Known as the ‘Pearl of the Andaman’, Phuket is still Thailand’s number one holiday destination despite the ravaging that its western beaches received during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is located just off the southwest coast of the mainland. It features many stunning beaches that mainly lie on the west coast of the island and has a superb tourist infrastructure. The main touristy beaches are Patong, best known for its nightlife, Kamala to the north, Karon to the south and Kata, south again.
Laid back beaches to checkout in Phuket include Kata Noi, just south of Kata; Nai Han, just south of Kata Noi; Rawai, in the south; and Laem Singh and Surin, to the north of Kamala. There are also a few beaches near the airport in the north of the island, such as Nai Yang, although these are lacking in tourist facilities.
Most people come to Phuket for the nightlife and the very best of it is in Patong along Soi Bangla where there are hundreds of bars and clubs and of course, girls. All other beach resorts on Phuket pale in comparison to Patong’s night scene.
Phuket Town is the main town in Phuket and is worth a look if you fancy checking out more of the island’s history although is not really a tourist attraction in its own right. Stick to Chinatown and the Central Pattana shopping mall. Chalong Bay is just south of Phuket Town and has the island’s largest bay, but is only really worth seeing if you have the time.
There are some fine tracts of land on the island in the form of national parks that are worth a visit to get away from the beaches. These include Sirinat National Park and Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife and Forest Reserve, which are north and central respectively.
Phuket is warm year round, with the dry high season spanning November through May and the wet season May through October.
Getting There & Away
Phuket International Airport is the gateway to Phuket; a busy little airport in the north of the island that receives flights mainly from within the Southeast Asian region, but also from Australia and Europe. Phuket International Airport is 40 minutes from Phuket Town by taxi, the main center on the island. The main beaches of Patong, Karon and Kata are about an hour from the airport by taxi.
Things to Do
- Phuket beaches
There are loads of them, with the best residing on the west coast. patong is for party animals while kamala, kata and rawai are more laid back and cheaper.
- Phuket nightlife
This is one of the main reasons why people come to phuket. there is every type of bar imaginable in patong, the main party area, and everyone is catered for.
- Two Heroines Monument
This is phuket’s most famous monument and can be found north of phuket town in thalang. it is a statue of thao thepkasattri and thao sisunthon, the two heroines who rebelled against invading burmese in the 1700s.
- Phuket Town
Although not a star attraction of phuket, phuket town does have plenty to look at, including the sino-portuguese mansions of the old town and some good shopping.
- Phuket Fantasea
Phuket’s most fun attraction features song, dance and acrobatics and shows off the best of thai culture. it’s good for the family and can be found in kamala beach, to the north of patong.
- Simon Cabaret
A popular tourist haunt just outside patong that features dolled up lady boys strutting their stuff to cabaret.
- Wat Chalong
Phuket’s most impressive temple resides in the south of the island in chalong.
- Prom Thep Cape
Phuket’s most southerly point is good at sunset time although is best visited at another time due to the tourist hordes.
- Phang Nga Bay
This nearby bay is actually on the mainland but deserves a mention for those who are in phuket. it is a place of stunning karst scenery and boasts excellent kayaking.