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

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

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

What are the Best Things to Do in Phuket with a Small Budget? Of course it’s not easy 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 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).

Worst case, even though there are no beach to beach local buses, there are ‘Beach to Town’ local buses. Local buses are cheap but a great waste of precious time, it is still better take a tuk tuk but agree on price before stepping in!

1. Visit Local Markets


Always fun to discover the colorful 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 new, fun and very cool night bazaar in Town called the Chillva Market.

2. Go Snorkeling


A great way to spend the day for free as Phuket has more than 36 beaches, but not all are good for snorkeling. Here are some with nice rocky ends and warm blue clear waters, often sheltering colorful fishes and corals. You should bring your own gear, it’s not easy to rent one, but buying 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.

3. Visit Temples

Wat Kao Rang

Also an obvious recommendation, but some of many temples and shrines around the island are really 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 Thai Temples and Chinese Shrines to enjoy. Read more about Phuket Temples

4. Eat Like Locals

Kanom Jeen in Phuket

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 centers with touts trying to convince you to sit down might not. In the back streets you will always find cheaper, especially if all the seated guests are all Thais! Almost every shop can understand a simple order, or point at the images or at the food from your neighbours… lots of fun! Read more

5. Go from Viewpoint to Viewpoint

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 appetizing!). See here all 10 Phuket Viewpoints.

6. Explore the 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 Night 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 actually need. Phuket night markets are intense, colorful, surprising, fascinating, puzzling, smelly, messy, labyrinthine or overwhelming. But night markets all have one thing in common, they offer a unique glance of the daily life of Thai people, rich, poor or just like you and me… Read more

8. Go to Phi Phi by Big Boat

Dive sites near Phuket

Phi Phi is a wonderful island and going for a cheap day trip is possible. The cheapest is to go by bike and catch a ferry at Rassada Pier in Phuket Town for only 600 baht! But if you want the full day, best is to look around to find the cheapest price for hotel transfer + lunch + National Park fee included. Much safer if you are not sure you will be able to find 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 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

Soi Bangla

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 colorful street full of life, restaurants, shops and bars and of course girls. 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

Little Nyonya Hotel

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

It’s that simple!

12. Travel by Local Bus (Song Taew)

Phuket Local Bus

Ride the local bus (known as Song Taew) is slow and complicated, but you can’t have it all! There are 3 kinds of buses: the blue bus, the pink bus and the airport bus. None is not very convenient because tuk tuk won’t allow local buses to touch their territory around the beaches

Let’s try to explain

The one you need most are the blue bus, going FROM Phuket Town (Central market, Ranong road) TO each beach and vice versaBUT no bus goes from beach to beach!

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.

Once you know that, you understand why it’s not convenient. The only way to go from beach to beach is by Tuk Tuk and one way ride in a Tuk Tuk costs as much as a bike rental for 2 days!

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, leaves every hour and costs about 100 baht one way.

Other ‘Best of Phuket’ you might want to look at are:

12 Things to Do in Phuket with a Small Budget (updated)
4.2 (54 votes)

Written by

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early and never stopped until I settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 24 years, my passion for photography and my natural curiosity has taken me to every corner of Thailand, jumping frequently between Bangkok and Phuket and basically everywhere I could go. I run 2 blogs: Phuket101.net and BangkokUndercover.com, I also manage 30 online travel guides in Asia and beyond, including Phuket.com, Bangkok.com and Bali-Indonesia.com

The Best FOOD Stuff
10 Most Romantic Restaurants
10 Best Local Restaurants
10 Best Seafood Restaurants
10 Great Thai Dishes
10 Phuket Typical Dishes
10 Best Classic Thai Dishes
10 Hardcore Thai Food

The Best EXPLORER Stuff
14 Hidden Beaches of Phuket
15 Islands Near Phuket
18 Nicest Mansions in Phuket
13 Viewpoints in Phuket
10 Things to See Off the Beaten Track
10 Most Quiet Beaches of Phuket

The FUN Stuff
16 Things to Do with Kids
10 Ways to Party in Patong
7 Best Beach Clubs
10 Best Rooftop Bars
7 Night Clubs
10 Romantic Things to Do in Phuket
10 Reasons Why We Can’t Leave Thailand

The USEFUL Stuff
10 Questions People Always Ask
10 Mistakes People Do on First Trip
13 Tips to Save Money
12 Things to Do on Small Budget
10 Quick Facts about Phuket

10 Things to Do When It Rains
What To Expect in Low Season
7 Beaches for Low Season

13 Really Weird Things in Phuket
10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
10 Insects for Gourmets
10 Clues you have been in Phuket TOO LONG!
10 Cheap Fun Things to Do in Phuket

Phuket Airport: Things to Know
Phuket Weather
Phuket Event Calendar
How to Pronounce Phuket
About Us – Contact us

