How to Explore Phuket in 3 Days on a Budget

How to Explore Phuket in 3 Days on a Budget

Heading off to Thailand and looking for how to spend 3 days in Phuket on a budget? Good choice my friend. The largest island of Thailand, Phuket is blessed with gorgeous temples, busy streets, lively bars and obviously some of the most beautiful beaches of Thailand. I put together a Phuket 3 days itinerary below. It includes all the best places to visit in Phuket in three days.

Phuket is not all about its pristine beaches. It is such a beautiful place with so many different types of things to do in Phuket. I’ve been to Phuket several times and each time I find different things to do. I particularly like the vibe of Phuket. The atmosphere is rather peaceful and serene. It is much more laid back than other areas in Thailand.

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ULTIMATE OHUKET TRAVEL GUIDE IN 3 DAYS ON A BUDGET WITH PHUKET ITINERARY

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WHEN TO VISIT PHUKET

Since Thailand is a tropical country, it is hot and humid and the day time temperature remains more or less constant year-round.  

High Season: November to February is the best time to visit Phuket when the weather is pleasant and sunny. However, try to avoid December and January as these are the peak months for tourists. The beaches are crowded and the price of accommodation is high this time.

Shoulder Season: April and November. There is a little chance to get rain but the crowd is less and you can find plenty of cheap hotels. If you are a budget travel buff, this is the best time to visit Phuket on a budget.

Low Season: May to October is the monsoon season in Phuket. Temperature is also hot this time. Tourists generally avoid these months to visit Phuket.

Coco beach
Private Coco Beach

HOW TO GET TO PHUKET

Flight: The Phuket International Airport is well connected to Bangkok with daily flights. There are direct flights to Singapore, India, Malaysia, Australia and Germany. Bangkok to Phuket flight tickets costs around $30-$35 if you buy 3-4 months before your journey. Travel time: 1.5 hour

You can book shared mini van service with 180 Baht pp from the airport to reach your hotel around Phuket city.

Bus: You can get into a bus from Southern Bus Terminal or the Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal of Bangkok that takes around 13-14 hours to reach Phuket. Air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned both types of buses are available at different prices. Book well in advance if you choose the overnight bus. An air-conditioned bus ticket costs around $20-$30.

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HOW TO GET AROUND PHUKET

Getting around Phuket is relatively easy as Phuket has different modes of public transport systems these include songthaew, tuk-tuk, taxi, motorcycle taxi, and rental motorcycle.

My advice would be if you travel with your family, hop on a songthaew, an openly shared passenger vehicle. Don’t forget to negotiate the price before getting into songthaew. It is also the best and cheapest way to get around the city for budget travelers or solo backpackers.

Air-conditioned Minivan in Phuket
Air-conditioned Minivan in Phuket

If you travel with your partner or if you want more fun and adventure, rent a motorcycle in Phuket. It is very common among tourists here. You have to present your passport and an international driving license to rent a bike. Expect to pay a minimum 150 Baht/day to rent the basic model. Just keep in mind, Thai drivers are quite aggressive, so drive carefully.

Tuk-tuk and local taxis are also available in Phuket but make sure to negotiate your price before hop on any of these. If you don’t have a driving license you still have the chance to experience that hair raising form of transportation. Booking a motorcycle taxi would be great to experience the same.

PHUKET 3 DAYS ITINERARY

Wondering what you should do in Phuket? Phuket can be traveled in 2 days if you are running out of time, it can be explored in 4 days if you are flexible with your time and budget. I recommend spending at least 3 days in Phuket to experience the best of it. I have split the Phuket itinerary in 3 days so that you can plan your Phuket trip in the most cost-efficient way.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN PHUKET IN 3 DAYS

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and a popular tourist spot among travelers heading to southeast Asia. More than 5 million tourists from all around the world visit Phuket to experience its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, adventure activities, exotic resorts, luxury spas, and thriving nightlife.

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There are plenty of things to do in Phuket. You cannot cover all in a single visit. In these 3 days in Phuket travel guide you will get to know how to experience the best of Phuket at cheap.

DAY 1 IN 3 DAYS IN PHUKET ITINERARY

JAMES BOND ISLAND DAY TOUR FROM PHUKET

Start your Phuket trip with James Bond Island day tour. This excursion is a full-day tour from Phuket as there is so much to see. We booked James Bond, Phang Nga Bay and Hong Island day tour by Big Boat from Klook app.

Out tour company’s driver picked us up from our hotel lobby at around 7:30 am. From Ao Por Pier our big boat started the journey towards Phang Nga Bay.

