Phuket, Thailand, is a tropical paradise with warm sunshine, pristine beaches and vibrant culture. From soaking up the sun on the sandy shores of Karon Beach to taking in the breathtaking views from the top of Big Buddha or dancing the night away in Patong, there’s no shortage of things to do in Phuket. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a blend of both, this island has something for everyone.
As the largest island in Thailand, it’s not surprising that it has so much to offer visitors. We spent four weeks in Phuket, with Kamala as a home base, and we never ran out of things to do. For this reason, it’s a good idea to do some planning so that you can take in as many sights and activities as possible. One way we found to make the most of our time (and money) was by using the all-in-one TAGTHAi Pass for Phuket.
The Phuket TAGTHAi Pass is available for 1 day or 3 days, with pricing starting at $45.64 USD (as of December 2022). Depending on how much you do, you can easily save more than $100 on the 1-day pass and even more with the 3-day pass.
We chose the 3 days in Phuket Pass and had an amazing time hopping around the island doing as many activities as we could manage. It does take a bit of pre-planning to make the most of the pass so we decided to share our itinerary here and save you some of the work.
3 Days in Phuket with TAGTHAi Pass
Day 1: Snorkeling and Fun in the Sun
We decided to spend the first of our 3 days in Phuket using the TAGTHAi Pass playing on the beach and in the water. We did this by booking the Banana Beach snorkeling trip to Koh Hey (Coral Island). This idyllic tropical island is just 15 minutes from Chalong Pier, which is on the southern tip of Phuket.
The excursion includes a transfer from your hotel to the pier and back, so there’s no need to sort out your own transportation. We were picked up right on time in a comfortable, air-conditioned minivan. Our driver took us to a lovely restaurant at Chalong Pier, where we were greeted by our guide, who explained the day’s activities and timeline. We were given wristbands and towels while we waited to depart.
Transportation to Koh Hey was by speedboat. It was a pretty thrilling and somewhat wet ride that had the whole group laughing as they were sprayed with surf. Laughter turned to gasps of delight as we approached the island. A perfect tropical beach fringed with palm trees and gentle waves breaking on the shore set the scene.
As we stepped onto the soft, warm sand, our eyes scanned the beach and saw beach chairs, hammocks, palapas, swings, a bar and restaurant and lots of Instagram-able spots. We had about 90 minutes to explore, relax, swim and purchase refreshments. Many of us spent a good portion of that time taking photos of the incredible beauty that was all around.
Soon it was time to hop back on the boat with snorkel gear in hand and motor over to the other side of the island. The second we jumped into the water and peered below the surface, we knew why it was called Coral Island. Below us was coral of every size and shape and fish of every color enjoying a feast off the coral or serenely floating past us. Every second of the 45 minutes of snorkeling was magical and left us all in awe of the beauty that lies in the sea.
After snorkeling, we returned to Banana Beach for lunch. The description on the website said that a light lunch was included, so we expected maybe rice, a bit of chicken and some fruit. To say we were pleasantly surprised was an understatement. Each couple or group was shown to its own table under a palapa and was served a seemingly never-ending array of Thai dishes. In addition to the expected rice, chicken and fruit there was also huge shrimp, calamari, seafood soup, papaya salad and stir-fried vegetables. Any food allergies or preferences (such as vegetarian) were also covered.
Following lunch, we were given some more time to relax and enjoy the activities on Banana Beach. If you didn’t get enough snorkeling, there was equipment available to go right off the beach. There were also some additional paid activities, including sea kayaking, banana boat rides and parasailing.
Tips for Banana Beach Snorkeling Day
- The cost of this excursion without TAGTHAi Pass is $66 USD (as of December 2022)
- Transfers to and from your hotel are included
- Towels, snorkel gear, life jackets, use of beach chairs, water and lunch are included
- On Saturdays and Sundays, there is the option to go to Koh Hey by catamaran instead of speed boat
- Advised to bring sunscreen, swimsuits, hat, change of clothes and cash for purchases on the island
- The excursion is roughly 9 am to 5 pm but the exact timing will depend on your hotel location and which return boat you choose.
- Banana Beach must be booked at least one day in advance. In high season it’s a good idea to book more in advance as everywhere gets busy.
Day 2: Adventure and Pampering
On day two of using our 3 days in Phuket TAGTHAi Pass, we chose to go to Hanuman World in the morning and have a massage in the afternoon, followed by an early dinner in Old Phuket Town. It turned out to be the absolute best plan for using our pass.
Hanuman World is a place where the best of nature and adventure meet. It contains a series of ziplines, including a roller coaster zipline, and a skywalk. The tropical jungle setting is nothing short of spectacular, and the staff is welcoming, fun, knowledgeable and efficient. Again, transfers to and from your hotel are included, making for an easy start to the day.
Upon arrival at Hanuman World, we were instantly impressed with the greeting we received and also the unique structures that housed the various amenities. The giant monkey head made of natural materials was especially cool.
