By Rachael Funk
You’ve got a scant 24 hours to make your mark on Thailand’s most popular island, and you don’t want to miss a thing. In a place that deserves centuries to explore, here are a few ways to make the most of your micro-vacation.
Up and at ‘em!
Forget sleeping in – you’ll thank yourself for rolling out of bed in the dark so you can watch the sun rise over Promthep Cape. One of Phuket’s major attractions, you’ll want to hit this one early. Enjoy a serene moment to watch the peek over the horizon before the tour buses arrive. If you're an active traveler, take the fisherman’s trail down to the peninsula. The climb back can be a challenge, but what better way to work up an appetite for breakfast? On the way to your second stop, consider a detour to snap a few photos of Big Buddha and the incredible views from the hillside - your Instagram followers will thank you.
Head north for breakfast dim sum
For the best dim sum in Phuket Town, follow the happy crowd of diners to Boon Rad Dim Sum 1. The wildly popular hole-in-the-wall restaurant opens at 6am and serves up a variety of crowd-pleasing dumplings. While you’re there, try the wu gok, which is a deep fried taro dumpling filled with pork and the Thai Phuket style shumai, which is a pork dumpling wrapped in noodle paper and steamed.
Address: 26/41 Thanon Bangkawk, Phuket Town, Phuket Town, Phuket
Hours: 6 am – 10:30 pm daily
Photo by Instagram user @phuketelephantsanctuary
Meet an elephant
Book a visit to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, where ethical elephant tourism is a priority. The sanctuary rescues sick, injured, and old elephants who have been exploited in the tourism and logging industries and gives them a protected place to live. You can feed, walk, and observe these giant beauties during the visit. Be sure to plan ahead, because no appointment means no elephants, which would really put a damper on the excursion.
Meeting Point Address: Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
Office 100, Moo 2, Paklok, on the 4027 road in North East Phuket
Hours: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Photo by Instagram user @liyiliyi
Grab a quick lunch at Kaab Gluay Restaurant
Adored by locals, this restaurant offers an extensive menu and helps travelers avoid the crush of people in the more touristy spots. Savor authentic Thai food and the friendly atmosphere before you move on to your next adventure! Try the Tom Yum soup or the stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts for an unforgettable meal.
Address: 58/3 Phrabaramee Road, Patong, Phuket 83150, Thailand
Hours: 11 am – 2 pm
Photo by Instagram user @caseykylecook
Pass the afternoon in a peaceful paradise
Pop over to Patong, but don’t get distracted by the island’s most famous beach resort just yet – you’ll have plenty of time to shop and indulge in the lively atmosphere later this evening. Your objective is to get to Freedom Beach, which is only accessible by longtail boat during the high season. Make sure you’re already in your swimsuit, because you’ll have to disembark into shallow water and wade in to the beach. Rent a beach chair, enjoy chilled cocktails and snacks from the restaurant, and take a few hours to enjoy the warm water and soft white sand.
Photo by Instagram user @wassa_pui
Hit a sunset bar for an aperitif
Make sure to pack up your beach afternoon and get back to Patong Beach before the sun starts to make a descent. Dip inland to Wassa Homemade Bar, which is one of the best spots in the city to watch the sun go down. The open-air platform displays one of the best views of the bay on the west coast. Enjoy simple cocktails, finger food, and a calm moment before you take a running leap into the city’s vibrant nightlife.
Address: 50 Pee Rd., Ban, Patong, Phuket 83150, Thailand
Hours: 4pm – 12 am
Party the night away on Bangla Road
You’ve seen the sights, enjoyed the flavors of the city, caught some sun, and adventured your way through Phuket, but there’s still plenty left to do. Kick off your night at the end of Bangla Road farthest from the beach. Here, you can shop, eat, and find live music or street performers. As your night progresses, make your way toward the beach for trendy bars, nightclubs, discotheques, cabaret shows, and more. Whatever your idea of a great night in Phuket might be, it’s already waiting for you on Bangla Road.