PANAK ISLAND

It was our first sightseeing stop on our way where we explored by canoeing through the nature of the Mangrove Cave, Bat Cave, Oyster Cave, and Diamond Cave. It was a thrilling experience while entering into the limestone cave which was totally dark. Inside the cave, using mobile flashlight we saw some incredible rock formations of Stalagmites and Stalactites.

Panak Island
Panak Island

JAMES BOND ISLAND

Our next stop was the most famous James Bond Island which came to limelight after the 1974 James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. We took some amazing pictures of the tall islet that towers over 20 meters are one of the main highlights here. There were some local shops selling souvenirs and local jewelry.

James Bond Island | 3 days in Phuket
James Bond Island

HONG ISLAND

This is another stunning limestone island where we canoeing through massive grottos and lagoons. Inside the cave, it was pitch dark but the water war transparent. There was some interesting natural rock formation and among them, a Piranha and Buddha were the most eye-catching. We also enjoyed the hidden sky blue lagoon in Hong Island. Visitors can swim here if they wish.

Inside a Cave at Hong Island
Inside a Cave at Hong Island

James Bond Island Day Tour Cost: $40-50 per person

Your Phuket budget trip would be hassle-free if you book your James Bond day trip in advance. This kind of day trip includes hotels to hotel pick up and drop facility with buffet lunch, snacks and other tourist attractions including canoeing. I will highly recommend you to book your James Bond day trip from Klook. They provide the best in class service with some crazy deals.

Tips: Don’t forget to carry your sunscreen, hat, sunglass, and camera. Wear a flipflop or sandal. While booking the James Bond Island day tour, choose the Big Boat option. It is cheap and you can enjoy the surrounding view of the ocean with a mild sea breeze. You cannot enjoy the view if you choose the Premium Catamaran option which we booked for our Phi Phi Island tour.

DAY 2 IN 3 DAYS IN PHUKET ITINERARY

PHI PHI ISLAND DAY TOUR FROM PHUKET

It was another full day trip from Phuket to Phi Phi Island. We got a great deal in Klook app and booked ‘Phi Phi, Maya Area, Khai and Coco Beach Snorkeling Day Trip from Phuket’. But the distance of these tourist attractions are quite large, so there was no option for Big Boat if you want to visit all these attractions. This time we chose Premium Speed Catamaran.

MAYA BAY

Our cruise started at around 10 am. On the way, we saw Maiton Islands. It is a private island and visitors are not allowed to land there without permission. Our catamaran stopped at Maya Bay after 30 minutes of the journey. It came to highlight after the hit Hollywood movie ‘The Beach’.

Unfortunately, this island is now closed for tourists. Thai authorities decided to ban this island for the visitors until 2021 to recover it from the tourism boom. Our cruise stopped at a distance from the Maya Bay.

Maya Bay
Our Catamaran Near Maya Bay

It is stunningly beautiful and is sheltered by 100-meter high cliffs on three sides. We took some splendid pictures of this deadly combination of white sand beach, turquoise water, and high cliffs.

PHI PHI DON

Our next stop was at Phi Phi Don Island, the main highlight of this day trip. There is a total of 6 islands in Koh Phi Phi. Most of these islands are uninhabited. Tourists generally visit two main islands of Koh Phi Phi which are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. Most of the people like to spend more time in Phi Phi Don for its incredible beauty. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand.

Phi Phi Don Island | Phuket in 3 days
Phi Phi Don Island

With turquoise blue water, white sand beach and palm trees on the background, this island is one of the best honeymoon destinations in Thailand where couples can enjoy a long stroll along with the beach hand in hand. Take some stunning pictures of this island. Visitors can swim here, the extreme left part of this beach is perfect for swimming.

If swimming is not your thing, you can just relax and take a sunbath on the beach. Enjoy a Thai Spa on the beach with a mesmerizing view of the sea. There is a cute little village named Ton Sai. The village is charming and quiet. Explore the Ton Sai village and its local shops.

Ton Sai Village at Phi Phi
Ton Sai Village at Phi Phi

MONKEY BEACH

You shouldn’t miss Monkey Beach while visiting Phi Phi Island. The 150 meters long white powdery sand beach is an amazing place to visit. The opposite side of this beach is a steep limestone cliff and home to a large population of monkeys. Do not go too close to these furry animals as biting and scratching are common issues.

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It is also popular as a top-notch snorkeling spot of Phuket. The shallow waters next to the beach have colorful and vivid underwater habitats, which will give you the feeling of swimming in an aquarium.

Monkey Beach Phuket
Monkey Beach

KHAI ISLAND

There are three magical islands- Khai Nok, Khai Nai, Khai Nui. Our destination was Khai Nok which is surrounded by crystal clear waters with thousands of tropical fish. If you are lucky you can see the group of dolphins swimming around the islands. After a delicious lunch just spend some alone time relaxing on the beach. Swimming and snorkeling options are also there.

