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10 Things to Do in Phuket in January

January is the month when Thailand's largest island offers you traditional celebrations and many tourist activities to enjoy. Are you ready for adventure?

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

11 min read

10 Things to Do in Phuket in January

Getting to know Phuket | shankar s

Phuket is a Thai island, considered one of the wonders of the Asian continent. There you will find as many activities to do as there are kinds of travelers. Therefore, during your stay in January you will not have to worry, as fun is guaranteed.

During this month, weather conditions are quite favorable: little rain, lots of sunshine and low humidity. Undoubtedly, one of the best times to visit the island and discover the best things to do in Phuket. For example, celebrate the Chinese New Year, buy seasonal products at the traditional market, visit the Monkey Cave and much more.

1. Celebrate Chinese New Year in Phuket Island

Chinese New Year in Phuket| ©Jared Lucow
Chinese New Year in Phuket| ©Jared Lucow

If your trip to Phuket coincides with the second half of January, then you can enjoy the Chinese New Year celebration on the island. Be part of an ancient tradition and enjoy a series of colorful cultural performances.

This celebration is very popular on the island, due to the large number of Chinese inhabitants living there. Therefore, to enjoy the traditional events that Chinese New Year entails, you will just have to approach the different streets, markets and local temples.

For example, some destinations are the following:

  • Jui Tui Shrine Temple, a 14th century Buddhist compound belonging to the Chinese community. There, you can watch the Dragon Dance, light some incense sticks to purify yourself, read your fortune for the year ahead and eat some snacks.
  • Phuket Old Town and Bangla Street. You will see musical performances by street performers, witness some parades with traditional dragons and lions, a big fireworks show and much more.

In addition, you can go to the local markets around the Wat-Chalong Temple. These are usually one of the must-visit destinations on any food tour of Phuket and New Year's celebration. You can try some traditional dishes such as rice balls, spring rolls, longevity noodles, among others.

Book a food tour in Phuket

2. Take the best pictures of the island of Phuket and take advantage of the clear skies in January

Getting to know Phuket| ©Earth-Bound Misfit, I
Getting to know Phuket| ©Earth-Bound Misfit, I

If you are a photography enthusiast or simply want to immortalize good memories of your visit, you should know that the clear skies and moderate temperature of January in Phuket are favorable conditions to take amazing pictures. All you have to do is create a route with the different tourist destinations on the island, grab your camera and set off.

Some of the most photogenic places on the island that you can visit are the following:

  • Phuket's old town, which stands out for its Sino-Portuguese architecture, present in buildings, palaces and stores. A picturesque and lively scene, frequented by dozens of locals.
  • The temple complex of Wat Chalong, which houses gardens, Buddha paintings, golden statues and many more relics. It is one of the most important Buddhist temples on the island.
  • The Great Buddha Maravija, whose marble structure totally dominates the island's landscape.
  • The viewpoint of Cape Promthep, a large rocky hill located approximately 60 meters above sea level.

After this photographic adventure on the island, you can continue with other activities on your itinerary. For example, buy tickets for a show at Simon Cabaret in Phuket, the latter being a good option to incorporate among the things to do in Phuket at night.

Buy tickets for the Simon Cabaret show

3. Visit the traditional market in Phuket and buy fresh seasonal products

Central Market| ©Jamie Monk
Central Market| ©Jamie Monk

Among the things to see and do in Phuket in 3 days or more during the month of January, you can incorporate a visit to the city's Central Market. There, you will find a wide variety of fresh seasonal products brought every morning by farmers and fishermen of the region: fruits, vegetables, spices, fish, among others.

Upon arrival, you can start the tour of the main area, which is located inside the building. You will be amazed by the picturesque scene, led by dozens of stalls with exotic fruits such as Keo Mangkon (dragon fruit), frang (guava), longan (dragon's eye), malacoo (papaya), mamuang (mango), etc.

You will also see chili peppers and curry paste, which are widely used in traditional preparations. And, in the seafood area, you will find fish such as blue jack mackerel, the popular eel, among others. In addition, you will come across some exotic products such as snakes, red ants, tarantulas, worms and more.

The market is located on the west side of the island, on Ranong Road (shopping street). This is a very busy place for locals and tourists. In fact, if you decide to join a Thai cooking class in Phuket in January, you will surely visit this destination to buy some fresh ingredients and learn about them.

