So you’re planning a trip to one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, Phuket, Thailand. What are the top 5 things to do in Phuket, you ask? In my opinion, the #1 thing to do is, GET OUT! That is, get outside of the main tourist areas. Phuket has gained a very undesirable reputation because of the petty crimes, unsafe roads, unscrupulous taxi drivers, beach scams and beaches over-run with tourists.The fact is, there’s more to Phuket than Patong (party beach) and Soi Bangla (red-light district.)
1. The Phi Phi Islands – the Phi Phi (pronounced pee-pee) islands became one of the most popular tourist destinations are actor Leonardo Decaprio made them famous in the movie, The Beach. The islands are also recognizable in many other films. Both locals and tourists alike flock to the islands for some sun, relaxation and to explore. I’ve been to the Phi Phi islands, had lunch there (took this fabulous photo) and had the tourist experience – along with 500 of my closest friends.
As an alternative, consider a trip to the Similan Islands National Park. It’s one of the most beautiful sets of islands in the area and there are far less tourists. Or head out to Phang Nga Bay where the scenery will leave you breathless.
2. Surf & Scuba – Kata Yai and Kata Noi are the beaches to hit if you’re into surfing and scuba diving (just don’t get caught up in one of those beach scams I mentioned by only renting from reputable vendors and not random people you meet on the beach.) Kata Yai is the only beach in Southern Thailand with a coral reef which means you can spot lionfish, parrotfish, butterfly fish, triggerfish and pipefish to name a few.
3. Weekend Night Market – the weekend night market in Phuket Town is a great place to explore and find some amazing and inexpensive food. There are dozens of stalls at the night market selling just about everything you can imagine.
4. Khao Sok National Park – Khao Sok is said to be the oldest rainforest in the world, even older than the Amazon, according to Thai history. The park is home to exotic plants and animals and offers visitors plenty of pathways to explore and appreciate the scenery. Khao Sok is just north of Phuket Town.
5. Old Town in Phuket Town – the architecture and history that fills the streets of old town Phuket is quite amazing. You’ll find Chinese temples, Portuguese shop-houses and Colonial mansions. While you’re there stop by one of the many cafes or restaurants for a great meal. I highly recommend Raya House Restaurant for authentic Thai food. It’s a local favorite and has been in the same location for 17 years.
What are your favorite things to do in the Phuket area?