Best Hiking in Phuket: 9 Can't-Miss Phuket Hiking Trails

Best Hiking in Phuket: 11 Can’t-Miss Phuket Hiking Trails

Written By: author image Kyle Cash
author image Kyle Cash
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.

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Everyone knows the beaches of Phuket, but what about the hiking trails in Phuket? This list gives you the best hiking in Phuket for all nature lovers.

Hiking is a great way to see the natural beauty of Phuket. 

Most people just skip over it on a visit to this beautiful island. But you’re not one of them! And you’re in luck. There are many different hiking trails to choose from, each with its unique scenery and views.

This post will show you the 11 best hiking trails in Phuket.

And don’t worry. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail for you!

Note: Land development frequently happens in Phuket. These trails are subject to change or disappear entirely at any time. Keep this in mind.

11 best hiking trails in Phuket

A quick map for hiking in Phuket: a Phuket Hiking Trails Map

You’ll notice this map only has nine points. That’s because I wanted to highlight the main hikes on the island. The last two can be found north of the island.

1. Karon Foothills-Big Buddha

Big Buddha

How can you not start with hiking Big Buddha in Phuket?

Most people opt for the start at Kata Beach to Big Buddha. However, when I visited Phuket (then stayed for three years in total), I tried the Karon-Big Buddha hike and thought it was equally great!

The hike features a steep dirt trail you’ll follow through the jungle foliage.

Be sure to bring plenty of water with you as there aren’t many stops or shops along the walking trail. You’ll possibly see dogs along the route, too. Handle these cautiously, as they’ll do two things: run away immediately or get aggressive.

Usually, picking up a stick or rock is enough to scare them off. But be careful nonetheless.

Finally, you arrive at the beautiful Big Buddha. If you plan on visiting, wear conservative clothing, or you may not be allowed in. Cover your shoulders, mid-body, and legs, and you’ll be good.

Once you’re done with Big Buddha, it’s back down (via another route) to where you started.

So, let’s dive into some specifics before telling you how to do it.

Karon-Big Buddha details

  • Distance: 5 miles (8 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 1300 feet (400m)
  • Route type: Loop
  • Time: Around 2-3 hours

Where to start the Karon-Big Buddha hike

Karon Beach is on the western part of the island.

Follow Patak Road until you find Soi 14. This is where it starts.

You can find the entire loop below on AllTrails:

2. Manik Mining Trail

Sunrise on the Manik Mining Trail

I wrote about this trail briefly when I described the best viewpoints in Phuket (because that’s what awaits you at the top.)

But you won’t find this on ANY other list.

That’s because I’m one of the only people to write about how to do the Manik Trail and even recorded the entire thing for you! I don’t say that to brag. I’m amazed more people haven’t covered this trail!

But that’s why I’m here to share it with you.

This trail is excellent for families, solo hikers, or runners looking for a workout.

The first six miles will be a gradual uphill to the top, where you get a gorgeous view of the northern part of Phuket on one side and Kathu on the other.It’s the perfect place for a picnic to enjoy one of the beautiful Phuket days. You’ll see the occasional dog on this trail, but they’re generally not aggressive. Other than that, simply enjoy the trail!

So if you’ need something non-touristy to do in Phuket, this is a good choice.

Manik Mining Trail details

  • Distance: 7 miles (12 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 1500 feet (480m)
  • Route type: Out-and-back
  • Time: Around 3 hours

Where to start the Manik Mining Trail hike

Manik Dam is in the island’s northern part near the Cherng Talay/Bang Tao area.

On the eastern side of the dam is a dirt road that splits off from the main road. It starts here.

You can see the full details on AllTrails below:

3. Kathu Waterfall Loop

Kathu Waterfall

The previous two options may be too long for you.

If you want an easy hike (with a refreshing dip at the end) and also near Phuket Town, then the Kathu Waterfall is perfect for you. It’s also one of the most tranquil sites on the island if you want to escape the honking and madness of Phuket’s roads.

Just over a mile in length, it does have a bit of climbing to get to the waterfall. But you’re rewarded with a lovely little rainforest oasis once you arrive. Feel free to jump in or cool off by the side.

You’ll be joined by local Thai families and other tourists, as this is a one of the best areas in Phuket.

