Hiking in Phuket is not impossible, but it is a bit tricky. One of the main problems is that Phuket itself is too developed, leaving little greenery to explore during a hike. Another problem is the heat –Afternoon temperatures in Phuket can easily reach into the high 90s, no matter what month you choose to visit. The only two ways around this are to start very early in the morning, as soon as the sun comes out, or to go hiking during the rainy season –You’ll get soaked, but at least you’ll have overcast skies and some breeze.
If you’re expecting hiking trails among green jungle paths, Phuket will disappoint. However, thinking outside of the box can get you into some interesting hikes. The hills don’t have “official” hiking trails, but they do have old trails that were once used by rubber plantation workers. It might take you a few tries to find the first trail, but once you do, the trails connect and spread all over the hills.
An easy option is to hike up Radar Hill, which offers the highest viewpoint over Phuket town. This is another unofficial hiking spot, as the roads were actually built to reach the weather station on top of the hill and not for hikers. Don’t let that discourage you –The trip up, although steep, is quite enjoyable. Rather than cutting through jungle, the roads take you up through small villages, temples and lots of local color. You can’t reach the top of the hill on this hike, though. As you keep going up, you’ll eventually hit the gates of the weather station, which is run by the local military.That’s the end of your journey and your clue to turn around.
If you want something a bit more natural and off-road, the Ton Sae waterfall and the Bang Pae waterfall are both surrounded by a nature reserve. In both places, you can hike around the reserve and up the hills to reach the top of the waterfalls. There aren’t any roads or trails here, so you can make your own path among the trees. The hike up Ton Sae waterfall can be strenuous at times and it can get slippery during rainy days, so good hiking shoes are a must. The best feature of this hike is the many small swimming holes along the way, where you can take a break and enjoy the cool water before continuing on your hike.