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Best Things to Do in Phuket Thailand: Phuket Tours and Day Trips From Phuket

Phuket City, the capital of Phuket Province in southern Thailand, is frequently called the “Pearl of the Andaman Sea.” I highly recommend visiting this Thai city and exploring some of the best things to do in Phuket Thailand. Whether you want to have a relaxing Phuket vacation or book thrilling excursions in Phuket, I have something for everyone.

Phuket attracts hordes of annual tourists, and it’s easy to see why. The city offers Phuket things to do for every traveler—lush jungles, pristine beaches, mouth-watering street food, vibrant nightlife, Phuket extreme sports, and a wide array of accommodations, from budget to luxury.

With so many stunning islands nearby, there are also many fun day trips from Phuket. I have your back if you’re struggling to decide what to do in Phuket! Let’s jump into the top Phuket tours and Phuket Thailand things to do.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Phuket ToursClick here to check out the top Phuket tours
Best Phuket Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Phuket
Best Thailand Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Phuket

Phuket What to Do: Best Things to Do in Phuket

1. Koh Phi Phi

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Let’s start with one of Thailand’s most notorious islands: Koh Phi Phi. Highly popularized by Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The Beach, the island is among the most popular tourist excursions in Phuket.

It’s still worth visiting, as it’s a gorgeous island with breathtaking beaches and magnificent rock formations. Visitors taking day trips from Phuket should manage their expectations. It is overdeveloped—not a pristine, untouched hidden gem. But it has a lot to offer.

The Phi Phi Islands consist of two islands, Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh. Koh Phi Phi Leh is uninhabited and home to the famous Maya Bay. The Thai government sometimes limits access to Maya Bay to minimize the impact of tourism, so check before planning your trip.

Hire a long-tailed boat to visit Maya Bay by sea. You can also tour many other attractions on Koh Phi Phi, including Monkey Bay, Bamboo Island, Mosquito Island, and Tonsai Village. I also recommend doing the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint Hike, a stunning view of the Phi Phi Islands from above.

How to Get to Koh Phi Phi from Phuket City: You can take a 2-hour ferry from Rassada Pier or a more expensive, 1-hour speedboat. Remember to book a few days in advance, especially during high season!

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

2. Phang Nga Bay

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One of the best things to do in Phuket Thailand is visit Phang Nga Bay. Phang Nga Bay is filled with sheer limestone karsts rising from emerald waters. With big attractions like James Bond Island (Koh Ta-Pu) and the water village Koh Panyee, Phang Nga Bay should be on everybody’s Phuket what to do bucket list.

There’s much more to do in Phang Nga Bay. Phang Nga Bay caters to every traveler, from climbing the breathtaking Samet Nangshe Viewpoint to cruising around the bay on a private boat.

How to Get to Phang Nga Bay from Phuket City: Phuket tours or booking a long-tail or speedboat day trip are the most convenient ways to get to Phang Nga Bay. However, you can also get there by bus, car, motorbike, and taxi. Bus services to Phang Nga Bay operate daily, departing every hour, and take 1.5 hours. You can also rent a car or motorbike or hire a taxi—the drive takes over an hour.

3. Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park best day trips from Phuket

Anyone wanting a change of pace for their Phuket vacation should visit Khao Sok National Park. Housing one of the oldest evergreen rainforests in the world, Khao Sok will take your breath away.

With diverse wildlife, gorgeous lakes, and lush jungles, there’s an abundance of things to see and do in Khao Sok National Park. One of the biggest attractions is Cheow Larn Lake, an exquisite lake covered with floating raft houses.

You can also raft down a river, trek through the forest, or take a cooking class. Beware of visiting during monsoon season, as the leeches will be out!

How to Get to Khao Sok National Park from Phuket City: A very convenient way to travel to Khao Sok National Park is by booking a tour or a minibus. However, if you want more freedom, rent a car or motorbike—the drive takes around three hours. It is also possible to go by bus, but the drive will take around four hours.

4. Similan Islands

best day trips from Phuket | best day trips from phuket

Of course, island hopping is one of the top things to do Phuket Thailand offers. If you love to snorkel or scuba dive, the Similan Islands are some of the best day trips from Phuket. Located in Mu Koh Similan National Park, the Similan Islands are an archipelago with 11 islands.

The Similan Islands are exquisitely beautiful—with exceptionally diverse wildlife underneath the crystal-clear shallow waters, it is one of the best places to snorkel. Furthermore, the islands are breathtaking, covered in thick forests, giant boulders, and pristine, untouched beaches. This little archipelago surrounded by dazzling coral reefs is the perfect stop on a Phuket vacation.

How to Get to the Similan Islands from Phuket City: The easiest way to get there is to book a tour with arranged transportation. However, if you want to travel there alone, you’ll first have to get to the Taplamu Pier near Khao Lak, which is possible by bus or taxi. Buses can take 1.5-3 hours to get you to the pier. From the Taplamu Pier, you can take a ferry to the Similan Islands or rent a boat.

5. Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

best day trips from Phuket

Are you curious about what to do in Phuket off the beaten path? A less popular yet remarkable day trip from Phuket is the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. Housed deep in the tropical rainforest near Bang Pae Waterfall, the project aims to rehabilitate abused and mistreated gibbons to release them back into the wild.

Visiting the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center is an excellent educational experience and a reminder about responsible tourism. Many of these gibbons are captured as babies, their parents are massacred, and they’re used as props for tourism photos. Visiting the center is a fantastic reminder that we must be conscientious about our traveling decisions.

At the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, you can observe some of the gibbons. While a few of these gibbons are recent arrivals, others are permanently homed, unable to be released into the wild. While you can’t touch or feed these gibbons, watching them swing around is fun.

And since you’re in the area, I recommend hiking to the Bang Pae waterfall. It’s a short hike to a stunning waterfall and a great place to cool off from the humidity.

How to Get to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center from Phuket City: The easiest way to get there is to rent a motorbike. Driving there only takes around 22 minutes. Another option is to go by taxi if you’re okay with spending the extra cash. A final option for budget travelers like me, who are uncomfortable on motorbikes, is to take a blue songtaew to the Phuket Bang Rong Pier and then rent a motorbike or taxi. The bus takes around one hour to reach the pier, from which the drive to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center is much shorter.

More Info for Planning Things to Do Phuket Thailand

Best Time to Plan a Phuket Vacation

The absolute best time to visit Phuket is from November to February. This is when the weather is the coolest, with temperatures ranging from around 23°C to 30°C. While this means there will be more crowds and Phuket excursions will cost more, it is worth it.

March to mid-May is the hottest season, with temperatures ranging in the mid-30s. Mid-May to October is monsoon season, with the average temperature around 28 °C to 29 °C. The humidity is also high, and the weather patterns are erratic, making the water conditions more hazardous. However, there are many advantages to traveling to Phuket in the monsoon season, such as lower prices for Phuket tours and smaller crowds.

Want some tips on what to pack for Thailand? Click here for a minimalist packing list for Southeast Asia

Quick Tip: View my full Thailand packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Thailand Essentials shopping list here.

How to Get to Phuket From Bangkok

There are three main ways of getting to Phuket from Bangkok: plane, train, and bus.

Plane: An airplane is the quickest and most convenient way from Bangkok to Phuket. It only takes one hour and can be cheap, especially if you fly with budget airlines like AirAsia. There are some drawbacks to these budget airlines. For instance, these flights fill up quickly, are frequently delayed, and charge extra for check-in bags. However, I think it’s worth it. You can take a taxi or the public local bus to Phuket City from Phuket airport.

Train: While taking a train from Bangkok to Phuket is another option, it is much more difficult. There isn’t a direct train to Phuket, so you’ll first have to take a train from Bangkok to Surat Thani. This will take around 8.5-12 hours. Then, you’ll have to transfer onto a bus, which will take 4-5 hours to get you to Phuket. This method requires you to make two separate bookings, so you must be mindful of transfer times and potential delays.

Bus: Finally, both day and night buses take you from Bangkok to Phuket. These buses typically take 14 hours to arrive at their destination and tend to offer AC and onboard snacks and drinks. The level of comfort these buses provide varies, depending on the cost and quality of the carrier.

I recommend taking a plane from Bangkok to Phuket if it is within your budget. If not, I would recommend taking the bus.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Sino Inn Phuket Hotel
Sound Gallery House
Hostel Our Nomad

Thailand Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Thailand?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Thailand which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Thailand on Amazon here.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance. I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go to flight searching platforms.

🚗 Where can I book rental cars or private transportation?

I strongly recommend using 12Go or Bookaway. There are many transport options available such as train, bus, and ferry.

I would strongly advice against driving a car in Thailand but you can easily rent a scooter locally.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Thailand?

First and foremost check out all of the amazing Thailand tours Where Sidewalks End has. They are a small local company and they have some really special experiences.

For everything else I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using either Airhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia. They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals. However, Agoda is highly recommended in Thailand and it has the most selection.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Best Things to Do in Phuket Thailand: Final Thoughts

There are many fun Phuket things to do, such as Phuket excursions and day trips from Phuket. You’ll never run out of Phuket Thailand things to do! You’ll love exploring this area, from one-of-a-kind Phuket tours to relaxing islands perfect for a Phuket vacation.

Best Day Trips from Phuket City


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Hello! My name is Mia, and I’m a Canadian passionate about hiking and exploring the world on foot. While working abroad in Japan, I also run the travel blog Walk a While with Me, sharing my tips and guides for traveling worldwide. Follow my adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.