So, 2 days in Phuket seems like it wouldn’t be enough time to explore the main highlights, but rest assured, it’s plenty of time. Thailand’s largest island has a lot to offer, whether it’s the chaotic nightlife, cultural landmarks, authentic cuisine restaurants, epic viewpoints or the plethora of beaches dotted around the coast.
We’ve been there, asking ourselves “What are the things I can do and see in Phuket in 2 days?” We have visited Phuket 3 times within 2 years so we’re confident in sharing with you the best attractions to visit. This means when you leave you don’t feel like you have missed out on anything over the 48 hours in Phuket.
Within this blog we will share the best route to see all the highlights, saving you time and money. We are going to share our tips and experiences on how to keep the cost down on things such as food, travel and accommodation.
Read on for the perfect guide on how to plan 2 days in Phuket.
The best time to visit Phuket
Thailand is generally hot all year round, with April – May being the hottest, which is best to avoid. September – October are the wettest months, which again, is best to avoid.
With only 2 days in Phuket, the best time to visit for the weather would be from November – March. These are the months where most of the days it will be sunny yet not too hot and with less chance of rain compared to the rest of the year.
December – February is peak season, so we would suggest avoiding this period if you wish to save money on accommodation and steer away from as many crowds as possible. Prices of accommodation can literally double in these periods and so can the tourists on the beach.
November and March are just outside the peak season, they are a lot cheaper regarding accommodation but still have the convenience of nice weather. We’d recommend going at this time of year if you can.
We have visited Phuket in November and in January – February. From our personal experience, we would recommend visiting in November or just outside the peak season months if you have the luxury of choice.
On our recent visit in January to mid-February, it was definitely more crowded and accommodation prices were inflated. Despite this, we still had a great time so do not be too put off visiting in these periods if you cannot help it.
How to get to Phuket
Flying to Phuket
Assuming you are not coming from another country, flying into Phuket for 2 days is also a viable option from other parts of Thailand. The domestic flights in Thailand are fairly cheap, but the best thing is that it saves you a lot of time.
We flew from Bangkok straight to Phuket and it was a pleasant and short experience. There are other direct flight options from the likes of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, so you are not limited depending on where you are.
We always use Skyscanner to book our flights and have had great experiences with them every time, finding the cheapest deals.
From Phuket International Airport by car or bus
The journey from Phuket international airport to Phuket town can range from 45 min – 1 h depending on traffic, or it could only take 30 min if you have an F1 taxi driver as we did. Seriously, we had to tell him to slow down, we did not survive a plane ride to end up crashing in a taxi. No thanks.
From Phuket international airport to Patong Beach it typically takes around 1 h – 1 h 15 min.
To get to Phuket Town, we paid 650 Baht at one of the taxi services situated within the airport near the exists. We have used them before and have been happy with their service both times.
Upon our visit to Phuket early 2020, we noticed that Grab wasn’t as cheap as it was when we first visited back in 2017/2018. For those who do not know what Grab is, it’s basically South East Asia’s equivalent to Uber. Maybe the inflated prices relate to Phuket, let us know if you notice a price difference in your 2 days in Phuket compared to other cities in the comments section at the bottom.
Due to this, we found using the taxi service from within the airport cheaper than booking through Grab.
There is also a bus from Phuket Internation Airport that goes to Phuket town. This will cost you around 150 Baht but don’t take the bus if you’re in a hurry, it takes around 30 mins longer than a taxi because they drop off other passengers on the way.
Getting to Phuket by Boat
Phuket is one of the most popular Islands in Thailand, so it is well connected. You can pretty much book boats and ferries to Phuket from any nearby Island in the South of Thailand.
The boat options are ferries, long-tail boats and speedboats, depending on how close you are to Phuket. We have used all 3 kinds when travelling around Thailand and haven’t had any issues.
The cheapest way to get tickets is to haggle with the local vendors on the street.
Getting to Phuket by bus from other cities
We have only taken local buses around Thailand that last up to a maximum of an hour’s drive. We haven’t slept overnight on one so cannot comment on that actual experience. However, if you can avoid it, we would urge you to spend the extra money on a flight or boat, so you have as much time as possible in Phuket. After all, you only have 2 days in Phuket.
