Best Things to do in Phuket with Kids
Updated: Sep 1
Updated August 2020
Taking a family trip to Phuket is a relaxing, indulgent and culturally interesting holiday and family activities in Phuket blend incredibly spectacular natural environments with fun adventures and exploring.
Thailand culture is a major reason that I like travelling to Phuket with kids - the people are some of the friendliest and happiest you will find with most locals being extremely welcoming of kids and families. Children and families are highly respected in Thailand and from your airport arrival, to eating out at restaurants and visiting the sites you will be well looked after when travelling with kids.
Along with Phuket, I also highly rate a stay in Khao Lak and have covered some of the best things to do in Khao Lak to get you thinking.
If you are keen to start planning and booking your trip to Phuket check out my huge article with first hand reviews on the best family hotels in Phuket to get you started.
But for now, here are my top tips for things to see and do with kids in Phuket:
1. Phi Phi Island Day Tour - Visit Maya Bay
The very beast beaches in Phuket are found on the outer islands and the best way to experience these are via a speedboat day trip. The waters are phenomenally turquoise and clear in colour, with the karst cliffs and mountains providing amazing backdrops. Snorkelling in Phuket is also some of the best in the world.
The islands in Thailand are spectacularly beautiful and are the main reason that the country draws millions of tourists every year. The most popular day trip in Phuket are the daily tours to Phi Phi Island which include a side trip to beautiful Maya Bay, famous as the location of Leonardo DiCaprio's movie The Beach. This is one of the most stunning beaches to swim and explore.
Kids will love the thrill of the speed boat ride out to the islands and then swimming or snorkelling to explore the vibrant fish life.
Save big on the cost of Phi Phi tours with up to 50% off for pre-booking. This is a huge saving on what it will cost to book once you arrive in Phuket.
Try booking a tour leaving at the earliest time in the morning or later in the afternoon. Popular areas like Phi Phi island and the Blue Lagoon can get very busy mid morning through to lunch time so it is handy to be on the off-peak boats that visit each place first beating the crowds.
Unfortunately over the years Maya Beach has been heavily over-touristed so the Thai Government are now working closely with tour operators to limit numbers and even close Maya Bay for scheduled periods to allow regeneration of the area. If you visit any of Phuket's (or in Phuket itself) neighbouring islands please do your bit to help reduce single-use plastic and always take your rubbish away with you.
Another family island adventure to be had from Phuket is to visit Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island. This location is not quite as busy but equally impressive as the Phi Phi trip with the limestone karsts being a real feature in this region. It takes a little longer to reach Phang Nga Bay but what I love about this day trip is the opportunity to go kayaking in Phang Nga Bay. Simply one of the most stunning places to take a kayak tour!
Combine a whole bunch of activities to fill your day with snorkelling, swimming and sightseeing. The beaches are teeming with tropical fish and we even had a small baby shark come into the bay whilst we were swimming.
This is Phuket island hopping at it's best and the highly rated Klook tour includes lunch and a 44% discount on ticket prices so make sure you pre-book for the best rates.
Elephants are common place in Phuket and many of the high end resorts have some resident elephants who come daily to visit the children and families. It is important to note that much of the elephant tourism in Phuket has not always met ethical standards and cruel, inhumane practices have led to their mistreatment in a lot of instances.
We visited the first ever elephant rehabilitation sanctuary in Chiang Mai back in 2007 which was founded by Lek Chailert. The park in Chiang Mai was instrumental in starting a wave of ethical elephant projects throughout the whole of Thailand and pleasingly now Lek and her teams have opened the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary.
The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is the only park in Phuket completely complying with all guidelines for ethical elephant tourism. There are no elephant rides or trick shows and no crowding the elephants in their natural environment. Instead, your day is largely educational and informative to learn how elephants behave naturally and the importance of conservation to protect the Asian elephants.
Our whole family loved the day trip to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. Transport was organised, lunch was delicious and the kids were truly enthralled in walking between each of the elephants and learning about their history and how they came to be at the park.
Tickets to the sanctuary are more expensive than most elephant parks in Phuket but for good reason. They are really looking after their elephants properly. Consider it a good donation to a fabulous cause and take the opportunity to visit this amazing park.
If you love animals read my article on the most amazing responsible animal tourism experiences.
3. Turtle Sanctuary in Phuket
A great ethical animal experience in Phuket is to visit the turtle conservation centre at the Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Centre. The location of the turtle sanctuary is at Thai Muang north of Phuket so it is a fantastic option for things to do in Khao Lak with kids.
The sanctuary is not flashy but is free to visit and gives an interesting insight into Thailand's efforts to rehabilitate injured turtles and reintroduce them back into the wild. You can visit self-guided with a few staff about to ask any questions to. We visited with our driver Kam who helped us with talking to the workers to find out a bit more information.
The focus is on turtles but you can also find some saltwater crocodiles and a variety of brightly coloured tropical fish.
