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Phuket in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Phuket is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand and three days might not seem long enough to get to know it, but with the right itinerary you can optimize your time on the island. Here I tell you what are the best plans for each day of your trip.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

10 min read

Phuket in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Phuket | George

If you are planning a short stay in Phuket you should keep in mind that, due to the large number of attractions offered by the island, you will have to put together an itinerary and try to make the most of the time of your tour. To do so, it will be essential that you can optimize the transfers between each of the activities and that you opt for a scheme that brings together each site according to a pattern, preferably by geographical proximity.

If your total travel time on the island is 3 days, some of the best things to do in Phuket include exploring the old town on a guided tour, visiting Patong beach, touring the Phi Phi islands, visiting the Big Buddha, exploring the Kamala coast and discovering the shows at Simon Cabaret.

Day 1: Explore Phuket Old Town, visit Patong Beach, enjoy the nightlife on Bangla Road and go on a pub crawl

Patong Beach| ©Thomas Galvez
Patong Beach| ©Thomas Galvez

For the first day of your tour, I suggest you take a tour of Phuket's old town to see the main sites of the city, visit Patong Beach, which offers one of the most beautiful landscapes of the region, and discover the nightlife of the city on the populous Bangla Road, which will give you the opportunity to participate in a tour of the typical bars of this destination.

Explore Phuket Old Town

Exploring the old town is one of the best things to do in the city. Phuket is one of the most traditional places in Thailand and in its historical perimeter you can get to know some of the typical buildings of the local architecture and also discover the customs of the region.

In the old area, also known as Phuket Town, you can discover the colonial charm of the city and its rich history. If you wish, you can tour this site on your own, as you can get there by intercity transport or the Phuket tourist bus.

However, if you are looking for an alternative that allows you to optimize your time in the city, you can opt for a guided tour. During the tour you will be accompanied by an expert guide who will share with you fascinating knowledge and anecdotes about the historical buildings and ancient temples you will encounter along the way, making this experience one of the best tours in Phuket.

In addition, a guided tour will allow you to discover landmarks such as Jui Tui Chinese Temple and Wat Mongkol Nimit Temple. You will appreciate the tranquility of these sacred places and learn about the religious and spiritual practices of Thai culture.

Book a guided tour in Phuket

Visit Patong Beach

Phuket, like much of southern Thailand's destinations, is noted for its beaches, so the next step of the tour will be to visit Patong. Located on the west coast of the island, Patong Beach is known for its vibrant atmosphere and its vast white sands lapped by turquoise waters. From Phuket Town you can get there by local bus, a journey of about half an hour.

Patong Beach is a lively and bustling scene. One of the great features of this site is the wide range of water activities, such as surfing, kayaking and snorkeling, which will allow you to explore the underwater world of the region. In addition, if you plan to visit Phuket in November you can join the Patong Carnival.

If you need a break from the beach, you can also explore the surrounding area. You will find stores, markets and malls, where you can buy souvenirs, beachwear and local handicrafts. There you can also go on culinary excursions and take cooking classes.

Book a food tour in Phuket

Enjoy the nightlife on Bangla Road

No tour of Phuket is complete until you get to know the city's nightlife, and for that nothing better than a visit to Bangla Road. This lively street, located in the heart of Patong, is known as the epicenter of the island's nightlife and is located a few blocks away from the main beaches of this site, so you can get there on foot.

Bangla Road transforms when the sun sets, offering a spectacle of lights, music and entertainment. The bars, clubs and discos along the road offer live music, international DJs and live shows that will keep you dancing until the wee hours of the morning and will offer you one of the best things to do during the night in Phuket.

The list of options is very varied, from open-air bars where you can enjoy a cold beer while people-watching, to nightclubs with energetic dance floors and vibrant music, you will find something for everyone. In addition, you can also enjoy restaurants serving local and international cuisine.

Take a tour of the city's bars

To close the first day's tour, I suggest you take a bar tour in Phuket, which is one of the most famous activities in the city. This experience, which will start in Patong in a private transport, will take you through different bars and establishments, allowing you to explore a variety of atmospheres and enjoy exotic drinks and delicious cocktails on one of the best tours in town.

From beach bars overlooking the sea to themed bars, Phuket has something for everyone. You can enjoy live music while mingling with locals and tourists from all over the world.

The Phuket bar tour will also give you the opportunity to try traditional Thai drinks, such as the famous mai tai or the refreshing coconut mojito. In addition, you can indulge in the street food offered at the stalls near the bars, where you can savor authentic Thai delicacies.

In addition to fun and entertainment, a Phuket bar tour is also a great way to meet new people and make friends. The festive and relaxed atmosphere of the bars will invite you to socialize and share travel stories with other tourists to close the first day of your tour of this destination.

Book a pub crawl in Phuket

Day 2: Visit Phi Phi islands, relax on the white sand of Kata beach and savor a seafront seafood dinner on Rawai street

Phi Phi Islands| ©Corey Hamilton
Phi Phi Islands| ©Corey Hamilton

Phuket has many attractions to offer in the urban areas, but it is also an ideal destination to use as a base to get to know the nearby islands. For the second day I suggest a tour of the popular Phi Phi Phi in the morning, and then a day at the beach in Kata ending with a fresh seafood tasting in front of the Andaman Sea. All these activities will give you a different profile of the region.

Visit the Phi Phi islands

Some people say that a trip to southern Thailand is not worth mentioning if you did not include in the itinerary a visit to the Phi Phi islands, and perhaps they are right, because these paradisiacal islands are considered one of the great wonders of the world. Located in the Andaman Sea, they are known for their white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and rock formations, so visiting them will not leave you indifferent.

To get to the Phi Phi Islands you can choose to travel on your own or embark on a guided tour from Phuket. These tours usually include transfers from your hotel to the departure pier, so they are recommended if you want to optimize your travel time.