This may be the cheapest option, in addition, if it’s an overnight bus, depending on where you’re travelling from, you’re also saving money on accommodation.
Typical average journey time:
Bangkok to Phuket by Bus: 12h
Chiang Mai to Phuket by Bus: 15h
Chiang Rai to Phuket by Bus: 17h
Samui to Phuket by Bus: 6h
Check out the 12go Asia app for options regarding bus travel, they’re a reputable company who we have used before and had no issues with. Make sure you read the reviews of the companies you may book with via them.
Where to stay in Phuket
We couldn’t recommend staying in Phuket town enough.
Phuket town was perfect for us as it was only a short drive away from Phuket’s cultural landmarks such as Big Buddha, as well as a short drive away from a handful of beaches. It is also a lot cheaper than staying in other areas of Phuket, which we will get to later.
A budget couple room
For us, we like a no-fuss budget accommodation as we will spend most of the day outside anyway. The key things we always look for are good Wi-Fi, air conditioning (a fan won’t cut it some nights) and a double bed.
For the budget couple travellers, we couldn’t recommend Nawaporn Place enough. Literally the best Wi-Fi we’ve had in the whole of Thailand, friendly staff, the rooms are very clean, and they have a cute little pet dog called Coffee.
Rooms for backpackers
Accompanied by free Wi-Fi, there are some nice social areas to hang out and great reviews, it’s one to book if you wish to meet fellow backpackers.
Luxury hotel in Phuket
Room service, soft pillows, mouth-watering food, a rooftop swimming pool and a gym, Ramada Plaza has it all. Usually, hotels like these are situated in the middle of nowhere but it wasn’t that far to local attractions. It isn’t walking distance to anywhere but they offer a handy shuttle service for convenience.
We stayed here as a treat for birthday celebrations, and the reviews didn’t let us down. One of the most aesthetically pleasing places we have stayed in Thailand by far.
Also known as tourist central. You will be right in the thick of it staying on Patong beach, you’ll have bars, water activities, massage parlours and shopping centres on your doorstep.
Naturally, staying in a more popular area will have an increase in price, but you have the convenience of a beach on your doorstep as well as all the other gifts Patong Beach has to offer.
Budget couple rooms
Minimal House Patong features a double bed, air conditioning and Wi-fi, couldn’t ask for much more really. Oh yes, it’s also 450m away from the beach.
Ideal for backpackers
Only 900m away from the beach, Bedbox Guesthouse and Hostel has similar features to those above but with the added extra of being backpacker-friendly, encouraging those alike to meet.
A splash of luxury
For those with a more acquired taste, Burasari Phuket Resort & Spa takes care of that. With some rooms having direct pool access, a free minibar and a daily breakfast buffet, there’s no complaining about relaxation.
If that wasn’t enough, they also have a spa offering traditional Thai massages.
How to get around Phuket
Rent a motorbike/scooter
Since you only have 2 days in Phuket the most convenient, quickest and cheapest way to get around is by motorbike/scooter.
Most accommodations you stay at in Thailand will be able to provide you with a motorbike to rent and Phuket is no exception. Average prices for a motorbike in Phuket are around 200 Baht per day. We found that renting a motorbike from Phuket town to be cheaper than other areas.
If you decide to rent near the main beaches expect to pay an extra 50-100 Baht per day, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t a lot at all.
For a full tank of fuel expect to pay around 70-80 Baht, which should last you the entire 2 days in Phuket.
Tips on renting a motorbike:
If you plan on renting a motorbike for more than 1 day then try to get the price down, the longer you rent the motorbike the easier it is for discount to be applied when haggling.
Take pictures of the motorbike outside the place you are renting it from. This ensures you have before and after pictures of the condition of the motorbike. Assuming you haven’t damaged the motorbike, this is proof you returned it in its original state.
Please be aware that when you rent a motorbike most insurance is void if you are not wearing a helmet and don’t have an international driver’s license. Read the small print on your insurance regarding renting a motorbike.
Don’t have an international driver’s license? We purchased one from e-ita and the process was smooth and hassle-free. We received our license within an hour.
Hire a driver/taxi
Another option is to hire a driver for the day to take you to the main attractions. This would be considerably more expensive than renting your own motorbike, but it would be more relaxing.
