Written by Monica Gray
Many of you have probably heard of Phuket, or have even been there once or twice yourself. If you’re one of the many people that have only visited Patong, you might think that Phuket doesn’t have much to offer. However, you should think again!
Spend your mornings sipping coffee inside of a tent, your afternoons snorkeling above vibrant coral and marine life, your evenings shopping and eating in cultural night markets, and your nights sleeping inside of a cocoon. You will never believe what Phuket has to offer.
1: There are colourful local/bohemian night markets where you can shop until you drop! – Phuket Walking Street, Chillva Market, Indy Market
The night markets in Phuket are exceptionally influenced by an array of different cultures like Thai Muslim, Indian, and Baba.
Phuket Walking Street for one shows you Phuket’s local culture with a 350 meter long cosmopolitan street features ethnic shops and a trampoline and toy stalls. Shop your night away at one of the many gift and food stalls selling Thai delicacies.
Looking for something a little more bohemian? Chillva Market is one colourful market with a great ambiance. Food, drinks, shopping and live music creates some good vibes to chill to.
A slightly smaller market, Indy Market is where you’ll find local art and custom souvenirs apart from the usual food/shopping combo. It’s quite local and hidden, and there are local performances here too!
If you’re longing for the ultimate private infinity pool experience in Phuket, how about this floating private infinity pool courtesy of The Naka Phuket Villa? Located closed to the hilltop, the villa and its private pool hangs 6 metres from the edge (so you’re basically floating mid-air)!
Otherwise, Phuket also offers some truly unique boutique stays. Keemala Phuket serves up spacious 1 and 2-story luxurious treehouses with their own pool and spectacular jungle views. We’ve been there and we can attest to the fact that every corner of Keemala exudes art and style – the treehouses are even inspired by the stories of the ancient Keemala clans.
Another unique stay to check out, Sawasdee Village Resort & Spa has been voted by TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) to be one of the 50 most beautiful resorts in Thailand! The ornate Thai decor with its gold tones, warm lighting and tranquil, temple-inspired theme – are just some of the features that earned this resort it’s title as one of the most beautiful resorts in the country.
3: Phuket is a great base to go off island-hopping! – Koh Yao Yai, Koh Yao Noi
The island with Indiana Jones-esque Exploration, Koh Yao Yai gives you plenty to discover. From mangroves, rubber plantations, fishing villages, and sandy shores, Koh Yao Yai has it all. Some of the best beaches on the island include Loh Paret and Loh Jark. Get your scuba gear and jump into the water, there’s a whole world underneath the waves. Vibrant coral and an abundance of marine life are guaranteed sites at this island.
Koh Yao Noi is also one of the best places to come and escape the hustle and bustle of Phuket, the island is extremely quiet and a great place to come and be alone. You’ll spot buffalos bathing in mud baths, wooden, rickety houses, gorgeous rice paddies, and rubber plantations.
Tip: There are no ATMS on either of the islands, so make sure you bring enough money with you beforehand.
4: Phuket is oozing with cool cafes for everyone who loves to cafehop! – VT Namnueng Phuket Restaurant, Bookhemian Coffee Bar, The Tent
There are surprisingly a lot of cool cafes in Phuket with mouth-watering coffee and delectable grub.
Whether its a romantic dinner, or an instagrammable lunch, VT Namnueng is one dreamy Victorian-themed space that will quite literally make your jaw drop. From the courtyard with its maze and fountain, to the gorgeous mansion converted into a restaurant/cafe with vintage wallpaper, plush chairs, a fireplace and more. What’s most surprising though, isn’t the beauty of the place, but the delicious Thai/Viet food itself!
Bookhemian Coffee Bar is a cafe turned bookstore, stacked with new and used books, magazines, and local photography. Sit down and enjoy a good book while sipping one of their delicious coffees from their menu. Gain a little insight to the local art by exploring their gallery showcasing local Thai artist’s works of creation.
Otherwise, The Tent is a cafe with a Native American style theme with low turquoise tables and white teepee tents. Imagine cuddling up with a good book, a steaming hot cup of joe, all inside of a tent. Who would have thought you could get all of this luxury while being inside of a teepee tent?
5: Did you know about Phuket’s colourful Peranakan heritage? You have to explore it! – Peranakanitat Museum, Raya Restaurant
The houses around Phuket are built with Peranakan architecture, and the heritage can be especially seen on the Thalang, Krabi, and Phang Nga roads.
Phuket Old Town is one of the more attractive parts of this heritage section, and at night, the streets are lit up with beautiful, sparkling lights. The lane is packed with hip, cosy cafes, and galleries displaying beautiful art.
Not only are there several Peranakan-themed hotels around, here you go with the newest museum opened – Peranakanitat Museum. Feel free to walk around and understand more about the local baba heritage through exhibitions and more. It’s a great way to enjoy any afternoon out of the sweltering heat!
After that, head to Raya Restaurant for a taste on Phuket Peranakan cuisine! Not only is the food great, you’ll get to experience dining in what feels like someone’s Peranakan home too.
6: There are many great hidden beaches around Phuket that will surprise you – Siray Beach, Laem Ka Beach
One major surprise was how we could still find clear clean waters in phuket’s hidden beaches!
Another surprise was the super local Siray Beach. Getting there is an experience itself where a windy road takes you through the jungle before it opens up to abandoned houses and, eventually, a beach!
If you’re looking for a more eerie surprise, try the remote Laem Ka Beach. The road to this beach is technically locked, so you’ll have to park down the road and walk in. Upon entering, you’ll find abandoned houses and huts with “no photo” signs plastered on them. It’s a bit eery, but beautiful nonetheless.
7: Did you know you could contribute to a great cause while seeing these beautiful creatures up close? – Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
Thailand needs your help.
Not only will you get to travel to beautiful, lesser known parts of Phuket, but you’ll also get to make a difference in the world through responsible tourism – and preventing animal abuse, which is running rampant with many tour operators in Asia.
At the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, you’ll be able to help save the adorable wide-eyed gibbons simply by visiting, and donating any sum of money (whether it’s 50 or 5000 Baht!). Many gibbons in Phuket are captured and sold as pets, or used as touts for many tourist attractions. By visiting, you’ll be able to help the GRP purchase food and medicine for the gibbons – as well as help spread more awareness!
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is another fantastic avenue to give back. Elephants in the tourism industry are constantly abused, beaten, and treated horribly in order to carry tourists around on their backs and put on shows.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary provides ethical elephant tourism by offering a retirement home for sick, injured, and old elephants. By visiting the sanctuary, you will be able to feed, walk with, and observe the elephants in their habitat as they bathe, cover themselves in mud, and munch on delicious food.
8: You can go museum-hopping in Phuket too! – Phuket Seashell Museum, Phuket Mining Museum
There’s so much history about the tiny island of Phuket that you won’t believe it.
For bragging rights about how you saw the world’s largest golden pearl with your very own eyes, visit the Phuket Seashell Museum.One can easily spend an hour here observing all of the different seashells. They also have large selections of sedimentary rock with shell fossils, and gifts and souvenirs for purchasing. There are around 2,000 shell species on display here, so get your camera ready!
Dive into history and teach your friends a thing or two about Phuket’s tin-producing history at the Phuket Mining Museum. This is one of the island’s most interesting museums. With displays featuring opium dens and tin mine models, there’s a lot to explore!
9: There are at least 9 towns in Phuket to explore, each suitable for different travellers!
Want to find out more about what’s available at the different towns? Click to expand!