Cookies help us to deliver our services. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Phuket in 5 Days: everything you need to know

Phuket is a Thai island paradise where you can spend 5 days touring beaches of clear waters and lush nature, and also learn more about its culture and history in its charming historic center.

Lorena Morales

Lorena Morales

13 min read

Phuket in 5 Days: everything you need to know

Phuket Old Town | [email protected]

Phuket is an island of incredible natural beauty and a rich culture, which is very popular due to its proximity to some of the most photographed islands in the country: the Phi Phi islands and the James Bond islands. But Phuket also offers beautiful beaches and many proposals to enjoy in your 5-day stay.

Some of the things to see and do in Phuket in 5 days are strolling through its charming historic center, where you can visit temples and museums; the 45-meter statue of the Great Buddha and the famous Wat Chalong temple; the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, and of course the Phi Phi and James Bond islands. Let's start!

Day 1: Wat Chalong Temples, Big Buddha and Kata Beaches

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

On your first day in Phuket, you can go to Wat Chalong temple in the morning, and then visit one of the paradisiacal beaches of the island: Kata Beach. From there you can go to see the statue of the Big Buddha at sunset. These attractions are included in most Phuket tours, which are a good option if you don't want to worry about transfers.

The first point on the itinerary is Chalong Temple, which is 9 km from Phuket Old Town, which you can reach in an hour by bus or 14 minutes by cab or car. Then you have 8 km to Kata Beach, and from there 3.5 km to the hill where the Big Buddha is located, which distances you can do by bus, cab or motorcycle cab.

Wat Chalong Temple

The temple Wat Chalong Temple, or Wat Chaithararam, is located towards the south center of the island, and is one of the main Buddhist temples of Phuket, in which it is said that there would be splinters of Buddha's bones in its Central Pagoda of 60 meters high. It is an impressive 19th century building, where you can see murals depicting the life of Buddha.

  • Location: 70 Moo 6 Chaofa Road (West) Chalong Phuket 83000.
  • Hours: open daily from 8 am to 5 pm.
  • Entrance fee: free of charge.

Book a guided tour of Phuket

Kata Beach

From Wat Chalong temple to Kata beach you have about 8 km that you can do by bus in an hour or by cab in about 20 minutes. On the beach you can enjoy the lush nature or practice sports such as surfing or snorkeling. In addition, you can find everything you need, as it is a very lively area of the island, with restaurants, hotels and stores nearby.

Kata Beach is located less than 2 km from Kata Noi Beach, south, and 1 km from Karon Beach, north, so you can take the opportunity to visit these two beaches. Another option is the Karon Viewpoint, which is one of the best on the island, and is located about 4 km from the beach. Just remember to save your energy to visit the Big Buddha before sunset.

Big Buddha

From Kata beach, and when the sun goes down a little, you can go to meet the Big Buddha of Phuket, a statue of about 45 meters high located on top of Nakkerd hill, which is the third largest Buddha statue in Thailand. There is also a golden replica and other smaller statues. The site offers incredible panoramic view of the island at sunset.

The statue is located about 3.5 km from the beach and you can walk or take a cab. If you decide to walk, be prepared for the heat and the steepness of the road.

  • Location: Karon, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83100, Thailand.
  • Hours: open daily from 6 am to 6.30 pm.
  • Entrance fee: free of charge.

Day 2: Phuket Old Town

Phuket Old Town| ©Hikosaemon
Phuket Old Town| ©Hikosaemon

On your second day on the island of Phuket, you can visit the Old Town of Phuket, which would be its historic center, where there are many old buildings, temples, markets and parks. The distances between the various attractions are a few blocks, except for Saphan Hin Park, which is about 3 km away. This can be reached in 30 minutes by bus or 10 minutes by cab or car.

The tour I propose starts at the Phuket Thai Hua Museum and continues at the Chin Pracha House Museum. From there you can go to the Jui Tui Shrine temple, and then to the Serene Light Temple. Then you can walk along Dibuk Rd, where there are old buildings, and see the Han Leng Ong statue, before going to Saphan Hin Park, which overlooks the sea.

