Like any tropical island, Phuket always has rainy days. But that doesn’t mean sitting in and doing nothing. What to do when it rains in Phuket is just as important as when it is sunny!
After deciding where to stay in Phuket – the next thing to do is arm yourself with itinerary for wet days. Day to day forecasts can help you plan your activities ready for sunny and wet days alike.
So if you are planning a trip and want to be prepared, or you are already stuck in your hotel looking for something to do – read on for our recommendations.
Spend the day in Phuket Old Town
First on the list is our top recommendation for a rainy day – visiting Phuket town. Phuket town, or city, is the capital of the island and home to the history and culture of the island. Whilst there is no beach, it makes for the perfect day out when it is rainy and wet.
Exploring the town itself is the activity. The old town quarter of Phuket is where the picturesque Sino-Portuguese architecture lines streets with unique boutiques, craft shops and restaurants. The buildings are built in a hybrid Chinese-Portuguese colonial style with sporadic street art additions and temples hidden in narrow backstreets.
Phuket was famously declared a world ‘city of gastronomy’ by UNESCO – and it is easy to find out why by exploring the streets of Phuket. There is a great mix of fine dining, local, street food and contemporary cafes to suit everyone. There is an eclectic variety of museums and art galleries scattered across the cities. Some of these are more developed than others. We recommend the Thai Hua museum in the heart of the old town which gives a genuine feel for the history of the island.
Visit the street markets
One of the other attractions of Phuket town are the exciting markets that set up across the town. The largest of these is the Chaofa variety weekend market – also known as Naka market and mostly just weekend market. It is a huge market comprising a never ending selection of stalls for street food, clothes and handcrafts. It runs in the evenings Friday to Sunday.
Additionally the Sunday market is on from around 4-5pm Sundays on Thalang road. It is a great way to experience both the old town and the joy of a lively night market. The indie market and Chillva market (north west of the old town and would need a taxi ride) are open all week. The Talad Kaset night market is also open all week from 5pm to midnight. It is great for a mix of Thai and Chinese food with a local feel. There is also a great selection of Halal meat options for Muslim travelers.
Visit Siam Niramit or Phantasea
Siam Niramit and Phantasea are theatre shows that run year-round in purpose built venues. They both actually run at night time, with shows starting at around 8pm – however with buffet dinner and warm up activities before hand the experience starts at around 5pm. With all of the preparation and hotel transfer time factored in, we think that this is the perfect activity for a rainy day.
We recommend visiting either of the two shows during a stay in Phuket. They are a little expensive but well worth it. It is not essential to see both – and therefore its worth choosing which one suits better. Siam Niramit is more of a cultural and historical experience of Thailand. Phantasea is a more action packed and animal filled experience better suited to families with kids.
Spend the day at the museum – Phuket mining museum or Thalang national museum
Another indoor activity when it rains in Phuket is to visit a museum. It is the best way to get a taste of local Thai culture on the island. The Phuket mining museum or the Thaland national museum are our 2 recommendations. Although like the shows above – it is probably not essential to visit both.
The Phuket mining museum is large, varied and cheap. It costs around 100 baht to enter per person. The museum is an immersive tour of the colonial history of Phuket, with all kinds of exhibitions from the clothing fashion of the time, mining techniques and domestic life of inhabitants.
Similarly The Thalang national museum is a varied tour of the history of Phuket. It is smaller in comparison to the Mining museum, but has more of a focus on archaeological exhibits.
Enjoy a luxurious spa day
An essential experience during any trip to Phuket– a day experiencing Thai spa culture. Traditional Thai massage is an integral part of the history and culture. The traditional experience is infused with spirituality, religious belief and yoga. Although most spas and massage parlours in Phuket are attuned to western tourists, they are built on the traditional principles and explains why Thai massage is famous all over the world.
Where better to experience it in Thailand itself. Any corner of the island will have a local selection of spa and massage parlours to suit your budget. We particularly recommend an immersive experience at Orientala Spa which incorporates traditional techniques for relaxation. It is the perfect activity for when it rains in Phuket.
Visit an elephant sanctuary
There is a growing awareness in the global community of the dangers of encouraging unethical business practices that exploit animals for touristic experiences. Elephant riding, in particular, is offered across south east Asia however widely accepted to be cruel. It is hoped that with greater number of tourists avoiding these businesses it will be possible to force more ethical practices and make exploitative business less profitable.
There are several elephant sanctuaries on Phuket that are home to elephants that allow visitors to interact with elephants by feeding and washing them. We recommend the parks that don’t offer bathing as they are, strictly speaking, the most ethical and ideal . However if you prefer one of the experiences that involve bathing with elephants – it doesn’t really matter if it is a rainy day because you get quite wet and muddy regardless
Go on a rafting adventure day
Rafting in the tropical rivers of Phuket is an incredible experience – and since you are getting wet, it is perfect for when it rains in Phuket. There are packages including rafting, bathing in a waterfall and visit to the Wat Wat Temple that can be purchased both on the island. But we prefer organising this online through reputable sellers such as GetPhuket to ensure you get the best quality and organisation.
Conclusion – What to do in Phuket when it rains
A very common question for visitors to tropical destinations anywhere in the world is: will it rain?
The answer to this is easy: yes. It will always rain in tropical climates because that is what makes these parts of the world tropical – high temperatures and levels of rain year-round. The tropical is seasons are typically split between wet and dry seasons. Dry season sees less rain, more sun and calmer seas. This means that it is the high season for tourism and visitor numbers reach their peak. But no matter if it is dry season or wet season, there will always be frequent rain.
Rain in Phuket therefore is more frequent in the wet season, but will also occur during the dry season. In the average week, it is safe to say a few days are likely to see rain. Fortunately this is tropical rain – it is still warm and the rain often lasts an hour or two. Days of continuous rain are less frequent.
The important thing is not if it rains, but how to plan your trip to make the best of when it rains.