4. Bike Tour Local Villages and Beaches
If your kids are old enough to confidently navigate a bike across some varied terrain then doing some sightseeing on two wheels is a fun family activity in Phuket. A bike tour is a great way to see all the best bits and many resorts will arrange this type of trip for you with one of their 'activity' staff members taking you on a private tour.
Heading out from the Bang Tao area from the Dusit Laguna Phuket we visited some temples and beaches and also rode through some rice paddies as well as local rubber plantations. It really is a great way to see and learn about Phuket beyond the walls of a cozy resort and all of the friendly smiles and waves along the way makes for an uplifting day.
5. Visit Bang Pae Waterfall and Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre
Centrally located on Phuket Island, the Bang Pae Waterfall is a nice easy hike and a refreshing spot for a cool off in one of the pools along the way. At the beginning of the car park you will also come across the Gibbon Rehabilitation centre for an interesting side trip.
There are a number of beautiful waterfalls close to Khao Lak as well if you find the right driver to get you there! Lampi waterfall is a serene spot to visit.
6. Best Beaches in Phuket
Of course you may want to know where you will find the best beaches in Phuket. An island itself, Phuket is fringed with tropical beaches. My favourite beach is Bang Tao Beach which stretches for 6kms on the north western side of Phuket. Bang Tao has lovely untouched sections at its northern end with very few access points and is by far one of the cleanest beaches in Phuket.
I recommend staying in one of the Laguna Phuket Resorts if you want to stay directly on Bang Tao beach but have access to some of the best family resorts in Phuket.
Personally I have found Phuket beaches from Patong and down south to be a little dirtier and certainly with more of a rubbish issue than the northern beaches.
A second favourite beach is the Mai Khao beach which is actually quite close to the airport which also doubles for good plane watching.
7. Resort Activities and Kids Clubs Phuket
The quality of resorts in Thailand are superior to many other places in the World and value for money is sensational. This spells happy days for families as resorts vie for the 'family market' with the provision of some amazing kids clubs and schedules packed full of kid friendly activities.
After visiting many of the kids clubs in Phuket and being immersed in the lovely environment created by kid-loving staff you will not want to bring your kids home to return to their regular daycare or school.
Resort activities are plentiful from water sports in the pool, art and craft sessions, cooking and much much more. All with a twist of Thai culture and creativity!
To read more about some more resorts with fantastic Kids Clubs and family friendly activities check out Phuket's best family resorts.
8. Visit Phukets Local Markets
Take the kids outside of their normal comfort zone by taking an hour or two to wander the many and varied local markets in Phuket. Kids will be enthralled by all the sights, sounds and smells that will jolt their senses. It's a great chance to get some souvenirs to take home and to try some tasty street food when the tummy beckons. A kids favourite will be the salty corn on the cob grilled on makeshift bbqs which makes for a great lunch option.
Phuket can be really hot in the middle of the day so night markets are the best for families to enjoy without the stifling temperatures. Here is a great link for the best markets in Phuket. We love the
9. Dine out at Phuket's Beachfront Restaurants
Some of the best beaches in Phuket are lined with scenic and pretty restaurants. Apart from the obvious chance to indulge in some delicious local food, the beachfront restaurants mean the kids can run and play in the sand often right next to your table as you get to relax with an evening drink watching the sunset.
Life isn't always so romantic since kids joined the picture so at least you can have a little 'romantic time' whilst the kids are having some fun.
10. Phuket Big Buddha
Phuket's Big Buddha Statue is a great visit to gain an understanding of the importance of the buddhist religion in Thailand. The statue is an impressive 25 metres tall sitting proudly atop Nakkerd Mountain so can be spotted from quite a distance. Sitting next to the large statue is a second gold coloured buddha.
Visitors are encouraged to dress appropriately and entrance is free. The most popular visit time is sunset so avoid the crowds try an early morning visit.
Phuket's premier water park the Blue Tree provides for a full day of water excitement. Highlights of the park include:
Family Splash Zone - specially catering for families with young kids
Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course
And plenty more....
Getting Around Phuket with Kids - Child Restraints in Phuket
For a safe and reliable transportation service in Phuket I can't recommend Kam from Kids on Board highly enough. If you want a safe ride with child restraints included this is your best bet. Kam is absolutely fantastic and has looked after us on multiple visits to Phuket. He drives safely and is always on time with a good vehicle and high quality child restraints.
Getting to Phuket
Phuket is reached via a very easy direct flight from most major airports in Australia and the smaller time difference makes it a good destination to re-settle babies and infants into a comfortable routine. There are also direct flights from many European, Asian and North American Cities as it is one of the most easily accessible beach destination in Asia.
If you need some more advice and tips on why Thailand is a fantastic option for your next family holiday check out my article on taking your kids to Thailand. In this arti
Or let's board the plane! If I have convinced you that Phuket is the perfect destination for your next trip start looking at the beautiful family friendly Phuket resorts all road-tested to give you the good, bad or amazing details before you book.
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