Nature experiences and activities in Phuket
Sea, sand, and sunny skies are must-haves for any beach vacation, but Phuket has all that and more. But a getaway here doesn’t necessarily mean lazing under a beach umbrella with a fresh coconut in hand – there are plenty of other activities to do besides beach bumming.
From meeting friendly rescued elephants to bamboo rafting through a rainforest, here are eight nature experiences to thoroughly enjoy the great outdoors:
P.S. Phuket has reopened to foreign tourists from 1st July 2021 so long as they have been vaccinated and have a negative Covid-19 test seven days before their arrival. Find out more about the Phuket “Sandbox” here.
1. Spend quality time with rescued elephants
Getting down and dirty isn’t my type of scene, but it’s certainly worth braving the mud for a bath with rescued elephants. I would even go as far to refer to it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Our elephants had massive appetites: they couldn’t get enough of our overflowing buckets filled with ripe bananas and watermelons.
The Sanctuary carers treated these gentle giants as if they were old pals, with affectionate tugs on their trunks and pats on their back.
There was no reason to be scared – these elephants were friendly and used to human touch. In fact, they were chowing down the fresh fruits as quickly as they could before nuzzling our hands for more.
And when it came down to scrubbing these elephants? Boy, they sure were lapping up the attention.
Image credit: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Unlike those touristy operations that are in it for the moolah, these rescued elephants are well cared by Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. It’s an ethical elephant initiative that cares for mistreated and elderly elephants, where they can get ample food, shelter, and veterinary treatment. They’re saying NO to elephant rides, and instead, let their elephants have free roam of the space.
If you book through Klook, all transport and food will be arranged for you. A hearty lunch buffet will be served, where you can taste a wide array of Thai dishes including Pad Thai, Stir-fried Vegetables, and Green Curry Chicken. Vegetarian options are available too.
Book your half day visit to Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket here.
2. Swim at cascading waterfalls
Image credit: @l_gurshumova
By far, the most popular waterfall in Phuket is Bang Pae Waterfall – understandably so, for its stream of torrential water. Either stand directly under for an outdoors shower or wade through the shallow pool to enjoy the refreshingly cool water.
Other waterfalls worth checking out include Ton Sai and Kathu Waterfall. There’s a gentle 2km trek for the former to enjoy the rainforest canopy, while the latter comes with a series of picturesque drop pools.
3. Canoe through Phang Nga Sea’s blue waters
Image credit: @nina_richterr
One way to explore Phuket’s scenery is by paddling out with a humble canoe, and there’s no better place to see than Phang Nga National Park. With wind in your hair and sunny skies ahead, it’s easy to conquer the rugged caves of Panak Island – especially when there’s a guide that’ll paddle you around hidden caves and lagoons.
Image credit: @tidapst
Nearby sights worth stopping for include floating fishing village Koh Panyi, and James Bond Island – recognisable as one of the tropical settings in a ‘70s James Bond film.
As like most other trips booked through Klook, there’ll be a huge buffet lunch on board with dishes like Tom Yum Seafood and Sweet and Sour Chicken.
Book your Phang Nga Sea Canoeing trip here.
4. Relax at Phuket’s hidden beaches
Enjoy the empty shores of Paradise Beach.
Image credit: @paradisebeachphuket
There’s a reason why many tourists pick Patong Beach as their to-go beach – mostly due to the copious food choices and easily-accessible transport – but there’s no doubt that it’s one of Phuket’s most touristy beaches. To make the most of your beach getaway, you need to go to other beaches ASAP.
Image credit: @fotoappareil
We recommend Paradise Beach, a near-empty beach that’s exactly how it sounds. It’s just 5KM from Patong, but the lack of tourists make the world of difference. Water activities like snorkelling, kayaking, and scuba diving are offered here
Other relatively empty beaches include Freedom Beach and Ao Sane Beach.
Take note: some of these beaches have an access fee around THB 200.
5. Explore Khao Sok National Park
Image credit: @travalayapictures
Despite Phuket’s sweeping greenery, Khao Sok National Park is one of their last remaining rainforests. Make a beeline to their scenic grounds for some outdoorsy activities like bamboo rafting and elephant bathing.
Wading in to treat rescued elephants to a mud spa.
If you’re wondering about how to get there, certain tour operators like Klook offer easy day trips to the National Park – they even offer free pick up services and food. For instance, their Khao Sok Discovery Day Tour From Phuket shows off the most scenic of Khao Sok, where you can stop by highlights like Monkey Cave Temple and Khao Sok River.
Khao Sok National Park’s famous floating bungalows.
Image credit: @tarara93
Book your Khao Sok Discovery Day Tour here.
6. Watch the sunset at Promthep Cape
Image credit: @vol_victoria
Everywhere you go in Phuket, whether it’s the middle of the Old Town or another touristy beach, you’re bound to see staggeringly beautiful views. But for the ultimate view to soak in, head over to Promthep Cape just before twilight hours. The sunset here is set against an ocean backdrop, and transforms the entire sky into a dusky orange.
Image credit: @fran2554
But if you can’t make it for the sunset, rest assured: the scenery is equally stunning at any other hour.
7. Spend a day island hopping
The tranquil blue waters of Racha Island.
Going island-hopping is the best way to thoroughly explore Phuket’s beaches. But since tediously sorting out travel logistics will put a damper on your holiday spirit, take the easy way out and join a fully planned island-hopping day trip.
Some of these trips even come with water activities like snorkelling and diving.
There are several out there, that’ll bring you to islands as near as Coral Island and Racha Island or as far-flung as picturesque Krabi and Phi Phi Islands. We went for the Racha & Coral Islands Day Tour by Speedboat and were pleasantly surprised since the entire trip ran smoothly since our fuss-free pick up from the hotel’s doorstep.
Book your island-hopping trip here.
8. Spot baby sea turtles
Image credit: @willythuan
Besides elephants and monkeys, Phuket also has a thriving sea turtle population. Head over to Mai Khao Beach during the months of November to February, and you’ll see plenty of turtles waddling through the white sands to lay their eggs.
The beach is a protected sea turtle nesting area, and stretches on for 11KM. Be careful when swimming here, it’s relatively empty and unlike Phuket’s more commercialised beaches, doesn’t have any lifeguards on duty.
Fun fact: we’ve got our own turtle museum in Singapore.
Explore Phuket’s outdoor activities and nature attractions with Klook
Sandy white beaches and a bustling nightlife are Phuket’s obvious draw, but there are also plenty of nature experiences to embrace the great outdoors. From fully planned island hopping trips to spending quality time with rescued elephants, Klook offers a huge variety of experiences that’ll make for a memorable holiday.
Klook also offers plenty of services that’ll make your life that much easier, right from the moment you step out of the airport. Avoid any dodgy taxi drivers with Klook’s trusty Private Phuket Airport Transfer – they’ll give you a direct ride to your hotel at a fixed rate. They also offer a Thailand SIM Card option, that’ll offer you 3GB worth of data that’s valid for eight days.
Whether you’re after a sea canoeing trip or mud bath with elephants, Klook has it all – for all first-time Klook users, use exclusive promo code <TSL5> when checking out to get $5 off any activity!
This post was brought to you by Klook.
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Originally published on 26th October 2018. Last updated by Josiah Neo on 2nd July 2021.