Phuket Tourism Information
Phuket Island is 48 km long and 21km across at its widest point, so you're never far from the sea at any point. Phuket, has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, mainly situated along the clear waters of the western shore. The island is home to many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants. Patong is the main resort town, with many nightclubs, bars and discos. In contrast, Phuket City, the capital, has old shophouses and busy markets and more of a traditional thai town.
Phuket is one of the most visited island in Asia, by its renowned for beautiful beaches, impressive scenery and party atmosphere taking place every night. Tourism here, is somewhat overwhelming at times. With an increase of many Russian tourists who have transformed the offerings in Phuket beyond recognition and now cater for specialised tours.
Take into account the location, climate and activities to do in Phuket in order to take back the best memories!
The island offers some glories temperatures year round, and travellers coming from Bangkok, will find that Phuket is less hot during the evening, than the capital. Therefore, being the best time to go out, enjoy and relax. However, its climate is generally hot year round and more humid. Blue skies are more predominant and direct sunlight is more intense. So taking good protection is essential.
The same seasons occur in Phuket, as the rest of Southeast Asia, so its advised to visit from November to March, when the rainy season finishes and begins a little cooler season with more stable weather. The wettest months are from May to October, though mornings and afternoons are still generally sunny and clear. Temperatures tend to be between 25°C on the coolest nights and 35°C on the hottest days.
As soon as you arrive into Phuket Airport, its apparent that many tourists already have people waiting for them with signs of their names, hotel drivers and tour agencies all awaiting guests. Transportation in Phuket, can be arranged very easily from tours and companies in Thailand or from abroad to make the travel smooth and direct to the points of interest of your itinerary. However, that's for all the package tours more expensive activities which provide this service.
For the rest of travellers, making your own way to your accommodation depends mostly on where you are staying. Since Phuket doesn't have such a developed transport system as Bangkok. The arrivals process in Phuket is very straight forward . As soon as you disembark you collect your luggage and you reach the arrivals hall within a few minutes. If you are arriving in the domestic terminal, here you will find many stands with tour information to already organise activities and tours. The advantage of booking tours from the airport, is that they can include for little more the transfer to your hotel around the popular beach locations.
For those who are more on a budget and just want to relax and take the cheapest option to your accommodation, there are a few alternatives from the airport:
- Transfer van: For 180-200 Baht you can share a comfortable van to take you directly to your accommodation. To arrange the vans, go to the domestic terminal where most of the tours are located. Vans depart as they fill up.
- Public bus: There are two buss options which take you from the airport. To Phuket town you need to take the orange coloured bus which departs outside the domestic terminal and costs 100 Baht, taking 1 hour to get there. The other option is to take the blue coloured bus to the popular beach resorts around the western side of the island, this bus costs 170 Baht to any destination. For more information on the Blue Airport bus, check the website Phuket Smart Bus.
Once in Phuket, transportation can be made again by taking the blue airport bus (charges 170 Baht for any stop), unless you have the Rabbit card which must be tapped in/out as you board the bus. Also
The oldest and best-known local bus is the Blue Bus (known as Song Taew). It often looks more like a wooden truck. Those will only take you from Phuket town to a beach or a small set of beaches, but not between beaches. They cost 30 to 50 baht. If you are travelling from Phuket town, it's easy to get to different beaches like Patong or Karon Beach by taking a van from the main bus station at Phuket town for 40 Baht.
Lastly, taxis are always available, but make sure you negotiate the price before getting inside. Also the Taxi App "GRAB" is better than taking street taxis. A trip by taxi from the airport can cost $20-25.
Phuket is famous for its seafood caught daily and available in many restaurants on the seafront. As Phuket grows in popularity now you can find many different cuisines from Thai to Italian, Chinese, Japanese or even Lebanese.
There are plenty of things to keep you busy in Phuket, mostly depends on your budget and how many activities can you combine in your trip. Taking tours are naturally the best way to enjoy what the island has to offer, they range from €30 to €50 per person. The island itself has a beautiful historical old town, great viewpoints and iconic cultural attractions. It is also a good base for exploring the nearby islands and must-see attractions. These include world-famous places like Phang Nga Bay and the Phi Phi Islands.
Below you will find some of the most popular activities or tours to take from Phuket and make the most of your trip:
- James Bond Island Tour: The area is actually called, Phang Nga Bay, but most tours will refer it as James Bond Island, by the making of the two movies of that name. A day out here is an unforgettable experience, which combines speed boat travelling, visiting different beaches, viewing local traditional shops and seeing wonderful natural rocks and caves. A distinctive feature of the bay is the sheer limestone cliffs that rise vertically out of the emerald-green waters. These islands are home to sheltered fauna that are possible to observe on certain days if you are lucky, like the monkeys. Koh Panyee is another famous spot in this bay. These tours include buffet lunch, canoeing, entrance fees to the national park and all transportation.
