How to Spend 48 Hours in Phuket, Thailand

Go for a sunset swim by Kamala Beach in Phuket, Thailand
Go for a sunset swim by Kamala Beach in Phuket, Thailand | © Jason Knott / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kelly Iverson
4 September 2021

It’s a race against time: you have 48 hours in Phuket, and you are not sure what activities and top sights you should see. With so many articles on the top things to do in the area, it can be hard to pick and choose the best recommendations. Look no further, this itinerary shows you how to make the most of 48 hours in Phuket.

Interested in visiting Phuket? Let our local insider show you the best of the city on Culture Trip’s 10-day tour of Southern Thailand.

Head to Phuket Town

The Old Town is a must-visit when you’re in Phuket | © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo

The first spot on our itinerary is Phuket Town. The architecture here, with colourful shops, hostels and cafes lining the streets, cannot be beaten. Many of these buildings are in a Sino-Portuguese style, and it is considered one of the most attractive areas of Phuket. Some of the best cafes in Phuket Town include Tunk-Ka Cafe, Cakebox and Bookhemian – a coffee shop, bookstore and art space all in one. There is also a variety of unique accommodation options, including a plethora of boutique hostels that are both trendy and adorable. Some of the best hostels in Phuket Town include Phuket 346, which is located right on one of the cutest streets in the entire city: Soi Rommanee. There are also some souvenir shops scattered throughout the city that are a bit more upscale than what you would find in Thai markets and shops.

Browse Chinpracha House

History buffs will appreciate Chinpracha House in Phuket Old Town | © M.Sobreira / Alamy Stock Photo

If you have the time and consider yourself a history buff of sorts, take some time to browse Chinpracha House in Phuket Town. This historical home was built in 1903 by Prapitak Chinpracha. He built the home when he was 20 years old, drawing upon both Chinese and Portuguese architecture. The furniture within the house belongs to his ancestors, who were originally from China. Throughout the years, the house acquired furniture from Holland, Italy and other European countries. Chinpracha House is open every day, except Sunday, from 9am to 4:30pm. There is an entrance fee of 150 Thai baht (£3.30).

Take a stroll down Soi Rommanee

Stroll down the colourful Soi Rommanee in Phuket Old Town | © Jason Knott / Alamy Stock Photo

Amateur photographers and professionals alike need to visit this quaint stretch of Sino-Portuguese style buildings, shops and hostels. The soi (road) is unlike any you will normally see in Thailand. It is quiet and attractive, and you will, oftentimes, find brides- and grooms-to-be making their way down this lovely lane to take some pre-wedding pictures. The street connects Thalang Road with Dibuk Road.

Relax at Saphan Hin

Saphan Hin is a park in Phuket | © Christian Kapteyn / Alamy Stock Photo

If you don’t like sand between your toes, instead of heading to the beaches, visit Saphan Hin, a small, green space in Phuket Town. This park is perfect for eating, exercising or just relaxing for a few hours before taking on the nightlife in Phuket. Here, you’ll find many Thais congregating around communal lunches, sitting oceanside and enjoying one another’s company. You will find a mangrove forest just adjacent to this green space, with a slender walking path for you to meander down while taking in Phuket’s lovely views of the water.

Visit the Phuket Weekend Market (Naka Market)

Sample local dishes at the Phuket Weekend Market | © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

The Phuket Weekend Market is only open on Sunday evenings. After the sun sets, the market overflows with a variety of different Thai dishes and snacks as well as an abundance of souvenirs. This market is incredibly diverse, and visitors can browse it for hours without having seen it in its entirety.

Go out on Bangla Road

Bangla Road is a popular destination for a night out in Phuket | © Ahmet Cigsar / Alamy Stock Photo

Not all of Phuket is thriving before the sun goes down. While the majority of the city calls it a day after dark, Bangla Road is just getting started. Here, you’ll find a plethora of go-go bars, head-throbbing nightclubs and enough liquor to make you go crazy for an entire evening. There are plenty of outdoor bars just waiting for you to pull up a stool and lose a game of Jenga to one of its bar girls. If you love going out and having an evening you will not remember, this is the stretch of road to visit.

A guided night tour of Patong kicks off Culture Trip’s 10-day tour of Southern Thailand, which continues onto emerald-green lakes, thick mangrove forests and several beautiful islands.

Head for the beach

Enjoy the sunset at Patong Beach | © Jan Wlodarczyk / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the main reasons to visit Phuket Island is to lounge on one of its many beaches. While Patong Beach is certainly the most popular amongst foreigners, there are plenty of other sandy paradises found throughout the island. Some of the best beaches to check out on the island include Layan Beach, Bang Tao, Karon Beach, Surin Beach, Paradise Beach and Kata Beach, just to name a few.

Visit Bang Pae Waterfall

The reviews are out on the Bang Pae Waterfall in Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. Some claim it is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Thailand, while others are left less than impressed. This is true of all waterfalls in Thailand, though. Head to one of these natural landforms during the dry season, and you can expect a weak trickle from the usual flowing fall. The best time to visit is during the monsoon or wet season, which is from July to October. This waterfall has ample space beneath for swimming and hanging out before you go explore the rest of the surrounding area, including a visit to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project in the national park. Bring food and drinks, and you can spend an entire afternoon lounging at this waterfall and park. The entrance fee to access the park is 200 Thai baht (£4.40).

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