7 Fun Things to Do in Phuket Other Than Frolicking at the Beach

7 Fun Things to Do in Phuket Other Than Frolicking at the Beach

Who says Phuket is all about sparkling aquamarine waters and beaches? Discover another beautiful side of Phuket as you try out these fun activities too! ;)

Phuket has always been known for its sunshine and pristine beaches, perfect for a tropical getaway…BUT there are so many other fun things to do in Phuket as well that don’t involve the beach at all.

Pack your bags, take the road less travelled, and embark on an adventure to explore the hidden beauty of Phuket!  

1. Admire the stunning panoramic view of Phuket from Khaorang Hill

Just look at that beautiful panoramic view! Coupled with great weather and fluffy clouds, this scenery definitely took my breath away. From Khaorang Hill, you will enjoy stunning sights of the southern part of the island, such as Chalong, Panwa, as well as the Big Buddha on top of the hill. It is about 140m above sea level, framed by rolling hills on one side and the vast ocean on the other.

It was so relaxing to just stand there and admire the amazing view of Phuket right in front of me, enjoying the cooling sea breeze and taking in this spectacular sight. I wished time could just stop for awhile right here! If you get hungry but refuse to leave this awesome viewing place, you can always head to Tunk Ka Cafe which has been there for a long time, or Khao Rang Breeze which is relatively new and more upscale. In addition, the toilets at Khao Rang Breeze have a glass wall on one side so…you can answer nature’s call while literally admiring it at the same time. *winks*

2. Take photos with colourful wall graffiti

Image credit: Eugene Tang

Don’t these graffiti artworks just add so much colour and vibrancy to the old streets and fading walls? Found at Thalang Road, these masterpieces are great for a quick outfit of the day shot or just fun photos with friends. They definitely spice up the area by giving quirky fresh vibes to what was previously plain and boring walls.

In celebration of UNESCO’s official recognition of Phuket as a Creative City of Gastronomy, Thai graffiti artists have been called to highlight the elements of Phuket’s food culture through their artwork. This is shown in two of Alex Face’s work, his Mardi character in a Chinese red tortoise “Ang Ku” cake dress like the ones used in Por Tor (Hungry Ghost) Festivals, as well as another one of Mardi in traditional costume pushing a cart. The former one can be found at Thalang Road and the latter one can be found near Phuket Town’s Central Market – for those who want to snap a picture with it!

3. Go cafe-hopping along Thalang Road

Thalang Road is like a quaint, eclectic mix between Chinatown and Haji Lane in Singapore! In short, it is every hipster’s heaven. Rows of multi-coloured, Sino-Portugese shophouses are filled with a varied mix of new cafes, bars and guesthouses, coupled with old shops like hardware stores, herb shops, fabric shops and old noodle shops! What a juxtaposition. This is why Thalang Road is the central heart of Old Phuket Town, because it offers a unique mix of the old and the new!

Try out cafes such as Coffs & Burgh, Eleven & Two Co., Bookhemian and A Dessert Moments for some sweet pastries, local delicacies and a cup of freshly brewed coffee! Coffs & Burgh, in particular, is housed in a 120-year-old shophouse with Peranakan baba decor inside and behind the cafe. It’s definitely worth checking out – and have I mentioned that a cup of coffee starts from only 50 baht?! Plus, my huge cup of coffee lasted me for HOURS.

Bask in the relaxing ambience with a good book and cuppa, or snap photos of the quaint decor all around. It’s the perfect place for a casual, chill afternoon! If coffee isn’t your thing, don’t worry… Eleven & Two Co. has Happy Hour promotions from 2pm to 8pm, so go ahead and knock yourself out with some cheap cocktails and beers!

4. Visit the Phuket Town Central Market and get a glimpse of the local culture

It was a real eye-opener walking around the market, learning about how the different herbs, fruits and products they sold at each stall! We bought some colourful sweet desserts and glutinous banana rice to try, and boy – they were absolutely delicious. We also had the chance to look at the process of making fresh coconut milk and cream, which looked so tasty.  Markets are also the best place to buy a cup of Thai milk tea or coconut water – it’s refreshing in the hot weather and given in large portions at really low prices.

Seafood such as squids, lobsters, jumbo prawns, and crabs were so fresh and HUGE, I couldn’t help but imagine how delicious they would be when cooked. They also had so many different curry pastes in varying colours for easy cooking. It’s the key ingredient to making a delicious, creamy bowl of Thai green curry for sure!

Another thing to note, however, is that you might want to stay away from the poultry stalls because they have some naaaaasty products that might make you lose your appetite. Aside from the unique colour of chicken feet because turmeric was added, the innards of the chicken are also cut open and sold as well. It was definitely not a pretty sight!

At the outdoor section of the market, there are many pushcarts, selling delicious street food and drinks that taste even better than those served at some restaurants! Aren’t you just drooling at these images of mouthwatering food? I know I definitely am!

5. Try to be a masterchef at the Blue Elephant Restaurant

Image credit: Eugene Tang

Housed in an elegant and historic 105-year-old Governor’s Mansion, the Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant is a must-visit for anyone in Phuket! The exterior is a sight to behold, set amidst lush greenery, while the interior is delightfully elegant yet quaint.

