The availability and accessibility of sporting activities is on Phuket Island is sort of a hit and miss affair. At first glance, there appears to be a fair amount of opportunity but when one looks harder, things look different.
Much of the sporting activity which seems available is available only through the better hotels, or requires a considerable amount of money to do. It is aimed at middle and upper end tourists. There are however, some opportunities available, so the situation is sort of a "glass half full – glass half empty" situation. One can interpret it in different ways.
The most accessible activities on Phuket Island are, of course, water sports.
Swimming in the ocean is free but there are no public swimming pools on Phuket Island so one can't practice or do competitive swimming unless one stays at a hotel or joins a sports club.
Jet skiing is offered at most beaches although it is expensive – around 1,500 baht for a half hour. In any event, the cost of this activity precludes people from doing it often.
Wind surfing is offered at eight facilities on Phuket Island, with Patong Beach having the most. Wind surfing is seasonal, however. It is generally not done from mid May through October.
Surfing can be done at many locations on Phuket Island in June through October. There a competition held at Kata Beach every year, the Phuket Quicksilver Surfing Contest.
Scuba Diving is offered through over 50 dive shops on the island. Most diving opportunities are day trip dives to locations near Phuket Island and these dives typically cost from 2,000 to 4,000 baht per diving trip. Those who wish to dive must be certified. More on Scuba Diving in Phuket
Snorkeling is doable at several Phuket Island beaches and at locations near Phuket Island. Expenses involved are relatively small. Certification is not necessary.
Yachting and boating are water activities (sort of) but, obviously, one can't do these activities without a boat or yacht, and these are quite expensive. It is possible to rent yachts but most owners are reluctant to rent out something so expensive. Several yacht marinas and harbors are located on Phuket. It is possible to participate in boating and yachting trips as passengers for relatively reasonable sums.
Beach Volleyball is done at Patong Beach, Karon Beach and Surin Beach on a semi-organized basis. It appears that all interested are welcome to participate, although it also appears that a certain degree of skill is expected. One can get more details by asking the participants in these activities.
"Country Club" sports are sports which in Western countries were traditionally found on country clubs but became popular among large groups of "ordinary" people. Golf and tennis are the two best examples of country club sports. On Phuket Island, golf facilities can only be found at the large upper end resorts – and there are seven or so of these - so they still are country club sports, sort of.
Actually, it is not necessary to have a membership to do these activities, and by Western standards, daily rates are relatively reasonable, so in theory almost anyone can enjoy these activities, at least occasionally! See more on Golf courses in Phuket.
Among these country club type resorts are Blue Canyon Country Club, Laguna Phuket Golf Club, the Loch Palm Club (and Red Mountain Golf Course), Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort and Spa, and Phuket Country Club and Thai Muang Country Club.
Tennis courts are easier to find than golf courses. Some nice hotels have them. There are some public tennis courts in Phuket town, at Saphin Hin, and on the corner of Surin Road and Damrang Road. See Phuket Sports & Tennis Club in Rawai
"Mass Appeal Sports" are sports like football, boxing and rugby. These are sports that many people like to watch and some, usually younger people, do.
Football (soccer) is by far the most popular and accessible mass sport on Phuket Island. Almost all bars have TV's which show an endless number of football games, and Phuket has a semiprofessional team that plays its home games at Surakul Stadium in Phuket town. There are also several organized football leagues in Phuket.
This football is serious business, at least to the people involved. These games are NOT intended for tourists or the casually interested. People also play "friendly" games of football on the beach and at various locations around the island and frequently all interested parties are welcome – just ask!!
Boxing or Muay Thai is also very popular on Phuket Island. There are three places one can regularly watch Muay Thai: Sala Thai Boxing Staduim, Bangla Boxing Staduim and Phuket Boxing Stadium. There are also several training schools and gyms on the island where Muay Thai fighters practice. Muay Thai is definitely NOT for everyone – a high level of fitness is required - but if one wants to do it, it is not difficult to find people to do it with.
In regard to rugby, Phuket has a professional or semiprofessional team, the Vagabonds, and has hosted international competitions over the years. There are not really many opportunities for those that like rugby to participate in competitions.
Horse riding is available at the Phuket Riding Club on Wislet Road between Chalong and Rawai. Rides are available through rubber plantations and along the beach.
Weight training and gym work is doable at many good hotels AND at a number of independent gyms across the island. Some of the independent gyms are concerned with beauty and physical fitness, others with Muay Thai. Many of the gyms at hotels offer memberships to nonguests and often these are good deals. It should not be difficult to find a gym with reasonable rates that is suitable for what one wants.
Squash courts are also available at higher end hotels and often these are useable by non-guests.