The Complete Guide To The Best Places For Sightseeing in Phuket
With more than 5 million tourists traveling to Phuket every year, it’s the most popular island in Thailand. It’s easy to see why – Phuket has something to offer to every tourist who lands up on its shores. It has the complete package right from beaches, temples, quirky museums, natural attractions to beautiful islands close by.
With this complete guide, you will never run out of options for sightseeing in Phuket.
Travelers usually visit Phuket for the white sandy beaches and its turquoise blue waters that they have heard so much about. The first place people head to after landing in Phuket is Patong beach, the most famous beach on the island. It’s busy no matter what time of the day and gets livelier at night. It’s the go to place to try watersports.
If you are looking to find a spot of solitude to relax on the beach, head to Karon and Kata beaches. Kata beach even has some beach bars to chill at in the night.
If you want a beach all to yourself, then drive to the secret beach of Laem Ka. It has scenic views of nearby islands and the waters are cleaner than anywhere else. Another beach to have remained hidden from prying eyes is Nui bay, a crescent shaped private beach with an entry fee of 300 THB (INR 600). The cost includes an umbrella, beach mats, towels, a drink and an on-site sauna. It’s totally worth every penny.
Temples and Monuments
When you are wandering around Phuket, it’s hard to miss the Big Buddha, a 45 meter white statue of Buddha, the most popular landmark on the island. Not only is the statue imposing, but the viewing platform gives you a panoramic view of Chalong Bay.
A 20 minute drive from the Big Buddha Temple is Wat Chalong, the biggest and the most famous temple in Phuket.
The colorful temple is adorned with numerous images of Buddha, along with imagery from Thai and Buddhist mythology. Wat Chalong is dedicated to two monks whose statues can be seen from the main temple.
Another less visited but an absolutely gorgeous temple is Wat Khao Rang. A giant statue stands like a sentinel over the staircase to the temple.
The temple has a massive golden Buddha statue along with statues of Hindu gods. It’s said that the temple was built by a monk named Luang Pu Supha, who also claims to be the oldest man in the world.
For nature lovers, Promthep cape is a must visit. At the southernmost tip of Phuket, this point provides the most spectacular sunset views. You can also see off shore islands and Nai Harn beach from the top. In the evening, it can get crowded, but don’t miss out on this fabulous experience.
Another popular view point with stunning views of the ocean is the Karon view point. Although named Karon, the view point is actually in Kata. If you climb the steps to the top on a clear day, you will be rewarded with views of Kata Noi Beach, Kata Beach, and Karon Beach.
If you want the views without the hustle and bustle, then you can head to Windmill view point and Radar Hill. From windmill point, you can see tall, white windmills looking out to the sea. Radar Hill is the highest point in Phuket and reachable by a drive through the scenic countryside. It presents dazzling views of Patong, Chalong and Phuket town.
Quirky Art Museums
The Trick Eye museum in Phuket is an illusion art museum with 3D images. The walls are covered in paintings and if you’re creative, you can click goofy pictures with them making it look like you are actually inside these pictures.
Another quirky place is the Upside Down house where, as the name suggests, everything is upside down. Again one of those places to capture some really cool photos.
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Phuket Old Town
History buffs would love to Old Phuket Town. Heavily influenced by European architecture, the old town is lined with Sino-colonial mansions and charming old buildings.
It’s small enough to be explored on foot. Stroll through the streets of old Phuket, explore the Chinese temple and the Sirikit Park, which was built to honor the queen. Or you can just settle down in one of their many shops for a coffee and just enjoy the ambience. It’s as authentic an experience can get.
Phuket is surrounded by many small beautiful islands. A trip to Phuket is not complete without a visit to some of the islands, the most popular being James Bond Island and Phi Phi Island.
James Bond Island is the famed island with a single vertical rock jutting out from the ocean. A scene from the James bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” was shot here.
Tours to this island usually include a lunch at the traditional fishing village of Koh Pan – Yee. You can also leisurely canoe around the islands and explore hidden caves and lagoons.
The highlight of the Phi Phi island tour is Maya Bay, which became incredibly popular after being featured in the movie “The Beach”.
It’s a bay surrounded on all sides by towering limestone rocks and the lagoons here are an emerald you have never seen. There are many natural wonders to swoon at like the Viking cave, Pileh cove and the monkey beach, where the daring can feed wild monkeys.
Phuket is also the base for those heading to Similan and Surin islands, which feature some of the world’s best dive sites. With their unbelievably blue waters, these islands are a feast for the senses. There are also a couple of offbeat islands nearby like Koh Yao Nai and Koh Racha Yai. The islands have a laidback ambience and are best to idle away time in the company of nature.
Nature lovers who love a bit of adventure can venture into the forests and discover secret waterfalls like Bang Pae Waterfall or Tonsai Waterfall. The Kathu waterfall is the most beautiful one with the water falling in three levels.
Close to Phuket lies the Khao Sok national park, one of the most beautiful parks in Thailand. You can trek through the jungles and discover majestic waterfalls.
You could also go for a leisurely boat ride around Cheow Lan Lake and admire the giant limestone cliffs. The nature reserve is home to Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower and variety of flora and fauna.