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10 Best Things to do in Phuket, ThailandFeatured

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As one of the most popular and touristy destinations in all of Thailand, Phuket, which is located on the southern tip, is characterized by tropical weather, beautiful beaches, top notch shopping options, and outstanding nightlife.

Whether you are a young adult traveling with friends, a parent traveling with family, or a wanderluster traveling with your significant other, there is something to do for everyone of all ages. You could easily spend a month in Phuket, and not see everything this land of paradise has to offer.

Since there are so many adventurous and fun things to do in Phuket, I have compiled this list of the 10 Best Things to do in order to make planning your next Phuket trip a little easier.

Let’s begin!

Best Things to Do

1) Phi Phi Islands

phi phi islands
phi phi

The Phi Phi Islands are the most famous and well known Islands in all of Thailand. Depending on where you stay in Phuket, a ferry ride from Phuket to the Phi Phi Islands will take approximately 2 hours.

Some of the best things to do include:

  • Monkey Beach
  • Maya Bay
  • Mosquito Beach
  • Bamboo Island
  • Snorkel at Hat Yao
  • Kayak at Ko Phi Phi
  • Hike up to Phi Phi Viewpoint

Since the Phi Phi Islands are the largest with lots to see, it’s recommended to book a hotel to see the main attractions. Additionally, if you’re young and enjoy partying, Phi Phi offers some of the best nightlife.

From clubs to sports bars, Phi Phi has it all. Not to mention, there are loads of top notch restaurants on the island.

Tip: There are no tuk tuks or taxis on Phi Phi Island. The methods of transport include walking or taking a longtail boat to get around.

2) Visit Karon Beach and Kata Beach

Karon Beach and Kata Beach are located towards the southern end of Phuket, and are known to be some of the best beaches in Phuket.

Most tourists tend to stay in either Karon Beach or Kata beach because there are a large number of luxurious resorts and hotels within walking distance to the beach.

Karon beach, which is north of Kata Beach, is a much longer beach than Kata beach and has lines of umbrellas and beach chairs. Both beaches have become extremely touristy so it can get crowded, especially during peak season (November-March).

Tip: Bring about 200 baht to reserve your own beach chair and umbrella.

 

3) Visit the Big Buddha

big buddha phuket
big buddha

The Big Buddha is one of Phuket’s most revered and highly regarded landmarks. This majestic Buddha is located on top of the Nakkerd hills and can be seen from Karon beach and Kata Beach, many miles away.

A tuk tuk ride from Karon beach to the Big Buddha takes approximately 45 minutes and costs 1,000 thai baht for a roundtrip.

Once at the top of the hill, there are beautiful views of Phuket and the ocean. The best time to go is during sunset because the views are breathtaking.

The Big Buddha itself was built in 2004 and is made of white marble. Inside, there are scriptures on the wall, donation boxes, and monks chanting prayers. From my experience, 1-2 hours at the Big Buddha should be sufficient to see everything and take lots of pictures.

Tip: Since the Big Buddha is a religious site, please dress appropriately. Females should cover their shoulders and wear pants that are at least knee length. If you feel you are dressed inappropriately, the site centre will let you borrow a sarong for free.

 

4) Enjoy the Ocean Views from a Rooftop Pool

phuket
rooftoppoolthailand
rooftop pool

Many hotels in Phuket offer a rooftop pool at affordable prices. I recommend the Pacific Club Resort, a small boutique hotel located on a hill in Karon Beach.

The resort is located approximately 15 minutes from Karon town, which has many restaurants and shops. Not only can you soak in the gorgeous views, but the rooftop pool will be less crowded and more private.

5) Get a Massage

Massage parlors are prevalent throughout Phuket. With a variety of options at extremely affordable prices, it’s a must to get a massage! After all, you are on vacation to unwind and relax.

6) Check out Bangla Road

bangla road

Located in Patong Beach, Bangla Road is nicknamed the mini Vegas. At night, the road is closed off to vehicles and becomes a large party of dance clubs, go go dancers, pubs, and restaurants.

Whether you want to chill at a bar while chatting with friends, listen to a live band, or go full out at a dance club, Bangla Road is the place for night entertainment. This road is packed, especially on Fridays and Saturday, from sundown until sunrise.

7) Get Food and Souvenirs at the Night Market

nightmarket

Almost every town in Phuket has a night market. Simply walk around town and look for lines of white tents selling souvenirs or freshly made food.

