Here we highlight all the best things to do in Phuket with kids, from island hopping to water parks and more.
Thousands of families head to Phuket in Thailand every year, attracted by its beautiful beaches, amazing resorts and fabulous food, making it one of the most popular family holiday destinations in Asia.
And most of these people don’t venture much further than the beach or their resort pool during their Phuket family vacation.
But there are loads of fun things to do in Phuket for families. In this article we highlight some of the most fun kids activities in Phuket and our favourite places to visit in Phuket with family.
From water parks to snorkeling, kayaking, wake boarding, rock climbing and more, we help you decide what to do in Phuket with kids with our pick of the best Phuket activities for families.
Splash Jungle Phuket
This popular water park in Phuket is always a hit with the kids. The park is fairly small so easily done in half a day, although the kids may never want to leave!
There is a selection of slides to choose from at this Phuket tourist attraction, including body slides, tube slides, a family raft ride, lazy river and a wave pool. There’s also a kids zone for the little ones with plenty of aqua play fun – a great option if you are looking for something to do in Phuket for toddlers.
This Phuket water theme park has a choice of cafes and bars, including a swim-up bar, as well as locker rental, towel hire and a gift shop (that also stocks swimming gear if you forget yours!)
Try to arrive early to get your pick of the best sun loungers and to ride some of the slides before the masses arrive and the queues build up later in the day. With young kids, we try to head here for opening (10am) and then leave around lunch time.
You can even stay overnight at Splash Jungle. The rooms and pool villas here provide a handy base close to the airport, which is just 10 minutes away.
James Bond Island and Phangnga Bay
With its 42 islands, towering limestone cliffs and stunning grock formations, Phang Nga Bay is a Phuket must see.
The most famous island here is Koh Tapu, otherwise known as James Bond Island, thanks to its starring role in the movie The Man with the Golden Gun.
The area is undeniably stunning, but this also makes it one of the most popular places to visit in Phuket. If you want to visit, try to find a tour that arrives early as it gets busier as the day goes on as all the day trips from Phuket arrive in droves.
Most Phuket day tours to James Bond Island also include some kayaking at nearby Hong Island. Note that most of the time this actually involves the guide doing the kayaking while you just sit there and take in the view. This can be good for young children, but frustrating for adventure seekers.
If your kids are ok getting up early, then booking a sunrise tour is another great way to avoid the crowds at James Bond Island.
If you are looking for more active Phuket adventure activities, check out the tours from John Gray’s Sea Canoe, which have come highly recommended by everyone who has done them.
These small group tours take you sea kayaking at a selection of scenic spots around Phangnga Bay, specially chosen to avoid the crowds. They also offer Starlight Tours and overnight trips up to 7days/6nights.
Snorkelling in the Similan Islands
The Similan Islands national park is a group of 9 islands located 85km northwest of Phuket and some say offers the best snorkeling in Thailand. Renowned for its clear blue water and magnificent snorkeling and diving, it is one of the top Phuket tourist spots and a great choice for a snorkeling day trip from Phuket.
Most Similan Islands tours include various stops for snorkelling and swimming with a picnic lunch on one of the white sandy beaches.
The boat ride from Phuket takes around 1.5 – 2 hours so tours tend to leave early in the morning. For a shorter boat ride, you can also depart from Kaho Lak if you are staying in a hotel closer to Khao Lak.
The Similan Islands is also where to go in Phuket to spot migrating manta rays and whale sharks between February and April. So if you are visiting Phuket with older kids, you might also consider a liveaboard dive trip to make the most of this.
Note that the national park is closed from mid-May to October due to the monsoon season.
Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
I am always reluctant to include elephant parks in roundups of things to do, given that there are so many unethical parks out there.
However, I still believe if you do your research well and choose a park that properly cares for rescued elephants, this can still be a rewarding thing to do on a family trip to Phuket.
The general consensus is that the less actual interaction with the elephants the better. And definitely avoid parks that allow elephant riding or encourage the elephants to do tricks or partake in activities such as ‘painting’. Even bathing with the elephants is a cause for concern these days.
Read this article in the National Geographic for more information about animal tourism.
Phuket Big Buddha
The Big Buddha in Phuket, otherwise known as the Great Buddha of Phuket is one of the most famous points of interest in Phuket.
At 45 metres high, this huge Buddha image can be seen from far away across the island of Phuket. Visiting the Big Buddha rewards you with 360 degree views over Phuket island, making it one of the most popular Phuket places to visit for sunset.
Remember to dress respectfully when visiting the Big Buddha – especially try to cover the knees and shoulders.
Phuket Old Town Tour
I visited Phuket several times before I actually ventured into the old town and I was sorry I hadn’t visited earlier.
