Thailand is a small country, but it has such a vast landscape to explore. Phuket is an amazing stop to include in your Thailand trip, because it has so much to offer on such a tiny island.
- Karon Beach – It’s probably no secret that Phuket is known for it’s pristine beaches, and we now know why. You could probably close your eyes, stick your finger on the map, and end up at a gorgeous beach, but we highly recommend Karon beach. It’s warm water is just cool enough to help you with the sun, but not cool enough that you ever have to get out. The waves are the perfect level of “calm but not boring”, there’s ample shade or sun, and there are tons of locals there offering fun tourist activities like parasailing. Did we mention there’s a swing? Or that it’s near the nicest beach hostel we’ve ever stayed at?
- Bang Pae Waterfall – At the base of this mountain is a wildlife sanctuary where they care for mistreated and domesticated wildlife. A twenty-minute hike up the mountain from there is a beautiful waterfall over a rock formation with clear, clean water. We were able to make it up this hike with only our flip-flops, but we don’t recommend it. Also, beware of diving at the waterfall. The dark color of the rocks beneath it makes it hard to gauge depth perception.
- Banzaan Market – We hit this market after nightfall and it was bustling! They have everything from knockoff cosmetics and clothes, to the best food vendors around. Plan to spend a few hours there when the sun goes down hunting for a bargain and trying the local fare. Keep in mind, it does cost a few baht to use the restrooms there and no paper is provided.
- Phuket Elephant Sanctuary – If you’re an animal lover, don’t miss out on these giant friends! We never realized elephants were so friendly until we met the herd at the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. They’re all so responsive and love the staff like family. Side note: If you are afraid of spiders keep in mind you will be in the jungle – they didn’t bother us at all, but we saw quite a few larger than life 8-legged friends.
- Phuket Airport Beach – The beach at the end of the runway at Phuket Airport is not the most beautiful on the island (to be fair the bar is set SUPER high), but it’s quite fun if you like the thrill of watching airplanes descend over your head!
We managed to do all of these things in only a day and a half on Phuket! Our biggest recommendation? Rent a driver. There were four of us, and renting a driver for the entire day came out to less than 20USD a person and was well worth it given how quickly we got from one spot to the next, how we didn’t have to stress about finding a taxi ever, and did I mention AC?