In my opinion, night markets offer the best variety of souvenir choices including: bags, tshirts, candy, buddha statues, magnets, handmade jewelry, and hats at affordable prices.

8) Take an Authentic Cooking Class

thaicooking

A Thailand trip is not complete without taking a cooking class. If you like green curry, pad thai, pad see ew, tom yum soup, and all the other Thai dishes, wouldn’t it be great if you learned how to make it? Heck yes!

Here are some of the top rated cooking classes in Phuket:

  • Phuket Thai Cooking Class
  • Kata Thai Cooking Class
  • Phuket Easy Thai Cooking
  • Phuket Thai Cookery School
  • Pum Thai Cooking School

Most classes are a few hours long and will teach you how to make at least 4 different types of Thai dishes. Bon Appetit!




9) Visit Wat Chalong

watchalong

Wat Chalong, which is located in Mueang Phuket District, is the most revered temple in all of Phuket.

Open from 7am-5pm, visitors from all around the world flock over to this temple to see the beautiful architecture and learn more about Buddhism and the temple’s history.

As always, please be respectful to the Buddha and monks by dressing appropriately and removing your shoes before entering the temple.

 

10) Go on a day trip to the Surin Islands or Similan Islands

surin islands

The Surin Islands are located approximately 60 km from Phuket, whereas the Similan Islands are approximately 110 km from Phuket. Since both islands are located several hours away by ferry and 1-2 hours by speedboat, it’s best to leave at the crack of dawn to have sufficient time to explore the islands.

Most visitors come to the Surin and Similan Islands for the excellent snorkeling and scuba diving options, clear waters, lush coral reefs, smaller crowds, and hiking.

 

Final Thoughts

I hope this guide about the 10 Best Things to do in Phuket, Thailand was helpful for you!

Although only 10 attractions/activities were mentioned, there is so much more to do.

At a minimum, 3-4 full days should be enough to see the main attractions. In order to experience all that Phuket has to offer and to immerse yourself in the Thai culture, I recommend staying for a week.

What activities are you most interested in doing in Phuket? Let me know in the comments below and thank you for reading!

 

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elephantjunglesanctuary
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Budget Friendly 3 Day Itinerary for Chiang Mai

elephantjunglesanctuary

General Tips to Know for Chiang Mai

Currency: 1 US dollar = 33 thai baht

Here are some money tips: 

1) Before leaving for Thailand, make sure to call your bank to let them know that you will be traveling so your card does not get declined when you withdraw money.

2) Bring cash with you to Thailand and then exchange it into Thai baht at an exchange booth.

3) ATMs charge a withdrawal fee of approximately $6.50. Some banks will reimburse you for all fees incurred abroad.

4) Credit cards are rarely used. Cash is preferred.

Dress Code: During the summer, Women can wear shorts, tank tops, and dresses. However, when going to temples, women should make sure to dress appropriately by covering their shoulders and wearing pants that are at least knee length. The same applies to men.

Transportation: The old city, which is surrounded by 4 gates, is where most tourists stay. Transportation is extremely easy as you can choose from a taxi, tuk tuk, or songtaew (thai taxi) to get around. It’s even possible to walk around the old city on foot as long as you wear comfortable shoes.

 

Language: Most of the locals living in Thailand speak thai; however, do not fret because most of them speak some sort of basic english. Additionally, a lot of the signs are in both thai and english.

Food: There are tons of restaurants in Chiang Mai. Most of the restaurants serve thai food, but there are also a few that serve American style food. Night markets are also another good option because there are many booths that offer cheap, fresh, and tasty food.

Accommodation: You will find a lot of boutique hotels in Old City. I stayed at Estia Hotel, located in the middle of Old City, which was close to all the main shops and restaurants, as well as the Sunday night market.

 

estiahotel

Essentials to Bring/Buy: Bugspray, sunscreen, pepto-bismol, and probiotics

Water: Drink bottled water and stay away from tap water. Ice is fine because most of the restaurants get their ice from ice factories, which use purified water.

Special Event: If you happen to visit Chiang Mai on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month, it is a must to experience the Loi Krathong festival. The Loi Krathong festival is an annual event in which krathongs (baskets) are placed in the moat surrounding Chiang Mai to show respect to the Buddha. During the same time the kratongs are placed in the water, lanterns are released into the sky. If the Loi Krathong festival is on your bucket list, make sure to book your hotel room early.

Day 1

After checking into your hotel and depending on what time of the day it is, you may want to rest, get food, or start exploring the city.

