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Phuket in 7 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Seven days in Phuket are more than enough to explore the Thai culture of the island, characterized by its gastronomy, beaches and respect for animals.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

11 min read

Phuket in 7 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Phuket | Irene LEVIN

Phuket is a very large and interesting island, where luckily all the attractions are within walking distance. In seven days you can see it from end to end, enjoying its special traditions, monuments and coves facing the Andaman Sea.

You can take the opportunity to experience the best things to do in Phuket, which include visits to ethical sanctuaries, learning about marine wildlife at the Phuket Aquarium, a Ping Pong show and much more. I'll tell you everything you can do in 7 days on the island!

Day 1: Visit the Elephant Sanctuary and Phuket Aquarium and go on a night pub crawl

Phuket Aquarium| ©Mike Rowe
Phuket Aquarium| ©Mike Rowe

When you arrive on the island, you'll probably want to get some air conditioning and rest. You can start with quiet plans. The advantage is that the Elephant Sanctuary and the Aquarium are very close to each other.

You will be able to dedicate half the hours for each day, there are tourist cards that include the entrance to both sites. An ideal plan if you are looking for things to do in Phuket with kids.

Elephant Sanctuary

In Phuket there are many tourist experiences, however some involve animal exploitation. The Elephant Sanctuary is a completely ethical adventure, where animal welfare is prioritized.

It is considered the best sanctuary in Phuket, it has spaces that simulate the habitat of elephants. While walking you can explore ponds, trails and other areas conditioned in a natural setting.

It is a very complete and unique activity, I recommend spending four to five hours. In their facilities you will learn about the care, conservation and feeding of these friendly animals. Additionally, if you book a guided experience you will probably have a kit of socks, boots, umbrella, raincoat and mosquito repellent.

Buy tickets for the Elephant Sanctuary

Phuket Aquarium

Phuket is an island surrounded by the Andaman Sea, so the marine life is varied. The best place to explore its secrets is the Phuket Aquarium, an ideal space for the whole family. It has more than 300 species, including sharks, otters and fish.

The Aquarium is a twenty-five minute drive from the Elephant Sanctuary by road 4027, you can also take a bus to the outskirts of Phuket Airpark. The aquarium is worth spending the rest of the afternoon wandering around, so you can learn about the behavior of the sheltered animals.

Its ecosystems are designed so that each species has its needs met. You can't leave without visiting the South China Sea Exhibition and the Jewels of the Jungle. In the Jewels of the Jungle there are reptiles that often interact with each other. Without a doubt, this is a unique spectacle of nature on the island.

Buy tickets for Aquaria Phuket

Night bar crawl

At the end of the day you can approach the city center, located about twelve minutes from the Phuket Aquarium, the fastest way to get there is by car. Here you can take advantage of some of the best Phuket tours that will take you to see part of the old town. At night these tours are more special, as you can take advantage of the nightlife to get to know some of the best bars and pubs and even get free shots.

Get ready to know Phuket until dawn, as these types of experiences last approximately four to seven hours, the best part is that they are very economical and can be found from 20 euros.

Book a pub crawl tour in Phuket

Day 2: Enjoy a day at the beach, see the Big Buddha and Wat Chalong Temple

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

Phuket has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, which are characterized by crystal clear waters. They stand out for being located in strategic points of the city, if you take a TukTuk you will be able to visit them all. Additionally, you will find historical monuments within walking distance, such as the Big Buddha and Wat Chalong Temple.

Patong Beach

To make the most of your time, I suggest heading to Patong Beach very early in the morning. You will find it clear, especially in low season. Nearby there are bars by the sea, massages under umbrellas, surfboard rentals and more.

It is near the party street, better known as Bangla Road, which is ideal if you are looking for things to do at night in Phuket. This area is also home to the best local street markets and street food stalls.

Big Buddha

The Big Buddha of Phuket is an iconic monument, located at the top of the island. It is less than twenty minutes from Patong Beach by car, although you can also use public transport. It offers 360° views, so it is ideal as you will take amazing pictures of the whole city.

In addition, this Buddha has a historical value for the island. It is the largest statue of its kind in the world, as well as the third most valuable in Thailand. Nearby you will see monkeys wandering around, which gives it an extra charm. The best Phuket tours take you to see this iconic location.

