Being such a large island and having such a vibrant past, Phuket is full of little nooks and crannies which are often overlooked, particularly by travellers on their first visit. Many of these hidden, hard-to-reach places contain delights which have largely escaped the attention of tourists. Mostly known only to long-term expatriates and locals, these are the best-kept secrets in Phuket. At least, they were until now.
Ranging from secret beaches to out-of-the-way viewpoints to the lesser-known temples, the places on this list may not have the size and grandeur of the more famous landmarks in Phuket, but they make up for it by providing an otherwise unattainable sense of exploration and of straying off the beaten track. If you’re the sort of traveller who likes to escape the crowds and see something a little different - even in such a famously popular destination as Phuket – then this list is for you.
- Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park
- Phi Phi Islands Tour with Express Boat
- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
- Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience
- Canoeing Excursion in Phang Nga Bay with Thai Buffet Lunch
- Introduction to City Tour
- John Gray's Cave Canoeing Tour in Phang Nga Bay
Ao Sane BeachNai Harn Beach
A little cove on Phuket’s southwestern coast, Ao Sane is one of the nicest beaches on the island yet, being a little out of the way, is one of the least visited. It is found down a small, well-marked road past The Nai Harn. It is only 200m in length, with fine, soft sand dotted with large granite boulders. It is bordered by dense jungle behind and clean, clear water in front and is also one of the top snorkelling beaches in Phuket. Read More...
- Location: Along the road past Nai Harn Beach
Radar Hill ViewpointChalong
Radar Hill offers outstanding views of Patong Beach, yet is virtually unknown because it is quite a challenge to reach. The highest of Phuket’s many breathtaking viewpoints, it is so-named because of the military weather station found at the top (which the guards generally don’t like people with camera’s hanging around, so we suggest you don’t get too close). Counter-intuitively, the approach is actually from the back (eastern) side of the hill, off Chao Fa West Road. It’s a long drive, but very much worth it. Read More...
- Location: Along a small road off Chao Fa West Road
Wassa Homemade BarPatong
A good viewpoint is one thing, but one where you can also enjoy a cool beer with a beautiful sunset is quite another. For that, there is no place quite like Wassa Homemade Bar in Patong. It is found right at the back of the town, about as far from the beach as you can get without going all the way up to Radar Hill, and the access road is extremely steep. Among the more remarkable sights to see there are the toilets, where the seat faces away from the door so that you can still enjoy the view while answering nature’s call. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 14:00 – 22:00
- Location: off Hasip Pee Road, Patong
- Tel: +66 (0)91 882 9322
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Wassa-homemade-bar-Patong-111552099007021
Ao Yon BeachNear Cape Panwa
Ao Yon is one of the few beaches which has been retained by the locals and not dominated by the tourism trade. Bordered by a small, sleepy village, the soft-sanded strand looks out onto a small cove, which is usually dotted with boats and yachts. Bizarrely, this is actually one of the few beaches on Phuket where you can still reliably find sun loungers, thanks to The Cove Phuket and their small artificial beach, which is just behind the real thing. Read More...
Shrine of the Serene LightPhuket Town
The Shrine of the Serene Light is one of Phuket’s most charming Chinese shrines, yet one of its least-known. It is effectively hidden in plain sight, having been built in a little courtyard next to The Memory at On On Hotel on Phang Nga Road – right in the middle of Phuket Old Town - in 1891. The alleyway which once formed the modest entry has been widened and made more obvious in recent years, so the popularity of the shrine is rapidly growing. Read More...
- Location: Phang Nga Road, Phuket Town
Thai Amulets MarketPhuket Town
There are plenty of markets around Phuket where you can get the typical tourist trinkets which look like they ought to be of some religious and cultural significance, but generally aren’t. The Thai Amulets Market doesn’t sell those. Located close off Rassada Road in Phuket Old Town, this tiny alleyway is home to traders selling hundreds of Buddhist amulets, such as those you will see most locals wearing. The value of these items is very high, both culturally and financially, with some being priced as high as 100,000 baht. Read More...
