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What to see and do in Phuket – a guide to notable attractions

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The island is mainly famous for its beautifully serene beaches, huge luxurious yet cheap resorts and, of course, it’s partying. There is however, a lot more to it than that. Buddhist temples are everywhere on the island, as well as secret quiet beaches to explore and relax on. The interior area of Phuket is home to several national parks, one of which has some of the last virginal flora and fauna on the island.

Gren Fordham

My Destination local expert on


Phang Nga Bay


Made famous by the James Bond film, ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ is the vertical limestone formations. If you’re craving some activity, head here. Sea canoeing day tours are popular around here and it is a form of eco-tourism. You can also stay overnight camping on the island, see mangrove swamps and island grottos. Boating is also a popular activity in the Bay and is an ideal way to discover and experience the area.


Chalong Temple


As the most important of the 29 Buddhist temples in all of Phuket, Wat Chalong is the most ornately decorated. It is a must see if you’re into Buddhist temples. The temple is associated with three monks. One of the monks, who was the abbot at the time, assisted the local people in defeating Chinese attackers in the Chinese Coolie Rebellion in 1876. The temple is adorned in gold with red and white pagodas towering high into the sky and full of reclining Buddhas and concrete serpents lining the steps.


Big Buddha


Big Buddha or Ming Mongkol Buddha is the newest man-made attraction on the island. It is dedicated to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in honor of his 80th birthday. Big Buddha sits on a 380 meter hilltop and faces east, looking over Chalong Bay and beyond. This is a great viewpoint as there are 360 degree panoramic views of Phuket, the islands and the Andaman Sea from here.


Promthep Cape


Perhaps the most photographed and popular point in Phuket is Promthep Cape. Tourists flock up the island’s southernmost hill to watch the sun set over the rest of the island. Situated near Rawai Beach, Promthep Cape is busy almost every night with spectators wanting the best view of the Thai sunset. If you’re feeling adventurous, walk down to the bottom of the cape to get away from the rest of the snap-happy tourists. There is also the lighthouse here which has a small museum inside and a shrine adorned with hundreds of colorful elephant statues.


Phra Taew National Park


If you want to escape from the busy tourist crowds and simply see some more of natural Thailand, head inland to the area known as Interior Phuket. Here is the Phra Taew National Park, which is the last virginal forest land in Phuket. Ride an elephant through the jungle and see fertile hilly areas full of mangroves, forests, fishing villages, rubber and pineapple plantations. There is also the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, helping injured gibbons get back into the wild.