Phuket Thai Hua Museum

At the Phuket Thai Hua Museum, you can immerse yourself in the history of the island and better understand the influence it has received from various cultures such as Chinese and Portuguese.

  • Location: 28 Krabi Road, Talad Nuea, Phuket Town 83000
  • Hours: from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. approximately.
  • Entrance fee: free.

Chin Pracha House

About 3 blocks from the museum you will see the Chin Pracha House, a beautiful Sino-Portuguese style mansion where you can appreciate its unique architecture and learn how the Chinese families who lived there lived in the past, as it preserves furniture, artifacts and antique objects. The house, built in 1903, has been featured in Chinese and Thai movies.

  • Location: 98 Krabi, Talat Nuea, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000.
  • Hours: from 9 am to 4.30 pm approx.
  • Admission fee: from 4 € per person.

Jui Tui Shrine

4 blocks from the Chin Pracha House, you will find the Jui Tui Shrine, a Chinese Taoist temple well known because it is where the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is held in October. The temple worships the deity Tean Hu Huan Huan Soy, who is linked to artists and dancers. It is one of the most modern temples, because it had to be moved after a fire.

There are very good vegetarian restaurants around Jui Tui Shrine, where you can have lunch.

  • Location: 283 Soi Phutorn, Tambon Talat Nuea, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000.
  • Hours: from 8 am to 5 pm approximately.
  • Entrance fee: free of charge.

Sang Thain Shrine or Temple of the Serene Light

About 6 blocks from the Jui Tui Shrine is the Temple of the Serene Light, a Chinese Taoist temple that was built in 1889 by a local family. It is located in a somewhat hidden alley in the streets of downtown Phuket, surrounded by cafes.

  • Location: V9MQ+G5R, Phangnga Rd, Talat Yai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand.
  • Hours: from 10 am to 6 pm approximately.
  • Admission fee: free of charge.

Dibuk Rd and Golden Dragon Statue (Hai Leng Ong)

From the Temple of the Serene Light you can walk about 250 meters to Dibuk Rd, where you can see old European-style buildings. If you continue along this street and turn south after passing the bridge, you will come across the statue of the Golden Dragon (Han Leng Ong) in Queen Sirikit Park, to which the Chinese often make offerings.

Saphan Hin Park

From the Golden Dragon statue to Saphan Hin Park is about 3 km. You can get there by bus or walking in about 30 minutes, or even by cab in about 8 minutes. The park overlooks the ocean, so it is a good option for a break from the city. About 500 meters from there is the Kio Thian Keng Saphan Hin Shrine temple, near the coast.

It is a place where locals go for sunset walks, jogging or cycling. It also often hosts cultural events, concerts and festivals. In its surroundings there are Thai food restaurants, fruit juice stalls and sweets such as fried insects, which gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself a little more in the food culture of the country. It is also an area full of karaoke bars, which are a good option to enjoy things to do at night in Phuket.

Another option if you want to enjoy the sunset on the beach, is to go to Sunrise Beach instead of going to the park, which is a quiet beach that is about 7 km from Old Town Phuket.

  • Location: 55/108 ถนนนเจ้าฟ้า Wichit, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000.
  • Hours: recommended time to go to the park is from 6 am to 10 pm.
  • Entrance fee: free of charge.

Book a gastronomic tour

Day 3: Elephant Sanctuary & James Bond Island

Elephant Sanctuary| ©Jamie Monk
Elephant Sanctuary| ©Jamie Monk

On your third day in Phuket, you can visit the Elephant Sanctuary in the morning, and after noon cross over to James Bond Island, which has become very famous after its 20-meter-high rock monolith was featured in one of the spy's movies.

From Old Town Phuket you can go by bus for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or cab for about 40 minutes to the Elephant Sanctuary, which is about 26 km northeast of Phuket. From the Sanctuary you have about 10 km to the port Ao Por Pier, which will take about 15 minutes by car or cab. Another option is to hire a tour from Phuket, which, in addition to solving the transfer, will include other interesting activities on the tour.

Elephant Sanctuary

The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a place where elephants rescued from exploitation and mistreatment are given protection. There they live in a natural environment where it is possible to interact with them in a respectful way. The visits last about 3 hours, and usually include breakfast or a fruit brunch. You can also hire a transfer with the purchase of your ticket.

