A local's guide to family activities in Phuket

Top 30 Best Family Things to do in Phuket, Thailand

By: John T, March 30, 2022

This is your chance to plan the perfect Phuket family beach holiday vacation

When it comes to souvenirs from a tropical island paradise, nothing beats taking back cherished memories with friends and loved ones. To get those memories, a little bit of research may be necessary. There is a lot more to it than just picking a nice Phuket family resort and hoping for the best. Many parents will perhaps already realise this, particularly if they have had one or two vacations with kids under their belt. 

Phuket, with its dozens of beautiful sandy beaches and generally laid-back atmosphere, seems like a great place to take a relaxing holiday. However, the slight problem with this is that teenagers and children, particularly between the ages of 5 and 13, do not particularly want to kick back and relax. They are full of enthusiasm and curiosity, and without entertainment, the beach life will very quickly grow boring.

One of the first things to consider, when it comes to planning your family holiday in Phuket, is finding out about some of the nearby attractions you can visit and explore. While Phuket is famous for the beautiful Wat Chalong temple and Big Buddha, these attractions are better for older children and adults who can appreciate the architectural marvels and the spirituality of the experience.

Therefore in this article, we help you explore the other possibilities in Phuket that will help you get closer to achieving those memories. The following are our top best family things to do in Phuket, Thailand organized by category:


  1. Phuket Night Markets (Sunday Walking Street, Chillva Market, Naka Market, Karon Night Market)
  2. Animal Beach Petting Zoo for families and small kids on Karon Beach
  3. The best Waterparks around Phuket, Thailand for Families and Friends
  4. Visit classic Phuket Museums and Historical Landmarks
  5. Old Phuket Town Sightseeing and Heritage Restaurant Hopping
  6. Elephant Nature Parks – Sustainable & Responsible Phuket Tours
  7. Phuket's best Aquariums and Ocean Life activities
  8. 10 notable sightseeing & relaxing family things to do in Phuket - zoos, cinema, and shopping
  9. 15 notable active energy-burning family things to do in Phuket - island hopping, scuba diving, snorkel, parks, mini-golf
  10. Find yourself a unique Private Beach in Phuket

Phuket Night Markets (Sunday Walking Street, Chillva Market, Naka Market, Karon Night Market)

What is a Thailand vacation without night markets? Here in Phuket, you and your family can visit a range of cultural and food-focused night markets. These night markets will have interesting local desserts and snacks and locally-crafted merchandise and toys for your family to check out. For those unfamiliar, night markets have traditionally been the place for locals to relax after work for some shopping, eating, and relaxing. Night markets often consist of local dishes, music, cheap apparel or second handed goods, and activities for kids.

One of the most famous night markets is the Phuket Sunday Night walking street. Set in the first residential area of Phuket, this walking street is a fantastic throwback experience for visitors looking to see how the original grandiose Sino-Portuguese colonial mansions were once occupied by Tin-ore barons 100 years ago.

Other markets also exist. The Chillva market (Thursday to Saturday) is a new upcoming night market where young adults and teenagers flock to, while the Naka Market (Saturday and Sundays) is one of the larger ones, more suited for shopping. All of the above mentioned

If you live in Karon, you could also consider Karon Night Market – though smaller than the previously mentioned.

Animal Beach Petting Zoo for families and small kids on Karon Beach

Families that are interested in showing their children to mingle with friendly farm animals can also consider visiting Karon Beach Hub's beach animal petting zoo. This beach animal zoo is an area that is frequently visited by local families with small kids and tourists looking to occupy a day near Karon Beach. Here, families and kids can meet and greet Giant Tortoises, Rabbits, Sheep, Goats, Silky Chickens, and colorful Parrots - FREE OF CHARGE! Times when these animals come out vary by season, but more information can be inquired in the links below.

The area contains not just the petting zoo, but also a beach-facing pizza and grill restaurant, a cute dessert & ice cream shop, a sunset red brick cafe, and an activities hut. The activities hut rotates its activity by season - at the time of writing, the activity is a Paint Bar cafe, where customers can learn to paint easy drawings while consuming delicious meals, drinks, and desserts. 

The following are links to the official sites of the restaurants and cafes, for those looking to inquire:

The best Waterparks around Phuket for Families and Friends

Photo of Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, Karon Beach

If you haven’t been to a waterpark, now is the time. Waterparks in Phuket is the chance for you to never miss splashing and swimming with your family and friends when the waves get rough. Here on this island, we have large standalone waterparks as well as unique beachfront waterpark resorts for you to consider.

