There are so many activities available in Phuket that it can be hard to decide what to do and see, especially when your time on holiday is limited and you want to indulge in all the main sights and attractions. Here are some details about the lesser known outdoor pursuits and other sports (a few indoor activities for a rainy day are also included) around Phuket, which make great alternatives to most of the typical tourist activities. For further reading, check out our related articles on the most popular activities and sports in Phuket such as diving, fishing, golf, and sailing. Some of the outdoor tours such as ATV’s and elephant safaris, are covered in our Tours and Safaris article in the Travel section.
Bowling in Phuket
There’s plenty of bowling action in Phuket, mainly the indoor variety but also some outdoor traditional green bowling. The indoor type of ten pin bowling is popular all over Thailand and great fun for all the family. Whatever your ability it’s always a good night out, especially when it’s raining. Bowling that winning strike and seeing all ten pins knocked down is a very satisfying experience. The bowling alleys in Thailand are normally modern and large affairs, and almost all will serve food and drinks while you play. Get double strikes to rack up the points, and don’t forget to do the traditional little dance afterwards.
Some of the ten pin bowling alleys in Phuket are listed below.
Rock N’ Bowl
This is a very large and quite popular place near the centre of Patong, with 16 lanes.
Open: 14.00-late daily
Address: Soi Kepsub 2, Sai Nam Yen Road, Patong Beach
Tel: +66 (0) 76 345 898
CS Bowl Centre Entertainment
In the centre of the island, in the Big C shopping centre.
Address: 2nd Floor Big C, 72 Chaloem Phrakiat Road, Phuket Town
Tel: +66 (0) 76 249 260
One of the most consistently popular bowling alleys in Phuket which is busy with locals and visitors alike.
Address: 38/1-15 Tilok-U-Thit Road, Talat Yai, Phuket Town
Tel: +66 (0) 76 223 057-8
Ocean Plaza Bowling
Just 4 lanes of bowling in the centre of town. It’s quite small but certainly fun and especially convenient for all the local nightlife.
Address: Bangla Road, Patong Beach
Tel: +66 (0) 76 341 163
SF Strike Bowl
One of the biggest in town with 16 lanes of bowling action.
Address: JungCeylon Mall, Patong Beach
Tel: +66 (0) 76 600 333
Kamala Lawn Bowling Club
The less well known but highly enjoyable sport of lawn bowling is played outdoors in Kamala, and is the only club in Phuket (and one of the few anywhere in Thailand). Visitors can become members and enjoy playing with their balls when the weather is fine and dry.
Tel: +66 (0) 76 385 912
For the brave and intrepid visitors (and some might say foolish), there are a few opportunities to take part in this thrilling activity in Phuket. Bungee (or bungy) lets you satisfy your desire to fling yourself of a tiny perch on what is essentially a giant elastic band. Fancy jumping off a platform 160 feet up in the air and dipping your head briefly into a small lagoon, or doing a reverse catapult bungee? Just be aware that safety records in Thailand do not always meet the same standards as in the West, and there have been a few serious but rare accidents in the past in Phuket. Take heed and be cautious, but nevertheless it’s still an enjoyable and exhilarating activity.
Phuket Bungy Jump
Based in Phuket since 1992, these guys have jumps up to 50 metres over water. Several types of jump are available such as single, tandem, catapult, and water touch bungy.
Address: 61/3 Moo 6, Vichit Songkram Road, Kathu
Open: 09.00-18.00 daily
Tel: +66 (0) 76 321 351
World Bungy Jump
Jump from a 60 metre high bungee and enjoy the great views over Patong Beach. There is a Thai boxing stadium (Patong Boxing Stadium) near here as well as the Rock N’ Bowl bowling alley.
Address: 2/59 Sai Nam Yen Road, Patong Beach
Tel: +66 (0) 76 345 185
Cycling and Bike Tours in Phuket
What better and more enjoyable way is there to explore the farthest almost undiscovered corners of Phuket and escape the hustle and bustle with a back-to-nature ride through small villages, rice paddies, lush dense forest and attractive scenery that still makes up a sizeable portion of the landscape around Phuket? You can easily rent a mountain bike and cycle around the island independently or with friends, but perhaps a more appealing and hassle-free option for holidaymakers is to join a fully guided tour that includes jungle trails, dirt tracks, and many of the undulating roads and hills in Phuket. Ao Po (sometimes spelled as Ao Por) and the northeast of the island is a popular cycling destination, besides Cape Panwa and Laem Promthep in the south and of course the many great beaches along the island’s west coast.
There are some very appealing bike tours that include nearby Krabi and other areas in Phang-Nga, being only a short distance from Phuket (many tours drop you off by minibus in Phang-Nga where the trip begins), as well as short excursions to the island of Koh Yao Noi, not far from Phuket’s east coast. On this island, it’s still possible to observe a more simple and traditional Thai way of life, the way it was before mass tourism changed the island’s character forever. The pace is much slower on this pleasant little island and there’s not much development or traffic to speak of. It’s certainly not as hectic and overdeveloped as Phuket.
