Surrounded by the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea, Phuket is an island with the best of both worlds, where you can dive straight into the party scene, or take it easy on a private beach. If the later is more your thing, and you can tear yourself away from the luxurious sanctuary of your hotel or villa, then you’re going to spend your time on the quieter side of the island. With private beaches, cool beach clubs and chilled out dining, it’s a million miles away from its party island reputation.
Start planning your itinerary with our four top places to visit that will be worth slipping out of your fluffy hotel robe for:
1. Visit Old Phuket Town
For a different look at the island, visit Old Phuket Town to appreciate the unique Sino-Portuguese architecture along Dibuk, Thalang and Phang Nga roads. Make sure you stop in at Raya Restaurant – it’s so good Bangkok locals fly meals over! Home to some of the best seafood on the island, after you’ve worked up an appetite exploring the town, try their crab-packed yellow curry with noodles or the whole fried barramundi covered in crisp chips of fried turmeric and garlic.
2. Explore Phang Nga Bay
Just north of Phuket lies Phang Nga Bay – a national park where hundreds of limestone cliffs rise out of the ocean. There are caves to kayak through and sea gypsy villages to visit, but the main drawcard is ‘James Bond Island’ (Khao Phingkan) – an island that was famously featured in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. Take a day trip out to Phang Nga Bay for some serious island time where you can spend the day diving off your yacht or getting active on a kayaking tour where you can make a pit stop for fresh coconut refreshments.
3. See the Big Buddha
No trip to Phuket is complete without paying a visit to the magnificent Big Buddha. It’s hard to tell just how big it is from the photos, but it’s a 45-metre-tall white marble statue, that sits on top of the highest peak of the Nakkerd Hills in Ao Chalong. You can see the Big Buddha perched up there from most of the southern side of Phuket – it’s like he’s watching over the island.
4. Discover Promthep Cape
Promthep Cape is the most visited (and photographed) viewpoint on the island. Even in cloudy, overcast weather it looks spectacular. It’s famous for the sunset, so be prepared for the crowds. Every evening tour buses and scooters make their way to the peak to watch the sun light up the sky as it goes down over the ocean.
How to get there:
With Phuket International Airport being Thailand’s third busiest airport, you can have your pick of airlines. Details here.
- Cameras: Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 70D.
- Lenses: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM and Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM.
- Underwater housing: GoPro HERO4 Silver with KNEKT Dome Port and Trigger Pole.
I travelled to Thailand as a guest of Villa Getaways. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own and remain 100% uninfluenced.