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Incredible Hidden Things To Do In Phuket


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Tana Clemmons



Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, is renowned for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. However, beneath its well-known tourist spots lies a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking to venture off the beaten path and explore the lesser-known attractions, you’re in for a treat. From serene hidden beaches to cultural landmarks and wildlife sanctuaries, Phuket has something for every type of traveler.


While the popular tourist destinations may offer a fantastic experience, there is an undeniable charm to exploring the hidden corners of Phuket. These hidden gems allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture, witness breathtaking natural beauty, and get a glimpse of the island’s fascinating history.


In this article, we will delve into some incredible hidden things to do in Phuket that will take your travel experience to the next level. So pack your sense of adventure and get ready to uncover the secrets of this tropical paradise.


Explore the Big Buddha

Standing tall at 45 meters, the Big Buddha is one of Phuket’s most iconic landmarks and a must-visit attraction. Located on Nakkerd Hill, it offers panoramic views of the island and the Andaman Sea, making it a favorite spot for photographers and nature lovers.


The majestic statue, made entirely of Burmese marble, is an awe-inspiring sight, especially when bathed in the golden hues of sunset. As you climb the steps leading to the Big Buddha, you can’t help but feel a sense of tranquility and reverence in the air. The statue itself is a symbol of peace, happiness, and the teachings of Buddhism.


While admiring the Big Buddha up close, take the time to explore the area around it. You’ll find smaller statues, meditation areas, and prayer bells. Don’t miss the opportunity to make a wish by purchasing a small brass plaque and hanging it on one of the trees surrounding the site.


Visiting the Big Buddha is not just about cultural significance or breathtaking views—it’s also a chance to gain insight into Thai Buddhist traditions. Engaging with the local monks and observing their rituals can be a truly enriching experience. Remember to dress modestly and behave respectfully during your visit, as the site holds great religious importance to the people of Phuket.


If you’re feeling adventurous, consider hiking up to the Big Buddha from the bottom of the hill. The well-marked trail takes you through lush tropical forests and offers glimpses of local wildlife. It’s a rewarding and invigorating experience that will bring you closer to nature.


Whether you’re seeking spiritual enlightenment, stunning views, or a glimpse into Thai culture and traditions, exploring the Big Buddha is an absolute must during your visit to Phuket.


Visit the Phuket Old Town

Stepping into the Phuket Old Town is like taking a journey back in time. This historic part of the island is lined with colorful Sino-Portuguese buildings that reflect its rich cultural heritage. Walking through the narrow streets, you’ll find charming cafes, art galleries, boutiques, and traditional Thai shophouses.


The architecture of the buildings showcases a unique blend of Chinese and European influences, resulting in visually striking facades adorned with intricate detailing. Many of these buildings have been beautifully restored, preserving their original charm. As you wander through the Old Town, keep an eye out for vibrant street art that adds a modern twist to the area.


While exploring the Phuket Old Town, be sure to visit the infamous Thalang Road. This bustling street is the heart and soul of the Old Town, with its lively atmosphere and local vendors selling an array of goods. From souvenirs and handicrafts to delicious street food, it’s a sensory delight for visitors.


Another highlight of the Phuket Old Town is its diverse culinary scene. You’ll find a wide range of eateries serving up both traditional Thai dishes and international cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in local favorites like Hokkien noodle soup or try the delicious Peranakan (Straits Chinese) dishes influenced by Phuket’s history.


For history enthusiasts, there are several museums in the area that provide insights into Phuket’s past. The Phuket Thai Hua Museum, housed in a former Chinese-language school, showcases the island’s cultural heritage through its exhibits and artifacts. The Old Phuket Town Cultural Center is another fascinating place to visit, offering interactive displays on Phuket’s history, traditions, and festivals.


Visiting the Phuket Old Town is not just about admiring its architecture and sampling its culinary delights. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, interact with friendly locals, and gain a deeper understanding of Phuket’s heritage. Don’t forget to take your camera along to capture the colorful streets and vibrant atmosphere of this charming part of the island.


Discover the Secret Beaches

While Phuket is known for its popular beaches like Patong and Kata, the island is also home to hidden gems that offer serenity and seclusion. If you’re looking to escape the crowds and find your own slice of paradise, exploring the secret beaches of Phuket is a must.


One such hidden gem is Freedom Beach, a secluded stretch of white sand nestled between lush hills and crystal-clear waters. With no road access, the beach maintains its tranquility, making it perfect for those seeking a peaceful sunbathing spot or a snorkeling adventure. To reach Freedom Beach, you can take a longtail boat from Patong or hike through the jungle, adding a sense of adventure to your beach day.