Initially, I was very apprehensive and worried that I might be a burden and set the kitchen on fire by accident, considering my lack of talent in cooking. Thankfully, that was not the case! Chef Sombat Prongthong patiently demonstrated four dishes to us: Spicy Seabass Soup with Fresh Turmeric, Prawn and Pineapple Salad, Crab Curry with Betel Leaves, and Stir-fried Prawns with Tamarind Sauce.

He explained every step of the way and it was such an enriching experience! He gave us numerous cooking tips and told us his techniques on keeping ingredients fresh while enhancing the flavours from the spices. You’ve got to take his cooking class to find out! *winks*

After his demonstrations, it was time for us to don our aprons and try to replicate his masterpieces! I tried cooking the Spicy Seabass Soup with Fresh Turmeric, and it tasted really delicious…Almost like the original version! Thankfully, I did not die from diarrhoea or food poisoning after eating my own cooked food. It was a Thai cooking class made simple for beginners like us and so it was a fun and enjoyable experience. You’ll even get a certificate, a chef’s hat and an apron as souvenirs and proof that you completed the workshop!

The menu at Blue Elephant Phuket offers a variety of unique dishes using the freshest ingredients to produce quality Thai food that will simply blow you away. You won’t be able to find these Thai dishes anywhere else for sure. So make sure you go for a cooking class with them, and be awed by Thailand’s rich gastronomic culture!

6. Feast on DELICIOUS authentic Southern Thai Food

Did you know that Phuket is the first in ASEAN to receive the accolade of being a GASTRONOMY CITY?! How awesome is that! Besides, there are only 18 “Gastronomy Cities” recognised by UNESCO across the world. Phuket definitely deserves its title as a Creative City of Gastronomy, that’s for sure!

Just look at these delectable dishes – aren’t you salivating already?! These can be found at Tu Kab Khao, located near Phuket old town. They offer special southern dishes that are native to Phuket. We tried a variety of dishes – fish cakes with Thai chilli sauce, prawns with tamarind sauce, sotong with salted egg, southern chilli paste with assorted vegetables (VERY SPICY!!), coconut milk seafood soup, green curry, sweet and sour fish, braised pork stew, and more! I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

My personal favourites were the prawns with tamarind sauce, the sotong with salted egg, and the coconut milk seafood soup! They were SO, SO YUMMY. The sweetness of the tamarind sauce goes really well with juicy, succulent prawns and just envelops your tastebuds completely. The coconut milk seafood soup was also delightfully milky without being too overpowering or creamy, and was uniquely presented in a coconut husk. And of course, who can resist salted egg?! This dish was surprisingly light and hits you in all the right places as the salted egg flavour was strong but not too gelat. I couldn’t help but finish the entire plate!

Tu Kab Khao address: 8 Phang Nga Rd., Talad Yai, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand

Another great place to dine at in Phuket is at Raya, known as one of Phuket’s most famous restaurant! Housed in a beautifully preserved Sino-Portuguese house, Raya is known for preserving original Phuket-style Thai dishes. The signature dishes include: the deep fried sea bass with shallots and red chillies in tamarind and lemongrass sauce, fried pork belly with basil leaves, as well as a sensational crabmeat curry served with rice vermicelli! Make sure to try them when you visit!

Raya address: 48 New Dibuk Road, Phuket Old Town, Thailand

7. Go crazy eating varieties of street food at Phuket Tasty Fest

Held from 9-11 September 2016, the Phuket Tasty Fest was held to celebrate the diversity and variety of flavours and dishes on the island. As a cultural melting pot where many have settled down over the years, the amalgamation of different cultural elements and traditions have resulted in uniquely Southern dishes that cannot be found anywhere else! There were even live cooking demonstrations by famous celebrity chefs, who made their own dishes using local ingredients such as lobsters. I happily rewarded my empty stomach with all the local delicacies, fried snacks, and fusion foods available!

It was truly fascinating to learn more about Phuket’s diverse culinary culture, and to personally see how these dishes are prepared!

BONUS: Stay at the Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa

The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa is the perfect location for you to truly enjoy the beautiful scenery Phuket has to offer. It boasts breathtaking ocean views and a secluded beach accessible only from the hotel – you wouldn’t want to leave the confines of the hotel at all! Imagine waking up every morning to panoramic views of the lagoon and perfect weather! Mmm…that sounds like pure bliss. Did I mention they have three pools within the compound?! Oh yes, you’ll be spoilt for choice on where to go for a splashing good time.

The best part? They have buggies to shuttle you from the hotel lobby to your hotel room, because the compound is THAT huge. One unique feature of their rooms is that the toilet is separated from the bed by a GLASS wall, which means you can chill in the bathtub while watching television…OR it would definitely be suitable for couples looking a romantic time during their stay!

THANK YOU PHUKET for this kickass trip! I’ll definitely be back for you soon!

I extend my deepest thanks to Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa and Tourism Authority of Thailand (Singapore Office) for giving me the opportunity to discover and experience the paradise of Phuket.

About Author

Carissa Ng
Carissa Ng

Carissa is fascinated by the complexity of globalisation, and the interdependence of diverse cultures. Her mind constantly drifts off to dreams of travelling around the world, because she wants to explore every continent and city. She is also a sleepyhead-sloth who has a huge weakness for rainbows, sushi, all things Korean, and adorable chubby babies.