  • Location: 100 Moo 2, Paklok, on the 4027 road in North East Phuket, Phuket 83110
  • Hours: Open daily. Visits are in the morning or afternoon.
  • Entrance fee: from 82 € per person.

Buy tickets for the elephant sanctuary

James Bond Island or Ko Tapu

At Ao Por Pier, which is 10 km from the Elephant Sanctuary, you have to board a boat to James Bond Island. There are many transportation options to sail to the island, such as catamaran, speedboat or longtail boat, the traditional Thai reed boats. There is also cheap transportation offered by locals. The islands are part of the Ao Phang Ngal National Marine Park, which has an entrance fee.

On the island, whose real name is Ko Tapu or Nail Island, you can do activities such as snorkeling, kayaking or just swimming in the shallow green waters. From the island you can take boat trips to visit the caves of Phang Nga Bay, or other nearby islands.

  • Location: Khao Phing Kan, Phang Nga Province 82130, Thailand
  • National Park entrance fee: about 8 EUR per person.
  • Recommendations: the caves can only be visited at low tide. The island cannot be visited from May to mid-July due to weather conditions.
  • Boat transportation: prices range from 30 to 80 EUR per person.

Book an excursion to James Bond Island

Day 4: Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, Banana Beach & Patong Beach

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

On your fourth day in Phuket, I propose you to discover the lush nature of the island, and go into its trails surrounded by jungle in the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. It is located in the north of the island, about 23 km from Phuket Old Town, and can be reached by car in about 30 minutes.

After noon you can go to Banana Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, which is about 14 km from the park, and then Patong Beach, one of the most popular beaches, where there is an interesting market for dinner.

Khao Phra Thaeo National Park

On this visit you can get some exercise with some of the 15 hiking trails in Khao Phra Thaeo Park to do, with varying levels of difficulty. One of the most popular is the one to Bang Pae and Ton Sai waterfalls, of low difficulty, and 9 km long in total. There are also easy trails of 2 km in length.

The best time to visit the park is from November to June, when it is not the rainy season. Remember to bring plenty of water, a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent.

  • Location: Thep Krasatti, Thalang District, Phuket Province 83110.
  • Hours: The recommended time to go to the park is from 6 am to 10 pm.
  • Entrance fee: free of charge.

Banana Beach

Banana Beach is one of the best beaches on the island of Phuket, with clear waters and white sands. It is not very visited, because it is farther away than other beaches, so it preserves the charm of the almost virgin beaches. However, it is well equipped, so you can rent an umbrella and eat at a restaurant nearby.

It is 14 km from the National Park, but you can only get there by private transport. If transportation is difficult for you, you can skip this beach in the itinerary and go directly to Pantong Beach, which you can reach by bus from Phuket Old Town, so you will have to return to this town first.

  • Location: 27RG+PHH, Choeng Thale, Thalang District, Phuket 83110.

Patong Beach

From Banana Beach to Patong Beach is about 26 km, and can be reached in about 40 minutes by car. It is one of the most popular beaches on the island, especially for its nightlife, as it is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. However, the atmosphere at night is not for everyone, as Patong is the red light district of Phuket, so I recommend you to do this kind of tours in an organized tour.

You can go to this beach at sunset and then go to dinner at the Banzaan Fresh Market. But before that, if you still feel like walking, less than 3 km away on foot is Freedom Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. You can also get there by cab.

Book a pub crawl in Phuket

Dinner at Banzaan Fresh Market

Banzaan Fresh Market is one of the most popular night markets in Phuket. It is located 2.5 km from Patong Beach and 4 km from Freedom Beach. It is a large fresh market where you can buy food, especially fruits and fish, or dine at the tables upstairs. Of course, they offer a wide variety of seafood.

It is a simple and inexpensive place to eat, which is open until late. If you are interested in gastronomy, Patong is also a good place to take Thai food classes. To get back to Phuket Old Town (13 km away), you have 20 minutes by cab or an hour and a half by bus.

