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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!

Also read:

18 things to do that will show you Phuket is more than just a beach destination

11 incredible beaches in Phuket with pristine white sands and clear blue waters

12 Affordable luxury hotels with pool access rooms in Phuket for under $67

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!

Phuket Walking Street

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Price: From USD $2.90 / approx 100 Baht
Address: Thanon Chao Fa, Tambon Talat Yai, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83000, Thailand.
Opening hours: Sundays only, 4pm to 9pm

Chillva Market

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Prices: Food from USD $2 / approx. 50 Baht, souvenirs from USD $3 / approx. 100 Baht
Address: Yaowarat Rd, Talat Yai, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Chang Wat Phuket 83000, Thailand Opening hours: Thursday-Saturday, 5pm to 10pm (on other days, the market is open with limited stalls only)

Indy Market

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Prices: Cheap! Food from USD $2 / approx. 50 Baht, souvenirs and caricature drawing from USD $3 / approx. 100 Baht
Address: Limelight Avenue (next to Dibuk Road), Phuket Town
Opening hours: Thursday and Friday evenings, 4pm to 10pm

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2: There are more incredible Phuket resorts than you ever knew! – The Naka Phuket Villa, Keemala Phuket, Sawasdee Village Resort & Spa

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)!

Photo Via Whaiie,-Kaechollada

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.

Photo Via Doyoutravel

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.

The Naka Phuket Villa

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Rate: From USD $279 / approx. 9,558 Baht (for 1-Bedroom Pool Villa)
Address: 1/18, 1/20 Moo 6,Kathu, Kamala, Phuket, Thailand, 83150
Contact: +66 76 337 999
Website

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Keemala Phuket

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Rate: From USD $415 per night (approximately 14,746 Baht)
Address: Keemala Phuket, 10/88 Moo 6, Nakasud Road, Kamala, Kathu District, Phuket, 83150, Thailand
Contact: +66 (0) 76 358 777
Website

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Sawasdee Resort & Spa

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Rate: From USD $115 (approximately 4,178 Baht)
Address: 38 Katekwan Road, Kata, Phuket, Thailand, 83100
Contact: + 66 (0) 76 330 979
Website

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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.

Photo Via TripCanvas,-Ulilouie

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.

Photo Via Toey.Chidchanok,-Pamest_U

Tip: There are no ATMS on either of the islands, so make sure you bring enough money with you beforehand.

Getting to Koh Yao Yai or Koh Yao Noi

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Address (Bang Rong Pier): Soi Mukthalang, Thep Kasattri, Amphoe Thalang, Chang Wat Phuket 83110, Thailand
Getting there: Head to Bang Rong Pier on Phuket. Long tail boats make their way to both of these islands on a daily basis from Bang Rong Pier. The boat fare is 50 Baht, and the two islands are only 8 minutes away from each other.
Opening hours: Daily from 7am to 6pm

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!

Photo Via TripCanvas,-Wit_Littletree

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.

Photo Via Charlenelht,-Praewji

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?

Photo Via Sinthee,-Annjibi.Nw

VT Namnueng Phuket Restaurant

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Prices: From USD $1.70 / 60 Baht
Address: Talat Nuea, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Contact: 076-354500 / 083-7359595
Opening hours: Daily from 11am to 9pm

Website

Bookhemian Coffee Bar

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Prices: From USD $2.30 / approx. 80 Baht
Address: 61 Thalang Road, Phuket Town
Contact: +66 76 258 254
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10 am-7pm

Website

The Tent

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Prices: From USD $ 1.70 / approx. 60 Baht
Address:16 Thepkasattri Road, Phuket Town, Phuket, 83000
Contact: +66 63 669 9364
Opening hours: Wednesday – Monday 11am-10pm, (Closed on Tuesdays)

Website

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!

Photo Via Luck_Wp

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.

Photo Via Mayyr_,-Look_Kung,-Paphawin

Peranakanitat Museum

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Entrance Fees/Price: From USD $5.40 / approx. 190 Baht
Address: เลขที่ 34 ถนนภูเก็ต ต.ตลาดใหญ่ Amphoe Muang Phuket 83000
Contact: 095-257-7264
Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 7pm

Website

Raya Restaurant Phuket

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Price: From USD $4.50 / approx. 150 Baht
Address: Mueang Phuket, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Contact: +66 76 218 155
Opening Hours: Daily from 10am to 10pm

Website

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!

Photo Via Tripcanvas

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.

Photo Via Tripcanvas

Siray Beach

Address: Coordinates here

Laem Ka Beach

Address: Coordinates here

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.

