20 Things to Do in Phuket for Couples

January 17, 2023

things to do in phuket for couples

Thailand is a wealth of intriguing culture and rich history. But after you’ve had your fill of the gorgeous temples, stately palaces, and Golden Buddhas of Bangkok, head south to take in these 20 things to do in Phuket for couples!

things to do in phuket for couples

Nicknamed “the Pearl of the Andaman,” Phuket is the largest and most well-known of the islands in the Andaman Sea on Thailand’s southern peninsula. It’s a paradise of leafy jungles, white sand beaches fringed by swaying palms, breathtaking atolls, and limestone cliffs.  Phuket offers myriad activities, and there are some incredible places to stay. The idyllic climate of this exotic destination puts it at the top of travelers’ bucket lists.

1. Sea Kayaking at Phangnga Bay

top 10 phuket thailand

A full-day adventure to this natural wonder is an unforgettable highlight of a visit and one of the best things to do in Phuket for couples. Over 100 towering limestone “islands” jut precariously out of the jewel-green sea casting a surreal – almost otherworldly – vista. These craggy outcroppings provided the backdrop for the James Bond iconic film Man with the Golden Gun.

things to do in phuket thailand

You’ll want a local guide to steer your canoe through the mysterious waters laden with hongs, or sea caves. Along the way, you can stop to take a dip in the warm waters of a deserted lagoon, interact with wild monkeys at the edge of the formations, and weave in and out of the caves and chambers – some of which can only be entered at low tide, and even then you’ll have to lie flat in your kayak inching your way through.

2. Sail to Koh Phi Phi

things to do in phuket thailand

Navigating east across the Andaman Sea will take you to the Phi Phi islands. Don’t miss Maya Bay, the remote cove where the utopia seaside scenes in the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach was filmed. The shimmering turquoise water juxtaposed against the surrounding sentinel cliffs makes it one of the most stunning beaches in the world. Close by is the sister island, Phi Phi Don with a restaurant with a very nice buffet lunch.

3. Ferry to Railay Beach

railay beach

Due east of Phuket is the region of Krabi, the highlight of which is Railay Beach. Not only is this the most majestic beach of Krabi, but of all of Thailand – and that’s saying something.

Reachable by ferry, Railay Beach is the stuff dreams are made of…lush limestone cliffs resting on golden sands and crystal-clear emerald water. This postcard-perfect beach is arguably as gorgeous as Koh Phi Phi but without the hordes of tourists. So, shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone!

Landing on Railay West, this is the prettiest and most Instagram-worthy beach. A short walk across the peninsula and you’ll reach Railway East – another pretty beach with a floating pier that gets wild when the waves are rough. In the south is Phra Nang Beach which hosts the infamous “fertility” cave filled with donated phallic sculptures of every size.  Railay also offers cliffs to scale and a viewpoint accessed only by a treacherous hike up the jungle mountain,

You can spend a nice day on Railay and West Beach is lined with beach bars to grab a bite to eat.

krabi

If you have more time, you can drive to Krabi. We did that and spent three glorious days there. We stayed in charming Ao Nang Beach and explored the hot springs, Emerald Pool, the capital town, Shell Fossil Beach, and more.

More about Railay Beach in Krabi.

4. Swing at Rock Beach

things to do in phuket for couples

This is the city’s latest photo-op attraction (and my favorite!) which can be found on a hidden rocky beach, overlooking the ocean, and includes a variety of photo ops such as a giant swing, a cube, a nest, a stairway to heaven, and more!

things to do in phuket for couples

things to do in phuket for couples

It’s a bit pricey at $20 for you and another $20 for your photographer, but you can spend as much time as you like at the various photo stations.

things to do in phuket for couples

things to do in phuket for couples

We were there on the shoulder season on a rainy day (it cleared up just in time for our shots!) so we had the whole place just about to ourselves, but I can imagine there being lines to stand in to get your shot during high season.

5. Wash an elephant

phuket

Don’t ride elephants!  It’s cruel and unethical.  Instead, you can get up-close-and-personal at elephant refuges and can even help to wash them. Here’s more info on ethical tourist activities with elephants in Thailand.

6. Hike in the jungle

things to do in phuket for couples

Morning is the best time, before the heat of the day reaches its climax, for a trek on foot through the Khao Phra Thaew National Park rainforest. You’ll pass exquisite flora, fauna, and waterfalls. At the end of the trail, splash around in a natural swimming hole or leap from the rocks to refresh yourself for the return trip.

