19 Best Sights in Phuket, Phuket and the Andaman Coast

Big Buddha

Fodor's choice

This huge, white marble Buddha on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Katais is one of the island's most revered landmarks. It's 45 meters high, and the site offers the best 360-degree views of the island. Take the road from Phuket's main artery—it's a must-visit island destination.

Bang Thao Beach

The beach itself is a long stretch (4 miles) of white sand, with vendors offering a variety of sports equipment rentals, inexpensive seafood, beach massages, and cocktails. The beach is good for swimming in the hot season, the lagoon for kayaking anytime. The atmosphere is relaxed, making this a beach well suited to young families. Amenities: food and drink; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; swimming; walking.

Soi Ao Bangtao, Bang Thao Beach, Thailand

Chalong Bay Distillery & Bar

Phuket's first and only rum and gin distillery is set in a sugarcane garden and offers distillery tours, cocktail workshops, and a variety of weekly events. Traditional French production methods are used to distill the gin and rum, and bottles are available for purchase. The onsite SUAY x Chalong Bay restaurant serves international cuisine and Thai-fusion dishes curated by local celebrity chef Tammasak 'Noi' Chootong. 

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Kamala Beach

Kamala Beach is unremarkable but endearing, particularly to pensioners who return here year after year for the beach's more reserved ambience. Kamala can get cramped during the day and offers numerous accommodation and dining options, but if you're staying, don't expect a lively nightlife. Amenities: food and drink; water sports. Best for: swimming.

Karon Beach

A long stretch of white sand and good dry-season swimming are the big appeal here, though the beach is more open than most in Phuket, and there's very little shade. Amenities: food and drink; showers; water sports. Best for: snorkeling; sunset; swimming; walking.

Karon Beach, Thailand

Kata Yai Beach

Of the popular beaches on the west coast of Phuket, Kata Yai, in central Kata, has the calmest waters, and a shaded sidewalk runs the length of the beach. Club Med dominates a large hunk of the beachfront, keeping the development frenzy to the southern end. There's also a committed group of regulars here who surf the small local breaks. This is one of the calmer beach scenes in Phuket, and so is especially good for families. Amenities: food and drink; water sports. Best for: sunset; surfing; swimming; windsurfing.

Pakbang Rd., Kata Beach, Thailand

Khao Rang

If you want to get your bearings, there's a fine view of Phuket Town, the island's interior, and even the 45-meter-high Big Buddha from atop Khao Rang, a hill north of town. From the town's center, take either Ranong or Thalang Road west and turn north on Khaw Sim Bee Road. Follow the winding, ascending, forested road. There are a few restaurants and a picnic area once you reach the top, where you can relax after soaking in the vista from the large viewing platform next to a tower (which you can't ascend).

Laem Singh Beach

Lovely little Laem Singh beach has become more off the beaten path since road access was cut off when the adjacent land was sold to a property developer in 2017. These days it's only accessible by water: You can hire one of the small orange boats from Surin Beach for just B100 per person. There are no facilities on Laem Singh, so bring refreshments.Amenities: none. Best for: solitude; swimming.

Laem Sing Beach, Thailand

Mai Khao Beach

This is Phuket's northernmost beach and it's still a haven for leatherback turtles that lay their eggs here between November and February. The J. W. Marriott here has a beach club if you're looking for a bite to eat and the next-door Sirinath Marine National Park is worth a visit to learn about the turtles. Mai Khao connects with Nai Yang Beach to form Phuket's longest stretch of sand, and is ideal for long walks or a jog. It's dangerous to swim during the monsoons. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: solitude; sunset; walking.

Nai Harn

South of Kata Beach the road cuts inland across the hills before it drops into yet another beautiful bay, Nai Harn. On the north side of the bay is the gleaming-white Nai Harn resort, beyond which lies the tiny bay of Ao Sane. But the main attraction is Nai Harn Beach itself, with plenty of surf to play in, and a favorite anchorage for yachts.

Nai Harn, Thailand

Nai Thon and Layan Beaches

A few miles north of Bang Thao Bay, follow a smaller highway off the main routes (4030 and 4031) along a scenic coastline reminiscent of California's Pacific Coast Highway. These beaches are good for swimming and snorkeling in the dry season. Layan is a wildlife hot spot, as the lake behind the beach attracts lots of wildfowl. Nai Thon is 1 km long and still has few accommodations. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: snorkeling; swimming; walking.

Nai Yang Beach

Nai Yang Beach is really a continuation south of Mai Khao, making a long stretch of sand good for a jog or swimming in the dry season. Casuarina trees line the gently curving shore offering shade. It's a far quieter beach than most, with a strip of trees and a small string of beachside restaurants and bars, tour guides, tailors, and shops. Fishing boats anchor nearby, making for picture-perfect sunrises and sunsets. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: snorkeling; sunrise; sunset; swimming.

Nai Yang Beach Rd., Phuket, Thailand

Pansea Beach

On Phuket’s west coast just north of Surin Beach, this small, secluded stretch of sand is backed by coconut trees and a variety of exotic flora and fauna. At the southern end of the beach is a small shack serving drinks and snacks, and there are loungers for hire. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: snorkeling; sunrise; sunset.

Pansea Beach, Surin Beach, 83110, Thailand

Patong Beach

Once cluttered with beach umbrellas, Patong Beach now has some room for both sunbathing and playing soccer or Frisbee on the beach. Every conceivable beach activity from wakeboarding to Jet Skiing to parasailing is available. Patong became so popular because of its picture-perfect paradisical nature, and now its popularity has caused some degradation of the environment, particularly noticeable when the monsoon rains wash the grime off the street and onto the beach. Amenities: food and drink; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: partiers; sunset; swimming; walking.

Thaweewong Rd., Phuket, Thailand

Promthep Cape

From the top of the cliff at Promthep Cape, the southernmost point on Phuket, you're treated to a fantastic, panoramic view of Nai Harn Bay, the coastline, and a few outlying islands. At sunset you can share the view with swarms of others who pour forth from tour buses to view the same sight. If you're driving, arrive early so you get a parking spot. There's a lighthouse atop the point, as well as a collection of elephant statues where locals go to pray for good fortune.

Siam Niramit

This huge entertainment park contains a cultural village, complete with boats, games, and traditional crafts, and an indoor theater where Thai history is told through dance, performance, and song. The main show starts nightly at 8:30 pm, but come early to wander among the stalls.

Surin Beach

This long stretch of sandy beach has some grassy areas shaded by pine trees---great spots to take refuge from the midday sun. The beach is generally quiet but it does get busy on weekends, as it's popular with local Thais and expats. The area is best avoided during the rainy season, as the seas can get rough and there are strong, dangerous currents. Refreshments can be bought from local vendors working the beach. Amenities: food and drink; toilets. Best for: snorkeling; swimming; walking.

Choeng Thale, 83110, Thailand

Thalang National Museum

The National Museum, opposite the Heroine's Monument, has an engaging exhibition of the island's culture and history, including its encounter with the Burmese and their defeat by the island's two heroines. The building itself gives a glimpse into local culture, with its attractive architecture and design. The halls each show a different period of local and wider Thai history.

Srisoonthorn, Phuket, 83110, Thailand
Sight Details
Rate Includes: B100

Wat Chalong

Notable for its steeple-shaped roof, Wat Chalong is the largest and most famous of Phuket's Buddhist temples. Inside are the gilt statues of two revered monks who helped quell an 1876 Chinese rebellion. They're wrapped in brilliant saffron robes. It's generally open during daylight hours, and you can show up at 5 pm to see the resident monks pray. It's also home to the annual Chalong Temple Fair, held every February.