8 Fun and Free Things to Do in Phuket, Thailand

Whether you are travelling to Phuket on a backpacking adventure or a luxury family holiday, finding fun free things to do is always a welcome addition to the itinerary. The money you save on certain activities helps to balance your budget for even more experiences, allowing you to truly make the most of your time here in Thailand.

Phuket Elephant Nature Reserve is an accredited, award-winning leader in ethical elephant activities in Phuket. As a local team who loves our tropical island home, we have plenty of amazing tips for fun and free things to do in Phuket — and we’ve listed some of our favourites below!

Scroll down for our budget-friendly recommendations, and if you have any questions for us, please get in touch for the answers you need.

Bang Tao beach Phuket Thailand in the evening sun

Spend Some Down Time at Bangtao Beach

Phuket is renowned for its stunning beaches, and Bangtao is one of the very best. It’s also our island’s second-longest beach, behind only Mai Khao. Unlike some of its busier counterparts, Bangtao is comparatively tranquil. 

This long, gorgeous stretch of sand fronted by dazzling azure water has attracted large, luxurious resorts and some of the best beach clubs in Phuket. However, due to its size, there’s ample space to find a quiet corner for a rejuvenating day at the beach.

Bring your sunscreen, a good book, and maybe even a picnic, and enjoy disconnecting from the world for a few hours. And if you start to feel the heat, the sea is right there for a cooling dip!

Girl watches a plane overhead at Mai Khao Beach

Take a Selfie with a Plane at Mai Khao Beach!

For aviation enthusiasts and selfie aficionados, Mai Khao Beach is a unique attraction. This beach is adjacent to Phuket International Airport, allowing visitors to witness low-flying planes landing and taking off. 

Of course, this offers an incredible opportunity to capture some awe-inspiring selfies with these colossal machines passing overhead. It’s a thrilling experience and a one-of-a-kind backdrop for your photos!

While you’re in the north of Phuket, check out some of our other tips for the best things to do in Mai Khao.

Revel in the Reward of a Hike to Kathu Waterfalls

Located in the Kathu district, you can find Kathu Waterfalls after a moderate hike through lush jungle terrain. The trek is invigorating, and the reward at the end is a series of cascades and wonderful natural pools where you can cool off. It’s common to find local kids playing in the water here.

However, the flow of the falls is highly dependent on the amount of rainfall. They are far more impressive during the rainy season. Not only is the water at its rushing best, but the surrounding vegetation is also beautifully lush and green.

There are four levels you can ascend to, all of which become increasingly more difficult to access. For most people, the ease of the stairs and concrete path leading to the first and second levels is more than enough!

Kathu Waterfalls are less than a 40-minute drive from our sanctuary, so you can combine it with either our Half-Day Elephant Adventure or Short 90-Minute Elephant Adventure for a day immersed in nature.

Phuket Night Markets

Browse Phuket’s Best Night Markets

Phuket’s vibrant night markets are a sensory delight and a fascinating way to connect with local life and our island’s rich, vibrant culture. And best of all, exploring them is absolutely free! Whether you spend money is entirely up to you — although it’s hard to resist the bargains, unique handicrafts, and some of the best street food in Phuket! There’s even live entertainment to enjoy! 

Read all about our picks for the best night markets in Phuket to start planning your adventure.

Climb Up Nakkerd Hill for Big Buddha and Panoramic Views

A visit to Phuket is incomplete without paying homage to the iconic Big Buddha. Perched atop Nakkerd Hill, this huge statue stands 45 meters tall and is visible from various parts of the island. 

The panoramic views from the top are breathtaking, providing a sweeping vista of the island and the Andaman Sea. The spiritual and cultural significance, combined with the stunning scenery, make this a must-visit spot – all without spending a baht. Of course, you can leave a donation if you wish!

Please remember to dress conservatively for your visit. This means no swimwear and covered shoulders and knees.

Wat Phra Thong

Visit Wat Phra Thong and the Half-Buried Buddha

Delve into Phuket’s rich history by visiting Wat Phra Thong, a Buddhist temple shrouded in intriguing legends. The highlight is the unique, half-buried golden Buddha statue, an image that captivates locals and tourists alike. 

Take a leisurely stroll around the temple grounds, marvel at the intricate architecture, and immerse yourself in the spiritual ambience. This experience costs nothing but will leave a lasting impression.

Both Big Buddha and Wat Phra Thong are among our recommendations for must-see temples in Phuket.

Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour of Phuket Old Town

Step back in time by wandering through the charming streets of Phuket Old Town. Adorned with colourful, Sino-Portuguese buildings, quirky boutiques, and vibrant street art, this area is a haven for history buffs, culture lovers, and photography enthusiasts. 

Just some of the important road names to consider adding to your route include:

  • Thalang Road
  • Soi Romanee
  • Phang Nga Road
  • Dibuk Road
  • Yaowarat Road
  • Krabi Road
  • Ratsada Road
  • Ranong Road

Experience Bangla Road!

For those seeking a lively nightlife scene, be sure to visit Bangla Road in Patong Beach. While it’s known for its vibrant bars and clubs, experiencing the atmosphere and eclectic street performances comes at no cost. 

Stroll down the bustling street, absorb the energy, and witness the kaleidoscope of neon lights. Bangla Road is an integral part of Phuket’s nightlife, and simply being there is an adventure in itself.

As we near the end of our picks for the best fun and free things to do in Phuket, consider reading our blog What are 10 Cheap Things to Do in Phuket? for even more budget-friendly advice. 

Add Ethical Elephant Activities in Phuket to Your Itinerary!

We hope our picks for the best free things to do in Phuket have inspired your trip planning! To elevate your adventure on our beautiful island home even further, browse our ethical elephant activities in Phuket. Our experiences offer a quintessential Thai experience with a clear conscience.

If you have any pre-booking questions for our team, please feel free to contact us for more information.

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