Phuket offers a range of active water pursuits from snorkelling and diving to surfing, fishing and kayaking, while inland jungle paths and forested hills wait to be explored on foot or atop an elephant.
Phuket is one of those tropical islands where you can do nothing at all or enjoy a great choice of activities…
Snorkelling – Some of the best snorkelling in Phuket can be found at shallow reefs at the northern and southern end of Kata beach just 150m from shore. Look out for wrasse, bannerfish, parrotfish and trigger fish. If you are lucky you may spot a sea turtle, but watch out for the perfectly camouflaged poison stonefish that also inhabit the reef.
Scuba diving – Phuket ranks among the top 10 scuba diving destinations in the world. Clear water, spectacular reefs, unusual underwater formations, caves, shipwrecks and a vibrant ecosystem teeming with marine life provide great diving opportunities at all levels.
Just 100km north of Phuket, in the Andaman Sea, lies the Similans and Surins with some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world. Visibility is often 30m with an abundance of marine life, from rays, sharks and sea turtles to colourful fish as well as intact soft and hard coral formations.
Read more about diving in Phuket…
Surfing – The south end of Kata beach offers the best surfing in Phuket. Closer to shore the waves are perfect for beginners. Boards are available for rent and beginners can get some tips from the local surf school.
Beach soccer – There’s usually a free-to-join game around 4:30pm at the south end of Kata beach.
Beach volleyball – Usually around 4:30pm at the nets halfway along the beach.
Jogging – Kata beach provides a stunning setting for a leisurely jog, particularly at sunset.
Hiking – Experience the wild side of Phuket’s interior with a guided trek through the rainforest of the Khao Phra Thaew National Park.
Elephant trekking – While elephants are not indigenous to Phuket, this can be a real adventure for children as well as a fun way for you to see the local countryside.
Spas – Phuket offers some of the world’s best spa facilities. For luxury treatments visit The Spa at the award-winning Banyan Tree Phuket resort: choose from a variety of massage, body and facial treatments or health and beauty programs. Elsewhere you will find numerous parlours offering many revitalising treatments.
Shopping – Head to Patong Beach, the centre of handicraft and souvenir shopping in Phuket.
Best buys are silver handicrafts from the northern hilltribes, but be prepared to bargain to get the right price. Browse the numerous shops for leather, jewellery and clothes.
Don’t miss the Day Market, a bustling market that traces its history back to the days when pirates, Indians, Chinese, Malays and Europeans traded in Phuket.
Festivals – Phuket’s most important occasion, the Vegetarian Festival, which dates back to 1825 and usually takes place during late September or October. Expect great food, lots of events and noisy fireworks.
Take a day trip or stay longer to explore the scenic provinces of Phang Nga Bay and Krabi.
Both offer magical scenery of limestone cliffs, rock formations, caves and fishing hamlets as well as national parks and lovely beaches with great opportunities for rock climbing, diving, snorkelling and sailing on the Andaman Sea – just perfect for adventurous honeymoon couples.
Home to some of Thailand’s best mainland beaches, particularly at Hat Nopparat Thara, Ao Nang and Hat Tham Phra Nang. The Krabi region is dotted with caverns and mystical shrines as well as providing excellent opportunities for rock climbing, diving, snorkelling and sailing.
The spectacular Phang Nga Bay is dotted with thousands of islands and caves, mostly uninhabited and protected as part of the National Marine Park. Join a sea canoe tour from Phuket or from the mainland.
Discover secluded bays, go ashore with a guide and explore the beach, mangrove forests and the many hidden caves and lakes hollowed out inside the islands – usually reachable only at low tide through small caves that open onto the sea.
Explore inland forest, with waterfalls, mountains and other natural wonders located on the Phang Nga mainland. Look out for eagles and scarlet minivets.
These idyllic islands lie an easy boat trip away from either Phuket or the mainland at Krabi. The dumbbell-shaped Ko Phi Phi Don is fringed with white sandy beaches, rugged rock cliffs and tropical rainforest. It offers several fine restaurants, bars and coffee shops.
Neighbouring Ko Phi Phi Leh is less commercialised and makes a perfect day trip (as there is no accommodation on the island).
Don’t miss the famous Viking Cave on Phi Phi Leh, where men climb flimsy bamboo scaffolds to collect swifts’ nests from the cavern walls, or the prehistoric paintings on the cave walls.
Both islands offer great opportunities for climbing, kayaking, swimming and caving as well as diving, snorkelling and fishing, in a setting of unparalleled beauty.
Latest update: What to do in Phuket: 18 June, 2022