What to do in Phuket without spending?

Are there any interesting free things to do in Phuket? It may sound like a strange question, but Phuket is well-known to be the most expensive destination in Thailand. If the flight ticket and the hotel used most of your budget, there are ways to make the best of your stay without spending much.

We wrote a page about ‘Phuket with a small budget’, but here we will list the places you can explore without spending a single Baht. Of course, some could argue that markets are not free, but they are colourful and interesting enough to visit without buying. And yes, you still need some kind of transportation to get around in some cases, so check the page about buses in Phuket, or rent a small motorbike.


1. Explore the many beaches

Layan Beach

Yes spending the day at the beach is the most obvious free thing to do in Phuket, and you didn’t need anyone to tell you that, but did you know that Phuket has more than 40 beaches? If you rented a motorbike, going from beach to beach is a fantastic way to spend a day or even more and take unforgettable photos.

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2. Climb to the Big Buddha

プーケット ビッグブッダ

The giant white marble of Phuket is free to visit and the majestic statue plus the panoramic view from up there is definitely worth the ride up the hill. The road to reach the top is nicely paved, and the trip is worth the ride. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t wear too-short skirts or pants as this is a religious site. However, if you forget, you will be asked to wear a provided free sarong.

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3. Admire Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong Temple

Wat Chalong s a famous and beautiful temple, very colourful and superbly crafted. If you drive to the Big Buddha, it’s effortless to stop to Wat Chalong on the way. There are many Thai temples around the island (Wats as they are called here) but also Chinese shrines, and all are free to visit. Here too you are supposed to avoid wearing too short clothing, but it’s not as strict as at the Phuket Big Buddha. It’s just a mark of respect we strongly recommend to observe.

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4. Get some panoramic viewpoints

Karon Viewpoint

There are a few viewpoints around the island, so if you already decided to go from beach to beach, you can easily add these to your itinerary. The most famous are Karon Viewpoint and the most impressive is Black Rock. The superb Samet Nangshee is another jaw-dropping panorama, but it may be a little too far outside the island.

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5. Explore old Phuket Town

Dibuk Road in Old Phuket Town

The historical streets of Phuket town have been beautifully renovated and with many Sino-Portuguese shophouses and mansions, are a great photographer’s playground. Thalang Road is the best known because of the Sunday Walking Street Market, but there are many streets around to explore. If you don’t have your wheels, you can always ride the local blue bus; it’s cheap.

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6. Visit Temples and Shrines

Wat Suwan Kiriwong (Patong Temple)

Wat Chalong listed above is a must seem but you will be surprised to see how many beautiful temples and shrines there are around this island to admire. Since there are more than 25 temples around the island, there will always be one near you.

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7. Browse the night markets

Phuket Night Markets

Night markets are always fun and colourful to browse and photograph and they often offer street performances you can enjoy for free. (usually, a small tip would be nice). Some are open every night, like Malin Plaza and OTOP in Patong, and some open only on weekend or even Sunday, like the very popular Sunday Walking Street Market illustrated above.

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8. Get a glimpse of Bangla Walking Street

Bangla Road

Bangla is a unique entertainment street lined with bars and clubs, but you can walk up and down the street to see it for yourself with spending (but with so many bars everywhere, it’s hard to resist at least a drink!). The street is quite wide and packed after 9 pm. It’s incredibly colourful and lively, a visual blast worth a few photos. In addition, there are always a few street performances to enjoy.

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9. Get a selfie with a landing plane

Plane Spotting in Phuket

Phuket is one of the few places in the world where you can see the planes landing above the beach. Aircrafts approach the runway so close to the beach, it has become a favourite free playground for selfies. In theory, people are not allowed to be in the path of the planes, but no one seems to care. Even if you stay slightly on the side, it is still very impressive.

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10. Visit fresh markets

Phuket Markets

Markets are not free, but exploring them is a great way to learn about the real-life of a country. Fresh markets display vegetables and tropical fruits worth a photo. If you are interested in cooking, it can be even more interesting as a visit to a fresh market is often included in the many cooking classes available in Phuket.

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11. Climb up the Kathu Waterfalls

Kathu Waterfalls

The Kathu waterfalls are not very impressive but if you go there during the rainy season it can be nice. In addition, at the contrary to other Phuket waterfalls that are located in National Park, this one is free to visit. There is a bit of climb to reach the top but it’s easy and makes a nice trail, just don’t expect too much.

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See also

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

Phuket Smart Bus and Local Blue Bus

10 Best Hostels in Phuket for Budget Travellers