The advantage of a bike tour is that all the equipment is provided, and a support vehicle will usually be on hand in case of repairs or emergencies. It’s also possible to customise the tours to your own abilities and preferences, or combine a bike trip with sightseeing, beaches and other activities. Local mountain bikes can be rented for a few hundred baht per day. For a day tour you can expect to pay several thousand baht, or only 1500 baht for a half day tour around the island. A detailed resource on all things bike related in Phuket is the Phuket Mountain Bike Hash club (more details at www.phuketmountainbike.com).
Here are just a few companies that organise cycling tours around Phuket.
Amazing Bike Tours Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 76 283 436
Bike Tours Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 76 263 575
Siam Bike Tours
Tel: +66 (0) 76 284 136
Go-Karting in Phuket
When you feel compelled to drive like a complete maniac mere inches from the ground at speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour, it’s a much better idea to do it on a purpose-designed track rather than on the local roads. Let’s be honest, most people love the thrill of hurtling round chicanes and tight corners while zooming past their buddies. Go-karting is great fun with a group of competitive friends and can be enjoyed no matter what the weather. There are karts of different sizes and power and some of the more powerful models can reach well over kilometres per hour, which feels even faster when you’re in the driving seat.
Go-karting isn’t the cheapest activity in Phuket by any means, with typical prices of more than 800 baht for just ten minutes of racing, but the more people participating and the longer you race for, the better value it becomes. There are several independently run go-kart tracks in Phuket and two are, rather bizarrely, almost directly opposite each other (this is Thailand, where common sense doesn’t necessarily apply) on the way from Patong Beach, over the hills and down towards Kathu. Another track one is located in Chalong near the shooting range. All go-kart tracks provide the necessary safety equipment and protective gear such as gloves and helmets.
A short summary and contact details for each track is included below.
Patong Go-Kart Speedway
It claims to be the longest established go-kart track in Phuket, and Patong Go-Kart Speedway has both go-karts for the track and off road dune buggies that can be raced on a nearby dirt track. It’s possible to simply turn up and race or pre-book a mini grand prix with a group of friends. The circuit is 750 metres long and floodlit so special events and races can be held at night. As well as various powerful adult cars with 200cc to 400cc engines, there are models suitable for children and special two seaters so somebody else can do the driving. Facilities on site include a restaurant and spectator areas.
Open: 10.00-19.00 daily
Address: 118/5 Vichit Songkram Road, Kathu
Tel: +66 (0) 76 321 949
Phuket Kart Speedway
This speedway is just over the road from the go-kart track previously mentioned, on the road to Kathu from Patong (this one on the left side, the other on the right side). The karts are between 100cc and 200cc, and there are less powerful but still nippy ones for kids. They can also organise special events and race days.
Open: 09.00-19.00 daily
Address: 46/129 Moo 6, Phra Baramee Road, Kathu
Tel: +66 (0) 76 202 085
Phuket Racing Kart
Opened in 2009, this 700 metre track is based at the Phuket Shooting Range in Chalong and is close to the well known Green Man Pub (perfect to grab a few beers afterwards). The price is about 900 baht for ten minutes of adrenaline-fuelled fun.
Open: 09.00-18.00 daily
Address: 82/2 Patak Road, Chalong
Tel: +66 (0) 76 381 667
Hiking in Phuket
Hiking around Phuket might not be an activity that immediately springs to mind whilst on holiday, but there are some interesting and challenging trails around the hills of which a few rise to over 500 metres above sea level. Phuket is not considered by many as a hiker’s paradise, as there is a lot of private land and the routes are not very clearly marked, but with a little persistence it’s possible to find some great walks such as those to the Big Buddha in the Nakkerd Hills, and various jungle trails in the island’s north near Bang Sae and Tonsai waterfalls, and around the Gibbon Project in the Khao Phra Theaw National Park.
It definitely helps to have a little local knowledge before you choose a suitable route, otherwise a jungle or nature safari tour can be a good alternative to getting back to nature and do a little hiking too. Doing it independently is also feasible and like many of the best things in life, it’s totally free! There are quite a few local hiking enthusiasts in Phuket that organise regular walks with friends, and it’s possible to seek them out easily on forums such as the Thaivisa forum.
Most of the jungle trails in Phuket are frequently used by rubber tree plantation workers, but they can become overgrown very quickly so it’s a good idea to pack some bushwhacking tools, and ideally a portable GPS device that lets you work out your precise location and makes it much easier to follow a few predefine routes. The waterfall in Kathu is also a satisfying little hike (although it can be very hot and humid). For more serious trekkers and especially any nature lovers, the unique and impressive Khao Sok National Park is just a few hours from Phuket in Surat Thani province, and offers very deep jungle treks into one of the oldest tropical forests in the world. It’s also a perfect place to observe the abundant, varied wildlife that inhabit the park such as tigers (hard to spot), elephants, deer and hundreds of bird species.
