Things to do in Phuket
There are plenty of things to do in Phuket for individuals of all ages, no matter what their interests may be. After living here for over 2 years, our family has found something new and different to do almost on a daily basis. The problem however is that most travel sites stick with promoting activities that are, in a word, staged. Sure, you can go kayaking and snorkeling and both are lovely, however there is much more to do than that here on our island that go beyond Phuket Fantasea and Bangla Road (lol). I wanted to create a brief list of our favorite things to do on the island, many of which are free and out of the way of the throngs of tourists.
Visit Art Galleries in Phuket Town
Artists from around the word have taken up residence in Phuket Town. Zen Tral joined the ranks years ago when he and his family started Wua Art Gallery. Zen’s work is sold all over the world, from Bangkok to Spain. The gallery is run by his lovely wife and is a friendly, inspiring place to visit and chat over paintings, as well as the slow pace of Phuket Town. You can find many galleries in the area by foot, as well as a number of inexpensive restaurants and coffee shops.
Take An Evening Walk Along Chalong Pier
Chalong doesn’t get much recognition for being a must-see place for tourists, which is a shame; it is home to Big Buddha as well as Wat Chalong and has some excellent restaurants that suit all budgets. Taking an evening stroll on the Chalong Pier used to be our favorite thing to do in Phuket when we lived in the area. You will see families enjoying a meal together in the fresh air, men and women fishing as the sun goes down, and 20 year olds avoiding the bars and instead having a few Leos with their mates right there by the water. You’ll also avoid the bus loads of tourists that are driven from one end of the pier to the other during the daytime. Afterwards you can enjoy a special meal at Rimtang@Chalong with your husband/wife.
Visit The Aquarium
For reasons unknown to us, the Phuket Aquarium isn’t visited as much as Phuket zoo and yet is about 600 times better, in my opinion. It’s also in stunning Panwa, which is worth visiting for its sheer beauty. The tickets are cheap too! Perhaps our daughter’s favorite part of the aquarium is the last section before the exit, home to several gigantic groupers. After you’ve finished with the interior, make sure to do the nature walk that begins after the food and beverage section at the exit. It leads you along the beach and to an old boat, and if you continue you will get to see some large turtles in captivity.
Enjoy the Weekend Festivities in Saphan Hin
Saphan Hin is a popular area for Thai families to have picnics and take strolls in the park. There are a number of clubs and sports activities for people of all ages ( including dancing) near the children’s jungle gym and play area. During the weekend, one can find many festivities and carnival rides ( such as a ferris wheel) as well as street food available, and there are barely and tourists ( if any whatsoever). Saphan Hin Park really comes alive at night.
Visit Jui Tui Shrine
Phuket has a very unique culture influenced by the Chinese, who brought over their Hokkein culture. Phuket Town in particular has many Taoist shrines and notable Chinese elements. The Jui Tui Shrine is one of the oldest on the island and exudes magic and mystery. During the Phuket vegetarian festival the spirits come alive as incantations are spoken and the dozens of white clad people meditate. I had the privilege of partaking in the ceremony when I accidentally got trapped in Jui Tui before the ceremony began, only to find out that I couldn’t go anywhere until it was finished. My daughter and husband patiently waited outside of the gates with onlookers as the crowd sat in silence, waiting for the ceremony to end. Regardless of if you visit Jui Tui during the festival or not, it is a must see.
As you can see by now, there are plenty of things to do in Phuket. I always urge my friends who want to visit the island in the future to avoid crowded, touristy areas such as Patong if they want a more cultural and authentic experience ( although yes, Patong has a little charm I’m sure…somewhere). There are plenty of beaches, many of which are empty. And there are an overwhelming amount of free things to do for those who are budget conscious. Regardless, this is a fantastic place to visit and live in and I am reminded of that on a daily basis.
Indeed there are plenty of things to do in Phuket and for all budgets. We’ve only touched a few in this post