As befits an island resort, the main attractions on Phuket are its many beaches. However, there are a few other things to see away from the sand and surf. Here are a few ideas
Phang Nga Bay
Broad view of Phang Nga bay.
This bay near Phuket, with its fantastical scenery, is a popular spot with tourists. It used to be that the only way to see it was on a tour boat from Phang Nga city, although you could take a boat from a small fishing village near Phuket for a more "personal" tour by the people who lived and worked in the bay. You would still see the infamous "James Bond Island" but the fishermen know at least a dozen more truly beautiful and unique spots.
A sea canoe glides through the mangroves.
The best way to see Phang Nga bay, in my opinion, is the "sea canoe" tours. There are several companies now offering these tours. They depart from Phuket, saving the long drive up to Phang Nga town. You ride on a large boat up into the bay. At selected places, the boat stops and you get off the big boat onto the sea canoes, two tourists and one guide to each canoe. The guide does all the work. You just have to keep your camera dry.
The sea canoe tours allow you to see things you can't see from the big tour boats, such as the mangrove forests (above) and the many caves hollowed out in the islands. The center of many islands have collapsed, leaving small lakes open to the sky and fantastic formations of rock. These are usually only reachable through small caves opening into the sea. Some of these can only be entered when the tide is low. Its definitely not an adventure for the claustrophobic!
Phang Nga is one of the most unique spots on earth. The landscape is only matched by two or three other places in the world. With the innovation of the sea canoe tours, you can see Phang Nga in a whole new way.
Phang Nga Bay is really a "must see" sight. There are very few places in the world with a landscape like Phang Nga. See the list of Phang Nga Bay tours that you can book in advance for options.
Before it became an international resort destination, the people of Phuket made their money from tin. When tin mining first began to boom in the nineteenth century, those at the top built many large mansions and shops in a blend of Chinese and Portuguese styles, in what is now known as Phuket's Old Town. Some fine examples still exist and many have been restored in recent years. You can see good examples, some open to the public, on Dibuk, Phang-Nga, Yaowarat, Thalang and Krabi streets.
It could well be the ultimate tourist trap, but the "cultural playground" of Phuket Fantasea is slick and generally well performed. You can book Phuket Fantasea tickets in advance if you really want to see the show.