Phuket, also known as the Pearl of the Andaman Sea, is a wonderful travel destination for anyone looking for sunny weather, pristine beaches, tasty food and spectacular architecture. It’s an ideal base to explore places such as Phang Nga Bay, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, the Similan and Surin islands, and in general soak up the famous island-vibe that Southern Thailand has to offer. But perhaps the most overlooked aspect of Phuket are the photo-ops.
There are several magnificent temples dotted around the province that are a joy to capture, and the Old Town is bursting with incredible Sino-Portuguese architecture and street art that makes it a photographer’s dream. Travelers can stroll down Thalang Road with their camera or iPhone in hand and snap colorful images of the charming shophouses and vibrant murals. Phuket’s Sunday Market held down the same road is when the crowds reach their zenith, with endless street food and live music to enjoy.
Whether you are a casual or professional photographer, you won’t be able to stop taking photos here! For those interested in visiting the region’s best locations and learning about the art of photography, you have the opportunity of booking tours with an inspiring new company called Phuket Photography Tours. The tours have a max group size of six and a portion of the tour profit goes back to the local community, supporting charitable causes and organizations that are close to Kolin’s heart.
Kolin Friske launched the business this year to provide visitors to Phuket with personalized and immersive photography learning experiences. Prior to 2023, Kolin spent the best part of two decades traveling the world and documenting everything around him. He has been to all seven continents and over 50 countries – enhancing his culture and landscape photography skills along the way. It has been quite the journey to get where he is today, and he couldn’t have done it without the support of his family and staff.
Overview of Phuket Photography Tours
Originally from Canada, Kolin and his wife Jen (and their two cats) moved to Phuket when Jen secured a job at an international school. Kolin was determined to start his tours but the pandemic interrupted those plans. Instead of waiting for the restrictions to end, Kolin used his time wisely to scout the most photogenic spots in all of Phuket while the region was free of tourists. Then in January of 2023 the time was right for him to launch the business, as the country was ready to accept visitors again.
Kolin and his small team – made up of passionate and knowledgeable staff – take visitors to the best hidden gems of Phuket, sharing their expertise in all things photography in the process. As the lead instructor, Kolin is known for his kind and patient manner – ensuring guests feel comfortable on each experience. Another tour guide leader, Khun Riskee Chongrak, hails from the nearby province of Krabi and is well versed in Phuket’s attractions because he used to work with a sea canoe operation in Phang Nga Bay.
Khun Katy Rassuner is the General Manager and comes from the southern province of Phatthalung. With a background in hotels, restaurants, tourism and airlines, Katy is the perfect person to plan every detail of your Phuket adventure. Together, this team is dedicated to helping guests immerse themselves in the Thai way of life and guiding them through the techniques that create stunning images. The small group sizes allow travelers to get hands-on photography training and make new friends at the same time. The tours are truly some of the best in the Phuket area!
Three options are available with Phuket Photography Tours: Andaman Sunrise – Landscape Photography, On Sacred Ground – Travel Photography, and Phuket Culture – Street Photography. Each one is distinct in that it covers a specific photography genre but all of them are open to all skill levels – so you don’t need to be an expert to join in on the fun. Even if you are just starting out as a photographer or want to showcase better content on your Instagram feed, these tours provide the education you need to excel. And what better place in the world to practice shooting than Phuket!
Best Photography Day Tours in Phuket
1. Andaman Sunrise – Landscape Photography
The Andaman Sunrise landscape photography tour takes you to Phang Nga Bay at the crack of dawn. In addition to capturing a once-in-a-lifetime sunrise you will also be visiting a secluded island and lagoon, and sampling delicious Thai food. The trip leaves from Phuket early in the morning to ensure you can witness the sun rising majestically over the limestone cliffs and mangrove forests that characterize Phang Nga. Aboard a traditional long-tail boat, the next stop is a sandbar/small island located in the bay where you have the chance to climb up to a phenomenal viewpoint.
Even if you don’t want to attempt the climb, the enchanting scenery on shore will keep you entertained while the others check out the viewpoint. Afterwards, the tour continues to a local restaurant for breakfast on the palm tree island of Koh Yao Noi at 9:30 am. Subsequently, you jump back on the boat to search for more photo-ops that appear on the ride through the bay. At 12:30 pm, the tour concludes and you make your way back to Phuket. The cherry on top is sharing a drink with the group and exchanging photos before being dropped back to your hotel in Phuket.
2. On Sacred Ground – Travel Photography
The On Sacred Ground temple photography tour is all about the revered sites of the Big Buddha, Wat Chaithararam (Wat Chalong), and Guan Au (Nabon) Shrine. You will learn the differences between Buddhism and Taoism, while documenting the temples with the support of photography guides beside you. The early morning wake up call is crucial in order to avoid the crowds. The Big Buddha is an icon of Phuket because it towers over the city at a height of 45 meters and is open for visitors to walk around inside to see monks chanting – which elevates the entire experience!
Wat Chalong is the next temple on the itinerary and it’s no less remarkable than the Big Buddha. The details of this building are impressive to behold and even more impressive to photograph. The guides bring out your creative side as you capture portraits that encapsulate the religious atmosphere of the site. After building up an appetite from visiting two temples, you head to a restaurant to enjoy a nice meal. Capping off the tour is Guan Au (Nabon) Shrine – another holy place but distinguished by its Chinese dragon and lion structures. Hotel drop-off is then at 12:30 pm.
3. Phuket Culture – Street Photography
The Old Town, and its surrounding streets, is the central hub of culture and local life in Phuket. An array of heritage houses, artisan shops, art galleries, markets, restaurants and bars are situated here. The vibe is authentic and a world away from the touristy scenes of Patong Beach, which is great news for travelers who want to converse with the local residents. This cultural experience with Phuket Photography Tours focuses on documentary storytelling and uncovering the people that make this city tick.
Another feature of the tour is tantalizing your taste buds. Ask any Thai person where the best food in Thailand can be found and chances are Phuket will be high on their list. There are many locally-loved eateries in the Old Town that tourists don’t go to (which is a good sign). Of course, photography tips and tricks will be shared with you to ensure you leave a little more confident with the camera in hand. No other tour in Phuket combines culture and photography in this way, so book your spot today!
The Future of Phuket Photography Tours
The future is an exciting one for Phuket Photography Tours. Kolin and the team will be running workshops starting in August this year. The workshops offer a complete photographic experience in various destinations throughout Thailand – immersing guests in the world of photography for up to 10 days as they learn new techniques, capture outstanding photos and create lifelong memories with other participants.
No matter which experience you choose, be it a day tour or a multi-day workshop, you will also be able to give back to the local community while you travel through Thailand. Phuket Photography Tours has partnered with the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Seeds of Change, Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation and Bodhi Dog Shelter. Guests are encouraged to visit these organizations and support their efforts. Doing good while you travel has never been this easy! Thanks for reading and be sure to follow Phuket Photography Tours on their social media channels below.