Phuket is so popular that at times it seems like nothing has been left undiscovered. But search a little further and you will find those quirky, interesting, peaceful locations that are off-the-beaten-track and perfect for exploring. If you want to see Phuket Island from a slightly different angle, try these suggestions for an excursion away from the crowds.
Looking for a short trip from Phuket where you can get away from it all? Try Koh Bon – located to the south of the popular Rawai Beach, Koh Bon is a brief ride by longtail boat. While it is close to the Phuket coastline, this island is not overrun with tourists (yet). There are only a couple of beaches on the island but you’ll still find some space for yourself.
If you want to eat fantastic seafood, go where the locals go. While there is no denying the many tourist restaurants in Phuket serve fabulous food, if you want an authentic dining experience you have to try a local seafood restaurant. These are the places where the menus are solely in Thai (point to a picture and nod and smile – you’ll get your order!) and the surroundings are not luxurious. But the food can be amazing – choose a place that is busy and packed with people. Not every local restaurant is worth it. Ask expats or locals which one they prefer.
Haad Sai Kaew Beach
The Glass Sand Beach is a truly spectacular place in Phuket that is located at the northern edge of Phuket Island. If you think you have discovered all the beaches Phuket has to offer think again – Haad Sai Gaew is the place for you. Stroll along the length of this beautiful beach and you won’t find many other people to share it with. But you will find some excellent seafood restaurants and you’ll be rewarded with the view of an aquamarine sea.
Radar Hill Viewpoint
If you want to see Phuket from a different angle, you’ve got to go to one of its many viewpoints where you can check out the whole vista of bays, sunset, and sky. While Promthep Cape is the most popular point by far, try checking out some alternatives as well for an off-the-beaten-track experience. The Radar Hill view is superb, and you won’t have to fight with other tourists for a spot to see it. Take a look – it’s easy to get to and you will be rewarded with a special experience.
Don’t restrict yourself to visiting the Big Buddha or the most famous Wats in Phuket – pay a visit to Wat Srisoonthorn. This Wat is special for its reclining Buddha, which you will be able to see when you pass by on the main road. But don’t pass by – check out this important cultural and religious icon of Phuket.
Wat Kao Rang
Another Wat to remember – Wat Kao Rang is the original Buddha. While the Big Buddha is a new arrival, this Buddha is golden and historic – it was positioned many years ago on the Khao Rang Hill and this Wat is a beautiful place to visit – many people will not even know it is there.
Old Phuket Town
While many tourists check out Old Phuket Town – and there are plenty of tours to experience it – do something a little different and explore further. Find out where the most impressive mansions are located and walk a bit further to see them. Everyone goes to Thalang Road but there is so much more to see in Phuket Town, even if it takes a little effort.
Phang Nga Bay – Solo
It’s easy to see Phang Nga Bay and you should definitely take a trip here. But it can get overrun with tourist boats stacking up and jostling for the best shots. If you can, hire your own longtail boat and go it alone (with your captain) – you can choose when to go (in the early morning is ideal as you will see daily life on the islands before the tourists descend) and you can go to the places that others do not visit.
Buddha Cave, Phang Nga
While you are taking your own solo trip around Phang Nga, check out the Wat Tham Suwan Khuha cave with its reclining Buddha. Renting a car and exploring the caves is a great excursion and definitely something that not everyone will experience.
Try a Little Solitude
If you want to get away from the crowds, choose a popular place for day trips and stay after the day trippers have gone. You may have to bunk up in a cheap cabin but you will be rewarded with the sight of a pristine sunset, and the solitude that comes only after the crowds have gone home. The next day, catch the tourist boat back to Phuket and get back into the hustle and bustle of this amazing island
For more information on Phuket restaurants, resorts and attractions, visit PhuketOn. Check out PhuketOn for Hua Hin, Phuket, and Bangkok travel advice and recommendations.