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12 Best Free Things to Do in Phuket

12 Best Free Things to Do in Phuket

Though Thailand’s largest island is filled to the brim with gorgeous beaches and tourist attractions, Phuket has numerous attractions that won’t require a single baht. 

Don’t believe us? Well, we’ve got the lowdown on how to get to these wallet-friendly attractions!

Whether it’s avoiding obvious “tourist traps” or only visiting local haunts, we’ve handpicked the best free things you can do in Phuket so brace yourself for these head-spinning freebies. 

Admire the Big Buddha Temple

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Going to the Big Buddha Temple in Karon is a must while you’re on the island province, and it’s definitely worth the 30-minute travel from Phuket Town. Like most temples, admission is free so you can admire its giant Buddha image without spending a dime.

Aside from the impressive Buddha image, the temple also has a sweeping staircase which makes it one of the most Instagrammable spots on the island. That’s why the temple attracts mixed crowds of pilgrims and tourists who want to go sightseeing.

It’s an active temple, so expect to see monks holding ceremonies and rituals at the prayer hall located at the base of the giant Buddha image. That also means you have to dress appropriately when visiting this sacred temple.

Witness the iconic nightlife in Bangla Walking Street

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If you love nightclubs and parties, Bangla Walking Street is the place to be. Sure drinking can be expensive, but anyone is free to explore this busy street so don’t need to spend any money if you only want a glimpse of the island’s nightlife.

That makes it one of the most exciting free attractions in Phuket. It’s the island’s entertainment hub, so expect to see numerous nightclubs, alfresco drinking bars, street food stalls, restaurants, souvenir shops, cannabis cafes, and many more.

It’s called a walking street for good reason: it’s best explored on foot so you get to see Bangla Road’s curiosities up close. This iconic street’s loud music, neon lights, and shops are only available at night so we don’t recommend going here during the day.

Laze around Phuket’s beautiful beaches

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A Phuket vacation isn’t complete without lazing up on a beautiful beach with crystal-clear waters and a relaxing ocean breeze. Our team is particularly fond of visiting them since you don’t have to shell out a penny to go for a swim.

The island’s local laws designate them as public places so visiting them is one of the free things you can do in Phuket. Sure, some beaches are inaccessible without paying, but that’s only because there are private resorts that own the surrounding lands. 

Regardless, most of the island’s popular beaches like Patong Beach, Kata Beach, Nai Harn Beach, Kata Noi Beach, Rawai Beach, and Yanui Beach are open to everyone. These are great places to enjoy Phuket’s fresh ocean air and warm waters for free.

Marvel at the architecture of Wat Chalong (Chaithararam Temple)

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This stunning Buddhist temple is another attraction you can access for free in Phuket. Wat Chalong, also known as Chaithararam Temple, has numerous elegant structures within its sacred grounds, so it’s definitely a must-visit place while you’re on the island.

Its Wat Mahathat Chedi, in particular, is the temple’s most notable tower architecture. This chedi has three-level walls that contain depictions of the Lord Buddha in different poses to represent the numerous phases in his life.

Inside the temple, you’ll find elaborate paintings about Lord Buddha’s life, and the upper glass chamber is said to enshrine his holy bone relic. That makes it the most important temple in Phuket, so expect to see many pilgrims visiting to pray and pay their respects.

Give the puppies in Soi Dog Foundation a visit

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If you’re a dog person, visiting Soi Dog Foundation’s animal shelter is the best free thing you can do in Phuket. This foundation is instrumental in rescuing the island’s stray and abused dogs, especially those who were victims of the dog meat industry.

The foundation’s guided tour is free so you don’t have to spend money to meet the shelter’s rescued animals. Though it’s a dog foundation in name, there are rescued cats in their care, so it’s also perfect for people who want to give their love to these felines.

While visiting this place is free, you can donate any amount if you’re feeling generous. Otherwise, spending some time with the animals to give them love and attention is good enough and shelter staffers will appreciate the help.

Enjoy walking around Jungceylon

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Jungceylon is the perfect hangout spot for tourists and families staying near Patong Beach. It’s a massive shopping mall, so expect to see scores of shops and boutiques that are great for window shopping when you like to pass the time.

