So you’re looking to spend 10 days in Phuket. Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and has some of the best beaches in the world along with clearest blue waters, who could ask for more?
With that said there is still so much more to Phuket than beautiful white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, there is in fact hundreds of things you can do which we will explore in this Phuket itinerary.
Phuket has something for everyone whether you are looking for a luxury stay in a resort, adventures and island hopping or just to meet other travellers and have a good time. You can find a place to stay and an area of Phuket that is suited to you.
If you’re coming from elsewhere in Thailand or South East Asia then you might arrive by overnight bus or train – we’ve experienced the bus trip from Phuket to Bangkok (what an experience!).
Otherwise, you will more than likely be arriving by plane into Phuket International Airport. Phuket international airport is located in the North of Phuket in Mai Khao. The airport is the main hub for both international and internal flights so you can pretty much guarantee you will be planning your route from there.
Thailand, in general, can be quite unclear on transport, the rules and how to get around. We found that simply just asking staff members, locals or fellow travellers worked really well.
We also found looking online for transport gives you a clear indication of what you can expect to find and where to get your transfers, also great for booking so you have a clear price and ticket already in hand.
You can take a number of transports from a taxi which will be located outside the airport, look for one using a meter or know how much you should be paying so you aren’t over charged.
Alternatively, you can catch the local bus into town, we did this on our second visit and found it easy. The bus is located out the front by the taxi rank of Phuket International Airport. You can pay as you board or get a ticket from inside.
Pro Tip: Look at taking a suitcase that converts into a backpack, this is extremely helpful for moving your bag around on ferries, boats and buses. It also makes it easier for any time you are on rough terrain that wheels would get stuck on.
Your first day will specifically focus on your arrival into Phuket International Airport, and getting settled in a hotel in Phuket town.
Once you’ve checked into your hotel, I’m going to be realistic here and say you’re going to be tired. REALLY TIRED. Even if you’ve slept for the entire flight. So, use this time to relax.
Phuket Blue Hostel – for budget travellers
The Besavana Phuket – for Families
Peranakan Boutique Hotel – for those looking to splash out!
Alternatively, if you are looking for somewhere that can act as a base for your Phuket itinerary I would suggest looking at Airbnb. Here you can find a place that is completely your own with kitchen and living space.
Day 1 – Wat Chalong Temple
Wat Chalong is a Buddhist temple located in the northern part of Tambol Chalong. The temple is a popular place for locals to come and pray along with many tourists coming to see the beautiful landmark.
It is said that many locals feel the temple has experienced many miracles and has a statue of a man who won the lottery a number of times due to consulting the Poh Than Jao Wat statue.
We will be starting the day with breakfast, I would suggest heading into the Old Town for Gallery Cafe, here we found an amazing service and even better food. I recommend getting the toasted bagel with scrambled egg and bacon.
After filling yourself with a delicious breakfast head to the Thalang road where you can find the bus to the temple. It takes around 30 minutes to Wat Chalong Temple.
Pro Tip: The bus has a price list inside but is roughly 35 TBH, the last bus home leaves at 6pm. If you get stuck they have the destination on the top on the front and down the side by the roof rack.
The Temple is open to visitors and is free, there are no restaurants but a variety of small carts with snacks and traditional Thai dishes for sale.
Pro Tip: As temples are a place of worship they do have rules against dress code. For most temples in Thailand, covering shoulders and legs, chest and belly are required. T-shirts and long trousers/shirts are an easy combination.
While at the temple you can find a number of places to find snacks and street food vendors. If you are looking for a restaurant you will need to walk further out into the main streets.
I would suggest heading to NaRimtang: Best Authentic Homemade Food Restaurant in Chalong, Phuket, here you can find a number of dishes from breakfast to dinner. . It is a 7-minute walk from Wat Chalong Temple so you don’t have to go far in the heat.
If you are looking for a little more freedom you can rent a scooter for, this is great for solo or couple travellers. Double and triple check your rental company and get cover/insurance to cover you from any scams. You can rent scooters for day trips, the week or select days you are in Phuket.
