Being such a large island, there are a lot of attractions and activities that you can enjoy in Phuket. When you’ve already had your fill of its exciting adventure sports, fascinating cultural attractions, and glitzy beach clubs, you might want to try some offbeat activities and discover some of the island’s hidden gems.
Here are some things to do and places to visit in Phuket that may be lesser-known among tourists but can still provide you with interesting experiences during your stay on the island.
Discover its hidden beaches
While the popular beaches of Patong, Kamala, and Kata are gorgeous and they are, some of Phuket’s best beaches are quietly hidden away from the bustle of tourist activity.
Freedom Beach is a 300-meter stretch of white sand located near Patong. Situated close to Phuket’s most popular destination, one would think that Freedom Beach would also be teeming with tourists, but it is actually one of the most pristine and least crowded areas on the island. This is because getting to Freedom Beach requires either riding a longtail boat from Patong Beach or a jungle trek. It takes a bit more energy to reach it, but it’ll definitely be worth it especially if you enjoy privacy and untouched natural beauty.
Another hidden beach on the island is Banana Beach. This 180-meter stretch of sand and sea is located between the beaches of Nai Thon and Bang Tao. Accessible only via a longtail boat or walking through a jungle path, Banana Beach is a gorgeous beach where tourists can relax with a calming sense of isolation. There’s also a family-owned restaurant in the area that serves fresh seafood so that vacationers can dine comfortably while enjoying the view and the relaxed rustic ambiance of the beach.
Go on a bike tour
Bike touring is perfect for nature-lovers who want to discover the island’s countryside scenery, passing through rubber plantations, rainforests, villages, and national parks. You can either stay roadside or go off the beaten track if you choose. The best thing about biking is you get to experience Phuket’s marvelous vista at your own pace, seeing the landscape change and greeting locals along the way.
Interact with wild monkeys
Monkey Hill is the tallest hill in Phuket Town where you can feed and interact with monkeys. From Phuket Town, you can walk to Monkey Hill if you’re up for it, but you can also ride a taxi or a tuk-tuk to get there. Make sure to bring with you some treats like bananas and nuts so you can easily engage and interact with the monkeys. Of course, while used to human presence, these are still wild monkeys so always keep your valuables safe and secure.
Spend a peaceful day at the Sirinat National Park
While best known for encompassing the 4 idyllic beaches of Nai Thon, Nai Yang, Mai Khao, and Sai Kaeo, this 90sqm coastal park northwest of Phuket also features 22sqm worth of land and is home to a beach forest teeming with flora and fauna. Virtually unspoiled, the forest consists of numerous interesting species of trees and birds and is an ideal place for picnics, guided walks and bird-watching. A mangrove nature walkway can also be found towards the northern end of the park.
Join a cooking class
Other than feasting on Thai specialties, how about learning how to make them? There are many cooking classes offered on the island that’ll teach you how to prepare and cook your favorite Thai dishes so you can enjoy them even after you leave Thailand. Some classes even include a market tour where professionals will guide you on how to pick the freshest herbs and spices that are usually used when making signature Thai dishes.
Check out some art
The Phuket 3D Art Museum is an exhibition space of over 100 interactive trick-eye installations. The 2-storey museum is filled with paintings that you can step into and become part of the scene through clever optical illusions. A visit guarantees loads of fun and plenty of hilarious photo opportunities.
For a more authentic look at Phuket’s local art scene, take a stroll through the Phuket Art Village right off Rawai’s main strip. This artist community is a fascinating mix of home studios, galleries and specialty shops. Open all day, visitors can buy souvenirs or acquire art pieces from artists that reside within the village. This eclectic commune is a place where artists literally live and breathe art.
Embark on a waterfall tour
Phuket is home not just to breathtaking beaches but also to beautiful waterfalls. Visiting some of Phuket’s best waterfalls can be a whole lot of fun. You get to discover the island’s cascades hidden amidst its dense jungles, enjoy a refreshing swim in natural pools, and you can enjoy a nice picnic with your friends and family while you’re there, too. Some cascades that you can consider adding to your itinerary are Bang Pae, Kathu, and Ton Sai waterfalls.
Visit an animal rescue center
Located in Mai Khao, The Soi Dog Foundation has served as a safe haven for the island’s stray dogs and cats. Each year, Soi Dog spays, neuters and vaccinates thousands of dogs and cats. Established in 2003, the foundation also provides rescue, medical treatment, shelter and facilitates adoption services for our furry friends.
Meanwhile, tucked within Khao Phra Theaw National Park in Talang is The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. Since 1992, they have been on a mission to rescue hunted and mistreated Gibbons from poachers of the illegal pet trade. The rescued primates undergo a long rehabilitation process under the care of the GRP until suitable candidates are chosen to be reintroduced and released back into the wild.
Explore the mansions of Old Phuket Town
Phuket Town may be teeming with tourists but there’s a lot more to it than the well-known Thalang Road. If you appreciate well-designed old mansions or would like to get a glimpse of what Phuket looked like many years ago, then we recommend walking a little further down to Old Phuket Town. There, you’ll find magnificent architectural wonders like the Kiew Kai Ka Restaurant, Blue Elephant, and Thai Hua Museum.
Featured image: Oilinki