Thavorn Palm Beach Resort is a classic resort choice on the famous Karon Beach that will satisfy many water zealous needs. It is one of the few waterpark and beachfront resorts in Phuket. Their unique facilities include the following:

Blue Tree – A waterpark in Cherngtalay with an immense lagoon and playground. Its facilities include an array of water activities, ziplines, paddleboards, and restaurants.

Andamanda Phuket – Located in Kathu, this massive shopping is dated to be opened soon with facilities including 37 slides. We are excited to learn more about this facility

Rawai Park - A kid's standalone waterpark that is best suited for children at the ages of 1 to 6 years old.

Splash Jungle Phuket – Located close to the airport near Mai Khao beach, this park is the first dedicated waterpark opened for outside guests. Splash Jungle includes five main attractions that will keep you and your children busy all day long.

Visit classic Phuket Museums and Historical Landmarks

Photo taken at Thavorn Hotel, Private Collection, and Coffee Talk Old Phuket Town

Have you ever wondered how Phuket came to become one of Thailand’s fastest growing and most important city? Or are you interested in immersing your family with a little bit of culture and history? If so, we recommend visiting museums and historical landmarks in Old Phuket Town.

While there are many museums scattered throughout Old Phuket Town, the most interesting is the Thavorn Private Collection. It contains Phuket island's largest collection of memorabilia, hosting over a thousand pieces of antiques dating all the way back to when Phuket island was only a forest. This privately funded museum undergoes ongoing touch up as it continues to be assimilated and adapted into the Thavorn Hotel, Phuket island’s first full-service hotel.

Therefore, we recommending making Thavorn Hotel in Old Phuket Town your first stop for a cultural trip as it is widely considered a classic historical landmark. Visiting the hotel would immerse you and your family into the history of Phuket and how the first full-service hotel in Phuket came to be.

Please check their opening hours before visiting as they often close for renovations throughout the years - Google Maps Link

Fun fact:

  • #1 Each antique was collected by one person, Mr. Charearn Thavornwongwongse.
  • #2 Coffee Talk Old Phuket Town is a cafe operating inside Thavorn Hotel. It was recently renovated with actual antiques used in the olden Phuket days.

Other notable mentions located in Phuket Town include:

Old Phuket Town Sightseeing and Heritage Restaurant Hopping

Photo by Thaiger and shutterstock

Once you have had your fair share of cultural peak of the museum and the hotel, we highly recommend taking your friends and family over to try some of Old Phuket Town’s few remaining and heritage restaurants. These are our favorites.

  • Raya Restaurant
      • This restaurant is housed in the classic Sino-Portugese houses built during the beginning of the 20th century. Beautifully preserved, the restaurant continues to serve delicious local cuisine to prime ministers, movie stars, and royalty just as it did back in the day.
      • Fun fact: Their Crabmeat Curry Dish and Stewed Thai Pork Belly (Moo Hong) are so well known that customers from Bangkok have repeatedly requested the dish be flown up to the capital city.
  • Tu Kab Khao
      • As a member of the Michelin Guide since 2020, Tu Kab Khao continues to impress locals and visitors alike with recipes passed down by the famous Khun Linchii. Located in a 120 year-old building, this restaurant focuses on dishes from Southern Thailand.
  • Mee Ton Poe
      • A constant winner of the “Michelin Plate” rating, Mee Ton Poe has been serving Phuket adapted Hokkien Noodles since 1946. This modest looking restaurants sits by the edge of the Clock Tower Circle in Phuket town.

Elephant Nature Parks – Sustainable & Responsible Phuket Tours

Photo by John, the author

Asian Elephants are Thailand’s national animal and have been an integral part of Thailand’s rich history. With the rise in cities and human population, there have been less natural habitats in Thailand for these majestic creatures to live peacefully. As expected, Elephants gradually found themselves in parks performing in shows and offering rides. While these shows serve to the entertainment of tourists and locals, it is important to know that such acts were a result of Elephant torture into submission to deliver performances and to carry the weight of passengers.       

Luckily, responsible and sustainable tourism is available and have been on the rise. In Phuket, few parks work as sanctuaries for these animals. Elephants are majestic beasts that will surely wonder all adults and kids alike.  