- Location: Rassada Road, Phuket Town
Banana BeachBetween Bang Tao and Nai Thon beaches
Sometimes known as Banana Rock Beach, this 180m strip of sand is actually mostly rocky, being one of the most pristine spots on Phuket. Its remote location between Bang Tao and Nai Thon beaches, as well as a challenging approach, makes it almost untouched by tourists. It is found at the end of a rough trail down to the bottom of quite a steep hill, but the brief hardship of getting there is rewarded with a perfectly tranquil, unspoilt spot. Read More...
Samet Nangshe ViewpointPhang Nga
First discovered by a Thai photographer, the location and potential of Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is barely known by most expatriates, let alone tourists. Found at the top of a steep hill a long way off the main roads in Phang Nga (about a 30-minute drive from Phuket), it is so far from the bustling Phuket resorts that there is next to no light pollution, meaning that you can see the Milky Way at certain times. As if that wasn’t enough, the view of the sun rising over Phang Nga Bay is absolutely breathtaking. Read More...
The Real Kathu WaterfallPatong
You may be thinking that Kathu Waterfall is a strange place to include in a list of secrets in Phuket, it being probably the best-known and most-visited waterfall on the island. However, the vast majority of the many people who visit the falls miss out on the most striking sights to see. The real falls are found on the right hand side, past the bridge and up the hill. It is not particularly well sign-posted and it’s a bit of a slog to reach, but your efforts will be rewarded with scenery which the majority of visitors miss out on. Read More...
Sabai CornerKata Beach
Sabai Corner is one of the lesser-known restaurants in Phuket, being situated in the jungle between Nai Harn and Kata. While the food is fairly ordinary, the real attraction is the view, which takes in Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches as well as the tiny Pu Island. It is a similar view to that you get from the more famous Kata Viewpoint, but you will get it more to yourself and can enjoy a beer and some cheap, tasty food with the scenery. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
- Location: On the road leading down from Kata/Karon Viewpoint, Kata
- Tel: +66 (0)89 875 5525
The Old Big Buddha at Wat Khao RangPhuket Town
If you want to see a striking big Buddha statue, most people head straight for the big white marble one looking out across Chalong from the hills above Kata. Wat Khao Rang’s beautiful golden Buddha image was the island’s original Big Buddha, but it has virtually vanished into obscurity after the completion of the more famous one in the Nakkerd Hills. This has the advantage of meaning that you can look around and take photos without being in the middle of a crowd of other visitors. Read More...
- Location: Khao Rang Hill, Phuket Town
The Really Big Buddha at Wat SrisoonthornPhuket Town
The famous Phuket Big Buddha is not actually the island’s biggest. Wat Srisoonthorn’s reclining Buddha statue is bigger in total size but, being in the horizontal posture, is not as tall. Despite being right by the main road down the centre of Phuket, it is often missed because of the dense trees surrounding the temple grounds, which also contain nine other smaller Buddha images. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 07:00 – 17:30
- Location: Thepkasathri Road
Among the many beautiful islands off Phuket, Koh Bon is one of the least well-known, mostly because it is among the least developed. Well off the typical day-trippers route, the only way to reach it is by chartering a long-tail boat from Rawai. Once you’ve made the 15-minute crossing, you will find a simple restaurant, pristine white sands and very little else on the 1.2km-long island. Read More...
Panwa ViewpointCape Panwa
Also known as Khao Khad Views Tower, this little-known viewpoint offers 360-degree views across southern and eastern Phuket. It is situated on the road to Cape Panwa, far from the busier resort areas of Phuket. The stairs to the top of the hill are a little demanding, but you will be rewarded with with views of Chalong Bay, the Big Buddha atop the Nakkerd Hills from here, as well as the scars on the landscape left by Phuket’s tin mining boom. Read More...
- Location: Sakdidet Road, Cape Panwa