Rock Climbing in Phuket
Due to the spectacular limestone karst scenery and varied geography, Phuket and particularly the adjacent Phang-Nga province present excellent rock climbing opportunities for all levels and abilities. Railay Beach near Krabi is a well known and popular rock climbing spot, and the climbers can regularly be seen scaling the limestone cliffs. Khao Sok National Park also has some suitable peaks, and closer to Phuket the rather little known Phang-Nga Town is a pleasant spot for a day of climbing. The island of Koh Yai Noi has developed into a favourite rock climbing haunt and it’s conveniently close to Phuket.
Besides these sites, there are some more remote spots which are only accessible by boat. When you scale these rock faces it’s not hard to imagine you are the first person to visit. Thailand normally uses the French grading system to indicate the climb difficulty, and there are dozens of sites around Phuket suitable for beginners and experts. The easiest option is to join an organised tour which includes transport, equipment, tuition and even accommodation on longer trips.
Paddle Asia not only organises superb kayak trips, but rock climbing and hiking expeditions in and around Phuket, as well as bird watching and nature tours. The well known and knowledgable Dave Williams is the man involved, and seems to attract very favourable comments from guests that take part on his tours.
Tel: +66 (0) 76 241 519
Running in Phuket
Many people love to run and jog all over Phuket, either a quick jog along the beach in the morning or around the streets and varied landscape, such as the back lanes which pass through villages and rubber plantations. Probably the most enjoyable way to run socially is with the renowned Phuket Hash House Harriers club (www.phuket-hhh.com), which bills itself as a drinking club with a running problem. They organise very well attended runs each Saturday that can draw up to 100 people, as well as other runs at various times of the month such as men only or family oriented runs. The fees are just 60 baht for members, 100 baht for non-members and 20 baht for children; after five runs you are automatically awarded membership. Considering the social side of things too, it seems like a great and healthy way to spend a day out and get some fresh air.
For those that enjoy more intensive and competitive running, Phuket holds a full length 42 kilometre marathon (plus a 6 kilometre fun run) and a triathlon. More details on these two events can be found at www.phuketmarathon.com and www.phuketlagunatriathlon.com.
Shooting Ranges in Phuket
Many people have never shot a firearm and relish the prospect of being able to use a range of weapons in complete safety, in a fully controlled environment. There’s nothing quite like firing a shot for the very first time, an experience that can become quite addictive! The firing ranges in Phuket let you use a variety of pistols, revolvers, shotguns and rifles. You can practice in absolute safety and they have fully trained and professional staff on hand to make sure you know what you’re doing.
The cost depends on the equipment used and the number of bullets, but it’s typically up to 1000 baht for 10 bullets fired at various targets. In most cases, it’s possible to become a member and pay a reduced fee, but visitors can also just turn up and pay based on the number of shots fired.
Phuket Shooting Range
This facility in the south of the island lets you shoot all the typical handheld firearms. It’s a walk in setup so you can just arrive and pay to shoot. The range also has other shooting sports such as the air soft type BB guns, paintball, clay shooting, and even archery.
Open: 09.00-18.00 daily
Address: 82/2 Patak Road, Chalong
Tel: +66 (0) 76 381 667
Kathu Shooting Range
Open: 09.00-19.00 daily
Address: 86/3 Moo 6, Vichit Songkram Road, Kathu
Tel: +66 (0) 76 323 996
The Shooting Cafe
The unique “shooting cafe” can be found in the Sino zone of the JungCeylon shopping mall, where you can shoot a variety of firearms in a soundproofed, bulletproof room. Visitors not taking part can watch the action from the shooting room on TV whilst sipping a delicious coffee.
Open: 10.00-23.00 daily
Address: Sino Zone, JungCeylon Mall, Patong Beach
Tel: +66 (0) 81 596 8980
Water Parks in Phuket
A water park in Phuket had been a long time coming and highly anticipated, but now one has been established in the north of the island at the West Sands development near Mai Khao Beach, and conveniently close to the airport.
Splash Jungle Water Park
With several thrilling rides with names such as Boomerango and The Super Bowl, Splash Jungle Park, located about 45 minutes from Patong Beach, is a welcome addition to the watery activities in Phuket. It’s new, safe and modern and offers plenty to do for all the family, as well as having excellent facilities such as a restaurant, a bar, a spa and hot springs. The cost is around 1500 baht for an adult, and half price for children. It’s not that cheap but it certainly makes a great day out.
Open: 10.00-18.00 daily
Address: 65 Moo 4, Mai Khao, Thalang
Tel: +66 (0) 76 372 111
Zip Line in Phuket
For the adrenaline junkies this one fits the bill perfectly. There is currently just one zip line (also known as a flying fox) in Phuket (details below) which lets visitors speed between 15 individual stations in the jungle canopy over a total length of 1200 metres. It’s quite a unique experience in Phuket and one which everybody seems to enjoy immensely. Prices are around 2000 baht per person (check the website for the most up to date prices) and it’s possible to take part all year round, whatever the weather. Just don’t look down!
Cable Jungle Adventure Phuket
Address: 232/17 Bansuanneramit, Moo 8, Srisoonthorn Road, Thalang
Tel: +66 (0) 76 527 054