Heard the news? Of course, you have. Thailand’s largest and perhaps most vibrant island has officially reopened to fully vaccinated travellers without the need to quarantine! While some LGBTQ+ holidaymakers have already rocked up to Phuket’s shores, others are still planning their stay – and it’s understandable you’d want to spend some time thinking about what to do on the island in the Andaman Sea; after all, it’s the biggest in the country and the most diverse in many ways. If you’re planning two weeks in Phuket, here are a few recommendations on things to see and do!
01: Toast to your holiday at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery
You can’t go wrong with a boozy visit to this eco-conscious distillery offering tours and tastings. In recent years, this place has become incredibly popular and when you visit, you’ll quickly see that’s to do with the lovely pair that run Chalong Bay Rum Distillery. Needless to say, you might want to pick up a bottle, as well – although Thailand isn’t known for rum, this place proves Phuket can do it all!
02: Visit the island’s Big Buddha statue
This huge, hilltop Buddha statue was completed as recently as 2014, but it’s already become a Phuket icon! Clad entirely in Burmese white marble, the imposing statue stands some 45 metres tall and getting up here makes for a good climb. The views, the Buddha itself, and the monk-run and donations-based vegetarian restaurant right behind it make it more than worth a visit.
03: Spend a day soaking up some sun by the beach
It’s simply impossible to spend two weeks in Phuket without spending at least one day by the beach. There are plenty of beautiful stretches of sand scattered all across the island; from tiny and lesser-known ones in the south, to legendary beaches such as Patong, Karon or Kamala. If you can’t decide which one to visit, you can always rent a scooter and beach-hop!
04: Watch macaques in their natural habitat on Monkey Hill
These cheeky animals are at home across the Kingdom, but Phuket’s Monkey Hill is perhaps one of the best places to observe them in their natural habitat. It’s not advised to feed or touch macaques, as they tend to be very bold and fearless, but if you stay at a respectful distance, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful and often hilarious sights of mothers carrying their young ones or young monkeys playing together. Bring a camera!
05: Stroll down Naka Weekend Market
If you’re going to spend two weeks in Phuket, you’ll simply have to visit this bustling weekend market (twice, we’d argue!). Set in the island’s historic Old Town, Naka Weekend Market delivers on everything from locally made trinkets, hand-carved and natural soap bars, and of course some of the Kingdom’s most delectable street food! Plan in plenty of time for your visit, as there are also musical performances, dances, and more.
06: Explore gorgeous Wat Chalong
Not a temple person? Let the intricate and large Wat Chalong temple complex change your mind. Home to a splinter of a bone from the Lord Buddha himself, this place is considered sacred and it’s no surprise it’s so well looked after: during a visit, travellers get to explore Wat Chalong’s beautiful grounds nestled in between lakes and the hills of southern Phuket – there are also a few street food stalls, should you get hungry!
07: Check out a museum or two in Phuket’s Old Town
Museums might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning two weeks in Phuket, but the island’s colourful Old Town and surrounding areas are home to some real gems. There’s the beautiful Chinpracha House Museum, a privately owned museum featuring traditional architecture and an eclectic mix of memorabilia. Another favourite is the quirky Thavorn Museum, which showcases exhibits that might seem random at first, but end up painting a vibrant image of the island’s amazing history.
08: Party it up in Patong’s gay district
Ain’t no party like a Phuket party! While Bangkok is internationally renowned for its wild and welcoming LGBTQ+ party scene, Phuket is the island equivalent to the capital. Head for the legendary Paradise Complex, a small but fun area within Patong Beach, where nights are long, the streets are on fire, and cocktails are aplenty!
09: Take a trip to Karon viewpoint
Any visit to Thailand’s biggest island should include a climb up to a viewpoint, but if you’ve got two weeks in Phuket, you’d be downright foolish not to put a viewpoint on your bucket list. There are, in fact, so many viewpoints here, you could visit a different one almost every night, but Karon has long been a favourite, and the sunset views from here are simply magical…
10: Fly through the jungle Tarzan-style
Adventure-seeking travellers feel right at home on the island, with several water parks and bungee jumping places available. But if you want to zip-line through Phuket’s tropical rainforest, remember to spend an afternoon at popular Flying Hanuman in Kathu. An enormous adventure land for young and old, Flying Hanuman is a thrilling way to spend some time with friends and family!
11: Check out nearby Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island
Boats of all different shapes and sizes head out to the otherworldly and breathtaking Phang Nga Bay on a daily basis; from larger group tours to private luxury excursions. Whichever option you go for, make sure the itinerary includes a stop by the one-of-a-kind James Bond Island, which featured in the 1974 instalment of the legendary franchise.
12: Learn how to make your favourite Thai dish
No trip to Thailand is complete without a visit to a traditional cookery school, and if you’ve got two weeks in Phuket, you’ll no doubt want to learn how to recreate some of those delicious meals back at home. For a special treat, the world-renowned Blue Elephant Cookery School is a must: prepare your favourite dishes and savour them afterwards in the surroundings of this historic, grand villa – bon appetit!
13: Visit Koh Sirey
A smaller and utterly peaceful island attached directly to Phuket’s southeastern shoreline, Koh Sirey sees few visitors. Thanks to its off-the-beaten-path location, Sirey is less developed, offering a glimpse into the Phuket of yesterday. There are a few pretty temples, idyllic villages and lots of natural landscapes to explore. It’s hard not to fall in love with this place…
14: Take a day off to do nothing at all
It’s often said that the Kingdom’s slower pace and welcoming mindset help travellers calm down and reconnect with themselves. Before your two weeks in Phuket come to an end, we’d recommend taking a day to just laze away and enjoy the simple things: friendly smiles, the feeling of sand beneath your feet, the sight of palm trees swaying in the breeze. You’re in paradise – remember to take it all in!