If you decide to get lunch, go to Keatocha, which serves delicious Hainanese chicken, fried chicken, and chicken satay. The food is cheap and always packed with a lot of people.

Just a few minutes walk from Keatocha is a small temple called Wat Inthakin Sadue Muang located in the center of the old city. Surrounding the temple are adorable baby buddha statues.

The temple will only take 5-10 minutes of your time. After, walk around old city and check out the souvenir shops and food stands. There is no “correct” path that you should take; just go wherever your heart desires.

During your walk, make sure to stop by an exchange booth to exchange your money into thai bahts. The exchange rate is 1 dollar to approximately 31-33 thai bahts.

If time permits, visit Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh.

wat inthakin sadue muang

Day 2

chiangmaielephant
elephant

Book a half day morning tour with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary (They also offer a half day afternoon tour and a full day tour).

I advise that you book the tour on their website ahead of time to ensure the tickets do not sell out. The tour is extremely popular!

On the day of the tour, a jeep will pick you up at your hotel between 630am-7am. It will also stop at other hotels to pick up more people until the jeep has a total of 10 passengers.

Once everyone has been picked up, the ride to the sanctuary, which is approximately 1 hour and a half, will begin. The ride will stop halfway at a market for a 15 minute food and bathroom break. Towards the end of the ride, it gets extremely bumpy because the roads are not paved. 

Once the jeep parks, there will be a short 10 minute walk to one of the elephant camps, which houses 5 elephants.

Enjoy time feeding the elephants lots of bananas, massaging the elephant’s body with mud, and then bathing in the river with them to wash off the mud. Lastly, you will eat a homemade lunch before heading back to the hotel around 1pm.

What to Bring

Before heading out to the elephant tour, I suggest wearing a swimsuit under your clothes, bringing an extra set of clothes, a towel, waterproof case for your phone, and sunscreen.

After the Elephant Tour

After getting back to your hotel, get some rest at the hotel or pamper yourself with a traditional thai massage. Massage parlors are located on almost every street and prices are always more than reasonable.

If you are not tired for the elephant tour, take a tuk tuk to the silver temple. The Wat Sri Suphan temple is located just outside of the Old City and is known for its impressive hand crafted silver decoration.

Due to old buddhist rules, women are not allowed inside of the temple, so they can only walk around.

For dinner, give Dash  a try. Consistently ranked in the top 5 restaurants in Chiang Mai, Dash is beautiful and has a great lively atmosphere. The green curry, fried noodles, and drinks are top notch. The restaurant is extremely popular with tourists so there may be a wait. 

Day 3

Take a 45 minute songtaew ride up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, one of Thailand’s most venerable temples. Admission into Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is 30 thai baht per person and there is a short walk up some stairs to reach the temple.

The temple itself has a magnificent chedi that is made completely from gold, and includes lots of statues and paintings. Since the temple is located high in the mountains, you will get a great panoramic view of Chiang Mai.

There are also many shops and small restaurants located near the entrance of Doi Suthep temple in case you get hungry or want some souvenirs.

If you are adventurous and up for a challenge, hike to either Sai Yoi waterfall or Mon Tha Than waterfall. The trail takes approximately 2.5 hours so make sure you wear running shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

When you finish seeing all the sights at Doi Suthep National park, there are songtaews lined up at the Doi Suthep entrance. The songtaew will take you back to the Old City gate for only 60 thai baht.

For lunch, head on over to Umakutegoukyura-men Ramen, a small restaurant located in the middle of Old City that offers a wide variety of delicious ramen.

        

ramen

Last but not least, if you happen to be in Chiang Mai on a Sunday, take a stroll at the Sunday night market (aka the most popular night market in Chiang Mai).

The night market runs along the entire length of Ratchadamnoen road and is open from 4pm-midnight.

Why is this night market so popular?

The market consists of hundreds of small booths selling handmade artwork, jewelry, clothing, food, bags, lamps, and more! It is literally a souvenirs galore type of market.

 

Pro tips:

1) The night market gets extremely crowded so keep a close eye on your backpack/purse to not get anything stolen.                                                                                                                                                                                         

2) Bargain with the merchants to try and get a cheaper price.

Chiang Mai is a wonderful city full of history and lots to see.

Although 3 days is not nearly enough time to see everything, it’s more than enough to get an idea and visit the main popular sites. As long as you visit at least 3 of the attractions listed above, you will have a blast.

Where in Chiang Mai are you burning to go?

Let me know in the comments below. Thanks! 🙂

chiangmaielephants
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