COCO BEACH

It is a private beach and it was included in our Phi Phi Island day trip package. If you travel with your kids Coco Beach Water Park is the best option to have fun with little ones. However, this floating water park is chargeable.

But what I liked most about this beach is its calmness and the serene atmosphere. Two catamarans landed there and at that time there was none in the beach apart from the travelers of these catamarans. Go for a short walk along the beach and enjoy the tranquil ambiance or you can just relax on the sun-bed.

Private Coco Beach
Private Coco Beach

Phi Phi Island Day Tour Cost: $50-60/person

DAY 3 IN 3 DAYS IN PHUKET ITINERARY

Last time I traveled to Thailand with my family, so I wanted a flawless travel plan during my Thailand family holidays. It is not that easy to negotiate the public transport price each time while you are with your family. So I booked a half-day tour from Klook to explore Phuket city and its popular tourist attractions.

Now you might think that booking a tour package would be expensive for budget travelers. Nope, it’s NOT. Phuket half day city tour costs just 400 Baht that is around $12 per person. We explored all the popular tourist attractions of Phuket by an air-conditioned minivan. It was very comfortable, the guide was so knowledgeable and humble and most importantly we saved some precious time from our busy schedule.

KARON VIEW POINT

On our third day in Phuket, we first visited Karon View Point. This is a worthwhile scenic spot in Phuket to get a fantastic vista of small Kata, Big Kata, and Karon beach. The northern view from Karon View Point is one of the most photographed pictures in Phuket. From the viewpoint, you can see the sparkling blue sea, white-sand beaches, and the deep-green hues of Phuket’s hillsides. If you visit in the evening you can see a shimmering sunset from Karon View Point.

Karon View Point | 3 days in Phuket itinerary
Karon View Point

PHOTOS WITH BABY ELEPHANT

Next, our minivan stopped at a tiny zoo. You can enter there with a small fee. The main attraction was the baby elephants standing outside the zoo. You can take a cute picture with a baby elephant. This is a kid’s friendly activity in Phuket. Visitors are allowed to feed bananas to baby elephants with 100 Baht.

BIG BUDDHA

The 45-meter-tall Big Buddha statue is the most popular landmark in Phuket. This white marble statue is located on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and can be seen from as far away as Phuket Town and Karon Beach.

There is another gold-colored small Buddha Statue next to the Big Buddha Phuket. The site offers a panoramic view of Phuket Town, Kata, Karon, Chalong Bay and more.

Tips: Maintain the proper dress code and do not speak loudly. Don’t wear sleeveless, shorts or skirts while visiting any religious sites in Thailand. Read this article to know more about what to wear in Thailand.

Big Buddha, Phuket
Big Buddha, Phuket

WAT CHALONG

This Buddhist temple is a historical site in Phuket located on Chao Fa West Road in the northern part of Tambol Chalong. The walls and ceilings of the temple are decorated with beautiful paintings depicting the remarkable steps of Buddha’s life. It is also a religious place, you should be dressed in a proper outfit.

Wat Chalong| Phuket tourist attraction
Wat Chalong

PHUKET OLD TOWN

Explore the Sino-Portuguese style Old Town of Phuket on foot. Visit the old-styled colorful houses, small shops and local Thai restaurants on both sides of the streets. You will get a scope to take some amazing pictures of the beautiful mural paintings and street art ornating the walls of old buildings.

Old Town Phuket
Old Town Phuket

There were two more Phuket sightseeing in our half-day Phuket city tour package: Cashew Nut Factory and Big Bee Honey Farm. In Cashew Nut Factory we saw the processing of cashew nuts and tasted different flavors of cashew nuts. We bought 2 packets of butter and honey cashews.

Big Bee Honey Farm is a place where they sell honey and all honey related products. You will get to see the bees and how they make the honey.

Big Bee Honey Farm | Phuket sightseeing
Big Bee Honey Farm

Generally, tour operators conduct this type of half-day tour two times in a day: Morning Tour and Afternoon Tour. We chose Morning Tour and I will also recommend you to go for the morning tour. So that after completing lunch you can utilize the rest of the time by hopping around the beautiful beaches of Phuket.  

Phuket Half Day City Tour Cost: $12

DISCOVER THE BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN PHUKET

Reserve the second half of your third day in Phuket for beach hopping and relaxing. Phuket itself has some award-wining stunning beaches exploring which you won’t get tired. If you rent a motorcycle it will be easy to go from one beach to another, else tuk-tuk transport service is always available.

