Day Tours in Phuket are quite a popular tourist activity for most visitors to this amazing part of Thailand. A large number of companies offers day tours in Phuket that can be bought from local tour vendors in Patong Beach Area in Phuket. The tours sold through helpdesk at the hotels normally have a high markup and you can end up paying over 20-30% of the normal rates. The best option is to shop for tours from local vendors who are mostly open for a bargain. If you are travelling with a large group you can get bulk discounts as well.
My Day tour in Phuket in October 2019
I organized the day tour through a local operator on Bangla Raod. Most vendors are open till late hours of the night. Every tour has to be booked one day in advance. My whole day tour through Phuket was priced at 1000 BHAT. I was able to get a good deal at 800 BHAT after 5 minutes of bargaining with the vendor. There is an additional option to include a tour to the Tiger Kingdom or Elephant Sanctuary for an additional cost. These tours have additional charges and some fee that has to be paid the entrance to these facilities.
When does the tour start and what should I expect?
The day tours start around 8 am in the morning. The tour operator arrives in 14 seater Hiace Van which is air-conditioned and quite comfortable. Each tour has a tour guide or a tour manager that will give you valuable information about the various locations that you visit during the tour. The manager also takes care of any issue that may arise during the tour. I found that most tours are very well organized and the staff is highly experienced and professional in their behaviour.
By chance, the day I picked for a day tour was a very rainy day and I had to buy a poncho for (USD 1) to protect myself from the rain. The rainy season in Phuket last from Mid-May to mid-October. The off-season is a great time of the year to get bargain deals on accommodation and tours. The rain normally lasts for a couple of hours and the clouds clear up.
It is advisable to various loose cotton clothes and sandals, as the temperature can be quite hot and humid for most of the day in Phuket. In case of rain, rubber sandals are very convenient. Besides, you will be required to take your shoes off at the entrance to many temples and places of worship.
First stop: The Karon Viewpoint ( Karon Lookout )
During my visit to Phuket, I stayed in the Patong Beach area in Phuket. The tour operator picked up passengers from various hotel in my neighbourhood and start driving towards the hilly area of Karon towards the Karon Lookout (Karon Viewpoint). During this ride, I realized that Phuket is quite spread out and the driving distance between various location can take a long time due to traffic and narrow roads.
Karon is quite hilly with narrow roads lined with a large number of cafes, restaurants and resorts overlooking the scenic ocean. This hilly part of Phuket is more popular with families and long-term rentals.
The drive up to Karon Viewpoint from Patong takes around 45 minutes. The views are absolutely breathtaking. Karon Viewpoint commands an amazing view of Karon Beach and the Kata Noi Beach areas. You will be surprised at the massive scale of development along the beaches that attract thousands of tourist from around the world.
Second Stop: The Big Buddha
Get ready for another ride through old parts of the region along the hills and winding roads to the famous Big Buddha. This statue overlooks the Phuket area and commands an amazing view of most of the locations in the region. The ride from Karon View Point to Big Buddha is approximately 25 minutes. Once you cover these distances, you will realize that doing all these attractions on your own is very difficult and time-consuming.
On a clear day, Big Buddha is a great place for Instagram pictures. The Buddha commands 360 degrees views of Phuket and is a must-visit destination during your visit to Phuket.
Big Buddha is a place of worship and meditation for the Buddhist. Therefore, all visitors are required to dress up appropriately and avoid wearing short skirts, swimwear and T-shirts with offensive text messages and images.
Big Buddha is definitely a great place to relax and enjoy the calmness of the serene surroundings. There is a souvenir shop & cafe located near the parking lot area. On the way to Big Buddha, you will stop for 10 minutes to feed a baby elephant and take pictures.
Third Stop: Wat Chalong
The next stop along the way is Wat Chalong, which has an important spiritual and historical value in this region. The temple is a great place to meditate and pray for Buddhist and offers an amazing opportunity for westerns to acquire valuable knowledge about Buddhist beliefs and practices.
Wat Chalong is amongst one of many templates in the Phuket region. A customized tour can be organized with operators to explore the temples in the region. Wat Chalong is one of the most popular temples and is part of many day tours.
I enjoyed walking through ornated walls and interior of this amazing place of worship. The atmosphere and aura of this place are very soothing.
Fourth Stop: Cashew Nut Factory and Honey Farm in Phuket
Phuket has plenty of cashew nut farms, orchids for mangosteen and honey farms that attract many tourists to learn about farming practices and buy unique products from this region. I saw a cashew nut tree for the first time and was quite interested to know how cashew nuts were extracted from the plant. The factory produces a wide range of flavoured cashew nuts products that are available for sale at the store in the factory.
Honey is extensively harvested in Phuket. A visit to the honey farm gives you a chance to study honey harvesting methods used in Phuket. You will be able to visit the factory store to buy a number of skincare and healthcare products developed by a local variety of honey. I found this location very interesting and bought a jar of local honey.
Fifth Stop: A jewellery Showroom in Phuket
Phuket is famous for gemstones and diamond cutting. A visit to a massive jewellery store provides an interesting opportunity to buy locally manufactured jewellery. The warehouse is massive and there is a large variety of jewellery collection with diamond, rubies and other valuable gemstones.
Sixth Stop: Phuket Old Town
The final stopover for a day trip in Phuket is a visit to very interesting old Phuket Town. This location is a hidden gem of Phuket with old-styled architecture, beautifully decorated cafes, print shops, shophouses and shrines. Phuket town is an ideal location for early in the morning to explore Sino-colonial architecture, taste local delights at richly decorated cafes or maybe enjoy lunch at the famous Blue Elephant Restaurant. ( You can also take a cooking class at this interesting establishment)
A visit to historical Soi Romanee Street is a must to indulge in the colourful history of early settlers in Phuket. The old colonial building with a colourful facade is turned into shop houses, bars and cafes giving a unique and memorable experience to the visitors.
Day tours can be extended to visit Crocodile Show, Elephant Show and Monkey Show. A visit to the tiger kingdom is also included in some all-day tours. Check with your tour operator to see what activities are included in the day tour.
A day tour is a great way to explore most of what Phuket has to offer in the shortest possible time. You can get great with Klook for online bookings. Alternatively, your hotel reception of a number of tour operators on Bangla Road or various parts of Phuket can give great rates.
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