Book a guided tour

Wat Chalong Temple

Another destination you can't miss is the Wat Chalong temple. It is located less than a twenty-minute drive from the Big Buddha along the 4024 road. It was built in the 19th century and is located in the sub-district of Chalong. It is the largest and most famous, every day it receives thousands of tourists.

To enjoy the visit to the fullest, I suggest you respect the dress code. In general, it is best to cover elbows and knees. Necklines are not recommended either, as they are considered disrespectful, these rules apply to both men and women.

Day 3: Visit Phuket Old Town

Streets of Phuket| ©Phil Whitehouse
Streets of Phuket| ©Phil Whitehouse

To continue exploring Phuket, I suggest you go to the more traditional sites. The three stops will lead you to connect with Thai culture.

Phuket Old Town

Phuket Old Town is the oldest district of the island, you will be able to notice it because of its particular facades. It stands out for its Sino-Portuguese architecture and is located in the center of the city. In this area you will find the main arteries, which interconnect the entire island.

Thaland Street

Later you can go to Thaland Street, where you will find beautiful colonial buildings. It is a five-minute walk from the Old City. To tour it with a professional, you can take advantage of some of the best Phuket tours that introduce you to the Thai history and culture of the area.

Book a guided tour

Day 4: Relax at Kathu Waterfall and attend a Cabaret show

Kathu Waterfall| ©Oleg Yarkov
Kathu Waterfall| ©Oleg Yarkov

Phuket can become bustling, especially during certain tourist seasons. To escape the routine and crowds, I recommend visiting Kathu Waterfall. It is worth it, as it is a quiet place where you can play golf. At the end of the day, you can schedule in your itinerary a cabaret show.

Kathu Waterfall

Kathu is a location that has hills, beaches and jungle. Phuket is relatively small, so its districts are interconnected and this paradise is located forty minutes from the city center. To get to the top you only have to follow a short trail, which will not give you much trouble.

It is a wooded stretch where you will find plants of various species, as well as a very interesting wildlife.

Cabaret Show

After a day of disconnecting, continue to Simon Cabaret located on Siriat Road. From the waterfall you can get there by cab or car in less than ten minutes. However, as it is a mostly night plan, you can take advantage of public transportation which takes longer, but offers a better price.

Here you can enjoy a cabaret show, typical of Thai culture. Usually, traditional dances are prepared with extravagant make-up and costumes. It is an entertaining evening that can not miss in your itinerary, the best thing is that you get tickets from 28 euros.

Buy tickets for the show Simon Cabaret

Day 5: Climb the Karon lookout point and tour Phuket's best street markets.

Phuket Sunday Market| ©Ray Ray
Phuket Sunday Market| ©Ray Ray

If you travel to Thailand but don't visit the local markets, it's unfortunately an incomplete itinerary- don't let this happen to you! Especially in Phuket, where daily life revolves around culture, history and gastronomy.

You have to set aside at least one day, to explore the nooks and crannies of Phuket. I suggest you to take a TukTuk ride, they are usually full cars that take you to the best of the island. The best thing is that you will avoid the traffic.

Karon viewpoint

Early in the morning you can take the opportunity to go to a viewpoint located just a few minutes from downtown, known as Karon Viewpoint. It is one of the most outstanding sites in Thailand, and the route up is of low difficulty.

Nearby is the Karon beach, a popular area, due to its lively proposals to spend the day. It is also close to temples, but you must comply with the dress code to access.

Naka Market

From the Karon viewpoint you can drive to Naka Market in less than thirty minutes. Here you can try the best noodles on the island for lunch. If you want to take advantage of the best tours in Phuket, this Thai corner is for you. You will be able to try foods to your taste, without limit.

It is a very complete and familiar gastronomic experience perfect to get to know the traditional Thai flavors. Please note that it is open from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Book a gastronomic tour

Phuket Chillva Market

Chillva Market is a four-minute drive from Naka Market. It is a night option, where you can buy seasonal products. It is the best place to appreciate cultural shows, it is also ideal if you want to buy vintage or imitation objects.

