Being such a large island and having such a vibrant past, Phuket is full of little nooks and crannies which are often overlooked, particularly by travelers on their first visit. Many of these hidden, hard-to-reach places contain delights which have largely escaped the attention of tourists. Mostly known only to long-term expatriates and locals, these are the best-kept secrets in Phuket. At least, they were until now.

    Ranging from secret beaches to out-of-the-way viewpoints, the places on this list may not have the size and grandeur of the more famous landmarks in Phuket, but they make up for it by providing an otherwise unattainable sense of exploration and of straying off the beaten track. If you’re the sort of traveler who likes to escape the crowds and see something a little different - even in such a famously popular destination as Phuket – then this list is for you.


    Ao Sane is one of the nicest beaches on Phuket’s southwestern coast. Being a little out of the way, it's one of the island's least visited. This little cove is down a small, well-marked road past The Nai Harn hotel. It's only 200 meters in length, with fine, soft sand dotted with large granite boulders. Bordered by dense jungle behind and clear water in front, Ao Sane is one of the top snorkeling beaches in Phuket.

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    Location: Rawai, Muang, Phuket 83100, Thailand


    Wassa Homemade Bar


    Wassa Homemade Bar is a relatively modest sundowner spot in Patong. It's located right at the back of town, about as far from the beach as you can get without going all the way up to Radar Hill, and the access road is extremely steep. The bar's open-air platform offers one of the most outstanding views of the entire bay of Patong on Phuket’s west coast.

    Location: 50 Pee Rd, Ban, Patong, Phuket 83150, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 4pm to midnight

    Phone: +66 (0)91 882 9322


    Ao Yon Beach

    Near Cape Panwa

    Ao Yon is a predominantly residential area populated mostly by locals. As a result, there are very few visitors who know of this quiet beach. Bordered by a small, sleepy village, the soft-sanded strand looks out onto a small cove, which is usually dotted with boats and yachts. Bizarrely, Ao Yon is one of the few beaches on Phuket where you can still reliably find sun loungers, thanks to The Cove Phuket and their small artificial beach, which is just behind the real thing.

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    Location: Soi Ao-Yon Khaokhad, Wichit, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand


    The Shrine of the Serene Light is one of Phuket’s oldest Chinese shrines. It's effectively hidden in plain sight, having been built in a little courtyard next to The Memory at On On Hotel on Phang Nga Road in Phuket Old Town. Established in 1891, the shrine clearly shows its heritage with distinctive architectural design, with characteristics common in Hokkien Chinese shrines like the terracotta-tiled roof and single-storey construction.

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    Location: 72/1 Yaowarat Rd, Talat Yai, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand


    The Thai Amulets Market, located off Rassada Road in Phuket Old Town, is home to traders selling hundreds of Buddhist amulets, most of which are blessed by well-regarded Buddhist monks in Thailand. These can be made from various materials, including gypsum, clay, metal, silver or gold. Prices can range from 200 baht to as much as 100,000 baht (and even more).

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    Location: Rassada Rd, Talat Yai, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8am to 7pm


    Banana Beach

    Between Bang Tao and Nai Thon beaches

    Sometimes known as Banana Rock Beach, this 180-meter strip of sand is one of the most pristine spots in Phuket. Its remote location between Bang Tao and Nai Thon beaches, as well as a challenging path, makes it almost untouched by visitors. Banana Beach lies at the end of a rough trail down to the bottom of quite a steep hill, but the brief hardship of getting there is rewarded with a tranquil and unspoilt spot.

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    Location: Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand


    The Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is barely known by most expats, let alone visitors in Phuket. It's at the top of a steep hill far off the main roads in Phang Nga (about a 30-minute drive from Phuket). Thanks to the long distance from the bustling Phuket resorts, there's next to no light pollution – you can even see the Milky Way on some nights. As if that wasn’t enough, the view of the sun rising over Phang Nga Bay is absolutely breathtaking.

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    Location: Khlong Khian, Takua Thung, Phang-nga 82130, Thailand


    photo by Yakuzakorat (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    Kathu Waterfall may be the best-known and most-visited waterfall in Phuket, but many people often miss out on the most striking sights to see. The real waterfalls are on the right-hand side, past the bridge and up the hill. It may lack proper signposts and is a bit of a slog to reach, but your efforts will be rewarded with a different perspective that'll make for excellent photos.

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    Location: Kathu, Phuket 83120, Thailand


    Sabai Corner

    Kata Beach

    Sabai Corner is one of the lesser-known local restaurants in Phuket, situated in a jungle between Nai Harn and Kata. While the food is fairly conventional, the real attraction is the view, which spans Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches as well as the tiny Pu Island. Sabai Corner also offers cheap, tasty Thai food and alcoholic beverages to complement the expansive scenery.

    Location: Karon, Muang, Phuket 83100, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 9am to 10pm

    Phone: +66 (0)89 875 5525


    If you want to see a striking big Buddha statue, most people head straight for the white marble one looking out across Chalong from the hills above Kata. Wat Khao Rang’s golden Buddha image was the island’s original Big Buddha, but it has virtually vanished into obscurity after the completion of the more famous one in the Nakkerd Hills. A visit to the original sculpture means that you can look around and take photos without having to jostle with a huge crowd.

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    Location: Khao Rang Hill, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8am to late afternoon

    Phone: +66 (0)76 222 520


    The reclining Buddha statue of Wat Srisoonthorn (also spelt Wat Sri Sunthon) spans 29 meters in length, making it one of the largest on the island. Even though the temple is right by the main road down the center of Phuket, it's often missed because of dense trees surrounding the temple grounds. The reclining Buddha is on top of the temple's central building, with 9 smaller images in different positions facing the entrance.

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    Location: 20/4 Thepkasattri Rd, Si Sunthon, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 7am to 5.30pm

    Phone: +66 (0)98 017 8044


    Among the many beautiful islands off Phuket, Koh Bon is one of the least well-known, mostly because it is among the least developed. Well off the typical day-trippers route, you can reach it is by chartering a long-tail boat from Rawai. Once you’ve made the 15-minute crossing, you will find a simple restaurant, pristine white sands, and very little else on the 1.2-km-long island.

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    Location: Koh Bon, Rawai, Muang, Phuket 83100, Thailand


    Panwa Viewpoint

    Cape Panwa

    The Panwa Viewpoint offers 360° views across southern and eastern Phuket. Also known as the Khao Khad Views Tower, it's on the road to Cape Panwa. The stairs leading to the hilltop might test the hamstrings, but you'll be rewarded with scenic views of Chalong Bay and the iconic Big Buddha on Nakkerd Hills. The 2-storey view tower has 8 photo keymaps in both Thai and English so you’ll know what you’re gazing at.

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    Location: Wichit, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 6am to 7pm

    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveler

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