We won’t go into detail on what each of these parks do, but in general our guidelines for such tourism should include the following:

  • No shows. In order for Elephants to performance acts or painting activities, trainers would have to torture them into submission first so that they perform properly.
  • No rides. Riding is a huge burden on elephants. In addition, the saddle is often known to tear and reduce elephant back hair, which is crucial to elephants ability to hold cooling mud on its back.
  • No cutting of the elephant tail hair. Elephant tail hair is often seen as part of souvenirs. These hair when trimmed becomes sharp. Elephants use their tail to chase pesty insects, so a sharp tail could prick and damage elephant skin.
  • No flash photography. Elephant eyes are not meant for receiving flash light. This activity could damage their eyes.
  • Elephant bathing should be regulated since aggressive splashing of water, especially if the water has sand or soil in them, into the eyes of the elephants could cause fast detroiation or blindness. Splashing with your hand is preferred over use of buckets and spray guns.
  • Parks should attempt to mimic Elephant natural habitats with plenty of forestry, free ranging and bathing areas, e.g. a river and grass land.
  • Elephant medical facilities is a plus.

So far, here are some destinations you can check out for elephant interactions with your family and friends. As of the writing of this article, we found these parks to be responsible. However, please conduct further research.

Phuket's best Aquariums and Ocean Life activities

Photo taken at Aquaria Phuket, Central Floresta
Aquariums are popular family activities during a sunny day. To escape the heat, many locals may occasionally bring their children to one of the following notable aquariums in Phuket. Spread throughout the island, these aquariums and ocean life exhibits are accessible to all tourists.

10 notable sightseeing & relaxing family things to do in Phuket - zoos, cinema, and shopping

There are also many other family and kid activities to do in Phuket. While we will not go into detail for these options, we have included them in this article as we have been aware of their popularity. Please conduct further research for these notable mentions of relaxing and sightseeing family things to do in Phuket:

  • Shows
    • Phuket FantaSea
    • Siam Niramit Phuket
    • Simon Carbaret
    • Aphrodite Cabaret Show
  • Phuket Zoo
  • Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
  • Shopping Malls to escape the heat.
    • Jungceylon Mall at Patong Beach. There is a bowling course and cinema here. 
    • Central Festival & Floresta Phuket. You can leave your kids at the Kids Area in the mall.
  • Movie Theatres locations
    • SFX Cinema at Central Festival
    • Jungceylon Mall at Patong Beach

15 notable active energy-burning family things to do in Phuket - parks, mini-golf, and zip-lining

Photo by Love Andaman, Zorbing Phuket, Whale Surf, John the Author

If you are a parent looking to keep your kids’ minds occupied and burn off their excess energy, you will need something that will keep them active. Consider the following notable mentions:

Find yourself a unique Private Beach in Phuket

Photo taken at Nakalay Beach

So you’ve finally made it to a tropical island, now the task should be on how to best enjoy this vacation. If your plan is to relax with your family and loved ones, then there is no better solution than to lounge on a private beach overlooking the stunning Andaman Sea. There aren’t that many unspoiled private beaches left in Phuket, but Nakalay Beach is one we’d want to recommend.

Currently occupied by Thavorn Beach Village Resort & Spa, this private beach comes in two unique forms – high tide and low tide. During high tide, you and your family can swim or rent snorkeling, paddleboard, flamingo floating equipments, and kayaks and wade out in the sea. However, during low tide, the beach transforms showing off its historic rocky seabed with a whole new world of life, or what locals call, the low tide wonders of Nakalay Bay.

Teach your kids on this scientific phenomenon called the intertidal zone, home to a vast number of marine species such as starfishes, small crabs, corals, shrimp, squid, and sea urchin. You might even come across the sandfish that have adapted to live both underwater and on ground.

If you prefer a beach that is less isolated, we recommend Karon Beach as the next best alternative. Karon Beach has historical been a family beach favorite due to its beautiful sunsets, long stretch of pristine beach, good road sidewalks, lively but-not-too-wild nightlife scene, and beach activities.


Karon Beach, Phuket Thailand

Thavorn Palm Beach Resort is an award-winning Phuket beachfront resort. This unique destination provides tasteful upscale accommodation, direct beachfront access to Karon Beach, Giant Water Slides, 7 unique dining restaurants & cafes, onsite beachfront mini petting zoo, and a 12-acre botanical rainforest garden.