I can’t believe we lived in Phuket for 5 years! We had originally moved for a month after my husband finished teaching in South Korea, but we ended up moving back to the island 6 months later.
And while we’re loving life in Chiang Mai, there are many things we miss about Phuket.
In today’s post, I’m sharing our top family activities, whether you’re vacationing on the island for a few weeks or are an expat relocating there with your loved ones.
Our Favorite Family-Friendly Beaches
Phuket has over 30 beaches, from the uber popular Patong to smaller, lesser known ones. We personally loved taking family walks along Nai Harn or Rawai beach. The former is more popular, drawing both locals and tourists alike, but it’s still quieter than Patong and Kata, and has a more family-friendly, less chaotic vibe.
When Kaya was 3, she especially loved eating at a restaurant near Rawai Beach as we could cross the street and take her by the water while we were waiting for our food. It’s rather narrow and better for walking and taking pictures of the boats.
Yanui Beach is another quieter, family-friendly spot that’s great for a picnic or looking for crabs along the rocks.
The Phuket Aquarium is smaller than the expensive one in Bangkok, but it’s still amazing. Located in beautiful Panwa, it’s basically right on the beach, and is the perfect family-friendly activity if you’re staying in that area. Even if you’re not, I think it’s worth the drive.
Our daughter’s favorite exhibit is at the end: a large tank that’s home to several large groupers. Mine is the eerily-lit tunnel that exhibits some of the Andaman’s most curious fish.
If you’re looking for a place to grab lunch afterwards, Curry Night is the place to go. It’s pretty family-friendly and is perhaps the best Indian restaurant on the island.
Playroom & Arcade At Big C
If you’ve got a little one that’s full of energy and looking to play, head on over to the Big C. Located near the food court on the bottom floor, you’ll find a playroom and an arcade. It can get rather busy on the weekends and after school.
note: Our favorite arcade is actually in Robinson ( Phuket Town). Although it’s smaller, I think the games are better and it’s kind of retro. 😉
The Phuket Zoo is rather out there. What I mean by that is the layout and overall feel of the place is interesting. Nothing illustrates this more than the dragon mouth you can enter to see a dark, rundown exhibit that’s partially empty. You’ll see what I mean when you go.
But the zoo is nonetheless one of our daughter’s favorite places to visit, especially feeding the otters!
Kaya has always enjoyed visiting Khao Rang, where there’s loads of room to walk around and play, plus two new swings they added in the center area at the top. It’s also a great lookout point and photo op!
Have lunch at the Phuket View Restaurant, which you can access by taking the stairs located near the viewpoint area.
worth noting: do NOT feed the monkeys! Yes, there are monkeys and I’ve been bitten by one, so don’t give into the temptation of feeding them.
Queen Sirikit Park
Perhaps the place we frequented the most with our daughter was Queen Sirikit Park. Located near the Sea Dragon statue/fountain in Phuket Town, this small park is across from Limelight Mall and shopping area, and a short walk away from Robinson Mall.
The park has a small play area and exercise equipment, and mainly locals go there, so it’s nice and quiet, except for when the indie market is on.
Suan Luang Park
The large Suan Luang Park is also in Phuket Town. It’s the perfect place to take the kids on the weekend, and has two playareas, plus a running track and weight-lifting area. It’s a beautiful place to take a walk, especially when it cools off in the late afternoon.
This seaside park ( also in Phuket Town) is where locals go to have a picnic or go for an evening walk/run. There’s a small beach area and also a playground, plus several sports buildings, as well as the public pool.
Make sure to check out the night market for a bite to eat and live entertainment.
When the little ones want to see a movie or go toy shopping, head to Central Festival in Chalong. You’ll find numerous stores, cafes, and restaurants. Our personal favorite place to get a bite to eat is the JuYuan Chinese Restaurant, run by a vegetarian family from China. They have both traditional dishes, as well as vegan options. The staff are friendly and speak English, Thai, and Chinese. Kid-friendly dishes include the noodles with scallions and soy sauce, which are addictive they’re so good!
The food court ( near the movie theater) is pretty darn good too, and they have an array of Thai food stalls, as well as one vegetarian. In addition you’ll find kid-approved desserts like crepes.
Kids will also enjoy taking a ride on the little train that runs on the bottom floor, near the grocery store.
Trick Eye Museum
The relatively new Trick Eye museum is a fun place for kids to explore 3d art displays. It’s great for a rainy day, and located near numerous small restaurants and cafes in Phuket Town. I haven’t been myself but my neighbor said he had a blast.
Fan of bowling? Head to the Strike Bowl in Jungceylon ( or CS Bowl in Big C) to enjoy a few hours bowling with the kids.
Dance Classes for kids
Phuket has several small dance studies throughout the island. My daughter took jazz at Danz Steps Studio for a few weeks and loved her teacher. They are located in the Limelight area.
I’m actually not a fan of the huge, super-packed Naka Weekend market, and neither is my daughter. We prefer the crafts and ambiance of the twice weekly Indy Market, located in Limelight. While it doesn’t have nearly the same number of food stalls or stores as Naka, it’s more laid back and right next to an air-conditioned mall, and across the street from the Queen Sirikit Park. It can still get busy though, so go early.
Park in Naiharn
The park near the lake area in Naiharn ( near the beach) is a popular place for locals to take their kids to play, as well as the perfect place to jog/walk/cycle. We used to go their regularly when we lived in Chalong. It’s spacious and calm.
What are your favorite family friendly activities ( or places) in Phuket? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them to this post.