Phuket Old Town is surprisingly picturesque with an interesting history. The town boomed in the 19thcentury thanks to the tin mining industry that saw 1,000s of Chinese labourers and European mine owners moving in.
The Sino-colonial architecture has been well preserved, making for an interesting and beautiful walking tour. The town is very reminiscent of Singapore or Malacca, with Phuket sharing their Peranakan roots, but with its unique Thai heritage twist.
The Phuket Baba Museum is one of the popular Phuket town attractions and a good place to start to get an overview of the Peranakan culture and history of the town. Also call in at the Woo Gallery to admire a beautifully preserved Peranakan house and try out some traditional snacks. You can also spend the night here if you like the idea of a traditional boutique hotel stay.
There is some interesting street art to find as you wander and plenty of cute little cafes and Phuket town restaurants to call in at along the way.
If you visit on a Sunday afternoon, Thalang Road is transformed into Phuket Walking Street with a lively night market, where you can shop for souvenirs, try some local cuisine and even find some entertainment for the kids. This is one of our favourite things to do in Phuket at night with kids.
Rebel Rock Climbing
If you have active kids to entertain on a rainy day in Phuket, take them along to Rebel Rock Climbing. This indoor rock climbing facility is one of the best Phuket attractions for family indoor fun.
It has over 700sqm of wall space, including a boulder wall, top out boulder wall, top rope wall and lead climb wall. They run 2-3 hour courses for both adults and kids of all levels and there is an onsite café with WiFi.
Right next door to Rebel Rock Climbing is Anthem Wake Park. This cable wakeboarding park is on a fresh water lake and allows beginners and experts alike the chance to wakeboard in safe surroundings.
There are 11 obstacles around the circuit and also training cables for complete beginners.
We also like International Wake Park Phuket, which not only has the wakeboarding lake, but also a fun surf simulator, two swimming pools and even mangrove kayaking on offer, making it a great option for things to do in Phuket with family.
Best Beaches in Phuket
Of course you can’t talk about visiting Phuket with children without mentioning the Phuket beaches.
There are so many beautiful beaches in Phuket, you really are spoilt for choice. Jump in the back of a tuk tuk and head to a different beach every day if you want!
Some of our picks for the best family beach in Phuket include:
- Kamala beach for its calm water and good selection of nearby restaurants, cafes and bars
- Bangtao beach for its long stretch of white sand and fun range of beach clubs and water sports
- Mai Khao beach for its unspoilt beauty and lack of crowds
If you have daredevils in the family, then a zip lining experience in one of the top things to do in Phuket.
Suitable for kids aged 4 and up, Flying Hanuman has your flying through the natural rainforest just 6 kilometers from Patong beach. There are 28 zip lines, plus sky bridges, spiral stairways and a sky rail to tackle.
Not for the feint hearted!
Batik Painting in Koh Yao Noi
For something completely different, spending a day on Koh Yao Noi is a great way to get away from the Phuket tourist places and experience what it Phuket was like 50 years ago.
With kids, a fun thing to do is to try out your hands at batik painting. The very talented local women at Tha Khao Batik will provide all the materials and help release the inner artist in you.
To get there: Take the public boat from Ban Rong Pier (around 30 minutes travel time) and jump in a song thaew at Koh Yao Noi pier. Just ask them to take you to the batik painting at the Tha Kao Pier.
Best Family hotels in Phuket:
There is a huge range of family friendly hotels in Phuket to choose from. If you are looking for some recommendations of where to stay in Phuket, a couple of our favourite Phuket kid friendly resorts are highlighted below.
Angsana Laguna Phuket
The Angsana Phuket is located within the large Laguna complex, where you will find some of the best resorts in Phuket.
This sprawling Phuket beach resort has large rooms, some of which open directly onto the swimming pool. The family pool has a fun ‘beach’ to play on and the lazy river is fun for exploring.
There is a good choice of restaurants including the fun Xana beach club, which has its own beachside swimming pool and does a fab Sunday brunch. The resort is located right on fabulous Bangtao beach, and also boasts the biggest kids club in Phuket. What more do you need?
JW Marriott Phuket
The JW Marriott is often regarded as the best place to stay in Phuket for families. Handily located just a 15 minute drive from Phuket airport, this beautiful resort has three swimming pools, 11 restaurants and bars and a kids club.
The Oceanfront Family Pool rooms are perfect for larger families, with separate living area, outdoor decking and private pool. The Marriott Phuket is located right on stunning Mai Khao beach, a beach within a protected national park meaning it is largely unspoilt and rarely busy.
Need more ideas? Click here to read our full selection of the best family resorts in Phuket.
Coming to Phuket via Bangkok? Click here to check out our favourite things to do in Bangkok with kids.
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