Just be aware of when you visit. The rainy season will determine the level of the water here.

Kathu Waterfall Loop details

  • Distance: 1 mile (1.8 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 600 feet (180m)
  • Route type: Loop
  • Time: Around 1 hour

Where to start the Kathu Waterfall Loop

In Kathu, head toward the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Phuket and turn on to Soi Nam Tok Kathu.

Follow this road to the end, and you’ll arrive at some parking spots and a small Jungle Cafe restaurant.

You can find the exact map and starting point on AllTrails below:

4. Black Rock Thai

View from Black Rock Viewpoint

Looking for a challenging workout with a breathtaking view? 

Then look no further than the Black Rock Phuket on the southwest side of the island! This hike will take you on some jungle trekking as you climb steeply to the summit of Black Rock, which will reward you with one of the most beautiful panoramic views on the island. 

Nai Harn Beach (one of Phuket’s best beaches) sits below, with Windmill Viewpoint in the distance. It’s a great place to spread a blanket and enjoy a relaxing picnic. 

But be warned, it’s not for everyone. 

It’s a tough climb, but it’s worth it. So, if you’re up for the challenge, put on your hiking boots and prepare for an adventure.

Black Rock Thai details

  • Distance: 5 miles (7.8 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 1400 feet (420m)
  • Route type: Loop
  • Time: Around 2-3 hours

Where to start the Black Rock Thai Hike

Head to Nai Harn Beach and follow the road on the left side of Nai Harn Lake. 

When the road meets with another road that cuts right, you’ll go left up a path that begins to rise and proceeds past some rubber tree farms.

You can find the hike on AllTrails below:

5. Nai Yang Hills

A trail runs through the Nai Yang Hills

The Nai Yang Hills trail is very rarely visited.

While living in Phuket, I saw a handful of people on the trail (local or foreign).

But it’s a beautiful trail in the northern part of Phuket that connects to many trails throughout the hill. If you want to make this longer or shorter, it’s easy to do so, and you could spend hours exploring the area.

A nice relaxing jungle loop if you’re looking for one.

Nai Yang Hills details

  • Distance: 4 miles (7 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 870 feet (265m)
  • Route type: Loop
  • Time: Around 2-2.5 hours

Where to start the Nai Yang Hills Hike

The easiest way to reach the Nai Yang Hills is following route 402 up the middle of Phuket. 

Then, you can turn off to 4031 or the following left turn to go to the start.

You can find the whole loop on AllTrails here:

6. Bang Pae Waterfall to Tonsai Waterfall

The author stands in front of the Bang Pae waterfall

Looking for a nice day with a side of potentially dangerous monkeys?

Then head on down to the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park!

This hike takes you to two beautiful waterfalls — Bang Pae and Tonsai. How about a swim at the beginning and end of your hike?

Be warned, though. Some gibbons live in the forest and are protected by the park. Some reports have said they can get aggressive. 

So, keep your eyes peeled and be prepared if you do this.

Bang Pae to Tonsai Waterfall details

  • Distance: 2.5 miles (4 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet (150m)
  • Route type: One-way
  • Time: Around 1.5 hours

Where to start the Bang Pae to Tonsai Waterfall Hike

To start, go to Bang Pae Waterfall, located inside Khao Phra Thaeo National Park.

There is a fee to enter the park, around $6, at the time of this writing.

You can find it on AllTrails below:

7. Kalim Viewpoint

Kalim Viewpoint

Another challenging one that’s well worth it.

This trail starts in the southern part of Kamala and rises through the jungles until you pop out at Kalim Viewpoint. You’ll get beautiful views of the sea. If you look closely, you’ll notice the viewpoint is located in the northeast mountain from Patong Beach. So, you can see Patong and Tri-Trang Beach from the viewpoint.

If you need some refreshing, there’s a small house where an older man and his daughter (usually) sell drinks and smoothies.

When you’re ready to head back down, just retrace your steps.

There’s also the option of doing the Kalim Viewpoint via Hanuman Loop, but that’s up to you.