Furthermore, if you’re not a confident motorbike driver, this would be a lot safer, as Thailand’s traffic can be a bit hectic at times. You’ll find yourself bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic like you’re training for a boxing match. A new driver may get a bit flustered.
Expect to pay in the region of 1500 – 2500 Baht for the day, depending on where you go.
Tips on hiring a driver:
Never accept the first price given, always haggle, as they put a high percentage on the premium straight away as you are a tourist.
Do not pay upfront, always pay at the end. This gives incentive to the driver to honour the agreed price and route.
Expect to be sold on the idea of visiting certain souvenir shops etc. This is done as the driver makes a profit if you buy anything from these shops. It’s up to you if you decide to go or buy anything, but since you only have 2 days in Phuket, I would suggest politely declining and continuing the original route.
If you keep these tips in mind and have general precautions, you will be fine. We have never had a problem with the taxi drivers in Thailand and they are generally very polite and kind.
Since time is of the essence, we wouldn’t recommend public transport. This can add unnecessary time on a journey, and it will quickly eat up your day.
While this may be true, if you are not confident in driving your own motorbike and do not want to pay for a taxi, this is the best bet.
Local transport includes tuk-tuks, buses and songthaews. Tuk-tuks are basically motorbikes with a passenger carriage on the side but are cheaper than car taxis.
Songthaews are a share taxi/bus which is unique to this part of the world. It is basically an open minivan which operates the same as a bus, waiting at a stop, having a specific route and paying for your ride once you have reached your destination.
These are really cheap and cash only!
2 days in Phuket – Day 1
Explore Patong Beach
The first morning in Phuket.
You’ll either love it or hate it, but you can’t visit Phuket without seeing it. Patong Beach will probably be the busiest beach you’ll visit in Phuket and probably the worst one you’ll see too.
The sand is a nice golden colour, however, the water could be clearer. Nevertheless, a good sunbathe and a soak in the water will be welcoming. In addition, if you’re into your water activities Patong Beach has it all. Jet skis, parasailing, you name it, you’ll probably be able to do it on Patong Beach.
Patong beach is a good place to start to gather your bearings and fill your tummies. It’s a really convenient area with food stalls and restaurants all around, so you will not be short for options. This is also where you’ll find all your cheap ‘designer’ knock-off brands too, but you might want to save the shopping for later when it’s a little cooler. No one likes shopping in this heat.
Enjoy the hecticness of Patong Beach and fill up on food and water because you’ll need it for the next destination. It’s time to see those picture-perfect posts cards come to life and enjoy your first bit of relaxation in Phuket.
Quoting the famous William Wallace: Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom! Yes, this beach is what the doctor ordered if you need a good relaxing time in Phuket. No noise from Jet skis, no inevitable noise from the herd of tourists, nothing but tranquillity.
However, tranquillity comes with a cost. 200 Baht to enter, a price worth paying.
There are 2 ways of getting there. You can either make your own way here by walking/scooter/taxi and then walking down to the beach (yes, down). This involves a walking path of around 200 steps and is fairly easy, although, the same can’t be said on the way back up. It’s tiring, we’re not going to lie to you. So, make sure your water stock is plentiful.
“I don’t want to hike and lose half my body weight in sweat; I came to relax.” No worries, there’s another way, which requires no effort. Catch a long-tail boat from Patong Beach straight to Freedom Beach. It will cost you around 1500 Baht for a return trip and the journey will take approximately 10 – 15 mins. The last boat back is around 5 pm but ask your driver to double-check.
Water as clear as a cloud-free day and sand softer than cotton wool. You’ll love it here, but we can’t stress enough to come as early as possible, as the day goes on the people multiply.
Make sure you bring plenty of water and a packed lunched to cut down on spending, there are only a few eating spots on this beach and it’s not the cheapest, compared to other local spots across Phuket.
We spent around 2-3 hours here and it was perfect. Head back to Patong Beach for sunset and then go back to your hotel and clean up. It’s time for some nightlife.
Patong at night
Patong comes alive at night, the good, the bad and the ugly.
We enjoyed the abundance of markets that were on offer, whether it’s buying clothes, souvenirs or food.
To get in the real thick of it, get yourself down to Bangla road. A good handful of people will describe Bangla road in Phuket as distasteful, trashy and tacky, but it doesn’t stop people from seeing it with their own 2 eyes.