Another hidden beach worth discovering is Ao Sane Beach, located near Nai Harn Beach. Accessible through a small jungle path, this intimate beach offers a peaceful retreat away from the crowds. With its calm waters and vibrant marine life, it’s a great spot for snorkeling and swimming.


If you’re craving pristine white sand and turquoise waters, visit Banana Beach. Tucked away on the northwest coast of Phuket, this hidden gem can be accessed by a short longtail boat ride from Bang Tao Beach. With its picturesque surroundings and calm atmosphere, Banana Beach is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and beach picnics.


For those seeking a truly off-the-beaten-path experience, visit Nui Beach. This secluded haven is accessible through a steep trek down from the Nakalay Beach viewpoint. While it may require some effort to reach, the reward is undisturbed beauty and a sense of exclusivity.


While exploring these secret beaches, it’s important to preserve their natural beauty by practicing responsible tourism. Follow the Leave No Trace principles by taking your trash with you, avoiding stepping on coral reefs, and respecting the local environment.


Discovering the secret beaches of Phuket allows you to experience the true essence of the island—a combination of untouched natural beauty and tranquility. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or simply a break from the crowds, these hidden gems will provide a memorable and rejuvenating beach experience.


Wander through the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

Located in the Bang Pae Waterfall area, the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project offers a unique opportunity to witness the conservation efforts dedicated to rehabilitating and releasing gibbons back into the wild. This project aims to rescue gibbons that have been kept as pets or used for entertainment purposes and provide them with a safe and natural environment to recover.


As you wander through the project, you’ll have the chance to observe these remarkable primates up close and learn about their rehabilitation journey. Guided tours are available, allowing visitors to gain insight into the challenges faced by gibbons and the importance of their conservation.


The project focuses on education and raising awareness about the illegal pet trade and the impact it has on gibbons and their natural habitats. Through informative displays and presentations, visitors can gain a deeper appreciation for the need to protect these endangered creatures.


In addition to observing gibbons, the project also offers opportunities to explore the surrounding nature. Take a stroll along the elevated walkways that wind through the lush rainforest, allowing you to experience the beauty of Phuket’s biodiversity.


By supporting the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, you are contributing to the conservation of these incredible primates and helping to raise awareness about their plight. Your visit provides valuable funds for their care and future rehabilitation efforts.


A visit to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project is not only an educational experience but also a chance to witness the resilience and beauty of these remarkable creatures in a natural setting. It’s a reminder of the importance of protecting wildlife and the necessity of responsible tourism.


Don’t miss the opportunity to wander through the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and be a part of the efforts to give these gibbons a second chance at a life in the wild.


Experience the Magic of the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

For an unforgettable and ethical wildlife encounter, a visit to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is a must. This sanctuary provides a safe and natural environment for rescued elephants, allowing them to live their lives free from the exploitation of the tourism industry.


Unlike traditional elephant attractions that offer rides and performances, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary focuses on the welfare and well-being of these majestic creatures. Here, visitors have the opportunity to observe elephants in their natural habitat, observing their behaviors, social interactions, and daily routines.


Upon arrival at the sanctuary, you’ll receive an orientation session to learn about the elephants’ stories and the importance of ethical elephant tourism. Throughout the experience, knowledgeable guides will provide insights about elephant conservation and the challenges they face in Thailand.


One of the highlights of the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is the opportunity to feed and interact with the elephants. Here, you can offer them treats like bananas and pineapples, gaining a deeper understanding of their gentle nature.


During your visit, you’ll also have the chance to observe the elephants as they wander freely in the sanctuary’s spacious grounds. Watching them splash in mud baths, play in the water, and graze on vegetation is a truly magical experience.


By supporting the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, you are contributing to the ongoing efforts to protect and preserve these magnificent animals. Your visit helps fund their care and rehabilitation, as well as raising awareness about the importance of ethical elephant tourism.


It’s important to remember that the well-being of the elephants is the top priority at the sanctuary. The experience is designed to provide a peaceful and stress-free environment, allowing the elephants to live a life as close to their natural habitat as possible.


The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to connect with these incredible creatures in an ethical manner. It’s an experience that not only creates lasting memories but also supports the conservation of elephants in Thailand.


Dive into the Vibrant Underwater World at Racha Yai Island

If you’re a diving enthusiast or simply looking to explore the mesmerizing marine life, a trip to Racha Yai Island is a must. Located just a boat ride away from Phuket, this island is a popular destination for snorkelers and divers of all levels.


Once you arrive at Racha Yai Island, you’ll be greeted by crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful coral reefs and an abundance of marine species. The vibrant underwater world of Racha Yai offers a feast for the eyes, with tropical fish darting among the corals and sea fans.


With numerous dive sites around the island, divers can explore an array of underwater landscapes, including rocky formations, sandy bottoms, and vibrant coral gardens. From gentle shallow dives suitable for beginners to deeper dives for experienced divers, there’s something for everyone.


