Phuket is well known for islands and glorious beaches, but there is so much more to discover and do, especially if there are children on vacation with you.
Keeping them entertained is pretty easy with all the colorful and fun things that are going on in and around Phuket that so many people miss seeing.
Read on to see what to do in Phuket to fill your time between kicking back on the beach.
In This Guide
Top Ten Places to Visit in Phuket
1. Visit the Big Buddha
On top of the Nakkered Hills sits the 45 meters tall Big Buddha, Phuket locals and tourists can see from miles away.
Once you have made it to the top, the site gives a full 360-degree view of the surrounding island and most of the Phuket beaches.
Once you are up close and personal with the Buddha, the atmosphere becomes pretty serene with the sound of small bells and the flapping of small flags intermingled with some faint dharma music.
The Buddha was built in 2004 and is made from reinforced concrete, but you wouldn’t know this from the covering of white jade which glistens in the bright sun.
Sunset is one of the best times to visit, but this is also one of the most crowded. There is also a dress code, so hiking up the hill might not be an option, and it would be easier to make the 6km drive.
2. FantaSea Show Phuket
The Phuket FantaSea show is one of the must things to do in Phuket with children. It is the largest show on the island and is packed full of trapeze artists, performing elephants and a storyline that will keep many a child entertained.
To top all this is the massive buffet on offer which happens to be one of the biggest anywhere in Asia, while set inside the theme park where there are carnival type games, lots of shops to look around and elephant rides for the kids, or the sea-themed arcade which is packed full of games.
The buffet hall can fit in an astounding 4000 diners so it will be a noisy event, but with traditional Thai and western food, there will be more than enough to please any pallet.
3. Pay a Visit to the Banyan Tree
After days of exploring the islands, this can make a relaxing change. Why not indulge in the ‘Worlds best spa resort.’
The Banyan Tree Phuket is an exotic hideaway and consists of lots of pools, the Laguna golf course, a fitness pavilion, and tennis courts.
There is also half a dozen restaurants and a couple of bars to grab a soothing cocktail or two during the afternoon sun.
It might be a day for the adults, but spending some time in the award-winning spa’s will make anyone revived for the second half of their vacation.
4. Visit the Big Cats at the Tiger Kingdom
This is a once in a lifetime experience for kids. Having the chance to choose which tiger to have their picture taken with, or you can purchase an all in a ticket so they can meet and pet tigers of all ages.
It is advisable to get there as the doors open to avoid the heat and also the crowds which quickly build up. Once all the fun of meeting the tigers is over, it will be time for lunch, because it can make you really hungry.
Apart from this, there is also a bungee jump or a zip line your kids can have a go on before relaxing for an afternoon cocktail in one of the bars.
Tiger Kingdom Phuket might not be to everyone’s taste because of the captivity, but the Tigers have grown up around humans, so to them it’s another day at the office.
5. Elephant Sanctuaries
This can be another one for the kids or kids of all ages. These are hugely popular, but remain ethical and only encourage animal-friendly interaction.
Most of the elephants at any of the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary have been rescued or enjoying their retirement from the logging industry.
This Elephant sanctuary was the area pioneer for ethical tourism for the elephants and still continue to go to great lengths to make sure they enjoy a peaceful and natural environment.
Tours are for a half day where you can roam around and watch them eat and play in the water, but there are no rides available here because it is a sanctuary in the 30-acre area they have to enjoy a peaceful life.
6. Take a Stroll Down Thalang Road
If you fancy a stroll down through Old Phuket Town, chances are you will be heading down Thalang Road. This is right in the heart of the old Sino-Portuguese area and full of colonial houses.
Aside from the houses, there are plenty of house come restaurants you can dive into, or you can take a quick tour around the Thai Hua Museum.
If you are there on the weekend, you can see a very different view of Thalang street. From four until nine on a Sunday, what used to be a quiet road is converted into one huge open-air market.
With anything from cheap jeans or designer t-shirts, there is something for everyone that doesn’t like to pay the mall prices. The Phuket walking street is fun and has plenty of good vibes so even the kids can enjoy it.
7. Wat Chalong Temples
You will find lots of culture in Phuket, and none more so than the Wat Chalong temples. These are some of the most important places in Phuket City if not all of Thailand.
For over 100 hundred years, Wat Chalong has welcomed visitors, but it is still a place where locals pray.
There is also a mass of travelers who visit the temple to learn more about Buddhism.
One of the most important statues is the Poh Than Jao Wat which is located in the old westerly hall of the temple. There is also two statues of an old man called Ta Khee-lek who was a famous local that won a few lotteries.
Stick close to the central statue, and maybe some luck will rub off on you while you are on your travels.
8. Phang Nga Bay – James Bond Island
For any lover of James Bond, there is no better place to visit than Phang Nga Bay. But, aside from that if you take one of the daily boat cruises through the limestone islands, you can soak up the beauty before stopping at some of the secluded beaches.
On your way around you can see Koh Panyee which is a village unlike any other, and is built on stilts that reach out over the water.
This is where many visitors come at lunchtime after their trip to James Bond Island to eat and shop around.
9. Phi Phi Island
If you haven’t booked this as part of your vacation, you might wish you booked a couple of days on what is probably one of the best beaches in Phuket.
If you arrive, you might find the setting very familiar because it comes from another movie. Leonardo De Caprio helped to make it famous in the 2000 blockbuster ‘The Beach’ so it is widely talked about.
If you arrive by boat, the beach rises up like a fortress with the cliffs towering overhead that fall back to the jungle.
For the most laid back attitude, there is no other place like it on the planet.
10. Ziplines in the Jungle
After a few days of self-indulgence, it will be good to finish off with a jungle trip for the kids. Flying Hanuman Phuket is a massive zip line adventure that is situated between Patong and Phuket town.
This will be as exciting as visiting the tigers and is suitable for kids over 4 years of age. You are taken up to the reception by vehicle, and you can take part in the 28 platform course that covers 15 zip lines and 2 sky bridges.
With over 80,000 square meters of forest, and rides up to 40 meters in the air, it is enough to satisfy any adrenaline junkie.
If you have never been to Phuket, there are plenty of things waiting for your attention as soon as you touchdown in the Phuket airport.
If you have read up where to go, you will find after a few days. There is so much more to explore and do than what you can see in your Thailand travel guide.
Phuket has something for everyone, and the best time to visit to avoid the masses of other tourists would be May to October when the rainy season begins.
It will be quieter, and there is a chance to bag some real bargains on travel and hotels. After all, a little bit of rain here an there never hurt anyone, and it can help to keep you fresh.