Photo Via Chloetsafaras,-Paiu_Mihai

Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

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Entrance fee/Price: No entrance fee! (However, you will have to pay an entrance fee of USD $6 / 200 Baht to National Park Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.)
Address: Bang Pae Waterfall, Pa Khlock, Talang, Phuket 83110
Contact: +66 07 626 0491-2
Opening hours:

  • Education Center: 9am to 4.30pm

  • Rehabilitation Site: 6.30am to 2pm

  • Wildlife Rest Center (Quarantine) Site: 6.30am to 2pm

Website

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

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Entrance fee/price: Price varies; 5,000+ baht/ 1 week volunteering = 16,000 baht
Address: 111/116, Moo 8, Saunneramit 1, Thombol Paklok, Amphur Talang, Phuket, Thailand
Contact: +66 96 246 5492
Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 2pm

Website

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!

Photo Via Shaka_Laika,-Galatkate,-Dinara_1974

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!

Phuket Seashell Museum

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Entrance Fees/Price: From USD $5.70 / approx. 200 Baht
Address: Viset Road Rawai Beach, Rawai, Phuket 83100, Thailand
Contact: +66 76 613 808
Opening hours: Daily from 8am to 6pm

Phuket Mining Museum

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Entrance Fees/Price: USD $2.80 / approx. 100 Baht (Adult), USD $1.40 / approx. 50 Baht (Child); 50 Baht (Local Adult), 20 Baht (Local Child)
Address: Moo 5, Khatu-Nakoh Road, Tambon Khatu, Amphoe Khatu, Phuket, 83120, 83120, Thailand
Contact: +66 (0) 88 766 0962
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 9am to 4pm

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!

9-1. Dance the night away – Patong

Photo Via Sanoricoyconencanto
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If you like to party, enjoy nightlife, or want to experience something on the wilder side , then Patong is for you. Step foot into those neon lights and get ready for the chaos and debauchery that is Patong.

9-2. Enjoy this sleepy seaside town that’s purely meant for relaxation – Karon

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Karon is a sleepy seaside town with plenty of fun amenities for kids including playgrounds by the beach. If you’re into lazing the days away with a coconut, going to sleep early and getting up for sunrise, then look no further than Karon.

9-3. Instagram-worthy beaches and family resorts – Kata

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For the picture perfect Instagram picture, Kata is calling your name. The pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water will take your breath away. Shop till you drop during the day, and sip on delicious and cheap cocktails by night.

9-4. For a glimpse into local fishing life – Rawai

Photo Via Jayjay_Crasy,-Yyeddy
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Hang out with the locals under the sun in Rawai. It’s a great place to observe the local fishing life from afar and get those perfect, cultured pictures you won’t get anywhere else in Phuket. It’s a great off the beaten path destination.

9-5. To keep you busy before or after the airport – Naiyang

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Reefs, a national park, and Casuarina trees lining the beach. Should I say no more? Naiyang is also very close to the airport, so if you’re looking to kill some time before or after a flight, this is the place to be!

9-6. For the laid back Bob Marley lovers – Kamala

Photo Via Sasha_Rr
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Kamala is paradise. The sand is golden sand and the water is rejuvenating. You’ll find many locals lounging on this beach, and a ton of children running around in the sand and splashing around in the water. There’s also the option for long term villa and apartment rentals here. If you want some beautiful views, the views of Kamala Bay in this town are spot on!

9-7. Form your own adventure in this local beach town– Bangtao

Photo Via Marina_Parshina
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Whether you’re on a romantic holiday, with a group of friends, or are a solo adventurer creating an exciting journey of your own, you’ll come to love Bangtao. You’ll practically have the beach to yourself, only shared with other residents of the resorts. You’ll find locals fishing, farming, and rubber tapping here, making for some wonderful learning opportunities into the local Thai life in this tiny town in Phuket.

9-8. The luxurious traveler who prefers comfort – Maikhao

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On the northwest coast of Phuket lies the beautiful town of Maikhao. It’s one of the more cleaner spots in Phuket because it is part of the national park. It does have some of the coarsest sand in Phuket, however, the lack of people that visit this beach make up for it, you’ll practically have the entire beach to yourself.

9-9. The cultural hub with amazing architecture – Phuket Old Town  

Photo Via Teayii,-Inkandtree
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You’ll find shrines, temples, amazing architecture, a mixture of cafes, and authentic food in the historic old town of Phuket. You’ll find everything like printing shops, private and public museums, and even the red light district here. If you’re looking to learn a lot about Phuket and it’s history, then this is the happening place to be.

Now you know these things about Phuket you never knew! If you’ve been avoiding Phuket because of things you’ve heard through the grapevine, now is the time to go!

You’ll end up falling in love with all of the things this island has to offer, and may even find a hidden paradise of your own.

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PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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