What to Do in Phuket? | One Day Guide: Patong Beach, Phuket Town
What to do in Phuket if you have only one day? We travelled to Phuket with Mariner of the Seas and took their tender boat to start our one day tour in Phuket. If you want to maximise your day at Phuket, be sure to queue for the tender boat tickets at least half an hour before the stipulated time. You will find many people queuing up early as well. Otherwise you can choose to board the last few tender boats to avoid the queue.
On the tender boat to mainland Phuket
Our pier is located in front of Avantika Boutique Hotel. If you are alighting at the same pier, turn left and you will be walking towards the beach.
Be prepared to be swarmed by people who touts (“touters”). The persistent bugging from touters were overwhelming. They all knew that a big ship was off-loading many passengers and hence crowded the area. It’s not the first time Royal Caribbean docked at Phuket.
Bridge connecting the beach to the tender boats
We couldn’t ask for directions, because almost everyone we met along the way were touting their services to us. So I had to resort to asking for directions from hotels. Somehow, we managed to find our way to Phuket Town (subsequent post for directions from beach to town). Yays! Just as we thought we finally escaped from the touters, there were still many others at Phuket Town.
While we were finding our way around Phuket Town, we came across a friendly touter, who told us that it was a public holiday and hence many shops were closed. So he recommended us to go out of town and offered to drive us.
From a high price, he cut down and gave us a low price for his chauffeur services, saying he could drive us to the famous Khao Rang Hill, Big Buddha (which was along the way up the hill), wherever we want, and back to Patong Beach. But the only condition is that he drives us to one or two places selling local tidbits and souvenirs, so that he can earn some petrol coupons from the shops. It was a hot day, so his offer was tempting.
After the Hill (we skipped the buddha), he took us to a place to buy local tidbits. That was okay, and part of the deal. Mr S’s mum was interested to buy some… so no problem. But then he kept wanting to bring us to have seafood lunch, etc.
I smelt a rat here.
Firstly, we’re not in the mood to have seafood for lunch, and why should we go somewhere where I know the prices are jacked up just because. Hence I refused to go and insisted he bring us back to Thalang road at Phuket Town, back to the restaurant I planned to go in the first place. And that’s when things went downhill.
HE BECAME UNHAPPY. He only agreed to bring us back and wait around for one hour if we go to 2 to 3 MORE tourist souvenir shops. Kept saying their money is not good. We made the deal, and I was super sore about it. We went to 4 of such shops in the end, shops selling overpriced goods, so overpriced that we even found imitations of Naraya selling at a higher price than the original! *Roll eyes* Btw, the staff from the various souvenir shops (except the food) followed us all around the shop and breath down our necks, only friendly when you buy stuff from them.
Yes, we didn’t pay much, but the whole experience was so not goooood. :( Really wasted my time in Phuket.
Caveat: I am not someone who would go on a tour and visit such tourist souvenir places. Also, I am not the shopping kind, so this experience really put me off.
When we went back to the street in Phuket town… Who said most shops are closed here in Phuket?! They are opened here and along the beach. Bustling with crowds! I really regretted it, we should have stayed at the beach and waited for the shops to open. Now come to think of it, it could be because we arrived at Phuket too early, and hence most shops are not open, and not because it was a public holiday.
Basically I didn’t enjoy my time in Phuket because of the driver in the above picture. Felt like I was in a typical tour group and going to meaningless shops. It was the first time Mr S and I visited Phuket, and it gave us a bad first impression. Everyone local we met on the street was trying to sell us something. If we ever go back, it’s for the massage. More on that later!
But for those want to visit Tiger Kingdom and touch tigers, you will need a driver to get you there. But do note that although these tigers are tamed, accidents do happen (you can google news about it). IMO, it’s quite cruel to tame these tigers to go against their own nature.
But if you insist, you can refer to the prices above.
Khao Rang Hill in Phuket Town
This is still a happy first stop the driver brought us to.
Nice scenery, but not really a must to go.
We only managed to hit one street in Phuket Town — Thalang Road. Interesting to shop around for souvenirs or to sit in a modern cafe for a cup of coffee. Most of the interesting shops are on the right when walking against the traffic. However, if you like crowds, the street along the Patong Beach is a better fit.
Oh! Though we didn’t manage to go, but halfway along the street, there’s a street that’s supposedly worth exploring: Soi Romanee – find nice little shops, boutiques, and coffee shops here.
There are a few places we planned to go but didn’t in the end. You can follow the route in my planned google map for the various points of interest as you read the following.
If you ride a bus, you will land on Ranong road (Historical commercial hub) next to the Phuket City Market (we walked past, and IMO nothing much). Walk west against the traffic flow toward the fountain circle and turn left into Yaowarat road. On the left you will find a dark passage leading to mysterious Limpanon House, an amazing abandoned mansion. Just opposite are two very old shops worth stopping at (near Phangnga Road): an old fashioned Kanom Jeen shop and next to it an old Chinese pharmacy.
Then continue straight until you reach Thalang intersection, turn left into Krabi Road, go straight, you’ll pass by Thai Hua Museum, which shows you what made Phuket what it is today. (200 Baht for foreign visitors + 200 for photo taking); Daily 09:00 – 17:00.
After that, continue further until you reach the Satun Road intersection and turn right. Two major Phuket landmark are located: The Blue Elephant restaurant which used to be the governor’s mansion, and the Chinpracha mansion, a privately owned museum that appeared in several famous movies.
Continue on to Dibuk road to enjoy more shop house architecture, look for the shops selling some typical Phuket sweets and breads. Walk and explore the town for the shops and Sino Portuguese architecture.
So we had our lunch at Kopitiam by Wilai along Thalang Road. We went for a late lunch, but the original shop with nice decor was crowded. So we went to its 2nd outlet just next door. The atmosphere was definitely not on par. They serve affordable Thai food, though it tasted just average to us. They forgot our order while we waited for almost half an hour!
If the menu is not enticing, you can walk down the same street street to find another popular restaurant, China Inn Cafe, which is more expensive. It is also a handicraft shop.
We tried an ice cream dessert in Patong beach. It’s a bit like Cold Stone Creamery, where you picked a variety of fillings and they will chopped and mixed them into the ice cream, except this is more of an ice shaving than ice cream. It’s interesting to see them make this dessert. The taste was not too bad, but not really value for money.
I always liked to go for massages, but I hardly find one that hit that sweet spot.
But this one did.
And for my travel companions who don’t like massage, they enjoyed it so much that they fell asleep during the foot massage.
A must try and affordable massage option in Patong Beach, Phuket.
If ever we choose to go back to Phuket, it will definitely be for the massage. :P
Patong Beach, Phuket
We didn’t manage to spend a lot of time at Patong Beach. The shops that lined the beach had looked interesting, but we didn’t have time to enter them. :( Had to walk past them to get back to our cruise ship.
Many little alleys with shops to explore.
You are spoiled for choices when it comes to water sports and activities at Patong beach, such as snorkelling and wind surfing. But they’re not cheap. There are many vendors for you to choose from, but the prices are more or less the same.
And lastly, leaving you with a photo of Phuket’s famous
Read my Comprehensive Guide to Mariner of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) if you are travelling to Phuket in a cruise.
What other attractions are you visiting in Phuket? Share with us your suggestions below or on our Facebook Page or Instagram. Travelled in December 2015 | Trip is fully paid by us and in no way sponsored.