Phuket is a province with the old town in as the capital. The old town was built in a “Sino-Portuguese” architecture style which is Chinese mixed with European, reflecting the cultures who had influence there. Throughout Phuket you can see Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist shrines and temples. There is so much history and natural beauty, but it is balanced with the bright lights and neon of a lively city.
Here are just a few of the things to do:
- Tour the Chalong Bay Rum distillery and then make your own cocktails at the end!
- See the Buddha at the top of the Nakkerd Hills, one of Phuket’s most famous landmarks.
- Visit Wat Chalong and the Grand Pagoda, which houses a splinter of bone from the Lord Buddha.
- Go to the Naka Market. Beat the crowds by going in the afternoon instead of at night when it gets really crowded.
- Visit the tigers at Phuket Tiger Kingdom. If you’re brave (or crazy), you can get into the cage with one.
- Take a Thai cooking class and learn some techniques to take home.
- If you want to be immersed in the infamous Thai nightlife, go to Bangla Road. Drinks are cheap and there is entertainment everywhere.
- Also check out Patong Beach. It can be very crowded, but during the day it’s the usual tourist activities and at night at Soi Bangla, the drinks start flowing.
Photo courtesy of Phuket.org
- Hobnob with the rich and famous at Surin Beach and eat out at one of the many high-end restaurants overlooking the beach.
- Ride an elephant through the jungle with Kok Chang Safari Elephant Trekking.
- Visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and volunteer with the gibbons.
Photo courtesy of Phuket.com
- Help out with stray dogs at the Soi Dog Foundation, which spays and neuters around 12,000 stray animals a year. They rehabilitate horribly abused and neglected animals and work on creating awareness about the dog meat trade as well. Honestly, it’s hard to find a picture to represent this foundation because the before pictures of dogs they have rehabilitated are so heart-wrenching.
- Visit Toh Sae Hill, known as Monkey Hill, which has around 40 macaques living on it. At the foot is a shrine known to be lucky. If you visit the monkeys, keep your belongings close.
- Spend the day at Phang Nga Bay, full of small islands, mangroves, caves, and lagoons. It’s just beautiful! Make sure you visit Ko Tapu, also known as James Bond Island.
- Go to the Simon Cabaret show and see the Ladyboy show. This is the most famous cabaret in Phuket.
- Go to the Phuket Fantasea Show, a 140 acre park with a huge restaurant, Las Vegas style theatre show, carnival, and shops.
- Visit the Phuket Trickeye Museum, an interactive museum intended for you to see and become part of the art.
- Visit the Jui Tui Shrine house and see Tean Hu Huan Soy, the god of performing arts and dancing.
- Walk around Phuket Old Town and see the Chinese and Buddhist temples, shophouses, and the old, disused red light district.
- Visit the Shrine of the Serene Light, covered with Taoist etchings, and recently repainted on the outside.
- For a romantic dinner, go to Mom Tri’s Kitchen, overlooking the Andaman Sea and Kata Noi Beach. It’s a bit expensive but it’s highly recommended.
- Visit the Two Heroines Monument memorializing the heroines Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon who rallied the islanders to repel Burmese invaders in 1785.
If I missed anything, please let me know in the comments below.