Planning a trip to Phuket? Well you are in luck because it is a photographers dream. Follow is our recommended most Instagrammable spots in Phuket and beyond. There is something on every corner, but to make for a quick list we’ve shortened it to 22 of our favourites! All of these places are either on Phuket Island or within a 3-4 hour journey away. Many of them are close to each other so it’s possible to tick of multiple places in one days touring.
Table of Contents
The Most Instagrammable Spots in Phuket (and beyond)
1. Big Buddha (Phuket)
As the name probably eludes, the Big Buddha is an enormous 45 metre high buddha statue towering over the island of Phuket. In fact its visible from most places in the south! Not only is the Buddha an awe-inspiring site, but the 360 degree views from are breathtaking. On clear days you can even see islands out to sea. The Big Buddha is a religious site and completely free, however you can opt to purchase a gold leaf offering to write on and hang somewhere for good luck. Being a religious site it is also recommended to wear respectful clothing covering the knees and shoulders, for both guys and girls. They do have sarongs for hire if need-be though.
This highly Instagrammable spot in Phuket is found in the hills between Kata and Chalong. From the Patong area it takes about 45 minutes to get there by tuk-tuk. Make sure to organise a round trip with a tuk-tuk driver and they will wait for you until you are ready to leave again. It’s about 94 steps up to reach the Big Buddha.
2. Ko Racha Yai Island (Daytrip)
If we had to name the most picturesque beaches that we have ever visited, Patok Beach on Ko Racha would be one of them. This idyllic bay is home to vividly blue water and the whitest, softest sand that you could ever imagine. Honestly it is absolute bliss, be aware that it does become busy early on in the day with lots of day-trippers. So make so you go as early as you possibly can to enjoy it to the fullest. The accessible part of the island is quite small so it’s recommended to try explore some of it whilst you are there.
We stayed overnight at The Racha which is in a prime location taking up most of the beachfront. This meant we got to enjoy the beach first thing in the morning with not a soul around, what more could you want! Many Thai boat operators offer group tour speedboat packages otherwise you can organise private trips to beat the crowds. Many tours also visit Coral Island and include swimming and water-sports.
3. Surin Beach Palm Forest (Phuket)
Surin Beach is another spectacular Phuket beach. Sure the water and sand are nice for pictures, but on the sands edge is a thick belt of palm trees looking out to sea. Nothing says I’m in the tropics more than standing in a collection of palm trees. This beach also tends to be quiter than some of the other more popular beaches people visit.
4. Phuket Old Town and its colourful houses (Phuket)
Phuket isn’t just about the beaches though, Old Phuket Town is steeped in history, dating back to the 1500’s. As such many buildings are reminders of the diverse cultures that have called this region home. The Portuguese and British architectural influences are seen everywhere. The area is known for it’s Sino-Portugese townhouses and enormous mansions. There are plenty of walking trails available on the internet and lists of popular buildings to visit. However we suggest starting on Thalang Rd. A vibrant and colourful street with uniformly designed shophouses. So if you Insta feed is craving some colour definitely come here and soak up the history. Also check out Phang Nga Rd, Thalang Rd, Dibuk Rd, and Krabi Rd.
5. Samet Nangshe Viewpoint (Daytrip)
This would have to be the best viewpoint by far near to Phuket. Looking out over the glorious Phang Nga Bay and its limestone mountains is a sight to be seen. To get there you actually cross off Phuket island over a bridge and then go about 25 Kim inland towards Phang Nga Bay. The drive itself is even incredibly picturesque, winding through remote feeling jungle wilderness. Depending on where you’re coming from though this drive could take a couple of hours, its roughly an hour from the airport though.
We recommend pre-organising a local driver for a full days driving to save you the stress of driving yourself. If you can, try and get there in time to witness sunrise, we know its early but just do it! Alternatively there is a boutique resort there with rooms and tents so you can enjoy the night stars, as well as sunrise and sunset. Upon arriving you will get dropped off at the bottom of a hill, you can either walk up in 20-30 mins or pay 90baht for a return Jeep ride. In the heat of the day the Jeep is a much more attractive option!
6. Nai Yang/Mai Khao Beach Plane Spotting (Phuket)
Just moments from the airport, co-incidently, is a plane spotting viewpoint. But not just any viewpoint, the beach that runs directly infront of the runway! At the south end of Mai Khao beach (or the north tip of Nai Yang) you will see the large chain fence of the Phuket International Airport. Planes regularly take-off and land directly overhead. It is absolutely insane that you’re even allowed to be there. Ollie being an immense plane lover was in heaven watching them rumbling through the air. Be aware getting the perfect shot means waiting for a few planes to come and go as nailing the positioning of a fast moving object is a lot harder than you think!!
