae Beach. All of them can be reached via a short boat ride from the more popular beaches on the island.
Visit the Wat Tham Suwan Khuha
The Cave Temple or Wat Tham Suwan Khuha is located in the town of Phang Nga. Situated on a limestone mountain, it’s the most famous spot among Phang Nga’s cave system that includes Tham Muet, Tham Chaeng, Tham Kaeo and Tham Yai caves. Outside the entrance, there are quite a lot of monkeys greeting visitors. Inside, it’s the large statue of the reclining Buddha that’s the main attraction.
Whitewater Rafting Adventure on Phang Nga River
Take a break from lounging at the beach and get your heart pumping with a whitewater rafting adventure on the Phang Nga River! The short 5 km rafting route is tame enough for kids, so even entire families can enjoy this activity. Aside from the river, attractions nearby include an elephant trek, a waterfalls, and the Wat Suwan Khuha monkey temple.
Stroll Down Old Phuket Town
Discover Phuket’s historical side by taking a stroll along its old streets lined with hundred-year-old shop houses, cosy cafés, museums, as well as Chinese shrines and Buddhist temples. During the previous century, Phuket benefitted from a sudden boom in the tin industry. It left behind grand mansions once owned by the richest tin barons of the day. Now, that old part of town is the ideal place to sample local delicacies and to do some souvenir shopping.
Interact With the Locals at Koh Panyee
The floating fishing village of Koh Panyee is located within the Phang Nga Province, and it is famous for the locals’ houses on stilts. With a population of just over 1,600, Koh Panyee is home to the descendants of 2 seafaring Muslim families from Java, Indonesia, who traveled to the area two centuries years ago. Today, curious visitors are welcome to explore the village and interact with the locals to learn more about their way of life.
Take Photos of the Street Art in Phuket Town
Elevate your street photography skills by capturing some of the newest masterpieces on Phuket’s walls. After the island was declared a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in 2015, an initiative entitled “So Phuket” was established the following year. The program brought together 12 of the most talented graffiti artists from all over the world to create a series of coloful and jaw-dropping murals celebrating the island’s local cuisine and street food. You can hunt for these works of art all over town, but most can be found at these roads: Krabi Road, Thalang Road, Dibuk Road, and Phang Nga Road.
Phuket is a destination worth savoring. To truly appreciate the island’s diverse attractions, you need to include it for more than a few days in your itinerary. If you’re out of luck, however, you can always come back to experience more of what the island has to offer.