Phuket is an island in the Southern part of Thailand, situated next to the Andaman Sea. This tropical paradise is covered in rainforest and mountains and also offers some of the best beaches in Thailand. Phuket is a great place to start island day trips from but also has plenty of activities to offer right there on the island.
Below are my suggestions on what to do for 3 days in Phuket.
3 Days In Phuket: The Itinerary
Many people visit Phuket for the sun, sand, and beaches. Others for the overwhelming amount of culture it offers. But when we considered how to put together an itinerary for spending 3 days in Phuket we tried to consider all types of travellers. Because of this, you’ll find a variety of different activities included.
Check out what we came up with!
Phuket Day 1 – Culture & Class
Your first day in Phuket should be all about local culture. Visit the temples, check out the Buddha, people watch and then visit one of the countless markets in the city. It’s not all about sun, sand & beaches after all… (That’s Day 2 😉 )
Big Buddha in Chalong
Visible from all over Southern Phuket, the Big Buddha sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills and is 147 feet tall. Check out 360-degree views of the island from this mountaintop. It’s easy to hail a taxi to Big Buddha for the windy 3.7-mile ride to the top. About 1,000 people visit this site every day, many of whom donate to help pay the costs of maintaining the Buddha.
Be sure to cover your knees and shoulders when entering Big Buddha as the rules require it. You will also find curious monkeys scattered around the giant statue. Big Buddha was built in 2004 with reinforced concrete, layered with glittery Burmese white jade marble. Next to the main statue is a smaller gold-colored Buddha made of brass.
You will notice some gold tags hanging from the trees nearby – these are notes written from visitors to loved ones. Before you leave, take a moment to relax on the benches, enjoy the view, and indulge in reading these sweet messages.
This is the start of your perfect 3 day Phuket itinerary!
Suggested Duration: 2.5 hours
Wat Chalong Temple in Chalong
One of 29 Buddhist temples in Phuket, Wat Chalong is arguably the most alluring. Visit the western hall of the temple to see two statues of an older gentleman called Ta Khee-lek (Grandpa Khee-lek), who made his name for winning many lotteries after consulting the Poh Than Jao Wat statue at Wat Chalong.
Head over to the Grand Pagoda, which is said to have a piece of Lord Buddha himself inside. To escape the heat and learn some history, visit the air-conditioned exhibition of Luang Poh Charm. You will find human-sized wax models of Luang and his family here along with antique Thai furniture and porcelain.
This historic stop on your Phuket itinerary is sure to pique your interest in the history of Thai temples.
Suggested Duration: 2 hours
Phuket Weekend Market
It’s time to try some Thai street food! There are 5+ night markets in Phuket, the best of which is the Phuket Weekend Market. Open Saturdays and Sundays, this is the perfect place to buy souvenirs, knock-off Rolex watches, local cuisine, and even live animals. Be sure to try freshly made coconut shakes, crocodile on a stick, the infamous Durian fruit, grilled chicken, and the dozens of other food options!
If you aren’t there on a weekend, check out the Phuket Indy Night Market which is open on Thursday and Friday nights. Here you can get unique custom souvenirs such as your name stenciled on a grain of rice. Here you can try Thai spicy salad, fried balls of fish paste, Thai chicken kebabs, Thai-style crepes, and crispy gyoza. Another weekday shopping option is the Malin Plaza (open daily) in Patong.
Don’t miss the cheap rum-infused cocktails and mango sticky rice!
Suggested Duration: 2 hours
Day 2 – Embrace Beach Bumming
There’s so much to do, but even if you’re only spending 2 to 3 days in Phuket you must get out and enjoy the beaches! Day two of this itinerary focuses on finding your inner beach bum!
Karon Beach is 8 km south of Patong and offers a more mellow stretch of vast white sands. On the Southern side, the beach is dotted with luxury resorts while the Northern side has more restaurants and shops. Karon is a great option for families and couples who want to enjoy the sun and sea.
Take advantage of the affordable prices and get an hour-long massage for about $12 USD right on the beach. You can also rent chairs, umbrellas, parasails, and umbrellas. If you get hungry there’s a collection of restaurants along the beach offering inspiring views and excellent people watching.
Suggested Duration: 2 Hours
Sirinat National Park
About an hour north from Karon Beach is the Sirinat National Park. This park is conveniently near the Phuket airport and has four calm beaches fringed with pine trees.