7. White-knuckle rafting

top 10 phuket thailand

White river rafting to Chalong Bay will have your adrenaline pumping. Attempt to stay upright as you traverse the rapids which spray slippery water into your raft. You WILL get wet!

8. Eat Pad Thai

things to do in phuket for couples

Pad thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food in Phuket. It is typically made with rice noodles, shrimp, peanuts, a scrambled egg, bean sprouts, and vegetables fried in a wok. It’s the perfect combination of savory and sweet. It’s delicious!

9. Vegetarian Festival

things to do in phuket for couples

If you plan your trip in October, you’ll get to witness this bizarre ceremony associated with Buddhist Lent. The Nine Emperor Gods Festival, otherwise known as Vegetarian Festival or Jay Festival, is a Taoist celebration that sees Thailand turn vegan for nine days. As an act of penance – or to otherwise prove themselves – young men refrain from eating meat for nine days and then parade through town exhibiting bloody, mutilated cheeks and faces pierced with skewers and spears. It’s an interesting cultural exhibit, though certainly not for the faint of heart, and you can decide whether or not you’d consider this one of the top 10 Phuket Thailand attractions.

10. Discover Patong Beach

patong beach

Patong Beach is the most famous (or infamous)and popular part of Phuket, especially with young adults. During high season, the beach is flush with tourists seeking the sun or all manner of water activities.

Behind boisterous Patong beach is the place to shop for just about anything – silk, batik, jewelry, and souvenirs.  Bargaining is expected, but even if your haggling skills are not refined, everything is substantially less than in the West.

INSIDER TIP: Click here for the ONLY beach packing list you’ll ever need!

things to do in phuket for couples

As evening falls and the neon lights begin to consume the district, Patong becomes wild and compelling, but definitely not family-friendly. Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, massage parlors, and the ubiquitous go-go bars and dance shows seek to reel in passersby. It can be a bit seedy, but always entertaining, even just to walk through.

11. Explore Phuket Old Town

phuket old town

Phuket Town is the capital of Thailand’s Phuket Province. The old part of town is quite colorful and charming. Thalang Road, Phangnga Road, and Soi Romanee are lined with pastel 19th-century shophouses and Sino-Portuguese buildings. Walking is the best way to explore it, stopping for photos, coffee, or a trinket or sarong.

Built in 1903 by a wealthy tin merchant, Baan Chinpracha mansion has Italian floor tiles, shuttered windows, and antique furniture. Set in a 1930s manor, the Thai Hua Museum has exhibits on Phuket’s culture and history.

buffer & bohman

One of my favorite stops was in a new coffee shop called Buffer & Bohman. Displaying a large round outdoor sign that says “Oh La La,” the adorable cafe looks like it would be more at home on the set of Netflix’s Emily in Paris than in Phuket. The tiny über-feminine shop has a plethora of photo ops, most of which are dripping with pink roses. I loved the green tea ice cream smoothie.

12. Shop in the Temple Market

things to do in phuket for couples

Located in Karon Beach, the Temple Market is a great place to pick up souvenirs. The market is named for the attractive temple near the entrance.

I bought several brightly colored silk/wool pashminas at a (fixed) price you’d never see in the U.S.

13. Visit the Temples

things to do in phuket for couples

There are some 25 temples in Phuket, so you’ll be spoiled for choice in choosing which ones to visit. One of the temples that is a must-see is Chalong Temple, the most visited and largest temple in Phuket.

things to do in phuket for couples

Jui Tui Shrine Temple,  the destination for Phuket Vegetarian Festival, is also worthy of a visit, especially in October.

big buddha phuket

Phuket’s Big Buddha is one of the most important and revered religious sites in Phuket. Situated high on a hill, you can drive or climb to the site where you will be rewarded with the best 360-degree views of the island.

14. Airplane Beach

Hat Mai Khao, aka “Airport Beach,” is located on the northwestern coast of Phuket. The beach’s claim to fame is that it is virtually right next to the airport with the planes so close overhead that a selfie here is a must-do.

The best and most rare selfie is when a plane comes in for a landing on the runway next to the beach. Unfortunately, when we were there a storm was coming in so takeoffs were diverted to another runway out of the windy path. We were only provided with opportunities to take several planes taking off – they are not as close to the beach and not as cool, but it was still fun.

