I recently went over to Phuket and had a pretty good time. I was ignorant in thinking that it would be a cheap holiday because I quickly realized that prices in Phuket have been jacked up like no tomorrow.
Of course, you may have already booked your trip, so these were the top things I did while over there.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
Chances are you will see tours to see / ride / feed the elephants throughout Phuket, notably at your hotel. So you have two options; either you can go ahead and ride on the elephants for a once in a lifetime type of experience, or you can visit the Elephant Sanctuary.
The Elephant Sanctuary is a newly formed part sanctuary, part tourist destination. Modeled off the larger Elephant Sanctuary in Chang Mai, they have been open for only a few months now.
Their aim is to not only be a safe place for the elephants to roam around and live a peaceful and happy life, but also for visitors to understand the negative side around elephant tourism. They teach you about the harmful methods used by the local thai to domesticate and train the elephants to follow their instructions.
While at the sanctuary you get a chance to get up close to the elephants as they go for a long walk around the parklands, as well as feed them their lunch. Its hard to describe, but i found it to be a very enjoyable experience, and would highly recommend it for a less touristy venture.
My favourite market in Phuket. Yes its full of tacky fake designer bags and clothing, but if you aren’t picky then its a great place for bargains. Again, bargain is relative to wherever you come from as Phuket is more expensive than the other areas of Thailand. Plus this market is a great place for trying out lots of street food!
Walking Street Market
Another fantastic market, though its stupid crowded and a little hard to enjoy. A street is closed off and the market stalls all open up after 5PM on Saturdays. The things they sell here are more on the designer and handmade market, and less of the fake designer stuff at the Naka Market. I still prefer the Naka market, but you can probably do both in one night as they are only ~10 minutes apart by car.
Kata and Karon Beach
Of course why else are you in Phuket other than for the beaches. Kata and Karon are better options for something a little quieter than Patong. If you aren’t one for the busy night life and want to chill, then i’d recommend these beaches on the island. There are restaurants along the beach selling Thai food as well as Thai versions of western food. I didn’t really eat here, but I did have the fruit smoothies. Try to ignore the flies.