Pro Tip: If you plan to rent a scooter we suggest wearing a helmet and protection as there have been many accidents with tourists on scooters. This is especially important if you are hiring a scooter for the first time within Thailand.
Day 2 – Monkey Hill & Phuket Old Town
As a side note, if you’ve only got 1 day in Phuket, then I suggest you follow today’s itinerary…
Monkey Hill is an amazing experience, but please learn from our mistakes;
Walking up the hill in the humidity is PAINFUL. Instead, take a driver.
Buy bananas at the bottom of the hill, we didn’t see anyone selling any further up the hill as we got closer to the monkeys.
Take plenty of water, there’s no 7-11 halfway up (although at the time we decided to climb the hill, I really wished there was)
Make sure you go to the very top, the car will only be able to take you so far, the rest you have to walk. If you want to get some incredible views of Phuket it is worth walking the rest.
After being both terrified and excited by Monkeys, it’s going to be time for lunch. We spent a lot of time in Phuket Town, and thanks to the generous exchange rate ate in plenty of cafes. As you head across from Monkey Hill to the centre of Phuket town, call in one and grab a bite to eat to ready you for the afternoon ahead.
You’ll spend the afternoon walking the streets of Phuket old town. You’ll find streets filled with shop owners and local vendors, beautiful art-work and more here. It’s without a doubt one of our favourite places in the whole of Phuket.
The old town is full of brightly painted, century-old Sino-Portuguese townhouses which make for wonderful viewing. Many of them are cafes, coffee shops, artist shops, hostels and independent businesses.
Just a little street on the outskirts of the main area of Phuket Old Town there is a cat cafe. If you are anything like us you will make time in your itinerary for a quick stop here.
We decided to go here as part of a coffee break on a hot day to cool down and chill with some super cute cats.
End up the day by visiting one of the Phuket night markets. There are many that happen mostly on weekends and many street food vendors go there for the night. There you can find a whole host of vendors selling food, desserts, drinks, homemade items, and trinkets.
The Banzaan weekend market is a little out of Phuket Old Town but you can catch the local bus from Thalang Road and it will take you to the street. The street gets closed off to any traffic so it is safe to walk up and down.
Here you can find plenty of cheap food in Phuket. You can find plenty of different dishes to try and all are a great price. This is one of the best places to visit in Phuket with family as you can each try a different dish and experience so many different foods.
We decided to explore a number of dishes that we hadn’t yet tried along with octopus and squid, green noodles and many other dishes. We found the foods that come on a stick better as you can stand and walk while eating them.
Though we did find some sheltered abandoned doorsteps to sit and enjoy our food. You can find little nooks in alleys or doorways that are out of the way as it can get crowded.
Day 3 – Kata Beach & Karon Beach
Today we’re going to be leaving Phuket Old Town and travelling down to Kata Beach before heading further around the coast to Karon beach where we’ll be spending the night. The easiest, quickest and cheapest way to travel from Phuket Old Town to both beaches is via the local bus although you could also take a taxi.
Once you’ve made it to Karon beach I recommend checking in at the Chanalai Hillside Resort. The resort is situated a five-minute walk to the beach, features a buffet breakfast and two pool bars.
If you’re feeling really fancy I recommend the five-star Mandarava Resort and Spa this will set you back around £80 for a double room for the night.
The beach areas here are quieter than Patong but livelier than Naiyang. You will find that this is a popular area for families and will often find some of the best beach resorts in Phuket for families.
Day 4 -Big Buddha
Day four will see you take a taxi from the hotel to the Big Buddha. This can be pre-arranged at the hotel reception, or you can simply flag down a taxi and barter your price at the time.
If you’re not feeling confident then the Thai equivalent to Uber, Grab is available. This way you can use your smartphone and find out the cost of the journey in advance, there’s no haggling and you can pay through your bank card direct.
This is one of the best way to travel around Phuket, other options include the local bus or private hire.
The Big Buddha is regarded as one of the most important landmarks on the island. Sitting on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata, at 45 metres tall it can be seen from as far away as Phuket Old Town.
Want a little more help? Why not get a guide book to help you out?
The Big Buddha can be reached via a 6km winding road leading from Phuket’s main road. While the road to Nakkerd Hill is in good condition with some curves and steep climbs, some less-powerful scooters can struggle (especially with two people on board).
