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12 Things to Do in Phuket with a Small Budget (updated)

What are the Best Things to Do in Phuket with a Small Budget

What are the Best Things to Do in Phuket with a Small Budget? Of course, it’s not easy to travel on the cheap as in general Phuket is more expensive than anywhere else in Thailand. But if you start with these few suggestions, you will be able to make the best of your holiday without spending a fortune. You might find the experience a lot more enlightening too!

One of the best ways to stay within budget is to rent a bike, as taxis and tuk-tuks will increase your cost dramatically, expect to pay 150 baht a day but the price goes down if you rent for a week or more. Of course, driving a bike in Phuket is a tricky thing, and you will have to drive carefully, but many people do it without problems. All you have to do is keep your eyes on the road at all times, and you will need a driving license for the occasional controls (see driving in Phuket).

You also can travel around and even from beach to beach using local buses. Local buses are cheap but will be a lot slower than tuk-tuks.


1. Visit Local Markets

Tropical fruits in Phuket

Always fun to discover the colourful and vibrant Local Fresh Markets, if it is your first time in Asia, you will learn a lot more about Thais people’s life than in any tour! Also, great for budget shopping Phuket Week End Market in Phuket Town is the very popular, not far from Central Festival Shopping Mall. Lately, we have a fun night bazaar in Town called the Chillva Market.


2. Go Snorkeling

Phuket Snorkeling Beaches

A great way to spend a great day without spending a baht is to go snorkelling, and because water is warm all year round, you’ll never need a wetsuit. Phuket has more than 40 beaches, but not all are good for this activity. Here are some with nice rocky ends and warm blue clear waters, often sheltering colourful fishes and corals. Ideally, you should bring your gear, it’s not easy to rent one, but buying a mask and snorkel is affordable. Laem Singh Beach, Ao Sane, Ya Nui Beach, Banana Beach, Surin Beach, Nai Harn, Nai Thon and Kata Noi Beach. Read more about Phuket best snorkelling beaches


3. Visit Temples

Visit Thai Temples

Also an obvious recommendation, but some of many temples and shrines around the island are beautiful, and isn’t it time to pay respect to your ancestors and bring yourself some good luck? Of course, Wat Chalong is the most popular, but there are many other beautiful places to admire such as the Big Buddha or the reclining Buddha in a cave. Read more about Phuket Temples and Chinese shrines


4. Eat Like Locals

Eat Local Thai Food

Sounds obvious? Some are a lot better than others! Listing them all would be impossible, so we picked 10 of them in town: Best Local Restaurant in Phuket Town. Eating in the streets is always cheaper but beachfront streets and seafood centres with touts trying to convince you to sit down might not. In the back roads, you will always find more reasonable, especially if all the seated guests are all Thais! Almost every shop can understand a simple order, or point at the images or the food from your neighbours, lots of fun! If you really want all-you-can-eat-buffet at a ridiculously low price and have a real local experience, try a Mookata local Barbecue! But don’t expect fancy meats or lobsters 😀 ! Read more


5. Go from Viewpoint to Viewpoint

Phuket Viewpoints

One of the great ways to explore Phuket is to go from point to viewpoints. As they are here and there on the island, they will give you a unique free overview of the island and will be a perfect opportunity to see a lot and a chance to stop when you spot something interesting (or something tempting!). See here all 10 Phuket Viewpoints.


6. Explore the Old Phuket Town

 Explore Old Phuket Town

Hard to resist those old Sino-Portuguese streets with their beautiful shop houses and magnificent mansions. With many small cafes, bakeries and eateries along the way, it is perfect for a half day. Visit also the local markets near the bus station and explore the tiny streets here and there to discover some incredible abandoned mansions. Read more


7. Phuket Night Markets

Phuket Weekend Market

Phuket night markets are always fun, from the new Chillva Market to the giant Naka Weekend Market or the Sunday Walking Market in Phuket Town, almost everyone loves to browse the incredible array of things you don’t need. Phuket night markets are intense, colourful, surprising, fascinating, puzzling, smelly, messy, confusing or overwhelming. But night markets all have one thing in common, and they offer a unique glance at the daily life of Thai people, rich, poor or just like you and me, Read more


8. Go to Phi Phi by Big Boat

Phi Phi by Ferries

Phi Phi is a beautiful island and going for a cheap day trip is possible. The cheapest is to go by bike to the Rassada Pier in Phuket Town and catch a ferry for only 600 baht, but you can find more affordable options online. But if you want the full day, best is to look around to find the lowest price for hotel transfer + lunch + National Park fee included. Much safer if you are not sure you will be able to see the pier near Phuket Town in the morning. And make sure you don’t miss the ferry back to Phuket! Read more


9. Go to Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay for 1,100 Baht per person is the cheapest and most reliable we could find, and we tried it: see here. On the way, stop at the reclining Buddha inside Suwannakuha Cave and its monkeys. Cruise around Phang Nga Bay and visit a renowned water cave. Get a glimpse of daily life in Koh Panyi, the village on stilts and reach James Bond Island. This tour includes lunch and hotel transfer! Read about Phang Nga Bay.


10. Get a Glimpse of Bangla Road

Bangla Road

Everyone should see it at least once, unlike what most people believe, Bangla Road is not ‘Sin City for Single Men’. It’s more of a colourful street full of life, restaurants, shops and bars, and ladies. On each side of Bangla walking street are excellent and affordable Live Music Bands, and Night Clubs with free entry. Now if you want to know more, enter these famous Go-Go bars and see for yourself what is this all about. Patong is a lot more easy-going than Bangkok or Pattaya, and all the many beer bars sell beers from 90 baht. Read more...


11. How to find a cheap but good hotel

Phuket Budget Hotels

Phuket has a collection of small but good hotels, and they are not that difficult to find. We get the question all the time: can you recommend a cheap hotel in Phuket? But there is no real fixed list for that as prices keep changing.

Here is how you can find it:

  1. Go to your favourite online hotel website and us the filters!
  2. Select your location
  3. Select low price
  4. Select ‘highest guest satisfaction.’

It’s that simple! (you can also stay in one of Phuket best hostels)


12. Travel by Local Bus (Song Taew) or Smart Bus

Phuket Local Buses

There are several ways to use Phuket bus services in Phuket. Ride the local bus is slow and complicated, but you can’t have it all! There are four kinds of coaches: the blue bus, the pink bus, the airport bus and the new Smart Bus.

The one you need most is the Phuket Smart Bus which starts at Phuket airport and drives down the island all the way to Rawai beach. It’s long and slow but incredibly cheap. You buy a card onboard, and you can refill it when needed.

Then you have the Blue Bus (known as Song Taew) that goes from Phuket Town (Central market, Ranong road) to each beach and vice versa. The blue bus leaves roughly every 30 minutes from 6 am to 6 pm and ride costs 30 to 40 baht. A typical trip from Phuket Town to Patong is 50-60 minutes.

Then you have the Pink Bus that circulates all around Phuket town, and the Airport Bus from Phuket airport to Phuket town and takes about an hour. It leaves every hour and costs about 100 baht one way. Read more


More Pages about Budget Travel

14 Tips to Save Money in Phuket – Travelling on Budget

Phuket Smart Bus and Local Blue Bus

12 Best Local Seafood Restaurants in Phuket (updated 2019)

24 Best (VERY) Local Thai Restaurants in Phuket (updated)

10 Best Hostels in Phuket for Budget Travellers