We were so excited to be returning to old Phuket town having previously only ‘day tripped’ here on previous trips to Thailand. One experience in particular that both Helen and I were looking forward to was climbing Monkey Hill Phuket for the chance to interact with wild monkeys.
The walk from the bottom of the hill to the top is 3.5km and provides some of the most stunning views over Phuket and beyond. Of course, as you take in that view, don’t be surprised if one of the resident monkey’s doesn’t steal a banana out of your hand.
Finding Monkey Hill Phuket
Luckily for us, we were staying local so it was a short walk to the base of the hill for us. If you are staying in areas such as Patong or Kata you can get there by bus which will stop at bus terminal 1. You can then walk from the bus terminal to the hill, or you can catch a taxi or tuk-tuk. You can also visit the hill by a scooter as many people do.
The entrance of Monkey Hill Phuket is marked by a large pink sign and has 2 golden monkeys sat on top. There is a couple more of these signs throughout the walk up the hill. You will also see on the path the start of the hill with a counter of the distance walked. There was only one vendor at the bottom of the hill selling bags of nuts and bananas. The later in the day there is more available to buy from.
Walking Monkey Hill Phuket
Though you can get to the very top by scooter we chose to walk. The walk is roughly 3.5km and it is noted on the path going up. The walk starts off quite steady with some lovely natural tree shelters along the path to shade you from the sun.
As you start to walk up higher and higher up the hill you will notice an incline in the walk. We struggled as two 20 something-year-olds in an okay shape we were shocked. We were walking the monkey hill trail in peak season at one of the hottest parts of the day… which may explain why we struggled. If you are walking when it is cooler, there is a chance that the road will be closed and there will be more space for you to walk.
Later on the walk up, you may notice some pigs hidden in the bushes, even some dogs too. This was a wonderful surprise and was great to see some other wildlife. I love seeing the dogs happily cohabitate with other animals around. While you won’t see any monkeys for a little longer yet it is fun to see the other wildlife living on the hill. You will spot many friendly dogs sunbathing or laying in the shade along the way too. While on the walk don’t forget to stop every so often to take in the stunning views over Phuket. There is plenty of signs stating you should not feed the monkeys but it seems to be encouraged.
You will know once you hit monkey territory as there is a larger space that has parking bays for cars and scooters, two wooden viewpoints to the left and more gym equipment to the right. This is the highest point vehicles are supposed to be able to get to. Some vehicles do go up as there is the TV stations up at the very top. Scooters are still permitted to go further up and is parking at the top available by the viewpoint.
This was the spot we first started to see the monkeys. As we walked we took a backpack with drinks and equipment in, I had a drink in my hand at the time and a young male came running towards me (I think with the excitement of food). He did attempt to take my drink but staying calm and slowly walking away he moved on without any bother. There were plenty of bananas and other fruits around that they had happily been eating before we arrived.
The monkeys are very playful to one another, they will try and take anything you have in your hand. Most of the time they are successful so be aware that they will try and take your things. With the attempt on my bottle of water, I quickly put it away in my bag and showed that my hands were empty. If there are other visitors around that have food they will soon move on and be interested in something else. Seeing the monkeys happily swinging in the trees and playing with one another was a surreal experience and something I won’t forget anytime soon.
Walking further up the hill will seem more steep and windy. You will reach the top where there is an amazing viewpoint over Phuket and a little area in where the monkeys play and run wild. While we were there in February there were no shops or places to get any nuts or bananas. Though we read that there would be, whether this was down to the time of year or time of day we arrived may be the reason. So make sure you take plenty of water to keep you hydrated on the walk there and back.
Once you reach the top you will see the pavement sign stating to make a U-turn. If you don’t want to walk the full hill you can see plenty of monkeys at the point I mentioned before. It took us roughly an hour to walk to the very top of monkey hill Phuket with plenty of stops along the way.
Getting A Taxi Up Monkey Hill Phuket
If like us you’re a little nervous about hiring a scooter, or simply want to hire a taxi for the journey (or even the day) then you can get a taxi from anywhere. If you have used the local bus to get into Phuket Old Town you can catch a taxi from there but be sure to haggle. Its sort of like having your own guide and they’ll know where to stop and when to stop and assist you.
The taxi can only go up to a certain point, so at this point, if you are wanting to go up the full hill you would have to walk the last leg. There are still plenty of monkeys around at the bay where cars can park up. You can agree with your taxi driver a time to wait for you while you walk up the rest of monkey hill or just see them for a little while.
There are restrictions on vehicles at hours between 7-8 am and 4-7 pm so make sure you take that into consideration when visiting monkey hill Phuket.
Riding A Scooter Up Monkey Hill Phuket
If you are confident on a scooter then we’d recommend using this to go up Monkey Hill whether you’re staying in Phuket town or travelling from elsewhere within Phuket because it means you can get to the very top of monkey hill without any trouble.
On the scooter, you can get to the top of monkey hill without any issues. There is a restriction on vehicles between 7-8 am and 4- 7 pm whether this also applies to scooters I am not sure.
Best Time To Visit Monkey Hill Phuket
Though I don’t think there is any set time in which you can visit the hours seem to be open from 7 am to 10 pm. Vehicles such as cars aren’t allowed up during the hours of 7-8 am and 4-7pm. Great time to visit if you are a pedestrian. We visited monkey hill Phuket at 10 am, though it was still quite a quiet time to visit in February, we struggled with the heat. If you were to walk I would recommend going earlier in the morning or later as the afternoon heat dies down.
While we were leaving roughly around half 12- 1 pm that was getting to be the busiest time for visitors both by bike, car and pedestrian. I would recommend taking plenty of water for the walk. You will also spot plenty of locals dressed in fitness gear walking, running or cycling up and down the hill, there is also plenty of stops along the way for a workout or just a sit down in our case.
What To Bring To Monkey Hill Phuket
Based on our experience of Monkey Hill Phuket here’s a couple of things we’d recommend packing for your visit;
- Nuts / Banana’s (or be sure to buy them at the bottom of the hill)
- Water (because there are only two shops on the hill that sell any
- Protein Bar (in case you need a sugar boost)
- First Aid Kit (in case you have any accidents)
- Money (so you can buy anything you’ve forgotten)
- Camera / Smartphone (so you can take photos of your experience visiting Monkey Hill)
We’d also suggest wearing comfortable shoes. Even if you’re not planning on walking up Monkey Hill Phuket it’s still likely you’ll do a lot of incline climbing when you make it to the furthest point for vehicles.
The Monkeys Of Monkey Hill Phuket
The monkeys are cheeky and you have to remember that they are wild animals. Though they are often around humans and have human interaction they are still wild animals. As they like to take anything from you remember to keep your belongings away in a bag or in pockets.
We encountered plenty of monkeys from a range of ages from very young monkeys still attached to their mother to the elder males. Some of them will play and fight but that is just natural and is nothing to worry about. We thoroughly enjoyed our walk and time with the monkeys and would definitely go again but maybe not walk the full hill again.
It was fair to say after that we had earned ourselves a wonderful lunch and an ice cold drink. Visiting Monkey Hill Phuket was definitely a highlight of our trip and would love to come and see the monkey’s again. Though I enjoyed the walk and the experience I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone and would suggest a scooter or taxi would be more suitable. If you’re planning on spending a number of days in Phuket and the surrounding areas then consider checking out our itinerary.
If you have liked this let me know in the comments below. Also if you have been to monkey hill Phuket what did you like and what would you recommend to others visiting? What time of did day and year did you visit and was it much different? Let us know in the comments or find us on social media.