Which is why we’d advise you to get a taxi instead. Of course, if you’re feeling fit then you can always take the one hour hike to the top.
Regardless of how you get to The Big Buddha, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best 360-degree views of the island.
If you’re after somewhere to chill out and grab a coffee or some lunch then consider stopping in at the Nakkerd Sea View Restaurant. Despite it being located in a ‘tourist’ spot you’ll still find the prices to be very reasonable.
Pro Tip: If you plan to do plenty of walking around Phuket to save money on taxi’s and tuk-tuks, remember to pack plenty of water and snacks. This is especially important in hotter months. Also, don’t forget your suncream and hats!
Day 5 – Patong
One place many tourists love to experience is Patong. Famous for nightlife, ping pong shows and live entertainment, it has it all.
If you are looking to experience the nightlife, live music and every type of bar you can think of this is the place for you.
Here you can relax on the beach or pool by day and party like it’s 1999 all night.
As the sun goes down, you’ll head to Patong. The party capital of mainland Thailand, and around a 15-minute drive north of Karon Beach. No trip to Patong is complete without
a ping pong show a trip down Bangala Road. The central hub of Patong.
There’s plenty of places to eat and drink during your visit to Patong, all of which are very reasonably priced. Being the most ‘typical tourist’ destination you’ll also find some familiar brands here including; McDonalds, Hooters & Hard Rock Cafe.
Day 6 – Head Out On A Day Trip
From Patong, you can go to a number of places by car, bus or boat. Patong is a hub of activity so there is going to be something for everyone.
Some of the favourites are exploring the neighboring islands such as these;
Phuket: Phi Phi, Maya, Bamboo And Maiton Island Day Trip – This Phi Phi Island tour from Phuket takes you to and from the island by boat along with other islands around the area.
If you are looking for a little more adventure you can check out some of the diving a scuba diving tours available.
Pro Tip: If you plan to spend most of your day out at sea don’t forget to pack plenty of essentials such as water, light snacks, suncream and a t-shirt to cover your shoulders. We made the mistake on our first trip and unfortunately, got serious sunburn after 30 minutes in the pool (whilst wearing suncream).
Scuba diving and snorkeling is highly popular within Thailand due to the clear blue waters and amazing ocean life. Alternatively, many resorts and all-inclusive hotels can organise boat trips to go snorkeling.
If you are interested in doing a Phuket scuba diving course, you can find a number in the area to choose from.
Alternatively, if you already have a license and are well and truly used to diving (unlike me) there are a number of different tours you can take to go to the best diving spots around Phuket.
Similan Islands Snorkeling Day Trip from Phuket or Khaolak – Open from mid-October to mid-May, this first-class speedboat experience will wow you while you explore the marine life within 3 islands of the Marine National Park.
Day 7 – Check-In To BangTao
Bang Tao Bay is the ultimate place to check-in and relax, you can find 5 Star resorts that lead you straight onto the beach.
Just 30 minutes from Patong you can be in a completely different way of life. Bang Tao is a place that the locals still make a living from traditional routes such as farming, fishing and rubber tapping.
This little hideaway is a great place to spend a luxurious night or two getting pampered and suntanned.
We recommend staying at the Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort as this is one of the best beach front resorts in Phuket. There is 2 restaurants to choose from along with a bar area to enjoy a cocktail or two.
I would definitely say this is one of the best Phuket resorts for couples. Especially those looking to celebrate or even on their honeymoon.
If relaxing isn’t your thing you can try out Wakeboarding, located in the area and run by a professionally trained team. Why not try it and crash around in the beautiful blue water for the afternoon?
If like me water sports gives you a quirky feeling in your stomach why not try a different mode of transport that is bound to be more relaxing and much more scenic. You can go horseback riding along the beach and around the area seeing the best of BangTao.
Day 8 – Elephant Sanctuary & Bang Pae Waterfall
While BangTao has everything you need to relax and make the most of the beautiful surroundings there is a place that everyone comes to Thailand for, Elephants. Elephants are a big attraction in Thailand and unfortunately have been abused and kept captive for tourists to see.
