Cheap or free things to do in Phuket come in a variety of options. Daily life is still pretty inexpensive concerning the basic requirements such as food, drink, and clothing in most of Thailand’s provinces. Yet Phuket being the richest province of the country has prices that tend to increase faster than in the more rural areas of the country, making life almost as expensive as in some European countries.
Fortunately, there’s still some good old common sense in evidence in Phuket, so it’s still possible to find affordable places to eat, free attractions, activities that don’t charge anything, cheap services, and inexpensive cool shopping venues. Check out our list of cheap or free things to do in Phuket below, for some ideas to enjoy Phuket without breaking the purse.
- 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
Interested in this tour? Book it here.
Phuket Weekend Market (also known as Naka Market) is certainly the prime shopping destination in Phuket regarding the choice of items and bargains on offer. Held every Saturday and Sunday in the southern part of Phuket Town, this large market sells similar fashion, beachwear, gadgets and souvenir items as those found on Phuket's west coast, but at far more interesting prices. Read More...
Street food is one of the highlights of Thai cuisine, especially in Phuket. Cheap and tasty, it can be found almost everywhere and at any time of the day or night. Available from wandering vendor stalls, snacks such as chicken satay, barbecued chicken/pork/squid/shrimp/you-name-it, noodle soups, fresh fruits, ice/hot coffee/tea/chocolate (and many others) are extremely popular and pretty inexpensive in Thailand. Read More...
Temples and shrines are among the most notable attractions in Phuket. Two of the most popular religious sites on the island are located in Chalong. They are Wat Chalong – the largest Buddhist temple in Phuket, and Phuket Big Buddha – a 40-metre-tall sitting Buddha statue perched at the top of Nakkerd Hill. There is no entrance fee to visit temples, though a small donation is always appreciated. Read More...
Phuket’s colourful and historical provincial capital is one of the island’s top attractions. It's home to several of the most beautiful Chinese shrines, many exciting festivals, a great variety of shops, fantastic local restaurants and charming old buildings and streets.
The Old Town was mostly built during the tin mining boom of the late-1800s and much of the striking Sino-Portuguese architecture has been well-preserved, now being occupied by fascinating museums and fantastic restaurants. While access to the interiors of some of these places may require a small payment, walking around the web of narrow streets and enjoying the remarkable exteriors and impressive street art is completely free. Read More...
There’s no charge for stepping into Phuket’s splendid seas and all but a couple of the island’s beaches are also free to get onto. Buy a cheap mask and snorkel from the market for little more than a couple of hundred baht and you have all you need to explore the really fantastic underwater world which surrounds Phuket.
The waters feature vibrant corals and colourful tropical fish. During the high season, the water is comfortably warm and almost perfectly calm, though you should be careful of speedboats and jet skis around the busier beaches. Read More...
Renting a motorbike is the cheapest and best way for anyone to explore Phuket. For an average price of 250 baht per day, it allows you to discover all that the island has to offer in stunning sightseeing spots. Phuket counts 8 ‘official’ viewpoints and all of them can be visited by motorbike in one day. From Rang Hill in Phuket Town to Windmill Viewpoint in Nai Harn, each is more breathtaking than the last. Read More...
Get a haircut at a local hairdresser/barber
Local hairdressers and barbershops are a must-try for those who wish to enjoy a very local experience. The most typical shops are available in Phuket Old Town (on Phang Nga Road, for instance), but you could find hairdresser shops all around Phuket (check for the traditional barber’s pole). In there, you could get shaved like in a Western movie or get a proper haircut for about 100–150 baht with a simple shave.
Supercheap is a shopping institution in Phuket. Set in a huge hangar (larger than a football field) right off the airport road in Phuket Town, this supermarket sells simply everything at rack rates. The fun aspect of shopping at Supercheap comes from the incongruous items that can be found at every corner. It seems that the supermarket’s storage organisation is made according to its own logic. Read More...
Get a massage by blind therapist
When someone loses one of his/her 5 senses, the others get boosted to compensate for the loss. It's the reason why visually-impaired people are particularly good at performing therapeutic massages – their fingers ‘see’ the knots in the muscles and nerves. In Phuket, a massage parlour run by blind people right off Yaowarat Road (on Road 3001 near Tesco Lotus) offers therapeutic massages at great prices.
A songthaew (which means ‘2 benches’ in Thai) is one of the local truck-buses connecting Phuket Town to all of the beaches and villages around the island. There's no cheaper way of getting around Phuket, with prices as low as 30 baht to go from the songthaew station on Ranong Road in Phuket Town to Patong Beach. While slow and rather uncomfortable, this mode of transport is nevertheless reliable, economical, and actually allows you to mingle with locals and experience real Thailand. Read More...