Patong Beach ☆☆☆
Kata Beach☆☆
Karon Beach ☆☆
Kamala Beach ☆☆
Nai Harn Beach ☆☆☆
Kata Noi Beach ☆☆☆
Laem Singh Beach ☆☆☆
Bang Tao Beach
Mai Khao Beach
Surin Beach ☆☆
Nai Yang Beach ☆☆
Naithon Beach ☆☆
Rawai Beach

Freedom Beach ☆☆☆
Paradise Beach ☆
Banana Beach ☆☆
Ya Nui Beach ☆☆
Ao Yon Beach
Ao Sane Beach
Tri Trang Beach
Panwa Beach

Similan Islands ☆☆☆
Phi Phi Islands NEW!
Bon Island
Coral Island
Khai Islands
Racha Island
James Bond Island
Koh Panyee

12 Things to Do When it RAINS
John Gray Sea Canoe ☆☆☆
Phang Nga Bay ☆☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Phuket Town Walking Map
Thalang Road – Old Phuket Town ☆☆
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Simon Cabaret Show ☆☆
Phuket Fantasea ☆☆
Phuket Trickeye Museum
Upside Down House
Kao Rang Hill
Phuket Aquarium

Big Buddha ☆☆
Karon Viewpoint (Kata Viewpoint) ☆☆
Wassa Homemade Bar ☆☆
Windmill Viewpoint
Black Rock Viewpoint ☆☆
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint ☆☆
Promthep Cape Viewpoint
Panwa Viewpoint
After Beach Bar

Bangpae Waterfall
Kathu Waterfalls
Tonsai Waterfalls

Baan Chinpracha
Phuket Mining Museum
Thai Hua Museum

7 Buddha Postures for 7 Days
Big Buddha ☆☆
Wat Chalong ☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Wat Kao Rang and Sitting Buddha
Wat Phra Thong
Chinese Temples
Shrine of The Serene Light

10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
10 Ways to PARTY in Patong
Simon Cabaret Show
Paradise Complex
Party Drinks in Phuket
Phuket Fantasea
Rock City Patong

Cafe Del Mar ☆☆
Catch Beach Club
Dream Beach Club
Kudo Beach Club
HQ Beach Lounge
Iguana Beach Club
Xana Beach Club

Suzy Wongs A Go Go (HOT)
Devil’s Playground (HOT)
Diablo A Go Go
Exotica A Go Go
Harem A Go Go
Rock Hard A Go Go

Soi Seadragon (HOT)

Illuzion Phuket
White Room
Seduction Phuket
Tiger Club

Central Festival Phuket
JungCeylon Shopping Mall ☆☆☆
Phuket Price Check

Chillva Night Market ☆☆☆
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Phuket Weekend Market
Phuket Indy Market

Banzaan Market ☆☆☆
Phuket Amulet Market

Loy Krathong
Patong Gay Festival
Vegetarian Festival

Diving in Phuket
Thai Boxing Training
Wake Park
Dino Park Mini Golf
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Go Kart
Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay
Phuket Tree Adventures
Spas and Massages
Splash Jungle Water Park
Surf House Kata Beach
Surf House Patong
White Water Rafting

Phuket AIRPORT: Things to Know
Phuket Travel Tips and FAQs
10 Quick Facts about Phuket
Phuket FAQs
Driving and Renting a Bike or a Car
Phuket Price Check
Phuket Map – with all locations
Bangkok Blog


Sala Phuket Resort
Renaissance Phuket Resort
Banyan Tree Phuket
Hyatt Regency Phuket
Maikhao Dreams
Pullman Arcadia Naithon Phuket
Phuket Marriott Nai Yang
The Slate Phuket
Trisara Villas
TwinPalms Phuket

Amari Phuket Resort
Holiday Inn Phuket
Kalima Resort
Phuket Graceland
Le Meridien Phuket
Novotel Phuket Resort
The Kee Resort
Impiana Resort Patong
Swissotel Patong

Kata Rocks
The Shore at Kata Thani
Katathani Beach Resort
Mom Tri’s Villa Royale

Movenpick Resort
Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket

Westin Siray Bay Resort
Novotel Phuket Phokeethra
Little Nyonya

Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi
The Racha


La Gritta at Amari Phuket
Wok Pagoda
Da Maurizio
360 at Pavilions
Mom Tri’s Kitchen
Pan Yaah Restaurant
Tunk Ka Cafe
Gaetana Italian Restaurant
Blue Elephant
Panwa House at Cape Panwa

Mor Mu Dong Restaurant
Piang Prai Restaurant
Kan Eang 2 Seafood
Kan Eang @ Pier
One Chun
Kaab Gluay
Raya House
Tunk Ka Cafe
Paknam Seafood
Suay Restaurant
Kru Suwit Restaurant
Thanoon Seafood
Osha Phuket

8 Sunset Photo Tips
Phuket Funniest Photos
Phuket Tsunami