Even if the above was true, it’s still an interesting place to visit. The allure of the unknown wondering what’s behind each mysterious door. You could walk into a mellow bar, a big nightclub or a ping pong show. Who knows? That’s why it still draws in the tourists, it sparks their imagination and curiosity.
Check it out for yourself and let us know in the comments what you stumbled upon.
And with that, day 1 of your 2 days in Phuket is over. Don’t stay out too late, we have an early start in the morning!
2 days in Phuket – DAY 2
Rise and shine, it’s time to get cultured.
Depending on where you are staying, the drive could be quite long, but to give you an idea, from Phuket Old Town it is approximately a 45 min drive.
There is no entrance fee to see Big Buddha. Opening times are 6 am – 7 pm.
This will be one of the best views, if not THE best view you will see in Phuket. Once you get there you are greeted with the very impressive oversized statue of Buddha, standing out with its pearly white colour.
With panoramic views, monks walking around and giving blessings it’s really a peaceful and harmonious place to be.
We recommend going as early as possible, even for sunrise, to avoid the tourists which come in the coach load later in the day.
Phuket old town
As part of your 2 days in Phuket, you should definitely go see Phuket Old Town since it’s quite close by to Big Buddha. Phuket Old Town is covered in stunning colourful buildings.
Make sure to seek out the art around the town too, with some changing by the year and others being a staple to the area.
Stroll through Thalang Road, which locals consider the heart of Phuket Town. It is one of the oldest streets in Phuket and you notice it as it has kept its old-school look, only a few new buildings have been built there.
Thalang Road thrives with local businesses which have been around for decades, it’s also where you will discover most of the art and the colourful bright buildings.
We’d recommend going to Café Amazon for a nice iced latte or warm local Thai tea. It’s a touch of Western with Asian prices. There are a few scattered around Phuket Town as well as the whole of Phuket in general.
Karon Beach / Kata Beach
Bored with beaches yet? We didn’t think so, let us throw 2 more into the equation.
Karon and Kata Beach are literally a few minutes drive apart from each other, so it would be silly not see both.
Karon Beach has golden sand, calm waters and is less crowded than Patong Beach. You can do some beach volleyball here and some windsurfing if you want. We really enjoyed this beach and came here a few times as there are plenty of places to eat right next to the beach.
The water is so calm and clear, with plenty of space on the beach to relax without feeling overcrowded. It’s actually the 3rd longest beach in Phuket, so you’ll definitely be able to find your own section of bliss.
Kata Beach has more going on than Karon Beach, as you have cliffs popping out of the water either side of the beach, with houses/hotels nested in them. You also have the long-tail boats there which provide a great opportunity for that ‘Thailand picture’. Which everyone knows you MUST have if you’re in Thailand. Don’t act puzzled, you know what we’re talking about.
When you first arrive you’ll notice it’s a little busier than Karon Beach, with all of the songthaews lined up on the right and scooters parked up on the left. As you head to the beach the road parallel to it has loads of little market stalls there, selling an array of hand-made souvenirs for you take home.
Sunset at Karon viewpoint
Sunset from a different perspective. Head up to Karon Viewpoint (Also known as Kho Sam Haad, meaning ‘The Hill of the Three Beaches’) for an amazing view of the 3 beaches down below.
There’s no entry fee and since it’s a viewpoint, it’s open 24 hours.
It’s a very pretty view of the beaches you’ve just been on and because of this, it can get quite popular. We went just before sunset and there was only a handful of people there. So we really enjoyed it.
With free parking and instant views on arrival, it’s definitely a must-see before the day is done. As soon as you park up, it’s only a 10-second walk until you see the 3 beaches. From there you can walk up a few steps to see more of the ocean and beautiful landscape from a little hut at the top where you can sit back and soak it all in.
One thing to note, when we visited there was someone charging tourists for a photo with an eagle, tied up on a chain. We don’t support this sort of activity and we hope you won’t either.
Check out the Karon / Kata night markets for dinner
You won’t be short of options to eat near Karon and Kata beach. Browse the wealth of night markets dotted all around. Fresh seafood, local Thai street food or steak, whatever your taste buds desire you’re sure to find it.