In the surroundings you will see many people doing TukTuk tours, if you dare you can sign up for one. Just be warned that they tend to be expensive compared to other attractions on the island.

Day 6: Diving near Phuket

Diving in Phuket| ©Phuket Dive Center
Diving in Phuket| ©Phuket Dive Center

Days in Phuket are best spent on the beach, but if you don't want to just lie in the sun and relax, there are more options available. You can take the opportunity to go scuba diving, there are guided excursions that take you to explore the seabed.

Keep in mind that for this type of adventure, a long itinerary is perfect. For safety reasons, doctors recommend not to take flights twenty-four hours before or after diving. Therefore, you will have enough time to eliminate nitrogen from your body.

It is one of the best things to do in Phuket during your vacation.

Koh Racha Noi

Start the day at Koh Racha Noi, a small but very nice islet to dive. Its crystal clear waters and the good weather of the area, offer the perfect combination to explore the sea. Here you can spend a pleasant time and see marine species typical of the region. It is located one hour from the center of the island, so I recommend you to take advantage of the best excursions from Phuket to visit it.

Phi Phi Islands

The Phi Phi islands are a great option for diving, since it is not necessary to go far from Phuket to find a diving beach with the right conditions. It is a Thai archipelago, where the color of the water seems unreal. It is located one hour by ferry from Koh Racha Noi.

This is an ideal activity if you are looking for things to do in Phuket in November, as the diving season starts in this month.

Book a tour to Phi Phi Islands

Day 7: Explore the best museums in Phuket

Baba Museum| ©Elmar
Baba Museum| ©Elmar

If you want to explore the history of Phuket, the city's museums can be very useful. You can discover years of history and important changes for the island. It is a quiet plan for the last day of your visit.

It does not require much physical effort and you can take advantage of public transport to get around easily.

Phuket 3D Museum

Start the adventure in a three-dimensional museum, where augmented reality makes the artistic exhibits more eye-catching. Its corridors feature murals depicting the culture of Phuket. You can find tickets from 17 €, it is a recreational activity for the whole family.

The Phuket 3D Museum is the perfect place to take surreal photographs, while interacting with its modern facilities.

Baba Museum

A three-minute walk from the 3D Museum, you can find a free museum where you can learn all about Phuket, from its history, culture and architectural past. Located near Phang Nga Road, it is usually clearer than other attractions in the city.

The Baba Museum is a landmark, you will recognize it because it is an old house with an imposing facade.

Phuket Tai Hua Museum

One of the oldest museums in Phuket, it was built on a colonial building dating back to 1934. It used to be the only Chinese language school on the island, but was converted into a learning space. You can walk there from Baba Museum, it will only take you about three minutes

You can certainly learn about Phuket here, as well as about the Peranakan people. This is a Thai community, which maintains the traditions of the ancestors. Most of the first settlers were part of this tribe, the first houses are preserved in the old town.

The price of the museum is around 5 € and is one of the best things to do with children in Phuket, as they can learn about history while having fun.

Tips for visiting Phuket

Sunscreen| ©Moose Photos
Sunscreen| ©Moose Photos
  • If you plan to visit around the island, be sure to wear comfortable clothes. Additionally, pack clothes without cleavage to visit temples and shrines.
  • Start your day early so you can get the most out of your itinerary.
  • Rest from one stop to another, otherwise you will be too tired by the end of the trip.
  • Create an itinerary and take it with you so you don't skip any landmarks.
  • Watch out for pickpockets! This is a rare problem, however you should be careful on busy streets and in markets.
  • If you are renting a car, I suggest you never leave your passport as collateral. Also, if you are taking an excursion that does not require your ID, bring a photocopy and leave the original in the hotel safe.
  • Take out life insurance, health services are expensive in Thailand. You can economize your budget and travel with peace of mind. This type of insurance also covers loss of luggage or valuables. It is also important to bring your medication or prescriptions, you can ask at the embassy if you need any special permission.
  • Be a responsible tourist and avoid places where animals are mistreated or exploited.
  • Use mosquito repellent at all times, especially in the hot season. In summer the island is often plagued by mosquitoes due to the humidity.
  • Book transfers between the airport and Phuket, so you can relax and enjoy the trip to the fullest.

Book your airport transfer