Once our group was all checked in we went to get outfitted with the equipment we would need for ziplining and our guide went through the safety information. We were then led to a spiral staircase that climbed high into the treetops and onto our first zipline platform. From there, it was an hour of thrills as we soared through the jungle, repelled to the ground and climbed again for more excitement.
After the regular ziplines, we went on the roller coaster line which was the most thrilling and longest ride of them all. Our final experience was the skywalk which took us on a stroll through the trees high above the ground. All this was followed by a generous buffet lunch to ease the appetite we’d built up.
Tips for Hanuman World
- The cost of this adventure is $71.47 USD without a TAGTHAi Pass (as of December 2022)
- Transfers to and from your hotel are included. We asked to be transferred to Old Phuket Town instead and they were happy to take us. Note: This was a special request so it’s not guaranteed.
- All safety equipment and a buffet lunch is included
- There are different times available throughout the day. We chose a 10 am time slot so that we could spend the afternoon in Old Phuket Town.
- Advised to bring closed shoes like runners, a GoPro or another camera you can secure while ziplining.
- Allow for about 2 hours at Hanuman plus transfer time.
- Hanuman World must be booked at least one day in advance. In high season it’s a good idea to book further in advance as everywhere gets busy.
Once we’d finished eating we were driven to Old Phuket Town where we had some time to explore the lovely town before the massage that we’d booked for 3 pm. The Old Town has plenty of things to keep you busy for a few hours so book your time slots accordingly.
We chose the 2-hour Thai Aromatic Massage at Raintree Spa in Phuket, just on the edge of Old Town. As with our previous TAGTHAi experiences, we were welcomed warmly and efficiently by the staff of Raintree Spa. This included a refreshing lemongrass tea and a cooling cloth.
Our treatment started with a foot bath and scrub before we were led into the massage room. We opted for a couples massage in the same room. The next hour was a mix of pleasure and pain but all in a good way. If you’ve had a Thai massage before you know what I mean. The second hour was pure heaven with a gentler massage using the aroma therapy oils that we had chosen. It was the perfect follow-up to the adventurous morning we’d had at Hanuman.
Tips for Raintree Spa
- Cost of the 2-hour Thai Aromatic Massage without TAGTHAi Pass is $43 USD (as of December 2022)
- Transfers are not included but the spa is a 10-minute walk from Old Town Phuket
- We suggest bringing a change of clothes if you have come straight from the Hanuman World experience
- Spa treatment must be booked at least 8 hours prior but again further in advance is recommended to get your preferred time
- Tips are not included in your TAGTHAi Pass. In Thailand, it is standard to tip about 15% for spa treatments
We finished our day with a delicious meal at Kopi de Phuket Cafe in Old Town. There are three menu choices offered, and we both went with the chicken curry with roti and lemon ice tea. The cafe is small and charming; the staff was amazing and the food was delicious. It was possibly the best roti we have ever tasted.
There was also the Steak Ao-Kae restaurant on the pass that we had planned to go to later in the evening but we were exhausted and full from our amazing day so chose to head home.
Day 3: All About Elephants
We chose to spend the final day of our three days in Phuket THAGTHAI Pass with elephants. There are two options in Phuket with the TAGTHAi Pass and both of them offer a limited number of spots per day to feed and learn about the elephants. They also offer an even more limited number of spots to help bathe the elephants. Neither place allows the riding of elephants and they do limit the amount of interaction and bathing for the well-being of these magnificent creatures.
Disclaimer: Ethical elephant tourism is a complicated issue that is not easy to solve. Thailand is finally moving towards finding ways to better protect these animals, but you can’t change something that has been done for decades overnight. Especially when the livelihood of the Thai people is at stake. Thankfully, riding elephants is becoming less and less common as awareness spreads and the Thai government no longer promotes it. But there is still a long way to go and much discussion on how to best reach a solution. As a tourist, you can help by doing research on places before you go and reporting any signs of abuse.
About Phuket TAGTHAi Pass
- As of December 2022, a 1-day Pass was about $46 USD and a 3-day pass was $93 USD
- You can purchase your pass online at TAGTHAi.com but don’t activate it until you are ready to start using the pass.
- As soon as you activate it you will have until midnight of the 3rd day to use the pass. So, if you activate it on a Monday morning you will have until midnight on Wednesday.
- You can book your chosen activities as soon as you purchase your pass. Do not wait until you activate the pass to book.
- Pre-plan what you want to do and on what days. As long as you book more than a day or in advance you should get a spot but you may need to be flexible with your chosen day/time, especially in high season.
- Some, but not all, the activities include transfers. If you have your own transportation you will be able to enjoy even more of the option included in your pass such as the many restaurants.
- TAGTHAi also has passes for Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Ayutthaya. We plan to use the Bangkok pass next and will share how we did.
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.