Discover fabulous beaches and temples on a family holiday in Phuket
The stunning tropical setting of Phuket in Thailand is a 12 hour flight from the UK but transfer times are relatively short once there, so you’ll be soaking up that Thai sunshine before you know it.
Phuket Town bustles with activity all day from monks collecting alms to restaurant owners buying ingredients at the busy market. In the Old Town, which is compact enough to explore by foot, you’ll find shrines, temples and quaint cafes. If you’re looking for a bargain, head to the Sunday market at Phuket Walking Street, a family-orientated event with fun attractions and stalls selling inexpensive clothes, food and souvenirs.
Another location popular with families is Khao Rang Hill, one of Phuket’s famous viewpoints. It features a landscaped park with children’s playground and three restaurants. You can discover Phuket’s natural beauty with a bicycle ride through the jungle to see the Ton Sai Waterfall, among the largest in Asia.
Bangtao has retained its own unique character and because of this you can still find colourful and interesting local markets, cheap food outlets and typical Thai temples, all mostly within strolling distance of each other. The six-kilometre beach remains the main attraction here.
Nai Harn is a small bay, home to a few hotels, restaurants and shops and as a result has retained its quiet charm. The local restaurants just above the beach are a great place to relax and people watch but if it’s views you want, head to Windmill Viewpoint, from where you can admire Nai Harn beach and the verdant island of Koh Man. Also worth a visit is the colourful Elephant Shrine in Nai Harn, with thousands of wooden elephants or climb up the steps of the Kanchanaphisek Lighthouse for stunning views.
Best family friendly beaches
Phuket has around 90 miles of coastline and is known for having some of the most stunning beaches in Thailand. They are quiet and secluded, with pristine sand and the gorgeous backdrop of the Andaman Sea. Bantao Beach is the second longest on Phuket’s west coast and here you can enjoy horse-riding or even a family yoga class. The 18-hole Phuket Adventure Mini Golf at its south end, is a perfect activity for the whole family.
Nai Harn Beach, on the southern tip of Phuket, has a wide stretch of sand and a more local, laid-back atmosphere. Plus, just across the road is the Nai Harn lagoon, a popular spot for picnics with a children’s play park. With shallow, calm waters, Laemka Beach is also a great spot for families.
Best family activities in Phuket
If relaxing on a beautiful beach is not for all the family, there are a host of activities around Phuket. Choose from banana boat rides and jet skis to windsurfing and parasailing or marvel at the tropical sea life beneath the waves with a snorkelling or diving expedition.
A trip to Phuket would not be complete without a visit to one of its many temples. Visit Wat Tham, which sits in a limestone cave and houses a 15-metre Buddha statue and plenty of monkeys, or visit Wat Chalong, a large, colourful temple with bright paintings which depict the story of Buddha.
Another great family day out is the TrickEye Museum, a 3D interactive experience in Phuket Town. There are also plenty of waterparks across the island, including Splash Jungle Waterpark with numerous slides and a spectacular wave pool, or Rawai Park, which has a shallow play pool with slides and fountains.
Other popular holidays in Thailand
Other popular places for a family holiday in Thailand include the beach resort of Khao Lak, on the mainland north of Phuket. It has relaxed sandy beaches, calm water and three national parks to explore, ripe with waterfalls. Or the Krabi region is home to hundreds of islands with some of the best beaches in the world, as well as spectacular coral reefs to swim and dive around.
But if you’re set on a holiday in Phuket, read more about it in our travel guide and check out some of our best family-friendly hotels below.
This 4* hotel is set on a 300-metre-long private beach and its extensive range of activities are ideal for a boredom-free family holiday. With a children's pool, playground and activities, kids are well-catered for. Plus there are two main pools and activities for all, including windsurfing, volleyball, canoes, catamarans, badminton, batik painting and even Thai cooking lessons. And if that works up your appetite, you're spoilt for dining options from the open-air buffet restaurant to Thai, Italian, steak and seafood eateries, as well as a children's menu. Then there's live music most nights, as well as a pub and piano bar to chill out in.
Set on a wide stretch of beach, one of the longest in Phuket, this 3* hotel has traditional Thai decor with elegant dark-wood furniture. It provides children's activities, as well as a kids' pool and indoor playhouse to keep little ones occupied. For the grown-ups there are three pools, an activities programme, plus table tennis, darts and a pool table. There's also the option of going to the gym or fitness classes, both charged locally. Dining choices cover buffet international cuisine and a la carte meals, along with evening entertainment.
This 4* hotel makes the most of its beachfront location, on a prime stretch of Bangtao Beach. Its restaurants overlook Bangtao Bay and the spa offers seaview massages, for an additional charge. While the adults enjoy the range of massages and hydro spa pool, the kids are kept occupied in their own club. The hotel has two swimming pools and one for the kids, as well as a range of activities – choose from kayaking, windsurfing, Pilates, yoga and a fitness room. As well as the Beach restaurant, serving Thai and Western dishes, there's the seafood bar and grill and Sunwing Resort and Spa next door. Or if you fancy exploring further, there's a shuttle bus, payable locally, to Phuket Town and Patong.