If you’re lucky, you might even see parades and huge decorations if you visit while they’re holding a special event. That makes it ideal to visit during global holidays like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Day.

Aside from holidays, Jungceylon is well-known for its daily “Dancing Water Fountain Show” every 7 to 9 p.m. This free outdoor show consists of exciting water effects and colorful neon lights which is great for families who have small kids.

Tour the charming Phuket Old Town

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This charming town is rooted in culture and tradition, so it’s definitely worth exploring while you’re on the island. Plus, everyone is free to stroll around Phuket Old Town which makes it perfect if you want to go sightseeing while on a tight budget.

The most notable sights in town are its old Sino-Portuguese buildings. In fact, these unique architectures are the biggest reasons Old Phuket Town is one of the island’s most Instagrammable spots.

You’ll find most of these buildings along Soi Rommani Street which is between Dubik Road and Thalang Road. Its most notable buildings include the Chartered Bank, Thai Hua Museum, The Charm Phuket, Memory at On On Hotel, and many more.

See Promthep Cape’s magnificent sunset view

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If you’re touring the southern portion of Phuket, a free attraction that’s definitely worth a look is Promthep Cape. This scenic spot is particularly famous for its magnificent sunsets which is only possible thanks to its panoramic view of the Andaman Sea.

It’s also dotted with trees along the Phra Phrom Square area, so expect to get an incredible backdrop when capturing photos during the golden hour. Here, you can catch the fresh ocean breeze during the sunset or enjoy the elephant statues at the square.

That makes Promthep Cape the ideal family hangout spot. Of course, it’s also one of Phuket’s most romantic spots, so don’t hesitate to watch the stunning sunset here with your boo. 

Hike to the island’s breathtaking vantage points

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For dedicated hikers, the numerous vantage points scattered around Phuket are free attractions that are worth visiting. This includes places like Black Rock Viewpoint, Cape Panwa Viewpoint, Windmill Viewpoint, Karon Viewpoint, Rang Hill, and more.

Going to these viewpoints is an adventure since you typically have to traverse steep nature trails. That makes reaching them more fulfilling since the breathtaking view you get feels like a special reward after a grueling trek.

The viewpoints, in particular, are perfect for skilled hikers since they can be challenging to reach. Otherwise, Rang Hill is a solid option for beginners and those who like cityscapes since you only need to follow the paved uphill road north of Phuket Town.

Climb Monkey Hill and meet the local macaques

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Monkey Hill is another hiking spot in the heart of Phuket, but it’s mostly popular for its local macaque population. It’s perfect if you’re looking for something free to do since these animals are more relaxed when they know you’re not carrying any food or items.

This way, you can enjoy watching them frolicking on the side of the road without worrying about them harassing you for food. There are numerous checkpoints on Monkey Hill, so you can take some rest on your way to the summit.

Vehicles are only allowed here from 7 to 8 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. so we recommend avoiding these times. Our team particularly enjoyed the peaceful climb to the hill’s summit without cars going up and down the hill.

Explore Phuket’s lively night markets

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Though money is often associated with night markets, exploring them is also one of the free things you can do in Phuket. 

The island’s night markets, in particular, are always lively and colorful so you’ll enjoy them even if you don’t buy anything. These spots are fan favorites, so expect to see massive crowds of locals and tourists during your visit. 

You’ll see numerous shops and stalls selling all kinds of goods and services. Think fashion items, souvenirs, street food, drinks, Thai snacks, fresh produce, and accessories. 

Most of the time, there’s also live music and entertainment which adds more charm to the experience.

Capture fun photos of landing planes at Mai Khao Beach

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As part of Sirinat National Park, Mai Khao Beach technically requires a 200 baht entrance fee but it’s free if you visit after 5 p.m. It’s perfect since you’ll be in time to witness the beach’s beautiful sunset.

Plus, this gives you enough time to see and photograph the planes landing at or departing from the nearby Phuket International Airport. The runway is only a few meters away which means you’ll see the landing planes up close from this beach.

Just know that it’s a popular Instagram spot, so expect to see numerous tourists and locals when you come here. But this shouldn’t worry you as the important thing is that you shed not a single Baht when there — except for the transportation. 

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