7. Phuket Old Town Street Art (Phuket)
In the Old Town of Phuket there is a lot of super cool street art. The most impressive would have to be the large figure taking up a huge wall on Soi Romanee. However you will find pictures all throughout the area, especially along Phang Nga, Thalang and Dibuk Roads.
8. Wat Chalong (Phuket)
Wat Chalong was built in the early 19th century and is the most visited Buddhist temple in Phuket. It is also the largest, featuring a stunning 60 metre tall shrine, of which supposedly contains a bone fragment of Buddha. This beautiful temple is just as intricate on the inside as it is out and definitely worth checking out. It is early accessible by road and due to its close proximity to the Big Buddha, usually done in the same trip. Again like Big Buddha, respect the dress code and dress appropriately.
Photo Credit: Flickr:besopha
9. Promthep Cape (Phuket)
Promthep Cape is a well known insta locations as one of the best viewpoints on the Phuket mainland. With sweeping views of the Andaman sea you will be well rewarded for making the journey down to the south of the island. Try get there for sunset for an incredible show to be put on by Mother Nature.
10. Wat Srisoonthorn (Phuket)
Wat Srisoonthorn was originally built in 1792. This popular temple complex is renowned for its enormous sleeping Buddha found on the rooftop. A sprawled out 29 metre golden Buddha represents Buddha in a dreaming, or ‘realising nirvana’ state. Certainly a unique sight for those coming from Western countries. The complex is also full of various statues and colourful intricate buildings.
11. Wat Mongkhon Nimit (Phuket)
If visiting the Phuket Old Town, make sure to save some time for Wat Mongkhon Nimit. This is definitely worthy of a listing on our most instagrammable spots in phuket. This is Phuket Towns main Buddhist temple and is also one of the most revered in Phuket. The temple itself is incredible and the roof is a vibrant architectural wonder. There is an impressive large golden stupa as well as a golden seated buddha and a large banyan tree. You’ll also find various positive Buddhist quotes scattered around the grounds to brighten up your day.
12. Phi Phi Island Viewpoint (Daytrip/Overnight – Andaman Sea)
13. Maya Bay (Daytrip – Andaman Sea)
Close to Phi Phi island is the famed Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Lee. Just a short boat ride away from Phi Phi Island. Often tour operators will have a schedule to visit Phi Phi Island and Maya Bay by Speedboat from Phuket. This island is definitely one of the most Instagrammable spots in Phuket region. Made famous by the movie ‘The Beach, Maya Bay is a small enclosed bay with towering limestone cliffs surrounding it, with a glorious white sand beach. You can also walk inland a little through thick jungle and get some cool photos. Whenever you do a tour of the island it will usually include nearby snorkelling. Although we didn’t see a huge amount of fish there were still plenty of unique ones to catch our eye. You will definitely be able to get plenty of Instagrammable shots from this epic spot not far from Phuket!
Photo Credit: wildandaway.com
14. James Bond Island (Daytrip – Phang-Nga Bay)
Many popular tours operators from Phuket visit James Bond Island. This ‘island’ is actually a very thin, 20 metre tall stupor that seems to precariously balance above the water. Its name comes from the fact that it was featured in the James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun. The islands Thai name however is Koh Tapu, which translates to ‘nail island’, possibly a more appropriate name? You can also see Koh Panyee, the floating village in the distance, which seems to stand out strikingly against the high mountains.
As it is located a bit of a distance from Phuket we would suggest taking a speedboat rather than the traditional long tail boat for a bit more comfort. You can also opt to drive to Phang Nga pier and take a much shorter boat journey. In this case we would suggest combining a stay at the Samet Nangshe viewpoint (number 5).
15. Railay Beach (Overnight – Krabi Region)
Railay Beach is in our opinion a must visit. If you are in Phuket that might seem a long way away, however there is a ferry that goes daily. Actually it docks just offshore and smaller local boats collect you to bring you to shore. This magical area has serious Castaway vibes and you will have surely seen pictures of it all over Instagram. It is immensely popular with day-trippers from nearby Ao-Nang and Krabi, so we suggest staying the night or two. Its actually a really cool area and feels like an island because of the minimal access to it. There are several neat viewpoints here and some unique accomodations up in the hills. Although it has changed over the years it still retains a bit of its chilled out hippy vibes that made the area so popular.
