There’s water everywhere, so naturally many activities take place on or in the liquid realm. A quick speedboat ride away from Phuket is Phang Nga Bay, which could stand in as a Hollywood set. Check out the limestone islets that look like they belong in Avatar, and you might even spot one of the black finless porpoises that roam the bay’s shallow waters.
Head back to your accommodation near Surin Beach and take part in a surfing lesson from the local shop—the gentle waves provide a perfect canvas for beginners. Once you’re done getting radical, go souvenir hunting in the streets of Old Phuket Town and stop off at one of the cafes for a belly-pleasing dish of hokkien mee.
No Phuket getaway is complete without a visit to one of its 29 Buddhist temples. The most important of them all is Wat Chalong and its Grand Pagoda, where a bone splinter from Lord Buddha rests. Just be sure to take your shoes off before entering.
For a deeper understanding of the beliefs and stories that led to these temples, visit the Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park. There’s heaps to do here—from eating and shopping to taking in shows and gawking at fancy buildings—and all of it is designed to celebrate Thai culture.
When it comes to nightlife, we know what you’re thinking: “Those wild stories can’t all be true”. Oh yes, they can. Take a walk down Patong’s Bangla Road after sunset and see for yourself. Maybe make sure you bring along a friend to ensure you get home in one piece.
Flights to Phuket land at Phuket International Airport (HKT), 32km from Phuket hotels in the city centre. Getting around is a piece of cake thanks to Phuket’s many transport options. Almost everything in the small beach towns is within walking distance, but if you care to venture further out, the buses, taxis and tuk tuks are perfect.
A tuk tuk is a small open-air truck or van that can get you to and from hotels in Phuket. These things are pretty spiffy looking, if we do say so ourselves, and a ride in one should definitely be on your Phuket bucket list. If you want control of your own horsepower, hire a motorbike or book Wotif car hire.
Hey, do you ever wish you could celebrate the fact that you don’t eat meat? Even if you don’t, you can appease the herbivores in your travel party by bringing them to the Phuket Vegetarian Festival in October. There are plenty of cool street processions, fire walking and, yes, all the meatless cuisine you could ever hope to consume.
Embrace all things mystic and beautiful at the Loy Krathong Festival on 15 November. No one knows how this festival started out, but it involves an awful lot of bright, shiny objects. Locals (and maybe you!) build or obtain tiny floats with candles on them. When the sun goes down, the candles are lit and the floats are set loose on the nearest body of water…whether it’s a lake, a river or the ocean itself. Make a wish!
If you only have one day in Phuket…well, we don’t know what to tell you. That’s just nuts. But we’ll give it a shot.
That Buddha was quite a guy, right? The people of Phuket agree; they like him so much, they built a gigantic white statue in his honour. Seriously, this guy is 45m tall, and yes, he is looking right at you. Don’t worry: that’s a beatific smile, not a smirk. Once you’re sitting next to him, you’ll have fantastic views of the entire island. Ready to dazzle your social media followers? Start snapping and posting and let Buddha and his surroundings do the rest.
Did the sun go down while you were hanging out with the big guy? No fear: head for Naka Market. This place really revs up when the sun goes down, and is full of some of the best food in Phuket, along with all the souvenirs and handicrafts you could want. Pick up something for yourself, something for mum and maybe something for us. Yes, you really do need those apple slices drenched in sugar. And the brownie. And the entire chicken. And yes, you do need that cool-looking jacket.
Let’s get real: Phuket is a tropical paradise, and that means you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, rain or shine. Some of the best places to stay in Phuket are right on the beach, so start your quest for fun there. If the sun is out, dive into clear blue water at Kata Beach. You can make friends with the local sea life if you bring your snorkel and some fins, or you can try to impress the locals with your wave-sliding hijinks. Stretch out on the warm sand, slather on some sun cream and let your mind wander. Seriously, all that’s missing from this picture is a fruity drink in your hand.
You can’t visit Phuket without making a stop at Khao Sok National Park. If you’re ever required to describe paradise, this might be it. Located in Surat Thani province, about 150km north of Phuket, Khao Sok is home to heaps of wildlife and local flora. Waterfalls pour off dramatic clifftops and green water beckons you to dive in. Yes, those are local monkeys. They’re pretty cute, aren’t they?
A visit to Thailand will make you feel like a million bucks—but you don’t need to spend that much to get there. Reach tropical nirvana (or just a state of ultimate relaxation) by booking accommodation in Phuket through Wotif. We’ll get you there with plenty of cash to spare. Wouldn’t you rather spend it at the night markets, anyway?
Hotels in Phuket start at NZ$38 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.