This was just a random local market where Woody tries ‘spicy meat in banana leaf’ and it was…. spicy. Yummy local Thai food is the best, even if you don’t know what ‘meat’ it actually is haha.
Phuket old town Sunday market on Thalang Road
Thalang road transforms into the best market in Phuket. If any of your 2 days in Phuket land on a Sunday, be sure to check out the Sunday flea market ‘Lard Yai’ in Phuket Old Town. Since it’s every Sunday, it would be a shame to miss.
The Phuket Old Town Sunday market opens from around 5 pm – 11 pm.
It has a variety of stalls selling handicrafts and most mouth-watering food, a foodie’s dream. The stalls are nestled between the beautifully coloured buildings within Old Town.
Other things to do in Phuket
That brings an end to your 2 days in Phuket. However, if you have more time than just 2 days in Phuket or feel like you could squeeze in something else, check out the other recommendations below.
Watch a Muay Thai Fight
One night we decided to mix things up and watch a traditional Thai kickboxing event. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, it has a mix of fighters from all over the world, as well as local Thai fighters.
The show went on for a few hours and we even received a free Thai kickboxing t-shirt as a memory sake.
Nai Harn Beach
We learned of this beach from our host at our accommodation, Nawaporn Place. It holds a special memory in our hearts because it’s the first beach we visited the second time around visiting Phuket.
We were pleasantly surprised by how nice the beach was and how it wasn’t overrun with tourists.
4 Island day trip
Visit 4 other Islands on a full or half-day boat trip. The Islands are Phra Nang Beach on Railay, Chicken Island, Tub Island and Poda Island. You always get to snorkel, and all food is included. We wrote a whole blog on it for a more in-depth read, giving you all the hints and tips plus pictures of course.
Dine whilst watching the sunset. It’s pretty busy throughout the day and pretty manic at sunset. But if you get there early and book your seat for the sunset views, you’ll be fine. We like to avoid crowds, so we ventured a little bit down the hill, slightly out of the way so we could have a romantic sunset alone.
Phi Phi Island day trip
Another Island you would have heard of when someone mentions Thailand. Phi Phi Island is one of the main party Islands in Thailand.
Don’t let that put you off though if you aren’t into that scene. The beach there is surprisingly beautiful and clean, considering the sort of attention the Island draws.
There’s even a cheeky little Monkey Beach you can visit, which is, you guessed it, populated with monkeys. Most people get there by hiring a kayak, as did we.
A handy tip is to know not to bring any plastic bags, and if you do, make sure they’re not in view of the monkeys. A plastic bag to them equals food, so they will, at the first opportunity, raid and rob anything inside.
It’s funny to watch, as long as it’s not you who is the victim.
You can get a day tour to Phi Phi Island from many vendors dotted around Phuket. Make sure you haggle the price.
James Bond Island day trip
Unfortunately, we haven’t done this trip yet! We would love to on our return to Thailand though. The Island gained rapid fame because It is featured in the popular James Bond Film ‘The man with the golden gun’.
Let us know how it is, we’d be interested to know for next time we visit Thailand.
Wat Chalong Temple
To get even more cultured and to learn more about Buddhism, venture along to Wat Chalong Temple. Out of the 29 temples in Phuket, Wat Chalong is the most important. There are several temples within the complex.
It is free to enter and opening times are 7 am – 5 pm.
Make sure to show respect, with the common rules of covering shoulders and legs, sarongs can also be provided.
TOP TIPS in Thailand
- Banks/ATMs charge to withdraw money, 220 baht is the most common charge except AEON bank which is 150 Baht. Withdraw a lot at one time to avoid multiple charges.
- Visit Central Phuket shopping mall for cheap designer brands
- Most sun lotions/sunscreen have whitening in them, double-check the labelling
- Rainy day? Watch a movie in Central Phuket Shopping Mall – A cinema deluxe ticket costs around 220 Baht
- Need a sim card? Purchase one from the airport or from a 7-Eleven. We paid 599 baht for a 15-day sim card. You will need your passport
Have you done this itinerary, if so, how did you find it? Or maybe there’s something we’ve missed out and you’d love to know more. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.
Want to experience other areas in Thailand? Check out our other Thailand blogs for more ideas!