3 Most Unusual Places to Visit in Phuket


So you’re in Phuket; you’ve already gone to see the big Buddha, met the monkeys at Monkey Hill, and eaten pad thai at the night market. So, it seems that the only thing left to do is gambling at Hellspin, watching movies, and just staying at a hotel the entire time. But there are many more places to see in Phuket. Here are 3 best picks.

The Closest Islands: Racha And Coral

Perfect for a weekend getaway: inexpensive and close — all these islands are 15-45 km from Phuket. Also, the beaches here are less crowded.

There is no regular transportation between Phuket and these islands. You need to either buy a tour or come to the pier and buy tickets from private captains.

The main island for snorkeling is Ko Racha. If you buy a ticket at Chalong Pier, you can choose an open date. That is, you can sail to Racha, spend the night, and return in a couple of days.

There are several hotels on the island, and some of them have shuttle service available. But Racha is a wild island; there are few restaurants and other infrastructure. But the paradisiacal landscapes compensate for these inconveniences.

Coral Island is an island for water entertainment. Often, on the way back from Racha, tourists are offered to stop at Coral. There are a lot of activities, like standup paddleboarding, kayaking, and beach clubs.

Ko Panyi: A Village With Sea Nomads

Ko Panyi is a Muslim village on stilts with a floating soccer field and a vertical cemetery.

A couple of centuries ago, nomadic Malay fishermen came to Thailand and wanted to stay here. But according to the rules of the kingdom, only a person of Thai descent could own land.


So the fishermen decided to settle right on the water and built houses on stilts. Eventually, all the residents were recognized as locals and were issued Thai passports. Now there are about 360 families living here.

The most convenient way to get there is to take a tour — Ko Panyi is included in the popular tour of Phang Nga Bay. The program includes a visit to the world-famous Bond Island. You will be picked up directly from Phuket and returned there as well.

To go on your own, you need to come to Surakul Pier and connect with any boatman. For example, a visit to Ko Panyi alone will cost from 1,500 baht per boat and take one and a half to two hours, and a visit to Ko Panyi with James Bond Island, caves, and other small attractions along the way will cost from 2,500 baht per boat.

Here’s what to see:

  • Mosque. It stands at the base of the settlement, with a large vertical cemetery next to it.
  • Floating soccer field. If you are facing the mosque, it will be on your left hand. It was originally assembled from improvised means, fishing rafts, and wooden scraps. It was assembled by local boys, inspired by the 1986 FIFA World Cup. A little later, it was replaced by a real soccer field with goals but without fencing. That’s why it’s impossible to play soccer and not to swim.
  • Houses, yards, and the everyday lives of residents. Despite globalization, the locals still live off fishing, pearling, and handicrafts, and during heavy rains, they are completely cut off from the mainland.

The place is distinctive. If you have the chance, stay at James Bond Bungalow for a night to spend the sunset without tourists and noisy boats literally in the middle of nowhere.

Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok is a national park with a huge lake between green, high cliffs. The scenery is like in the movie Avatar.

Thais themselves often come here on vacation, so the best time to visit the park is on weekdays from December to March.


It’s better to get there with your own transportation. The park is conveniently accessible both from Phuket and Khao Lak. You can stop at Rommanee Hot Springs, Mae Yai Waterfall, and Khao Sok Viewpoint.

Here’s what to see:

  • Cheow Lan Lake. You can sail on it from CheoLan Pier. Cheow Lan Lake and the main tourist village of Khao Sok are 65 km apart. If you want to trek through the jungle and swim in the lake, it’s better to reserve two days to visit the national park.
  • Khao Sok Park itself. People come here to walk through the most ancient rainforests and waterfalls, as well as to find the rafflesia flower. It’s the “corpse lily,” the largest and heaviest (up to 10 kg) flower in the world! Rafflesia blooms from December to February, and it isn’t to be found on the hiking trails. You have to take a guide and go into the thick of the jungle. In this case, be sure to wear closed shoes and socks; there are many tropical leeches in the forests.
  • Kayaking, night safari, and elephant riding are available in any tour office of the park and the nearest Khao Lak resort.