The purpose of the park is to help conserve their naturally-occurring coniferous forests, coral reefs, and beaches full of sea turtle eggs and mole crabs. There’s 13 km of white sand coastline to explore as well as mangrove forests, marine life in the national park, and wildlife scattered throughout the park for your enjoyment.
If you want to find sea turtles laying eggs, check out the Hat Nai Yang beach. This area also offers a large coral reef perfect for snorkeling and lodging if you want to stay nearby. Sirinat National Park is the perfect place to lay in the sun, cruise through the forests, or find some wild turtles all in one spot. This makes it a perfect place to come during your 3 days in Phuket.
Suggested Duration: 4 hours
Bangla Road in Patong Beach
Often called the “Vegas of Thailand”, Bangla Road is something that every adult traveler should see at least once.
About 1,300 feet long, Bangla Road closes to vehicle traffic after sunset and becomes a festival of loud music, cheap beer, and flashing neon lights. Bring an open mind and sense of humor because this road offers the biggest collection of nightclubs, bars, and shows on the island.
Every bar and club is a little different, but they all offer the same party atmosphere. Brave tourists may venture to see the infamously raunchy “Ping Pong Show” on Bangla, which is a sight that you will never forget. Be prepared for sensory overload but remember that it’s all part of the fun.
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
Day 3 in Phuket – Adventures
A Phuket itinerary can’t be all culture & beaches. Phuket is one of Thailand’s great adventure hubs. Here, under swaying palms, you can book tours that will satisfy any traveller’s thirst for adventure! From elephants to eco-parks and snorkeling to ziplining, Phuket has something for everyone!
Have an Ethical Elephant Experience
Many visitors to Thailand want to come and ride elephants, but this practice is actually extremely harmful to these gentle giants both physically and mentally.
To support ethical elephant tourism, check out the Elephant Retirement Park in Phuket. Here you can feed, bathe, and play with elephants of all ages while learning more about how these creatures live in Southeast Asia. This is a truly magical experience as you can really feel how sensitive and intelligent the elephants are while playing with them.
Elephant excursions are a bit expensive but will be the highlight of your trip and are absolutely worth doing.
Suggested Duration: 3-4 hours
Snorkeling at Kata Noi Beach
South of Karon Beach is Kata Noi, a popular beach that truly defines the color turquoise. Soft sand, a nearby beach bar, and a rock-free bay make this a great snorkeling beach.
During high season (November-April) the water is peaceful along the rocky headlands. You’re bound to see schools of tropical fish dancing through the water when you snorkel at Kata Noi.
Snorkel rentals are available on the beach for easy access. Don’t forget your waterproof camera!
Suggested Duration: 3-4 hours
Sunset Bars at Kata Hill
Right above Kata Noi Beach is Kata Hill. There are three reggae bars here with stunning sunset views – After Beach, Small Viewpoint, and Baan Chom.
Grab a cool one with your hot one as you listen to the sound of breaking waves and watch the sun slide beyond the waves. Is there a better way to finish off your 3 days in Phuket? I don’t think so!
Suggested Duration: Sunset Until Late 😉
Where to Stay in Phuket
Phuket is littered with resorts and other accommodations. If you’re looking for luxury you’ll end up beachside just outside the city but not to worry, getting around here is cheap & easy! Don’t forget to book early, Phuket is known for selling out of the most desirable hotels.
One of my favorite spots in Phuket was the Westin Siray Bay Resort just east of Phuket town. Here for a not all-that-unreasonable fee, you’ll have a private ocean view villa on the beach with your own infinity pool and access to all that the spa has to offer!
Closer to town while still staying beachfront I had looked into the Mangrove Panwa Phuket Resort. Not only does it save you some cash over the Westin, but it’s just as swanky & easier to move around to explore the area.
For something a bit more budget friendly you might look at the Hugger Hostal. Giving up the beaches, instead nestled into the heart of Old Phuket Town, this highly recommended hostel is only steps from the most charming areas of town, nightly entertainment and tour operators!
The Take Away
Now that you’ve learned more about how to spend 3 days in Phuket, you have the perfect itinerary! Thailand is a place to relax and find yourself – whether that be at the bottom of a freshly-made coconut shake or while petting elephants at the retirement park. There’s something in Thailand for everyone at every speed here, from sunning on the beach to ziplining through the jungle.