phuket what to see
Explore the Old Town
The main street of Old Phuket Town is Thalang Road and the Sino-Portuguese architecture is breathtaking. Peruse the eclectic mix of unique shops, including the oldest herb shop in Phuket, where jars are filled with home remedies for every ailment you can think of. I stopped to watch the skilled owner carefully mixing ingredients, and the locals were more than happy to tell me about the history of the shop, which opened in 1917. From here, you can wander past shop windows offering colourful clothes and handmade jewellery to a café called Since 1892, where you’ll find some of the tastiest coffee in Phuket.
See the Big Buddha
Nothing says Phuket like the Big Buddha. Sitting atop Nakkerd Hills, this is one of the most revered landmarks on the island and offers mesmerising views. Head up on a clear day and you’ll be able to see as far as Phi Phi. Wander all the way around the Buddha’s base, spotting Kata, Karon and Chalong Bay as you go. You can even walk inside the 45-metre tall marble statue to the meditation hall, where you will often find monks sitting and chanting.
Visit Wat Chalong
Wats – or Buddhist temples – are among the most important symbols of Thailand and you will find plenty to explore in Phuket. I visited Wat Chalong on my first day here and spent several hours amidst the beautiful buildings, stopping to look at the wall and ceiling paintings, which depict the life of Buddha. Wat Chalong Chedi, the temple’s tallest structure, is also built across three floors, so you can climb to the top terrace for a bird’s-eye view of the temple grounds.
Relax on Kata Noi Beach
Situated on the southwest of the island, this cosy little bay is the ideal place to relax. Stroll along the soft sands, swim or snorkel, or simply chill out with your favourite book. If you’re seeking a more active pace, hike up to Kata Viewpoint. From here, you can enjoy one of the best panoramas of the island, while sipping your favourite cocktail as the sun sets.