One of the highlights of diving in Racha Yai is the chance to encounter majestic marine creatures, such as manta rays, whale sharks, and even turtles. Keep an eye out for these magnificent creatures as you explore the depths of the island’s underwater realm.


If you’re new to diving or want to enhance your skills, many diving centers on the island offer PADI certification courses and guided dives. These experienced instructors will ensure your safety while helping you make the most of your underwater adventure.


For those who prefer snorkeling, Racha Yai Island also offers an incredible experience. Grab your mask and fins, and dive into the shallow waters near the beach to witness a kaleidoscope of colorful fish and stunning coral formations.


As with any underwater activity, it’s important to be mindful of the environment. Respect the marine life and coral reefs by not touching or collecting anything from the ocean. Always follow the guidelines provided by your diving or snorkeling operator to ensure a responsible and sustainable experience.


Diving into the vibrant underwater world at Racha Yai Island is like entering a different realm. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and witness firsthand the incredible diversity of marine life that Thailand has to offer.


Embark on a Jungle Safari at Khao Phra Thaeo National Park

If you’re seeking an adventure in the heart of nature, Khao Phra Thaeo National Park is the perfect destination. Located in the northeastern part of Phuket, this protected area is a haven for nature lovers, offering lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife.


Embarking on a jungle safari at Khao Phra Thaeo National Park will allow you to immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the tropical rainforest. The park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including the iconic and endangered Phuket gibbons and langurs.


Start your jungle adventure by exploring the well-maintained hiking trails that wind through the park. Trekking through the dense foliage, you’ll be surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, with glimpses of exotic bird species and the occasional encounter with curious monkeys.


A highlight of Khao Phra Thaeo National Park is the majestic Ton Sai Waterfall. Take a refreshing dip in its crystal-clear pools or relax by the cascades, surrounded by the tranquil sounds of nature. The park also features other waterfalls, such as Bang Pae and Tonsai, each offering its own unique charm.


For a more interactive experience, consider joining a guided nature tour within the park. Knowledgeable guides will provide insights into the diverse flora and fauna, as well as the conservation efforts being undertaken to protect the park’s natural resources.


As you explore the national park, be sure to keep an eye out for the elusive and rare wildlife species that call Khao Phra Thaeo home, such as the Sunda pangolin and slow loris. Remember to observe these animals from a distance and respect their natural habitats.


Khao Phra Thaeo National Park offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature, escape the urban bustle, and unwind in the serenity of the rainforest. Whether you choose to hike, swim in waterfalls, or simply observe the wildlife, the park promises an exhilarating and rejuvenating experience.


Before embarking on your jungle safari, it’s important to come prepared with comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent, and plenty of water. Leave no trace behind by taking your trash with you and leaving the park as pristine as you found it.


Embark on a journey into the heart of Khao Phra Thaeo National Park and discover the hidden wonders of Phuket’s natural beauty.


Unwind at the Stunning Freedom Beach

If you’re searching for a tranquil and picturesque beach escape, look no further than Freedom Beach in Phuket. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the more popular beaches, this hidden gem offers a serene and pristine environment that is perfect for relaxation.


To reach Freedom Beach, you can take a longtail boat from Patong or enjoy a scenic hike through the lush jungle. As you approach the beach, you’ll be greeted by powdery white sands, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush greenery that stretches all the way to the shoreline.


What sets Freedom Beach apart is its sense of seclusion and tranquility. With limited access, the beach remains pristine and uncrowded, allowing you to bask in peace and solitude. Lounge on the soft sand, soak up the sun, or simply take a leisurely swim in the clear waters.


For those seeking more adventure, snorkeling is a must at Freedom Beach. Dive into the vibrant underwater world and discover colorful coral reefs and a plethora of marine life. Snorkeling equipment can be rented at the beach, allowing you to explore at your own pace.


There are also several beachfront restaurants and bars where you can savor delicious Thai cuisine and refreshing beverages while enjoying the breathtaking views. Indulge in a tropical cocktail as you watch the sun slowly set over the horizon, painting the sky in vibrant hues.


Because of its secluded location, it’s recommended to bring snacks, water, and any other essentials you may need during your visit to Freedom Beach. Also, keep in mind that there is an entrance fee to access the beach, which helps maintain its pristine condition.


Unwinding at the stunning Freedom Beach offers a blissful escape from the crowds and a chance to reconnect with nature in a tranquil setting. Whether you’re lounging on the beach, snorkeling in the azure waters, or simply enjoying the serenity, this hidden gem is a slice of paradise that should not be missed during your Phuket visit.