James Bond Island Photo Gallery:
- Phi Phi Island tour: This is Thailand's superstar island, particularly famous for its central role in the 2000 movie The Beach. Phi Phi's beauty is unparalleled. Its a beautiful island, hardly unspoilt, bathed by white fine sand beaches, crystal clear waters and surrounded by thick jungle giving it a wild feel.The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to beach-fronted jungle. It's love at first sight. These tours last the whole day and often include buffet lunch, some snorkeling, free time at the beach and all transportation including the speed boat.
Phi Phi Islands Photo Gallery:
- Phuket Big Buddha: Visible from most of the south of Phuket, the giant Buddha image sits on the top of the Nakkerd Hills and looks down over Chalong, Kata and Rawai. It is 45 metres tall. Next to it stands a smaller golden image that is actually made of brass and there is a shrine near the site's car park. The drive up to the Big Buddha takes you through the 'real' Thailand and the view from the top is enhanced if you take a map to identify the many, many sights. Tours can arrange to take you there from the various beaches or from Phuket town.
- Night Markets: Phuket has an impressive selection of night markets to choose from. Each has its own unique charms, but all offer interesting souvenirs at competitive prices. They are an excellent place to try local street food and snacks, and some also have street performances and music.
- Phuket Town: The town offers much more than you think, with some excellent restaurants and local sights. The unique blend of colonial and Chinese architecture, along with a more traditional way of life, and sometimes, good to get away of the number of tourists, Phuket town offers a more local feel and better priced. To get there (if staying out of the town) you don't need to book a tour, since it's only 40-50 Baht taking a truck bus down to the town, which takes 1 hour. You will identify them by their blue/pink colours.
- Indulge in a massage: Coming to Thailand and Phuket would not be complete without taking a relaxing massage! There are many types and services offered, from more professional massage shops on the street, to call out massages to your hotel room. They can range from foot massage only to full body massage. The traditional Thai massage is the most typical, applying pressure on the limbs and back to relieve tension. it costs around 300 Baht for an hour. Other massages are the oil massage, cream massage, foot and leg massage etc. Note that, when you ask for a massage you can select the person who will do this. If your preference is guys, then head to this street location📍 where there are more guys for the massage.
There are many beaches which offer unique experiences depending what you are after. Some are more isolated, which requires private transportation to get to, whilst others offer nearby with restaurants, massage services on hand, parking etc.
Below is a brief list of the most popular with some of the advantages and disadvantages:
- Patong Beach: The most famous beach in Phuket, but it’s not the most scenic by Phuket’s high standards, and certainly not the quietest. It offers more activities than any other beach and has an unrivaled nightlife scene. By day, it’s busy with tourists renting jet skis, riding banana boats and drinking on the beach. It's close to the neon lights of Bangla Road.
- Karon Beach: It isn’t as popular as Patong but there’s still plenty to do other the sunset and the swim. The rocky area around the south of the beach is a top spot for snorkeling. The sand might not be as soft as some beaches, but the length of the beach means you won’t be short on space. Nearby, there are a handful of bars that, whilst they might not match Patong, can easily provide an evening’s worth of entertainment.
- Kamala Beach: Not far from Patong Beach, but its calm, with shallow waters, which make it ideal for families or those who want a relaxing time in the water, and its length means you won’t have to fight for a place. With a fishing village nearby, it’s retained a sense of authenticity, which is rare in this part of Phuket. Extremely quiet in low season, it’s one of the most relaxing and quiet beaches on the island.
- Kata Beach: It's a Palm tree-lined beach with soft, white sand and plenty of places to eat and drink nearby, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular with tourists and locals. As well as activities such as surfing available, there are plenty of shops nearby to engage in retail therapy, plus resorts if planning on staying a while.
- Paradise Beach: is one of the most attractive of the many wonderful beaches. It's compact and has a great view right across Patong Bay. The beach itself is barely 150 metres long and there is another small beach next to it, reached by a path through the rocks and it's located just next to the busy Patong beach. Paradise Beach features shade-giving palm trees and tropical almonds. There is a fee to access the beach, which occasionally varies but is generally around 200 baht. You can take a free shuttle to this beach in front of Tiger Bar in Bangla Road in Patong area.