During the journey from Phuket to Phi Phi, no matter which option you choose, you will be able to enjoy the scenic views and, during the breeding months from May to August, you may even see dolphins.

Once in Phi Phi, you can explore its different islands, such as Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. Phi Phi Don is the main island and has beautiful beaches where you can relax, sunbathe and discover water activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving.

Book a tour to Phi Phi islands from Phuket

Relax on Kata beach

On Phi Phi you can take a full-day excursion, but since you only have a short stay in town planned, I advise that after lunch you return to Phuket to visit Kata Beach. Located on the west coast of the island, this beach resort is known for its laid-back atmosphere and is about an hour's boat ride from Phi Phi.

Arriving at Kata Beach, you will be greeted by a picturesque landscape of palm trees and green hills framing the coastline. This beach is ideal for those who wish to enjoy a quieter atmosphere compared to the island's more crowded beaches. If you plan to visit Phuket in December you can also discover the Christmas decorations there.

In Kata you can relax on a sun lounger under an umbrella, enjoy the warm tropical sun and take a refreshing dip in the sea. If you love water sports, you will find options such as surfing, paddle boarding and snorkeling, so it is a place that offers options for all visitors.

Kata Beach also offers a great selection of restaurants and bars along the coast, where you can enjoy delicious Thai and international dishes. From authentic street food stalls to elegant beachfront restaurants, you'll find plenty of choices.

Enjoy a seafront seafood dinner on Rawai Road

Enjoying a seafood dinner in front of the Andaman Sea in Rawai Street is a gastronomic experience that cannot be left out of your itinerary, so I suggest you end the second day of your trip there. Rawai is known for its fresh seafood restaurants and Thai dishes. From Kata you can get there by cab or the local bus, a ride of about 20 minutes.

In Rawai you will find restaurants offering outdoor tables with panoramic views of the sea, creating a relaxed and picturesque atmosphere to enjoy your dinner, especially if you plan to visit Phuket in August or during the summer months when the weather is ideal.

Rawai Street is famous for its variety of seafood, ranging from lobsters and crabs to shrimp and local fish. You can choose your favorite seafood and have it prepared according to your preferences, whether grilled, steamed or in a Thai sauce.

In addition, you can also try other authentic Thai dishes, from seafood curry to pad thai and tom yum, you will find options to satisfy every palate.

Day 3: Visit the Big Buddha of Phuket, explore Kamala Beach, and discover the Simon Cabaret shows

Big Buddha of Phuket| ©Andaman4fun
Big Buddha of Phuket| ©Andaman4fun

The last day of the tour will be decisive for you to round off a complete visit to Phuket. After getting to know the main beaches and neighborhoods of the city and the nearby islands, during the third day you can discover the cultural profile of the region, on a visit to the Big Buddha and attending a traditional Simon Cabaret show, which is one of the most famous burlesque and alternative shows in Asia.

Visit the Big Buddha of Phuket

The Big Buddha, which is located atop Nakkerd Hill, is an iconic symbol of Thailand's spirituality and beauty, so it is often included in the tours of the best Phuket tours, as it is considered one of the great attractions in Southeast Asia.

The statue is 45 meters high and is made of shiny white marble. Its magnificence and serenity are striking, and during your visit you will be able to appreciate every artistic detail the closer you get to the work. Admission to this attraction is free and you can get there on the single line of the local bus or in a cab.

In addition to admiring the statue itself, the environment surrounding the Big Buddha is also noteworthy. From the top of Nakkerd Hill you will get a full panoramic view of Phuket, overlooking the Andaman Sea and the surrounding lush mountains. This is a perfect place to take pictures and appreciate the natural beauty of the island.

The Big Buddha is also a place of pilgrimage and spirituality for the locals, so you won't miss seeing devotees making offerings and praying at the nearby temples that were built in the area, considered sacred by Buddhism.

Explore Kamala Beach

An ideal plan between excursions for the last day is to explore Kamala Beach. Located on the west side of the island, Kamala is a beach that became popular in the 1990s and is known for its laid-back atmosphere. From Big Buddha you can reach this site by cab or intercity bus, a journey of about 30 minutes.

On the beach you will find golden sands and crystal clear waters. In addition, the site offers excellent opportunities for swimming and sunbathing. You can lie under an umbrella, enjoy a tropical drink or simply relax while gazing at the turquoise sea.

Kamala Beach also has a variety of restaurants and bars along the coast. There you can enjoy Thai and international dishes. You can also enjoy the vibrant live music scene and nightly entertainment at nearby establishments.

If you want to explore beyond the beach, take a stroll through the picturesque village of Kamala. You will find craft shops, local markets and a mix of modern and traditional stores that will immerse you in everyday Thai life and begin to make you nostalgic for your departure from beautiful Phuket.

And finally... discover the shows of Simon Cabaret

Do you want to visit one of the most famous cabarets in Asia and immerse yourself in a world of glamour and artistic talent? Then take my advice, save the best for last and visit Simon Cabaret.

Located in Patong, this place is one of the great attractions of the island, so not only can you attend a show that has been running for decades, but you can get to the cabaret by cab, bus or even directly in a transfer from Phuket airport.

At Simon Cabaret you will discover that the shows star a cast of transgender performers known as ladyboys, who dazzle the audience with their beauty, talent and charisma.

These shows combine music, dance and live performances with elaboratecostumes and unmissable choreography. From interpretations of pop songs to tributes to Thai culture, each Simon Cabaret performance is a sight to behold. The show, moreover, is a tribute to cultural acceptance that you won't want to miss during your tour, and will do its best to convince you to visit Phuket again in the future.

Buy tickets for the Simon Cabaret Show