Things to do in Phuket when you have a car

Sunset in Phuket

This time we decided to do something spontaneous and adventurous. We looked up in the internet different things to do in Phuket and decided to drive around in a car and hit as many spots as possible. It would also let us experience the culture much better. So we went for it and it was very much worth it.

Actually, there was no plan, whatsoever. Just the idea. We had only booked our flight tickets and the hotel and boarded the plane.

Some time later here we are, enjoying the exotic nature of Phang Nga bay at sunset during our descent at Phuket International Airport.


Things to do in Phuket after you land
Landing at Phuket International Airport is spectacular
Phuket island
Phuket island is the biggest in Thailand, but it’s surrounded by tens of tiny ones

Things to do in Phuket

Next morning we rented a car. It came with a free tourist map with points of interest highlighted – perfect for us who didn’t have a single kilometer planned. Ironically, the car was intended for right-wheel drive, so my driving skills faced quite a challenge.

From the map it appeared to be a lot to cover to go around the island in the crazy traffic. Though in the end the whole round trip took us no more than 150km and the craziness followed us only on city streets.

Things to do in Phuket when you have a car
There are lots of things to do in Phuket when you have a car

Driving in Phuket

Actually, the whole concept of driving here is one big challenge. It doesn’t matter on which side of the road you are driving – you need to use traditional chaotic Southeast Asia’s style. The one who has more courage has priority. Moped is family vehicle capable of carrying 3-4 people (including children). And if you hesitate – you won’t move far and won’t experience all the things to do in Phuket.

Multipurpose trucks
Trucks are multipurpose here. They are used to transport both freight and people
Family on a motorbike
And motorbikes carry at least 3 people at a time

It was already around noon when we decided to stop for some activity. Despite the rainy season the heat was still around +33, so we needed a place with no direct sunlight. There were several waterfalls indicated on the map. So we decided to visit to one of them which, luckily, turned out to be the highest.


The waterfall is in the jungle, so a little hike was necessary to reach the place. The nature is wonderful and full of animal sounds, so despite the heat hiking has proven to be a great exercise. On the way we passed a series of mini-waterfalls, before reaching the goal, where many locals are staying for picnic and some “swimming”.

Exploring jungle in Phuket
Hiking through jungle to find a waterfall is one of the things to do in Phuket
Picnic place
The water is rather cold, despite the hot weather

Finally, after the 20-minute hike up the hill (instead of promised 5 minutes) and a lot of energy in hot tropical jungle we finally made it to the waterfall.

It was the first time I saw a real and high waterfall so close and it was amazing. Especially when you come down to the water and get closer to the fall – a refreshing feeling you get from cold water splashes is incomparable in such heat. And the fact that it is located in the middle of the jungle gives it even better look.

Waterfall in the middle of the jungle
Waterfall in the middle of the jungle
Waterfall in Phuket
If you are wondering what to do in Phuket – definitely try to visit one of the island’s waterfalls.
The waterfall was quite refreshing
The waterfall was quite refreshing

Don’t let local animals eat you

While already in the car and on our way back to the main road we saw a buffalo randomly chilling in the middle of the forest. We almost didn’t spot him, but when we did we had a laugh at the size of the tree the buffalo was chained to – it was one of the weakest.

We quickly remembered, though, that these creatures are quite strong and can gain up to 60km/h speed. As he looked bigger than our car and not so satisfied with us laughing at him, we quickly continued our journey.

Buffalo in the jungle
We almost didn’t see the buffalo with so many trees around.

Back on the road, however, everything looked calm and sunny – yet again, no signs of a rainy season. No traces of crazy driving as well – just peaceful countryside and private houses sometimes appearing from the woods. A rare car would go over 40km/h.

Roads in Phuket
Roads in Northern Phuket are almost empty


The road finally got us to the seaside where traditional postcard views of private beaches and mountains in the background are attracting travelers to take a break. This was a very tempting opportunity and we, therefore, stopped to lie down and relax for a while.

Beach in Phuket
On our way we passed places that we only saw on postcards
Private beach in Phuket
And some of those were completely empty
Private beach
Beaches are definitely one of the top things to do in Phuket. Especially if those are empty

Even though the beach was not in the popular resort, we were not alone. The place was full of mini crabs that are extremely fast. Taking a close up photo of them from the front is nearly impossible. I managed to snap a picture from the back instead. This, however, still took me some time and stealth skills.

Crabs on a beach
Our only neighbors were tiny crabs

Don’t let the rain spoil the plans

As we got back to the car and hit the road again the weather suddenly started to worsen. Luckily, we were close to the hotel, so we went for a well-deserved rest.

Storm is approaching
Storm was approaching as we drove to the hotel

I’ve mentioned the rainy season already (that we haven’t encountered any). Well, it’s tricky in Thailand – the average number of rainy days is approximately the same as in Europe in autumn, but rains are much heavier and faster.

In our case the rain started as soon as we entered the room. We were lucky enough to miss this shower during our roadtrip, as it did not look friendly.

Rainy season in Phuket
The rain hit just as we entered the room
Storm over Phuket
We were lucky to avoid this storm. Definitely not one of the things to do in Phuket

Nevertheless, the heavy rain stopped after an hour and completely perished after another one. In the end we still had plenty of time to enjoy the marvelous, yet a bit cloudy, sunset and the fresh and warm evening air.

Read on about the second day of our road trip around Phuket island in this post.

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