First- Timer's Guide to Phuket for Families
Top 10 things to do in Phuket for families
We holidayed in Phuket during Chinese New Year. This article lays out from first hand experience, some of the best things to do on the island.
In order to get to your accommodation from the airport, depending on your location, you can take a taxi, which would cost around 5 baht, (12p) for the first 2 km and 8 baht for km after that, or by airport shuttle. For a list of the bus stops please go here. For travelling around the island, car hire and motorbike hire is available, as are tuk tuks and taxis.
We stayed in Kamala Beach and Mai Khao Beach. Although we enjoyed the contrast of the more rural, peaceful northern part of the island at Mai Khao, we found Kamala beach to be much better option for families. The ocean in the north of the island was more salty, and as a result slightly stung our skin. The water got deep, quite quickly compared to the long shallows at Kamala Beach and so it felt less safe for the kids to swim. There were more options for eating out and entertainment at Kamala Beach, such as beach massage and shopping.
1/ Sea swimming and sun bathing at Kamala beach, Karon Beach, Surin Beach, or Nai Harn Beach.
We found the waters to be clearest and warmest at these beaches. We loved Nai Harn for its peaceful feel and Surin for the beach- side cocktails and Kamala and Karon Beach for the shopping and dining options!
2/Watch the sun set at Promthep Cape.
You can get a grab taxi there, (once you have downloaded the grab app). Enjoy wandering the southern most hill of the island, have a seafood dinner at the Promthep Cape restaurant while watching the sun dip beneath the horizon. You will also have excellent views of Nai Harn Beach and Ya Nui Beach.
3/Visit Fantasea cultural theme park.
This is an evening entertainment option including shopping streets, a 4000 seat dining facility and wonderful shows involving cultural stories, dancing and live performing elephants. It is advised that you book tickets in advance online.
The clear waters of this part of the Andaman Ocean make for brilliant snorkelling. There are interesting things to see near to the shores of the beaches, but for a better experience, go on one of the boat trips out to the deeper seas!
5/ Boat trips to nearby islands
The less commercial, almost paradise- like white sands and crystal clear waters of the some of the smaller islands near to Phuket are a must see. This was definitely one of our absolute high lights. There are numerous boat tours on offer. We chose an all day one that included pick up and drop off by taxi from our hotel. It also included a buffet lunch, snorkelling equipment and the tour involved stops at Monkey beach, Kho Phi Phi, Viking Cave, Pileh Bay, and sight seeing at Maya Cove, (where the film: The Beach was filmed). These tours are most popular during November- April in the dry season, but are often cancelled due to storms in the monsoon seasons.
6/Shop in village markets and beach plazas
Near to the southern entrance of Kamala, along the main road, the village market happens on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 3 pm and 7.30 pm. It's a vibrant affair with fresh fruit, donuts, freshly barbequed fish, corn on the cob and second hand clothing on offer .
The beach side plazas host many boutiques selling colourful bohemian style tie-dye items. It would be rude not to leave without at least one T shirt with a picture of a tie-dyed elephant.
7/ Sample the Thai food and drink
Most days we had lunch by one of the beach cafe shacks. Most menus would include various chicken and rice dishes or noodle dishes, such as green Thai curry, yellow Thai curry, chicken and chashew nuts, chicken and coconut. Other dishes included pad Thai or papaya salad. Most dishes cost approximately 100 baht, (£2-3). At the up-market, western restaurants you would pay almost western prices.
One of our favourite snacks was a fresh fruit or coconut shake made before our eyes simply with fruit or a coconut and ice. An occasional beach side pina colada was a treat for just 100-150 baht.
8/ Visit Karon view point
Take a trip to Karon beach, swim and sun bathe in the morning and take an excursion to the top of the viewpoint in the afternoon. The peak provides a fabulous, sweeping view of the west coast of the island as far as the eyes can see.
9/ Try a Thai Massage
Thai massages start from about 300 Baht, (£7) and you will find many of the beaches offer this service in the open air.
10/Aeroplane spotting at Mai Khao Beach.
Mai Khao's golden sands stretch out just a few kilometres from Phuket's airport. It's not as noisy and disruptive as one might think, and the kids enjoyed watching their slow ascent and descent into the skies.