When you think about Phuket, you’re most likely thinking about the island’s fabulous beaches and wild parties on the infamous Bangla Road in Patong. You might think you have this Thai island all figured out, but as it turns out, the Pearl of the Andaman Sea has more than a few tricks hidden up its sleeve. Join us as we explore Phuket off the beaten path.
Inspiring Architecture and Cute Cafes
It might seem inconceivable, but after spending a few days laying on the beach, you might start craving for a change of scenery. A day trip into Old Phuket Town offers a nice break from the beach shacks on the coast. The Old Town offers an inspiring blend of Sino-Portuguese and Chinese influences and today, the walls are also a canvas for funky street art. What many people don’t realise is that the Old Town is not just a historic relic but a living and breathing community of creatives and coffee lovers. Stop by Bookhemian to browse the book selection and enjoy a cup of coffee. If you want to keep exploring Phuket off the beaten path, you can spend a night browsing through the Sunday night market and listening to great live music in Rockin’ Angels Blues Cafe.
Location: 61 Talang Road, Old Phuket Town
Rocking Angels Blues Café
Location: 55 Yaowarat Road, T. Taladyai, A. Muang, Phuket Old Town
Waterfalls and Rainforest Retreats
Like most people, you probably associate Phuket first and foremost with the island’s postcard ready beaches. If, however, you take the time to venture a bit inland, you’ll discover Phuket’s lush jungles and spellbinding waterfalls. A trek through the jungles followed by a natural waterfall shower is as close to tropical bliss you can get. One of the most beautiful places to visit is the Sirinat National Park located on the north coast.
Many visitors to Phuket opt for beachfront accommodation, but if you want to experience Phuket off the beaten path, you can also opt for lush jungle accommodation tucked further inland. Keemala is one of the most magical resorts on the island, with private pool villas inspired by bohemian treehouses and Bedouin tents. If you start missing the beach, Kamala Beach is just five minutes away.
One thing’s for sure – you won’t go hungry in Phuket. Whether you’re looking to sample the spicy local cuisine or want to indulge in some fine dining, Phuket’s diverse food scene has more than got you covered. There are plenty of staggering gourmet options available, where the only thing rivalling the cuisine are the jaw-dropping views. The Cove offers picture-perfect beachside dining in Ao Yon Bay. You can literally dig your toes in the sand as you tuck into your juicy tuna steak or crispy wood fired pizza.
If you’re looking to really dine in Phuket off the beaten path, Mor Mu Dong is a great option. This traditional Thai eatery is favoured by locals and serves up authentic Thai cuisine in a beautiful setting – if you’re lucky, you can grab a seat at one of the private bungalows over the mangroves.
Location: 8/1 Moo.8 Tambon Wichit, Ao Yon Beach
Mor Mu Dong
Location: 9/4 Chao Fah Ta Wan Aok Road, Chalong Subdistrict
As is true for the whole of Thailand, spirituality and the Buddhist faith are an integral part of life in Phuket. Visiting at least one temple will give you a deeper understanding of this island which is so often characterised only by its tourist hot spots. The most iconic religious landmark on the island is the Big Buddha, which commands a striking presence in Karon. Another popular place to visit is Wat Chalong, a large temple located in Chalong.
If you’re looking to discover Phuket off the beaten path, however, you might want to visit The Shrine of the Serene Light in Phuket Town. This Chinese temple offers a colourful break from the Thai wats. The shrine used to be a real hidden gem, as the entrance was carefully hidden off in a tiny alley. Now you can easily find the temple thanks to its new striking entrance, but relatively few tourists still make their way here.
Shrine of the Serene Light
Location: Phangnga Road, Old Phuket Town
Though many people associate Phuket with its party scene, the all-night raves of Patong are actually just a tiny part of Phuket. In reality, Phuket is a great destination for families as well. Besides enjoying the beautiful beaches, there are plenty of activities on the island that will keep the whole family entertained.
You can try surfing at Surf House Phuket – or if you don’t feel up for it, you can enjoy cocktails while the kids learn to surf! Flying Trapeze Phuket Adventure KidzSole lets kids fly through a lush jungle setting or take part in a “Ninja Warrior” training. There’s also plenty of family-friendly accommodation in Phuket, with private villas offering everything from bunk beds to kid-friendly pools and connecting bedrooms.