When you cruise to Phuket, you’ll uncover a celebration of Thai culture and traditions you must experience for yourself. Historic temples and 24-hour beach life coexist in beautiful harmony in Phuket, where locals welcome tourists with a friendly smile. In Phuket, the influence of Portuguese settlement is best seen in Old Town’s colorful shophouses, many of which are still being used today.
Head to Patong Beach when you’re ready for a day of partying or an all-night adventure. Venture out to Sirinat National Park for snorkeling in crystal-clear waters and spend hours admiring the vibrant coral reefs beneath you. Don’t miss the city’s most famous attractions, like the Big Buddha or the Wat Chalong, one of the biggest temples in all of Thailand. It’s a city that lives for good food, so even the tiniest street vendors make some of the most delicious Thai snacks you’ll ever eat. When stopped in the “Land of Smiles” from your Asia cruise, you’ll find yourself impressed by Phuket’s abundant nature, diverse food, and cultural sights.
When the Portuguese came to Phuket in the 19th century, they built brightly painted buildings, called shophouses. The architecture here will make you wonder if you’re even still in Thailand. Phuket’s Old Town is a great way to familiarize yourself with the history of Phuket while popping in a local cafe, enjoying one of the art galleries, or getting cozy at a local bar.
Looking for a lively beach to experience from your cruise to Phuket? Patong Beach is the place to go for partying and nightlife here. Bars, clubs, and restaurants are open late and get loud. Of course, there’s plenty of swimming, sunbathing, and shopping to be done during the day.
Good old-fashioned fun awaits at Phuket FantaSea, a 60-acre theme park and popular nighttime entertainment extravaganza in Phuket. FantaSea can only be described as over the top, featuring elephant performances, dancers, elaborate costumes, and trapeze artists. You can purchase a ticket to the buffet as well.
Don’t miss a tour of the historic and sacred Wat Chalong Buddhist temple, one of the biggest in Phuket. Climb up to the third story for a view, or simply walk through the temple and take in the gilded sculptures and colorfully painted interiors.
Once of Phuket’s most iconic sights is the Big Buddha, a nearly 150 foot tall marble statue of Buddha. The view from where the Buddha sits is breathtaking, plus it’s one of Phuket’s most revered and sacred sites. Don’t miss an excursion here when planning your Phuket cruise packages.
Several miles of golden sand and glamorous resorts line the shoreline of Karon Beach, which make it popular among travelers and locals. It’s less of a party beach than Patong Beach, so it’s the ideal spot to lay down a towel, crack open a beach read, and laze the afternoon away.
When you’re ready to get away from the crowds and experience natural, undisturbed Thailand, head to Sirinat National Park for snorkeling in the bright coral reefs offshore. Take a secluded walk along the beautiful pine forests. You might even see turtles nesting while you’re there.
Promthep Cape is one of the most photographed places in Thailand, and the sunset unfolding across the cape promises to awe anyone who sees it. Enjoy the 20-minute trek to the southernmost point of Phuket, though note that the rocks can be slippery. Photos are a must at “God’s Cape”.
Address: 48/1 Th Thepkasattri
One Chun restaurant is set in a Sino-Portuguese shop house, whose bright colors welcome you in. They serve authentic Thai cuisine in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. Try the orange curry with fish or the crab meat curry in coconut milk with rice noodles. One Chun is consistently rated as one of Old Town’s best.
La Gritta Italian Restaurant
Address: 2 Muen-ngern Road Beach Kathu Tambon Patong, Phuket 83150, Thailand
Looking for a romantic night of Italian food in Phuket? You might be pleasantly surprised by La Gritta, which blends modern decor with Italian simplicity. Try the osso buco or the fresh buffalo mozzarella with pesto, and don’t forget to try a glass or two from the extensive wine list. La Gritta brings sophistication to the bustling Patong Beach area.
Shop Address: Th Patak East
Rumors swirl that this unassuming roadside restaurant makes the best pad thai in Phuket, but you’ll have to try it for yourself. Place your order at the counter, then wait for your pad thai or pad see ew. Don’t forget to try one of the homemade chili sauces here, too.
Abdul’s Roti Shop
Address: Talat Yai | Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Whether you’re in the mood for sweet or savory, Abdul’s Roti Shop serves crispy and consistently delicious roti, a flaky, crispy flatbread. Dip it into curry or enjoy it with grilled banana served with condensed milk. Abdul’s has been in the neighborhood for over 70 years, so the place has grown famous in local circles.
Thailand has a rich history, and Phuket has been known as its central trading port and one of its most welcoming cities. In the 1600s, Phuket was colonized by all sorts of groups at different times, including the Portuguese, British, and French. Over time, Phuket became a base for international trade and tin mining.
The nearby beaches attract visitors from all over Thailand, and when international tourism efforts doubled in the 1970s, Phuket quickly became a hub for backpackers and solo travelers. Buddhism is one of the central religious beliefs practiced in Thailand.
From your cruise to Phuket, you’ll dock at the Port of Phuket. It’ll take about 20 minutes to get from the cruise port to the city center. There are often shuttles available to take you to Ao Makam. Buses usually only run until 6pm in Phuket, so plan your return trip to the cruise port carefully. Because Thailand has boomed as a tourism destination in the last few decades, the bus and taxi network has grown considerably.
The town of Phuket is about a 20-minute drive away from the cruise port, and most cruise passengers take a cab or bus to get to the city when their cruise to Phuket docks. You can arrange to use the same driver throughout your day in Phuket if you wish, which tends to get you a better deal. Many visitors download the app Grab to hail a taxi.
Because of how popular Phuket has become, there’s plenty of outdoor markets and shopping malls to keep you occupied. Antiques and jewelry are staples at local night markets like the Phuket Weekend Market, where you can barter your way to a great deal on local goods, or just snack away at one of the many food stands. There’s also Phuket Walking Street in Old Town, where coffee shops, restaurants, and bars are ready to meet any craving. Plus, it’s a must-go spot for souvenirs to bring back after your cruise to Phuket.
The official currency used in Thailand is the baht. Exchange currency once you get into Thailand for a better exchange rate. ATMs are plentiful in Phuket, but will usually include a service charge. Credit cards are generally accepted in many places, but it’s good to carry cash with you, too. Tipping isn’t a common practice in Phuket, but rounding up to the nearest bill for your taxi driver is polite. When dining in high quality or expensive restaurants, it’s common to include a 10% tip of your total bill.