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PATONG BEACH: It is one of the most visited and lively beaches in Phuket. People who are looking for a beach party, water sports, and adventure activities, must-visit Patong beach. The beach is ideal for swimming. There are plenty of night markets and shopping malls near the Patong area.

Parasailing at Patong Beach
Parasailing at Patong Beach

KATA BEACH: During my last visit to Thailand, personally I found Kata as one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket with its pristine white sands, tropical trees, and clear azure waters. It is less crowded than Patong and offers a picturesque view of the Andaman sea.

There are two parts of Kata- Center Kata and South Kata. If you are looking for a family beach resort in Phuket stay at South Kata. The beach has many food stalls if you want a refreshing meal after a relaxing sunbath.

KARON BEACH: Karon is just a short walk away from Kata beach located to the north of Patong beach. It is a perfect beach destination for those who are looking for a soulful beach experience. Couples can go for a romantic stroll along the sandy beach and enjoy a jaw-dropping sunset in the evening. Adventure seekers can do jet skiing, parasailing, banana rides, and other water sports.

Karon Beach in Phuket | 3 days in Phuket on a budget
Karon Beach in Phuket

Check out Top 10 Most Beautiful Beaches of Phuket.

WHERE TO STAY 3 DAYS IN PHUKET AT CHEAP

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and there is no shortage of budget accommodations in Phuket. Budget travelers and backpackers generally look for cheap hotels in Phuket, cheap hostels in Phuket and affordable accommodations in Phuket. However, most of the tourists tend to stay near Patong beach, Karon beach and Kata beach.

Patong is the most popular and crazy beach in Phuket and it is pretty crowded with nightlife and adventurous water sports. There are plenty of budget hotels near Patong beach. Family travelers can also find several family resorts in Phuket.

If you want a crowd-free serene ambiance, Kata beach would be ideal for you to stay in Phuket. Spend a relaxing family holiday here. From affordable hostels to mid-range and luxury beach resorts- South Kata has ample accommodations of all range of prices.

Karon is also popular among backpackers and solo travelers who are looking for cheap accommodations in Phuket. There are several family hotels and honeymoon resorts near Karon beach at a reasonable price.

Cheap Hotels in Phuket:

Hollywood Inn Love Hotel in Phuket
Hollywood Inn Love Hotel

Family Resorts in Phuket:

WHERE TO EAT IN PHUKET ON A BUDGET

Street foods of Phuket are very popular not only among tourists but also among locals. No need to be worried about the quality, they maintain proper hygiene. Whether you travel in a group or solo, don’t miss the night food market. Their special coconut ice cream is really yummy. Chicken noodles range from 80-100 Baht and coconut ice cream costs 60 Baht and it’s worth paying.

Street Food Stall in Phuket
Street Food Stall in Phuket

If you cannot rely on street foods, check out the below list for the best and cheap restaurants in Phuket that serves local dishes as well as various types of western dishes and Asian dishes in a perfect ambiance.

  • EAT. Bar & Grill
  • Kantok Restaurant
  • Tamachart Restaurant
  • Kan [email protected]
  • Kopitiam by Wili

Phuket is now becoming a hot tourist destination among Indians. Check out the top 10 Indian Restaurants in Phuket to taste authentic Indian delicacies.

3 DAYS IN PHUKET TRAVEL COST

Phuket is expensive compared to other parts of Thailand. If you research properly and plan your trip in advance in an efficient way(finding a cheap hostel, cheap street foods, and cheap but reliable day tours), you can easily travel 3 Days in Phuket without breaking your bank.

  • Hotels: $30-$40/Night
  • Hostels: $10-$20/Night
  • Food: $10/Day (Breakfast and lunch are included in full-day tour)
  • James Bond Island Tour: $40
  • Phi Phi Island Tour: $50
  • Phuket City Half Day Tour: $12
  • Local Transport: $5

Total Suggested Phuket Travel Cost: Approx. $155 or INR 11000 for 3 Days

PHUKET TRAVEL TIPS

  • Book your hotels, hostels or resorts 3-4 months before your journey to get a cheap hotel deal.
  • Hostels are the best option for budget travelers to save money on accommodation as well as food. You can cook your own food in the hostel’s kitchen and share your foods with others. Check how to eat cheap while traveling.
  • Don’t get into a tuk-tuk or local taxi without negotiating the price, else they will charge high price later.
  • Maintain proper dress code whenever you visit any religious site in Thailand.
  • If you rent a motorcycle in Phuket, drive carefully as the local drivers do rash driving.
  • Use some helpful free travel apps such as Guides by Lonely Planet, Moovit which can help you to find nearby tourist attractions and cheap transportation.

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How to Explore Phuket in 3 Days on a Budget

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