Phuket, the largest and best-known island in Thailand, is a dream tropical destination for everyone to discover. It is actually quite small: 48 km north to south, 21 km west to east, but is blessed with more than 40 sandy beaches, tropical islands, majestic landscapes and fantastic Thai food.
At this time, no international tourism is possible unless visitors agree to go through a 2 weeks quarantine in designated hotels. The beaches and other nearby islands are more beautiful than ever, but most popular beaches such as Patong, Kata, Karon and Kamala look desolated. The vast majority of hotels are closed, shops, restaurant start falling apart. Some other parts, such as Rawai and Bangtao beach, are doing betters. The old town is very busy with locals and visitors from Bangkok.
Note that most pages on our blog describe the island as it was before COVID-19. We will update it once travel resumes and places start to reopen. A lot of places will never reopen, but we are confident that life will come back soon.
The list of things to do in Phuket goes way beyond the beaches: Wat Chalong, the Big Buddha, Phang Nga Bay, James Bond island and the old streets of Phuket Town are just the most popular. The island is relatively small and easy to explore in a day or two, and most attractions are just a short tuk-tuk ride away. If this is not enough, speedboats and ferries will take you to the famous Phi Phi islands, Coral island and the superb Similan islands.
With more than 40 amazing beaches to enjoy, it is always surprising to hear people complaining that Phuket is crowded. Most beaches in the north are peaceful, and some hidden beaches are still secret. The most famous and the busiest beaches are in the southwest of the island: Patong beach, Kata beach and Karon beach can be bustling during the high season. So take the time to drive around and discover the beauty of Naithon, Nai Yang and Mai Khao beaches near the International airport.
The vast bay between Phuket and Krabi is home to hundreds of exotic islands. Phi Phi Island is, of course, the best known, but there are other gems such as Racha Island, Coral Island, Rang Yai and Koh Yao, to name a few. Island hopping is very easy to organise for an unforgettable day trip. On the west coast, the Similans are the most amazing islands you could dream of visiting.
If great food is essential to you when travelling, you certainly will have a blast here in Thailand. There is so much to enjoy everywhere you will go, from the cheapest street food to Michelin restaurants. You can enjoy a great Thai dish by the road for just 50 baht or have a fancy dinner with a sunset on a romantic terrace by the sea. Just remember that Thai food served in Patong is a lot toned down compared to what Thai cuisine usually tastes, but we listed many great local restaurants on this blog.
The shopping scene is vast, cheap and surprisingly fun. With so many street stalls, night markets and bazaars, anyone can find something to take back home. Most markets still sell cheap copies of famous brands, but some new ones are now more creative and original. The Naka Market and the Sunday Walking Street Market are the most talked about, but there are at least six more open on weekdays. Don’t forget to bargain hard! There are no less than three huge shopping malls to explore for a more sophisticated shopping experience: Jungceylon and Central in Patong Beach and Central Festival in Town.
Patong Beach nightlife has always been legendary, and indeed, it’s pretty unique and as fun and wild as you want it to be. However, while Patong and the famous Bangla Walking Street are still home to many beer bars and go-go bars, the island has a lot to offer to families and couples. There are many beach clubs, rooftop bars and international night clubs for everyone to enjoy, from sunset until the morning.
The island has a vast amount of hotels and accommodation of all kinds; it can be challenging to pick the right beach, then the right hotel. Of course, everyone dreams of a hotel right on the beach, close to everything, but those always come with a high price tag, but thankfully, there are exceptions. We help you choose the right beach for your holiday: Patong beach is known to be for the younger visitor; Kata, Karon and Kamala address families. Bangtao and Mai Khao beaches are a bit more upmarket, with many restaurants on the beach. Nai Yang and Naithon are for travellers who prefer to stay away from busy areas. Once you know where to stay, we share our experience about the hotels we personally tried and loved most.
This section is sharing helpful information to plan your trip: an extensive section dedicated to weather, what to expect and how to prepare for each month and each season. Read about what you should know before you visit, what to do and what not to do once here, mistakes to avoid. Where to exchange money at the best rates, how to go from the airport to your hotel and the many ways to explore and get around the island.
FAQs about Phuket Island
- ✳️ What are the most popular beaches to stay in Phuket?
- ✳️ What are the most popular beaches to spend the day?
- ✳️ What are the best snorkelling beaches?
- ✳️ What are the main attractions on the island?
- ✳️ What are the best islands to visit nearby?