Phuket, the largest island in Thailand, is known for its beautiful beaches and spectacular views. Flocks of visitors come here all year long, making it a bustling tourist destination. The most common activities here revolve around the ocean: swimming, snorkeling, diving, and sunbathing. However, there’s more to Phuket than meets the eye.
If you’re traveling to this little slice of tropical paradise, it’s worth going off the beaten track. Phuket is an amazing cultural treasure trove with its diverse communities and 500 years of history. Travel like a local, and you’ll find ancient Sino-Portuguese architecture, temples of both Thai and Chinese influences, and minority fishing villages.
Make the most of your trip and experience a different Phuket. Here are six non-touristy things to do on this island:
1. Start your day with a Phuket-style breakfast
Skip the hotel’s breakfast buffet and start your day with an authentic Phuket breakfast. Locals usually eat dim sum, roti, and kopi (traditional coffee) in the morning. Just take a morning stroll along the backroads, and you’ll find vendors selling these delicious treats.
2. Take a history tour
Strategically located along India and China’s trading route, Phuket has an interesting history of foreign influences. You’ll learn more about this island’s rich culture by taking a leisurely walk along old roads. Try exploring Thalang, Krabi, Phang Nga, Deebuk, and Romanee Lane.
Admire the old Sino-Portuguese houses with vibrant designs and enter the Phuket Thai Hua Museum for a short history lesson. End the day in a quaint bar or cafe for a relaxing nightcap of drinks and local food.
3. Take a quick temple run
The Chinese have a major influence on this island because Phuket used to be a major trading point. Most locals consider themselves as Thai-Chinese and even speak Hokkien, a Chinese dialect. They worship both the Buddha and Chinese deities. If you’re an architecture junkie, Thai and Chinese temples are marvelous to explore. Hike up to Nakkerd Hill, where you’ll see the Big Buddha and a stunning panoramic view of the island.
4. Explore remote beaches
Patong Beach is always filled with vacationers, especially during summer. For a more laid-back vibe, seek refuge in more secluded beaches such as Kata and Naiharn. You won’t find convenient amenities here, but you’ll be able to unplug and unwind with just yourself and the ocean.
5. Visit the village of sea gypsies
In this part of Thailand, a community of sea gypsies have made their home. Moken, as they’re locally known, used to be sea nomads who have settled along the shores of uninhabited islands. They live in wooden stilts and have preserved their way of life even in this modern age. To get a glimpse of their culture, you have to take a boat from Phuket. While there, we suggest you visit the Moken lobster farm as well and taste a one-of-a-kind sea-to-table dinner experience.
6. Party like a local
For the night owls, there are plenty of bars along Bangla Road. If Phuket’s nightlife is a little bit too wild for you, however, consider spending a quiet evening in a smaller pub. Alternatively, do some shopping at the night market. There will be lots of touristy souvenirs on sale, but you can also find art, fabrics, and other hidden gems.
Whether it’s your first time in Phuket or a regular visitor, it’s worth seeing another side of this beautiful island. Take the road less traveled and experience its rich culture!
If you’re looking to come to Phuket to enjoy the rich local culture, Keemala is the perfect place for you. We’re a luxury villa rental in Phuket. Get in touch today to see how we can help!