15. Karon Viewpoint

karon viewpoint

Well-known for picturesque views of the ocean, the three beaches of Kata Not, Kata, and Karon, and the lush landscape, the Karon Observation Point is one of the most frequented viewpoints in Phuket. Located between Nai Harn and Kata Noi beaches, it looks out directly out to the Andaman Sea.

16. Andamanda Water Park

things to do in phuket for couples

Andamanda Phuket is an immense new water park near Phuket Town. This massive park offers 25 attractions and on some nights there is a fun party with singing and dancing shows. There is also a spectacular fireworks display at night.

17. Watch Muay Thai

things to do in phuket for couples

Thai Boxing, aka Muay Thai,  is renowned worldwide as an exciting display of athletic prowess.  The martial arts exhibits are held regularly at Saphan Hin Stadium and attract both tourists and locals alike who are eager to witness the extreme danger of the contact sport along with the intense disciple required by the athletes.

18. Ride a Tuk-Tuk

tuk tuk

These small, brightly-colored, three-wheeled vehicles with open sides are noisy but so much fun. The drivers dash in and out of city traffic, honking at any tourist regardless of whether or not they are in the way. It’s a great way to travel to restaurants, shopping, or between beaches.

19. Thai Message

things to do in phuket for couples

Thai massage combines compression, acupressure, stretching, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and “assisted” yoga postures.   These increase the range of motion in your joints and muscles. This can also improve your posture.

Some people love them and it is a bucket list of things to do in Phuket for couples. I hate them. I had one on my first trip to Thailand in 2007 and will never have another. It hurt so much that I literally held my breath and prayed for it to be over. True story.

20. Attend a Conference

tbex

The thing that brought me back to Phuket was the TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) Conference. Kudos to TBEX for choosing such an epic venue!

tbex

This was my 6th TBEX and the sessions were the best ever, the parties were fantastic, and the food was delicious.

tbex

New friends Raffe and Ron

And of course, the opportunity to make new friends and re-connect with cherished old friends is priceless.

tbex

Beloved old friends, Dave & Deb from The Planet D

If you have a chance to attend a conference in Phuket, jump at it!

Where to Stay

Marriott on Mai Khao Beach

Plan to stay at least one night at the luxurious JW Marriott Resort and Spa on Mai Khao Beach, 30 minutes north of Phuket Town, and away from the hustle and bustle of Patong. You’ll be blown away by the lavish, zen-like suites and the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows offering a panoramic view of the ocean beach just beyond delicately manicured Japanese gardens and your own private patio.

Get a Thai massage on the beach, take a dip in the ornate pool, and enjoy the fine dining at several on-site restaurants. Try some authentic Pad Thai. This succulent, savory traditional Thai dish is nothing like the overly sweet version served in the U.S. so be sure to get your fill while you can!

Another resort that is worth considering is the Angsana Laguna Phuket. The expansive complex is set along the shores of Phuket’s Bang Tao Bay in northwest Phuket. The Angsana Laguna Phuket beachfront resort is a part of Asia’s first integrated resort, Laguna Phuket. The properties include eight world-class hotels of different designs and price points spread out over 1,000 acres of lush parkland and beachfront.

Enjoy pristine beaches with warm white sands or laze in the huge free-form resort pool or the 950-foot pool that snakes around the Angsana. The hotel provides guests with a free boat shuttle to shop at nearby Canal Village Boutiques & Galleries.

You might also like:

Adventures in Thailand: Caves, Kayaks, and Breathtaking Beaches

Best Things to Do in Bangkok

Top Things to Do in Bangkok and Phuket

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things to do in phuket for couples

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About the Author

Patti Morrow

Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the new few months.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal.  She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.

4 comments

  1. Pingback: Adventures in Thailand: Phuket's Caves, Kayaks & Breathtaking Beaches

  2. Pingback: Thailand Island Hopping: The Best Thai Islands to Visit - Thrifty Family Travels

  3. Comment by Mannat Sharma

    Mannat Sharma Reply September 21, 2019 at 2:09 am

    Amazing blog…i have visited here 4 yrs ago and i still can’t feel the air. I definitely wanna go back there again.
    Thanks for reminding me about this paradise.

  4. Pingback: 25 Most Beautiful Places in Thailand + Where to Skip - life of brit

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