  • Location: 74, 51 Nanai Rd, Pa Tong, Kathu District, Phuket 83150.
  • Hours: daily from 6 am to 11 pm.

Book your Thai cooking class

Day 5: Phi Phi Islands, Monkey Bay, Viking Beach & Long Beach

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

Is your stay of more than 3 days in Phuket or in this case 5 days, you can not miss the paradisiacal Phi Phi Phi Islands and dedicate a full day to it.

Phi Phi Islands

To get there, you must go to the Chean Vanich Pier and board a boat that will take you to the island in an hour. The Phi Phi islands are actually an archipelago made up of 4 islands and 2 islets. The only inhabited island is Koh Phi Phi Don.

  • From Phuket Old Town to Chean Vanich Pier (4 km): 10 minutes by cab or 20 minutes by bus.
  • From Chean Vanich Pier to Koh Phi Phi Phi ferry terminal: 1 hour. The ferry will drop you off at Phi Phi Don island.

When you get off the ferry, you will find a very picturesque pier, and cafes and restaurants where you can stop for breakfast before starting your tour of the island. If you prefer not to worry about transportation, you can book a day trip from Phuket to the Phi Phi islands.

Book a tour to Phi Phi Islands

Monkey Bay

This is one of the most curious beaches on the island, as it is inhabited by monkeys. It is a great idea to visit it if you go to Phuket with children, as they will enjoy seeing these animals in their habitat. It is best to go as early as possible, as it is very crowded the rest of the day.

The beach is only accessible by boat, so you can take one at the ferry pier. There you can always do fun experiences such as rafting or zip-lining. Remember that it is forbidden to feed the monkeys and that, although they are used to the presence of people, it is not advisable to get too close to them.

Book an excursion to the monkey cave with rafting and zip line.

Phi Phi Viewpoint

When you return to the pier, you can walk 1 km to one of the best viewpoints on the island, the Phi Phi Viewpoint. At 500 meters you have another viewpoint if you want to walk a little further, and another one further up at 1.5 km.

Viking Beach and Long Beach

Viking Beach is about 1.3 km from Phi Phi Viewpoint 1, and can be reached on foot (20 minutes) or by cab. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Phi Phi islands where you can find restaurants for lunch nearby. It is next to Long Beach (1.5 km away), which you can reach on foot.

You can stay at one of these beaches or walk to the other. On both beaches you can rent a kayak or practice snorkeling or other water sports. Alternatively, instead of going to these beaches, you can go north to Nui Beach, which is 4 km from Phi Phi Viewpoint.

Optional: Maya Bay and Viking Cave in Ko Phi Phi Lee

Maya Bay and Viking Cave are located on Ko Phi Phi Phi Lee island, so most tours from Phuket include it in their tour of the Phi Phi islands. You probably won't have enough time to see both islands in one day, unless you go with an organized tour.

The most popular beach on Ko Phi Phi Lee is Maya Bai, as it is the beach that served as the setting for the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in Thailand, with its cliffs framing the beach. Another very interesting site to visit is Viking Cave, where paintings of ships were found that would have been painted by the Vikings. You can only reach the caves by water.

Summary itinerary of 5 days in Phuket

  • Day 1
  • Wat Chalong Temple
  • Kata Beach
  • Big Buddha
  • Day 2
  • Phuket Thai Hua Museum
  • Chin Pracha House
  • Jui Tui Shrine Temple
  • Temple of the Serene Light
  • Dibuk Rd
  • Golden Dragon Statue
  • Saphan Hin Park
  • Optional: Sunrise Beach
  • Day 3
  • Elephant Sanctuary
  • James Bond Island
  • Day 4
  • Khao Phra Thaeo National Park
  • Patong Beach
  • Banzaan Fresh Market
  • Day 5
  • Phi Phi Islands
  • Monkey Bay
  • Phi Phi Viewpoint
  • Viking Beach
  • Long Beach
  • Optional: Maya Bay and Viking Cave

This has been the itinerary I propose for you to fully enjoy your stay on the island of Phuket, with proposals both in the city and in nature, and both on the beach and in the jungle. Undoubtedly, this is an island for extended stays where you have many options to enjoy all kinds of experiences.