Kalim Viewpoint details

  • Distance: 4.5 miles (7.5 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 1200 feet (377m)
  • Route type: Out-and-back
  • Time: Around 2.5-3 hours

Where to start the Kalim Viewpoint hike

The starting point isn’t particularly obvious. So you may have to do some searching to find it.

You can find the Kalim Viewpoint hike on AllTrails below:

8. Layan Loop

A trail runs through the Layan area in Phuket

The Layan Loop was the first trail I ever visited in Phuket.

And I fell in love instantly, and I think you will, too.

The trail is mainly for the use of the local rubber farmers in the area. But they don’t mind the visitors.

So you’ll pass many of them as you wind around small lakes and cows grazing in fields with a bit of downhill trails. If you get lost, just ask, and a rubber tree farmer will point you in the right direction.

It’s a perfect stroll for families or solo hikers looking for an alternative to the beach.

Although, if you want the beach right after, it’s a short drive away and makes for a rewarding dip at Nai Thon and Bang Tao Beach.

Layan Loop details

  • Distance: 5 miles (8.5 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 600 feet (187m)
  • Route type: Loop
  • Time: Around 2-2.5 hours

Where to start the Layan Loop Hike

To start the Layan Loop, head to the Layan Police Station on the way to Nai Thon.

You can find it on AllTrails below:

9. Bang Wad Dam

A view of Patong from the Bang Wad Dam Hike

There are multiple hiking options when you’re in the Bang Wad area.

And they’re all pretty similar in terms of scenery. The only difference is how far you’d like to go.

If you feel like you want some “Phuket mountain hiking,” follow one of the trails up to Radar Hill to add some elevation gain.

So, below, I’ll list the most popular options in the Bang Wad Dam area:

So, as you can see, you’ve got some options. But be prepared for elevation. Almost every trail in the area will have a decent amount of elevation gain.

Bang Wad Dam details

  • Distance: 2-5 miles (3-8 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 650-1600 feet (200-500m)
  • Route type: Loop
  • Time: Depends on the trail

10. Samet Nangshe Viewpoint Hike

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint

The Samet Nangshe Viewpoint Hike is a great way to see some of the best views in the area.

The hike is not too difficult, but it requires a bit of stamina to make it to the top. Once you reach the top, the views are more than worth it. You can see over the limestone islets of Phang Nga Bay for miles. The islets look magical, especially during sunrise. So, either stay the night or get up early to make sure you catch it.

The sunrise over the bay is an amazing sight and one you’ll definitely be posting on Instagram later.

Samet Nangshe Viewpoint details

  • Distance: 1 mile (1.8 kilometers)
  • Elevation gain: 440 feet (134m)
  • Route type: Out-and-back
  • Time: Around 1 hour

Where to start the Samet Nangshe Viewpoint Hike

The easiest way to find the trailhead is to plug in “Samet Nangshe Viewpoint” into your directions and have it direct you there.

Because it’s not a super popular spot (yet), it’s not as easy to reach.

You can find it on AllTrails below:

11. Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park Trails

Khao Sok National Park’s hiking is some of the best in the southwest of Thailand.

And, you’ll leave the jungle of Phuket to one of the most diverse jungles outside of Phuket.

The park offers tons of trails that are great for all experience levels. The trails wind through the jungle and around Cheow Lan Lake.

If you want to go deeper into the jungle, it’s best to hire a guide to lead you through the jungle. Attempting to navigate these on your own could land you in trouble — whether with the authorities or wildlife. But if you want some of the best trails in Thailand, Khao Sok has you covered.

Originally, this area of Thailand had a bad reputation until the government took control of the area and became a trail haven.

There’s a ranger station in Khao Sok if you want more information on trails or to hire a guide.

You can find all the trails listed on AllTrails below:

What hikes in Phuket, Thailand, do you think are the best?

The hiking/running scene in Phuket is incredible, and you don’t realize it until you finally learn the trail system.

So, with this list of best hikes in Phuket, nature lovers can rejoice as they dance around the jungles of Phuket.

If you’re not confident in going, there are plenty of hiking tours around Phuket Island to take advantage of.

Bookmark this blog because I’ll have more of the best hiking in Thailand and Phuket.

Also, check out what makes Phuket worth visiting so you can find other things to do while you’re there.

author avatar
Kyle Cash Owner
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.