16. Tiger Cave Temple (Overnight – Krabi Region)
Sure this isn’t in Phuket either, but if you have made it all the way to Thailand, a 3 hour drive to Krabi shouldn’t stop you. After all there is lots of other good spots to visit in the region, such as Railay Beach, Dragons Crest and the Emerald Pools. The Tiger Cave Temple complex is enormous, however its main drawcard is at the top of a massive 1,237 step staircase. This is one heck of a difficult hike especially in the Thai heat, so try and get up there as early as possible. We did it before the sun had risen and it was gruellingly difficult! In saying that though it is totally worth it when you are presented the incredible 360 degree views of the Thai jungle and the Andaman sea from way up high. There is an enormous golden Buddha statue as well as a pagoda like shrine. Back at ground level after are several other temples and caves that are worth sticking around to check out.
17. Dragon Crest Mountain(Overnight – Krabi Region)
To change it up from all of the beaches why not take a hike. This one is located is a good drive north-west of Krabi. The Dragon Crest Mountain trail is about 4km each way and involves a lot of uphill being a mountain. It is a relatively challenging walk and not for the particularly unfit. Again try get up here as early as you can to beat the stinking hot heat. The views are like something out of a movie. Stretching endlessly to the horizon. Be aware of your footing though as it is a long way down!
18. Emerald Pool (Overnight – Krabi Region)
Another good instagrammable place would have to be the Emerald Pool near Krabi. This large natural pure spring water pool is a vivid blue colour that will blow your mind. Even cooler you can actually swim in the water! There are actually quite a number of picturesque swimming holes and streams around so give yourself an afternoon to explore and cool off in the waters.
Photo Credit: placesofjuma.com
19. Koh Panyee Floating Village (Daytrip/Overnight – Phang-Nga Region)
Also in the Phang-Nga area near to the James Bond Island, is the floating island of Koh Panyee. This small island is home to about 1600 people and has a school, mosque, health centre, restaurants, shops and homes. Theres even a soccer field! What is unique about the island though is that it is built entirely of stilts over the water around the near vertical limestone cliffs. It really is quite incredible that they have managed to make such a modern life over the water, with power, internet, tv and water supply!
Photo Credit: flickr.com/jblesa
20. Khao Khad Viewpoint (Phuket)
This viewpoint at Cape Panwa is one of the highest and most remote in Phuket. The viewpoint itself has a two story tower so that you can get a 360 degree view. On a clear day you can see out to Phi Phi island and Phang-Nga Bay. However you can also see Phuket Town and Chalong Bay. Quite an incredible spot to get your bearings of the island.
21. Poda Island (Overnight – Krabi Region)
Poda Island is usually a stop on the island tours you can take from Krabi and Ao Nang. However you can get a long tail boat to take you from Ao Nang in about 25 minutes. Honestly this is an island you cannot miss! Less than 1km in diameter it is teeny tiny, and covered in Palm Trees and Snow White sand. It is tropical paradise to a tee, and we haven’t even mentioned the vivid water yet! To make it even better there is a coral reef about 20m from shore making for some incredible snorkelling. We think that Poda Island is the perfect spot to take a afternoon tea and enjoy your own little island.
22. Khao Sok National Park (Daytrip/Overnight – North of Phuket)
Thailand used to be entirely covered by tropical jungle. Now a lush forest like this is a rarity due to the continued development of Thailand. Khao Sok is the countries largest natural forest and spans 200km from Khao Lak to the Burmese border. Full of wildlife, flowing streams, towering mountains and dense jungle, this really is a nature lovers paradise. Apparently it is the largest evergreen rainforest in the world. What blows our mind is that it houses 5% of the worlds animal species! Cheow Lan Lake is a must visit if checking out the park. This lake resembling an inland sea covers 165 square kilometres and has many features reminiscent of Phang Nga Bay with its limestone formations and emerald waters. To get here is a 3-4 hour drive from Phuket so an overnight stay would be ideal, but if limited on time day trips are possible, just very long! Make sure you check out the overwater bungalows at the lake.
Photo Credit: placesofjuma.com
22. Similan Islands (Daytrip/Overnight – North West of Phuket)
The Similan Islands is a mini collection of 9 islands (Similan means 9 in Thai). The Similan Islands are quite far out to sea from Phuket so are often overlooked by visitors. Picture water bluer than blue and sand whiter than snow. You get the idea, this place is tropical paradise at its best. The long journey out to sea also means we highly recommend an overnight stay. Choices are limited so make sure to book early. Speedboats depart from Khao Lak where we highly suggest you visit anyway. There are no public ferries so you are stuck with taking a speedboat. Some tours leave from Phuket however add in the travel time to Khao Lak of 2-3 hours, and then the boat journey to the Similans making for a very long day.
Have you been to any of the places we’ve mentioned? Or perhaps you have a suggestion to add to our most Instagrammable spots in Phuket list. Drop us a message below!