That is changing and now there are more and more elephant sanctuaries opening that look after the elephants and give them a life free of training and chains.
Within Phuket, there are 3 separate elephant sanctuaries that are open to visitors. Instead of listing them here I decided to include a link to the list of them on TripAdvisor so you can read the reviews and get a good idea of which you would prefer to visit.
You can organise a visit with transport through a local agency, online tour booking company or through your resort/hotel. Many can organise taxi’s and transport to pick you up and drop you off.
Some include mud baths and feeding and other contact with the elephants whereas others are strictly open to viewing the elephants and as a more natural habitat for them.
Pro Tip: Depending on your choice of Elephant sanctuary may mean you are going to get dirty and wet. Take a spare set of clothes to change into along with a carrier bag to put in your dirty clothes.
Remember to wear your swimwear and something you don’t mind getting soaked by the elephants.
Places such as Green Elephant Sanctuary Park are working hard to create a healthy, free colony of elephants that can go on to expand within Thailand. Their main message is to teach younger generations a way of life for animal welfare along with stopping the ill-treatment of elephants across Thailand.
After spending some time with the elephants head back to your resort and relax. Go for a spa treatment, lay by the pool or go for a swim in the sea.
Day 9 – Sirinat National Park
You’ll be spending your final day in NaiYang, one of my favourite places. Sirinat National Park, situated just half a mile from the entrance to Phuket Airport this park and beach is like no other on the island.
Pro Tip: If you are eager to see a beautiful sunrise or sunset this is the place to do it. With very little in the way of light pollution, other people, you can get an uninterrupted view.
Here you can experience a laid back and relaxing part of Phuket with very little in terms of people, tourists and vendors. Further up towards the main road and if you are heading to the airport you can find street food vendors, places to go for a drink and shops.
Otherwise, down by the beach, there is hardly anything which makes it a heaven for relaxing and enjoying the clear blue sea.
A great benefit to spending your final night here is the close proximity to the airport ensuring you’ll be at the airport for your flight in plenty of time. To learn more about Sirinat National Park be sure to check out our complete article.
Alternatively, if like us you wanted something else to fill your day you can go 20 minutes away in a car to Soi Dog Foundation.
Soi Dog Foundation are a non-profit charity that helps the mostly stray dogs and cats around Thailand. They fight to put them back to health, get them the care they deserve and need along with often finding them new homes.
Pro Tip: When visiting the Soi Dog Foundation wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little smelly or covered in fur from the dogs and cats. Also, don’t forget to take some spare cash to buy a drink or make a donation to the foundation.
Many go on to find homes over in the UK and USA mostly from people who came to Soi Dog to help out and fell in love or simply wanted to find a dog and chose one of those. We helped out for the day – all we did was play with the dogs and cats but honestly, it was so worth it.
The volunteers are more than happy to give you a tour around the facility and tell you all about what they do there and what they aim to achieve. There is a place to buy drinks but not food. There is plenty of English speaking volunteers that can help you out or tell you more if you require it.
Day 10 – Fly Home
Your 10 days in Phuket are over. Head to Phuket Airport and catch your flight home safely. Scroll through all the amazing photos you’ve taken and start planning your return visit.
We do hope you’ve enjoyed this article. You can see all of our articles from Thailand here.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is there to do in Phuket on a budget?
There are many different things to do such as exploring Phuket Old Town, Walk Monkey Hill and visit the temples and the Big Buddha.
Is Phuket Expensive For Tourists?
Phuket is known to be one of the more expensive places within Thailand but there are ways to save money. Look at staying in hotels and hostels instead of resorts and eat street food instead of restaurants.
What Is The Best Month To Visit Phuket?
Phuket like the rest of Thailand is generally always warm. The highest season is from November to February when it is cool and drier. The weather then remains hot up until May, Monsoon season starts mid-May until October.
Can you swim in Phuket beaches?
You can swim within the sea at Phuket beaches but always air with a side of caution. Monsoon season is mid-May to October which often means the sea is very rough. Do not swim if there are red warning flags out. Karon and Kata beach are the only beaches to have lifeguards.