Thailand’s largest island is a natural paradise, with long stretches of white sand beaches, warm turquoise water and untouched forests. You’ll also find luxury hotels, world-class restaurants, ramshackle markets and crowded dance clubs to explore. It’s a diverse culture where orange-robed monks cross the street beside well-heeled businessmen. The local saying “mai pen rai”, meaning “no worries”, sums up just about every facet of life.
Phuket, just 30 miles (48 kilometers) long and 13 miles (21 kilometers) wide, is nestled in the Andaman Sea off Thailand’s southern Indian Ocean coastline. The western shoreline is the island’s center of activity. Here you’ll find a variety of beaches and villages, from the neon lights and dance clubs of Patong Beach to the quieter, family-friendly Kamala Beach.
Active travelers can fill their days with water sports: swim, snorkel or dive;, jet-ski, parasail or surf. Hike along the coast, or explore deserted islands only accessible by boat or kayak. At Ao Phang Nga National Park, hire a private boat or join a paid tour to cruise around the stunning limestone formations rising from the water. The most famous of these cluster of islands is Ko Phing Kan, sometimes known as "James Bond Island" because it appeared in the 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun. The Phi Phi Islands were used as the set for the 2000 film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Sometimes the best thing to do in Phuket is to stretch out in a hammock and relax. Escape to hidden bays such as Laem Singh or Kata Noi for peace and quiet, or indulge in a waterside massage at shacks dotted along any one of the island’s beaches. Find tranquility beneath the Big Buddha, or at the Nai Harn Beach Samnak Song Buddhist monastery. In the late afternoon, head to Promthep Cape for an uninterrupted view of the setting sun.
Tuk-tuk, taxi or hired bicycle are the easiest ways to navigate the island. Drive a car and you will have to battle it out for limited parking spaces during the high tourist season.
Phuket is hot and humid year-round. The high season is during the cooler months, November though May. The wet season is May through October.
Situated near the beach in Karon, this luxury hotel is close to Karon Market, Karon Temple, and Karon Beach. Local attractions also include Patong Beach and Big Buddha.
This family-friendly hotel is located by the sea, close to Tsunami Memorial, Phuket Fantasea, and Hua Beach. Local attractions also include Kamala Beach and Kalim Beach.
Situated by the sea, this luxury resort is close to Jungceylon Shopping Center, Bangla Road, and Patong Beach. Area attractions also include Karon Beach and Chalong Temple.
This family-friendly Patong resort is located by the sea, just steps from Bangla Road and Royal Paradise Night Market.
This Patong resort is set on the beach a short distance from Simon Cabaret, Patong Beach, and Bangla Road. Also nearby are Tri Trang Beach and Jungceylon Shopping Center.
Located in the heart of Patong, this spa resort is near the beach and within walking distance of Royal Paradise Night Market and Bangla Road. Also nearby are Jungceylon Shopping Center and Banzaan Fresh Market.
Situated near the beach in Kamala, this luxury resort is close to Hua Beach, Phuket Fantasea, and Tsunami Memorial. Local attractions also include Kamala Beach and Surin Beach.
This Patong resort is located by the sea, nestled on the beach a short distance from Kalim Beach, Patong Beach, and Bangla Road. Also nearby are Royal Paradise Night Market and Jungceylon Shopping Center.