Day 1: Relax at the Beach Beaches are what Phuket does best and there are many to choose from. You can't go wrong really, though my favourites are Nai Yang Beach and Surin Beach. These beaches are low key yet they retain an element of the tourist infrastructure that makes life at the beach in Phuket comfortable - there are umbrellas and loungers, massage parlours, beauty salons, bars, restaurants, and trinket stores, but not too many.
When: When the sun shines Where: On the west coast of Phuket Cost: Around 200 THB for an umbrella, two loungers, and a small table
Day 2: Visit Wat Chalong Wat Chalong is the most important of the Buddhist temples in Phuket. It's popular with locals and tourists alike, and for good reason. The temple is simply stunning. It has an interesting history, and it's the location of various cultural and spiritual festivals that are celebrated throughout the year. Visit early or late to avoid the crowds.
When: 7am - 5pm, daily Where: Between Phuket Town and Chalong, off Chao Fa Road
Day 3: Tour Phang Nga Bay Phang Nga Bay is breathtaking. Everywhere you look, limestone karst formations project themselves vertically out of the chameleonic coloured water, emerald green one moment, ice blue the next. You won't read words that capture the beauty of this bay. It's not a secret though. Each day hundreds of boats speed thousands of tourists around the sights. The main sight is James Bond Island, not the island's real name of course, but a reference to its appearance in the James Bond movie - The Man with the Golden Gun - starring Roger Moore. The best way to see Phang Nga Bay is to charter your own boat. Get away early or stay out late to avoid the masses.
When: When the sun shines
Where: Phang Nga Bay is off the east coast of Phuket
Cost: Varies - starting at around 1,800 THB to charter your own longtail boat for a few hours, or around 1,900 THB to join a full-day group tour which includes sea canoeing
Day 4: Explore Old Phuket Town
The day after you tour Phang Nga Bay you won't want to see another tourist. Trust me. Other than staying in your resort room with the curtains drawn, your best bet is to head to Old Phuket Town to wander around and immerse yourself in the history and culture of the "real" Phuket. You'll get some of the best photos of your trip (remember to take your camera) and you'll eat some of the best food (find a venue that is popular with the locals).
Where: Old Phuket Town consists of a few blocks in the center of Phuket Town, around Thalang Road
Cost: Wandering is free
Day 5: Visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
Skip the Zoo, the monkey shows, and the elephant rides, instead head to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (GRP) in the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. The GRP has been working for over 20 years to end the illegal use of gibbons as tourist attractions and as pets, and to rehabilitate gibbons back to their natural habitat. Even if you don't visit the GRP, you can do your bit: If you see someone taking a gibbon around Phuket as a tourist attraction, then please report the incident to the GRP (details on their website). Other animal-based attractions on the island that are worthy of a visit are the Phuket Aquarium and the Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World.
When: 9am - 4.30pm, daily
Where: Khao Phra Thaeo National Park in the north east of Phuket
Cost: Free to visit the GRP, but you'll have to pay a fee to enter the National Park - 200 THB (adults) 100 THB (children); the GRP doesn't receive any of this fee, so anything more you can donate to them is very much appreciated
Day 6: Day Trip to an Island
There are hundreds of islands within day tripping distance of Phuket. The Phi Phi islands and the Racha islands are the big names. These island groups are stunning, but they are incredibly, ridiculously, and insanely busy. Though don't be disheartened, it is possible to find an island to enjoy in private - charter your own boat and get away early.
When: When the sun shines
Where: Within 20 nautical miles of Phuket in pretty much any direction
Cost: Varies - starting at around 1,800 THB to charter your own longtail boat for a few hours, or around 1,000 - 3,000 THB to join a group tour
Get away early to enjoy Khai Island before the hordes arrive
Day 7: Work your Body
End your holiday on a high by learning a bit of Muay Thai boxing or by taking a yoga class. Perhaps you'll be inspired and sign-up to a Muay Thai boxing retreat like this for your next holiday.
Where: There's an increasing number of yoga studios and Thai Boxing gyms on the island. This is one in the south of Phuket.
Cost: Varies - single classes start at around 350 THB (yoga) and 300 THB (Muay Thai)
For an even more unforgettable holiday:
-Follow this itinerary for seven saucy nights in Phuket.
-Time your visit to coincide with the annual Songkran Festival.