Phuket Travel Guide: 7 Must-do Activities for First-time Travellers

Embarking on your very first travel trip to Phuket? Our handy beginner’s travel guide will have your exploring the island like a pro, and help ensure that you don’t miss out on any must-do activities!

Phuket beach sunset

Spend an evening at the beach

Phuket’s gorgeous coasts and picturesque coastal scenery provides a great setting for a romantic evening by the beach, a merry family gathering, and even a night of rowdy beachside fun. Got plans for an intimate evening with that special someone? You won’t go wrong with seaside dining. Travelling with your little ones? Make your way to one of the kid-friendly beaches on the island. Up for some hardcore partying? A night of revelry awaits at one of these trendy beachfront nightspots.


Phuket’s warm tropical weather, clear seas and vibrant marine life makes the island a paradise for avid snorkelers. The best months for snorkeling are between November to April when the sea is at its calmest, but the activity can be done throughout the year. However, do take extra caution during the months of May to October, as there may be strong undercurrents along the west coasts.

Laem Singh beach, Ao Sane, Kata Noi, Paradise beach and Ya Nui are popular snorkeling spots. You’re not limited to inland locations; the offshore islands surrounding Phuket offer plenty of excellent snorkeling spots too.

traditional Thai massage

Enjoy a traditional Thai massage treatment

A traditional Thai massage treatment may look more than a little intimidating, even for individuals who are used to massage treatments. All that stretching, pulling and cracking of one’s knuckles doesn’t give the impression that a massage treatment could be anything close to being enjoyable.

But, don’t be too quick to judge – wait till you’ve undergone your first treatment. You may find that the knots in your body have melted away under the touch of the massage therapist, along with stiff joints, tense muscles and other body pains. In short, you’re actually feeling really, really good.

Thai massage is an ancient healing system that combines acupressure techniques, Indian ayurvedic principles and yoga postures. It is also commonly known as ‘yoga massage’, as the treatment can be considered as a form of assisted yoga. Unlike most other massage treatments, no massage oils or lotions are used, and you’ll be asked to change into loose-fitting clothes before the session.

Starting from your feet, the therapist will work his or her way up to your head. Be prepared to let your body be stretched, rocked, compressed, rubbed, and even walked over. Fingers, toes and ears will be pulled, and knuckles cracked. If this sounds like a painful ordeal, don’t worry – for it doesn’t have to be. If the therapist exerts too much force for your liking, just let him or her know that you prefer a gentler pressure for your treatment.

Just like yoga, it helps if you stay relaxed and synchronise your breathing. Work with your therapist as she pulls your body into a stretch, and time your inhalations and exhalations to be in sync with her breathing patterns.

fish spa

Try out a session of fish spa

If you’ve been traveling in Phuket for at least a couple of days, chances are that you would’ve caught sight of locals or travellers enjoying a session of fish spa. It presents a rather curious sight; individuals sit in a row on cushioned seats, their feet submerged in rectangular tanks. The water level in the tanks rise up to their knees, and a swarm of fishes nibble eagerly at the feet and legs of these individuals.

The garra rufa fishes, also known as doctor fish, are excellent providers of skin exfoliation services as they nibble away at dead skin. Letting a school of fishes swim right up for a nip as you dip your limbs into the water may seem like a frightening thought, but rest assured that this spa session is far from painful. In fact, you may need to hold your laughter during this ticklish experience!

Try the local street food

Shun the touristy restaurants or eateries dishing out plates of “authentic” Thai food with flavours and spices watered down to cater to foreign tastebuds. Instead, dine as the locals do, by enjoying a spread of street food delights. Myriad food stalls and street food vendors sell a plethora of savoury fare and sweet treats; planning your meals will be a breeze as this means that you’ve got the mains and desserts covered.

Not quite sure of how to kickstart your exploration of local fare? Have a look at our street food guide on ten must-try dishes in Phuket!

Isaan Thai Food

Feast on authentic Thai fare

When in Rome, do as the locals do; make Thai fare your cuisine of choice for a decadent dinner. What’s not to love about Thai? The diversity in flavours of the local dishes means that your palate will get a good workout as it discerns sweet, sour, spicy and savoury tastes in one mouthful. Start off your gastronomic adventure by eating your way through our list of five restaurants well-known for its authentic local fare.

Visit the local temples

Embark on a cultural discovery as your explore the mystical temples on the island. The renowned Big Buddha is an attraction not to be missed; the magnificent statue stands at a towering height of forty-five metres upon the peak of Mt. Nagakerd. Set away from the crowded areas of Phuket, the grounds of the temple emit a tranquil vibe. Dharma music play softly in the background, its soothing tunes blending in seamlessly with the sound of ringing bells and flags flapping in the wind. The elevated position of the temple puts visitors in a prime spot perfect for enjoying panoramic views over the island.

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