Take a Cultural Journey at Wat Chalong

Immerse yourself in Phuket’s rich cultural heritage by visiting Wat Chalong, the island’s most revered and significant Buddhist temple. Located in the Chalong area, this beautifully adorned temple is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of spiritual devotion and Thai culture.


As you approach Wat Chalong, you’ll be greeted by its elaborate architecture and intricate details. The temple complex consists of several buildings, each adorned with colorful artwork, stunning sculptures, and ornate embellishments that pay homage to Buddhist traditions.


Walking through the temple grounds, you’ll notice devout locals making offerings, burning incense, and praying at the various shrines and altars. The serene atmosphere invites introspection and a sense of tranquility.


A must-see highlight of Wat Chalong is the Grand Pagoda, also known as Phra Mahathat Chedi or the Big Pagoda. This towering structure houses a bone fragment of Buddha, making it a highly revered site for worshippers. As you climb the steps, take a moment to enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding area.


Inside the temple, you’ll find numerous stunning wall murals that depict scenes from the life of Buddha, as well as intricate carvings and golden statues. Explore the intricate details and symbolism within these works of art, and gain a deeper understanding of Buddhist teachings.


Wat Chalong is not only a place of worship but also a center for cultural and spiritual events. If you’re lucky, you may witness vibrant festivals or ceremonies taking place at the temple, providing a unique opportunity to witness traditional rituals and celebrations.


While visiting Wat Chalong, it’s important to dress respectfully, covering your shoulders and knees. Modesty and respectful behavior are expected in this sacred space.


Taking a cultural journey at Wat Chalong offers a glimpse into Thai traditions and spiritual practices. It’s a chance to connect with the local community, gain insights into Buddhist beliefs, and appreciate the beauty and significance of this sacred place. 

Indulge in Local Street Food at Phuket Weekend Night Market

No visit to Phuket is complete without experiencing the vibrant and mouthwatering local street food scene. And one of the best places to satisfy your culinary cravings is the Phuket Weekend Night Market, also known as Naka Market.


Located on the outskirts of Phuket Town, this bustling market comes to life every weekend, offering a wide array of food stalls that cater to all tastes and preferences. From savory delights to sweet treats, you’ll find a smorgasbord of gastronomic treasures that will tantalize your taste buds.


As you wander through the market’s maze of colorful stalls, the aroma of freshly cooked dishes wafts through the air, enticing you to sample a little bit of everything. From classic Thai favorites like pad Thai and green curry to regional specialties like moo ping (grilled pork skewers) and khao gaeng (curry and rice), the choices are endless.


Be sure to try out some of the local street food delicacies unique to Phuket, such as goong glin, a delectable coconut-based curry with shrimp, and hokkien mee, a delicious stir-fried noodle dish with a rich seafood flavor.


For those seeking a sweet ending to their culinary journey, the Phuket Weekend Night Market also offers a wide selection of delectable desserts. Sink your teeth into kanom krok, small coconut pancakes, or indulge in the creamy goodness of mango sticky rice.


But the Phuket Weekend Night Market is not just about the food. It’s also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, surrounded by the sounds of bustling chatter, bargaining, and live music. Browse through stalls selling fashion items, accessories, handicrafts, and souvenirs, and don’t forget to practice your haggling skills.


Visiting the Phuket Weekend Night Market allows you to experience the essence of Thai street food culture. It’s a chance to sample authentic flavors, mingle with the locals, and get a taste of the vibrant energy that fills the air.


When exploring the market, be prepared to navigate through crowds and bring small denominations of cash. Most importantly, come with an empty stomach and an adventurous spirit, ready to indulge in the diverse and tantalizing offerings that await you at the Phuket Weekend Night Market.



Phuket is a destination that offers more than just its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife. By venturing off the beaten path, you can uncover a whole new side of the island—a side filled with hidden treasures, cultural wonders, and unforgettable experiences.


From exploring the majestic Big Buddha to delving into the rich history of Phuket Old Town, there is a plethora of captivating activities to engage in. Whether it’s discovering secret beaches, supporting ethical wildlife conservation projects, diving into the vibrant underwater world, embarking on jungle safaris, or indulging in local street food, Phuket has something for everyone.


As you embark on your Phuket adventure, remember to approach each experience with a sense of curiosity and respect for the local culture and environment. Embrace the serenity of hidden beaches, immerse yourself in the richness of Thai traditions, and savor the flavors of street food delicacies.


Phuket holds a myriad of incredible hidden gems waiting to be explored. So, step away from the well-trodden tourist path and uncover the magic that lies beneath the surface. Whether it’s your first visit or a return trip to this tropical paradise, these hidden treasures will create lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the wonders of Phuket.


So, pack your sense of adventure, get ready to embark on a cultural and natural journey, and let the hidden gems of Phuket reveal their secrets to you.