Book your Thai cooking class

4. Make a stop at Phuket's ice cream parlors and cool off on warm January days

Ice cream in Phuket| ©jessica
Ice cream in Phuket| ©jessica

While January is among the cooler months in Phuket, it is also true that daily temperatures remain high. Therefore, it doesn't hurt to make a stop during your tour to cool off. The best way to do so is at one of the **island'**s ice cream parlors.

Whether in the old town, on the busy Phuket Road or elsewhere on the island, you will find a wide range of ice cream parlors on Phuket Island. Such is the case of Always Summer Coconut Icecream, Lucky Scoops Phuket, Samero's Icecream Paradise, Manzoni Ice Cream, among others.

In any of them, you can soothe the heat and delight your palate with the variety of flavors: mango rice, creamy coconut, hazelnut, chocolate, sesame and many more. Ideal if you are in Phuket with children, since, like you, they will be amazed with the flavors and presentations.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to try some coffee or iced tea, depending on your tastes. After this refreshing experience, you can continue with your activities. Perhaps join one of the guided tours of Phuket Town, go shopping or purchase tickets to Aquaria Phuket to see around 25,000 aquatic creatures.

Buy tickets for Aquaria Phuket

5. Join a boat ride along Phuket's coastline to watch the sunset over the Andaman Sea

Boat trip| ©Phuket@photographer.net
Boat trip| ©[email protected]

The island of Phuket in January offers a sunset with wonderful contrasts, which you won't want to miss. Join a boat ride along the island's coastline and stop at Promthep Cape to see a dozen warm colors tint the sky, thanks to the season's low rain and cloud cover.

Just connect with a cruise service for this scenic adventure, which usually starts at the marina in Ao Chalong Bay. There, you will set sail for Koh Hey, also called Coral Island, where you will get a privileged panoramic view: clear waters surrounded by white sand and lush vegetation.

You will also stroll along Promthep Cape, where you will stop to watch the sunset. This is a cape with a picturesque natural scene, where you will be about 60 meters above sea level and enjoy a magical view of the ocean and the sun setting on the horizon as it covers the sea with its last rays.

Whether you plan to stay 1 to 5 days in Phuket or even longer, this scenic adventure along the coast of the island is a must-see activity during the month of January. After docking at the harbor, you can continue the fun with activities such as a Phuket pub crawl.

Information of interest

  • Price: the cost of this type of tour is about 42€ per person approximately.
  • Duration maximum 4 hours.

Book a pub crawl in Phuket

6. Enjoy the January weather and embark on an excursion to the Monkey Cave with complementary activities

Monkey Cave| ©pensivelaw1
Monkey Cave| ©pensivelaw1

January temperatures in Phuket are characterized as some of the coolest of the year on the island. Therefore, undertaking an excursion to the Monkey Cave in this month is a good option. You will have a direct encounter with Buddhist culture, rafting and zip-lining.

This is one of the best day trips from Phuket, allowing you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the island. You will travel by car with a driver-guide to Phang Nga province (about 70 minutes). You'll also enjoy the picturesque scenery, led by limestone cliffs.

You'll arrive at Wat Tham Suwan Khuha Cave Temple, whose stalactite-lined interior houses a number of Buddhist artifacts and sculptures, including a 15-meter-long reclining golden Buddha. And, if you're lucky, you might even catch a monk meditating.

Next, you'll head to Mueang Phang-nga, to jump into the water for a thrilling 5-kilometer whitewater rafting experience. Afterwards, you will jump on a 150-meter-long zip line. To end this monkey cave, rafting and zip line tour from Phuket, you will head to Sa Nang Manora Forest Park for an open-air walk and view of a reservoir pond.

Information of interest

  • Price: the price of the tour is around 45€ per person.
  • Duration about 10 hours.

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

7. Live an off-road experience in Phuket and explore the island aboard a buggy

Buggy tour of Phuket| ©Sharon Hahn Darlin
Buggy tour of Phuket| ©Sharon Hahn Darlin

If you are enthusiastic about off-road adventures then you should take a buggy tour of the island in January. You will enjoy warm but cool weather, thanks to the 9 kilometers per hour winds that usually prevail during this month. In addition, there is no risk of rain. Undoubtedly, a perfect time for this type of activity.

This type of guided tour in Phuket starts with the transfer from the center of the island to the camp of the contracted buggy company. There, an instructor will explain the basic rules of driving the buggy and you will have a short time to practice with him.

Then you will drive behind the guide, who will take you through the bumpy roads of the mountain range that extends to the south side of the island in Laem Promthep. You will be surrounded by lush vegetation and will have the opportunity to contemplate a privileged panorama of the coast.

