Phuket’s Unmissable Hidden Gems

A guide to the island’s lesser-known treasures

Words: Pinanong Panchuen
Photos: Sophon Srinutaphong, Chayaphol Parachart, Pattarin Tidboonkrong

Phuket hides a treasure trove of holiday experiences behind its world-famous beaches. From secret viewpoints with stunning vistas that make the climb worthwhile to bustling markets of fresh seafood at rock-bottom prices, and hidden gems in the old town – Thailand’s largest island offers a feast of discoveries.

The Hidden Rock Ponds of Kamala

These geological gems on Phuket’s west coast have somehow managed to remain under the tourism radar. Like natural swimming pools or jacuzzies, the coastal rock pools offer a perfect spot to swim or lounge while soaking up the sunshine and crystal-clear views of the Andaman coast. Pools of different shapes and sizes appear among the boulders as the tide recedes, creating a gorgeous natural tapestry of turquoise sea and coffee-coloured rocks. 

However, the path to the Rock Ponds is rough and includes a short climb down to the shore. So, time your visit for low tide and be prepared to scramble for your reward.

GETTING THERE: Layi-Nakalay Road, Kamala Subdistrict, Kathu District.
SEARCH GOOGLE MAPS FOR “The Hidden Rock Ponds” or use GPS coordinates 7°56’32.6”N 98°15’45.1”E.
WALKING TIME: 20-30 minutes (outbound only)

Breathtaking Views of Laem Krathing

Your camera and a pair of strong sneakers are the main items you’ll need for an expedition to Laem Krathing on the southern tip of Phuket. Although Krathing in Thai means bull, this grassy cape rising from the ocean is strictly cattle-free. What will make your heart pound though is the jaw-dropping scenery reminiscent of a romantic movie, as a riot of yellow, green, orange, and brown clashes with the glittering blue Andaman Sea. 

Nature’s version of an IMAX cinema, the scene is so mesmerising that you may find yourself asking: “Am I dreaming?”

GETTING THERE: Parking is available at Baan Krathing Resort, next to the beaches of Ao Sane and Nai Harn, southwest of Phuket. Take a right along the beach and climb the path at the end to Laem Krathing for panoramic views of the Andaman Sea as far as the eye can see.
GPS: 7.775897, 98.288499
WALKING TIME: 30-40 minutes (outbound only)

Rawai Beach Seafood Market for Boat-Fresh Bargains

Rawai Beach Seafood Market offers enticing proof of Phuket’s reputation for seafood that’s both excellent and cheap. Also alluring is the beach itself, a white-sand oasis for sunbathers that’s lapped by shallow, safe waters for swimmers. Overlooking the beach are various accommodation options as well as seafood restaurants.

Situated next to Rawai Pier, market stalls lining the beach offer the boat-fresh catch of the day from 10.30am until 9pm. Everything from shrimp, shellfish, and crabs to fish and giant cockles is available at friendly prices. And if your stomach is rumbling, just select your favourite ingredients and one of the market eateries will cook them up according to your instructions – boiled, fried, grilled, curried, poached or steamed. Each restaurant charges a cooking fee based on the dish and weight of your seafood selection.

After a satisfying meal, you can digest the food along with the environment itr came from by strolling through the local fishing community of Rawai. If you find yourself here in the evening, don’t miss the opportunity to visit nearby Laem Phromthep, a legendary sunset viewpoint on Phuket.

GETTING THERE: Located 17 kilometres from Phuket town. The route from Chalong Intersection to Rawai Beach along Highway 4024 is one of the most beautiful roads in Phuket.
LOCATION: Near Rawai Pier on the southern side of Phuket.

The Secret of Hokkien Egg Noodles

Slurp from a steaming bowl of Hokkien egg noodles and you also reveal the roots of Phuket’s residents.

Phuket people are descended from the Hokkien Chinese, whose recipes and cooking methods have been blended with local ingredients such as bok choy, pork, and seafood to create a unique cuisine.

Hokkien noodles are a daily meal here and each household has its own recipe and secret methods. Therefore, the noodles sold in each restaurant have a different taste. Diners also have a choice: Chinese-style noodles, yellow egg noodles, clear vermicelli or rice vermicelli, or sheet noodles.

CONTACT: Learn more about the history and tips for cooking Hokkien noodles by contacting the Old Phuket Town Community. They can arrange a cooking demonstration showcasing noodles and other local foods. Visit

Tai Zua An, Phuket’s Last Surviving Blacksmith

Blacksmiths played a crucial role during the heyday of Phuket’s tin-mining industry when locals needed durable equipment to dig ore out of the soul. Over a century ago, there were around 20 blacksmith workshops on Dibuk Road. Nowadays, only Tai Zun An remains as a landmark of the island’s industrial heritage.

Here, 70-year-old blacksmith Manun Lohlohakarn or “Uncle Po” still preserves the ancient tradition of hand forging. Making an iron tool is a time-consuming process that requires lots of energy. Bellows are used to raise the charcoal’s temperature to over 1,000 degrees centigrade, needed to soften the metal so it can be shaped.

Uncle Po once forged equipment for the mines but now makes agricultural tools such as shovels, knives, machetes, axes, and crowbars, as well as made-to-order products under the brand “Dab” (“sword” in Thai).

If you want to experience working at a hot blacksmith furnace and the strength required to forge metal, you can stop by and help Uncle Po at work or support him by buying his quality steel tools.

LOCATION: No.2 Dibuk Road, Mueang District, Phuket
CONTACT: Group visits can be arranged via the Old Phuket Town Community at

From Legendary Watch Shop to Woo Gallery

Before becoming the gallery-cum-boutique hotel called Woo, this impressive Sino-Portuguese shophouse in Phuket’s old town was Moh Seng & Co, famous for selling imported watches and household utensils up until just after WWII. In 2017, Padet Wuttichan, a third-generation heir of the owners, spent over 10 million baht to renovate the dilapidated old house and add a new building at the back as a boutique hotel. The gallery now displays a vast collection of antiques showcasing the way of life of Phuket people over the past century.

The invaluable heirlooms on display include an iron bed with flower-printed bedposts, ornately carved wood furniture, beaded shoes embroidered by the bride to wear at her wedding, colourful tube skirts, as well as enamelled boxes from Japan, Sweden, and Czechoslovakia, Chinese porcelain cups, and radios, clocks, and antique sweing machines that Moh Seng & Co used to import for sale.

LOCATION: No.78 Thalang Road, Muang District, Phuket
CONTACT: +66 (0) 81 691 3501,
GALLERY: Open daily from 10am-5pm. Admission is 200 baht for foreigners, 100 baht for Thais, and 50 baht for students.


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