Information of interest

  • Price: the average price of this activity is around 51€ per person.
  • Duration: about 3 hours approximately.

Book the best guided tour in Phuket

8. Take advantage of the warm waters of Phuket for some water activities

Phuket Beach| ©OruNra OreO
Phuket Beach| ©OruNra OreO

In January, the sea in Phuket usually records an average temperature of 28ºC, so you will enjoy warm and very pleasant waters. Take advantage of this condition on the island's beaches and practice some water sports.

To carry out this adventure, you will have several options as far as beaches are concerned. You only have to select the one that best suits your needs. Some of them could be the following:

  • Patong beach, with an approximate extension of 3.5 kilometers of white sand, where you can lie down to enjoy the panorama and dive into its transparent waters.
  • The beach of Karon, where you will find about 2.5 kilometers of fine sand. You can swim, rent jet skis, etc..
  • Kata Beach, with the best waves on the island for surfing, windsurfing and sailing.
  • Panwa beach, which stands out for its crystal clear and shallow waters, ideal for snorkeling.

You should know that on each beach you will find places where you can rent the necessary equipment for each practice. In fact, if you wish, you can hire the service of a professional instructor, who will teach you how to drive a jet ski, safety rules for windsurfing, surfing and other sports.

In addition, if the times of your itinerary are not very tight, there is also the option of joining a 3-day excursion for PADI Open Water Diver Certification from Phuket. You will be able to enhance your underwater experience and explore deeper into the marine life.

Book a 3-day PADI Open Water Diver Certification Tour

9. Be amazed by the augmented reality exhibits at the Trick Eye Museum

Trick Eye Museum| ©legros patrick
Trick Eye Museum| ©legros patrick

Despite being one of the coolest months of the year, January in Phuket is still a bit hot. As such, you may not want to spend all day out in the sun doing outdoor activities. In this sense, the Trick Eye Museum is a good option to incorporate into your itinerary.

This innovative museum is located in the Central Phuket Floresta shopping center. There, you will enjoy a series of exhibits composed of photos and videos with augmented reality.

You will have the opportunity to sit on an ice cliff next to a polar bear or come face to face with a fire-breathing sea dragon. You will also be able to enter wonderland with Alice, swim with whales and sharks, among other adventures.

Useful information

  • Price: about 10€ per person.
  • Hours: daily from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.

10. Take advantage of the moderate tourist influx in January and attend the Siam Niramit theater show in Phuket

Siam Niramit in Phuket| ©thailer derden
Siam Niramit in Phuket| ©thailer derden

January may not be a low season month on the island, but it is a time of moderate tourist influx. Take advantage of this annual trend to attend the Siam Niramit theater show, avoiding long lines at the box office.

This performing arts group is located about a 15-minute drive from downtown Phuket. The show tells the history of Thailand (culture, religion, art) through an amazing staging with a duration of about 80 minutes.

You will see about 100 performers on stage, accompanied by a soundtrack, lights, special effects and more than 80 backdrops. You will be amazed by the more than 500 costumes used by the actors to carry out the characterizations. You will feel that history has come to life and that you are part of it.

Information of interest

  • Price: the cost of the show is about 40€ per person.
  • Schedule: the show is usually from 8:30 pm to 9:50 pm from Wednesday to Monday.

Temperatures in Phuket in January

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

Temperatures in Phuket during January usually range from an average minimum of 24°C to an average maximum of 33°C. This is a month with a low percentage of humidity and about 30 millimeters of rainfall, which corresponds to approximately four rainy days.

On the other hand, there is the temperature of Phuket's sea water, which generally varies between 27ºC and 28ºC. Certainly, you will not find a cold sea, but a pleasant temperature to dive and practice some water sports.

What to pack to visit Phuket in January?

Luggage| ©JamesDeMeyer
Luggage| ©JamesDeMeyer

If you are wondering what to pack to travel to Phuket Island in January, the first thing to take into consideration is that it is a rather hot place. Therefore, clothing made of light and breathable fabrics are essential: shorts, dresses, T-shirts with short sleeves or without them.

In addition, bring a high coverage sunscreen, mosquito repellent, sunglasses, hat, cap, among other accessories. Do not forget to pack mountain clothes and a light coat. This, if you plan to go on an excursion. For example, you can buy tickets for the elephant sanctuary in Phuket, among other options.

Buy tickets to the elephant sanctuary