- Rawai Beach: It has its charms but is not as popular as other beaches. Now not a beach for sunbathing and swimming, but it's nice to came here for walks and sitting under the trees, casually eating and drinking in some of the benches and tables which have been made available by the restaurants across the road. It's not a good idea to swim at Rawai because of the many boats moored there. The sea is shallow here and when the tide goes out at Rawai Beach its mud flats and rocks are exposed. Just west of Rawai is Promthep Cape (Laem Promthep) a small peninsula that provides a great sunset viewpoint over the ocean beyond. Also come to Rawai Beach for seafood restaurants near to the beach,or you can even see the life catch in the market, running parallel to the beach.
Phuket is the number two destination for nightlife in south east Asia! (That is after Bangkok). If you are seeking all night long entertainment, this is the right place to come! However, for the liveliest areas in Phuket, head to the larger towns on the island and the beach resorts, which offer plenty of entertainment into the wee hours of 5 or 6am. Many restaurants and markets also stay open until 11pm, enhancing the festive atmosphere.
The epicentre of Phuket's nightlife is Patong Beach, and within the town, Bangla Road is the main concentration of bars and clubs. Options range from seriously dodgy beer bars to upscale cocktail lounges, as well as pumping nightclubs, rowdy karaoke bars, gay bars, jazz clubs, relaxed pubs and go-go bars.
🌈At the top end of Bangla Road, visitors can party into the early hours at several side-by-side establishments. Paradise Complex is Patong's gay area, with more than 50 bars, karaoke clubs, restaurants and discos.
Lady bars, or beer bars, are clustered together and staffed with beautiful women tasked with getting people (mostly men) to drink as much as possible through drinking games or sheer distraction. In Patong, travellers will find the famous 'ladyboys' of Thailand, transvestites who are often more feminine, slimmer, and sexier than Thai women.
❗Attention: While ladyboys working in bars are notoriously friendly, visitors should remember that they are working and will expect drinks, gifts, and/or money for their time.
The bars and nightclubs in Phuket have gotten stricter in the last few years about "inviting" or incentivizing people, especially in venues offering more than food and drink (sex shows, intimate dancing, or pleasure company hire). Tourists should take care not to go out alone at night, and to keep an eye on their drinks at all times as well as wallets and personal belongings.
If the seedy clubbing scene isn't what you are looking for, many hotels in Phuket stage Thai dance shows, including elaborate drag cabaret shows. If you are looking for a more relaxed experience, or travel with small kids, stay away from the very crowded areas of Patong and Karon beach after 10 pm. The reason being, many foreigners who get drunk can cause disruption with occasional fights and/or violence.
However, the rest of the day/evening time, modern facilities and more family style entertainment venues are on hand in the major towns. Cinemas, Bowling, Shopping centres, a Zoo, aquatic water sports etc are all nearby.
While not on the same level as shopping in Bangkok, Phuket is still a great place to find bargains in Thailand. The island has everything from air-conditioned shopping malls to noisy night bazaars and open-air village food markets.
The best place to find Thai silk and other traditional Thai souvenirs in Phuket is Kamala Beach. Cheap souvenirs like hats and scarves are available along the beach walkway in high season, and there are a number of shops near the beach restaurants selling sarongs, toys, and hand-carved items.
There are two main shopping malls in Phuket: Central Festival Phuket and Jungceylon Shopping Center. Central Festival Phuket is dominated by a single Central Department Store selling everything from silk sarongs to designer watches, while Jungceylon Shopping Center has more than 200 stores offering everything from DVDs to perfume.
✔️Tip: Market stalls and street vendors are willing to bargain anywhere from 20% to 50% off the original price, so never except a first quoted price!
Generally the closer you are to Patong Beach the more expensive it will be. Phuket prides itself for being an ideal resort for Honeymoon couples so prices tend to be a bit more expensive, than the rest of Thailand. However you can get good deals by exploring other locations close by. Tours will always pick you up from your accommodation anyway so it's not a big thing to worry about. As a general rule, staying west of the island is better for the beaches, or if you prefer the local vibe, look for accomodation in Phuket town.
In Phuket its very popular to find Villas, Bungalows or self catering Hotel resorts which offer the traveller with a feel of luxury. Many Hotels have private swimming pools, massage services, airport Shuttle, tour info etc. Be sure to research all the alternatives as prices can be much cheaper if you take away a couple of "luxuries" away. A key is to book something within walking distance to any beach. This will offer the advantage of having restaurants nearby and tour agencies.
Prices vary greatly, from $50 per night as a norm with comfortable private rooms close to the beach. If you are on a budget you can get rooms from $25-30 including breakfast.
Hostels are also available for cheaper options, but are mostly located in the Phuket city area.
Staying in Phuket can be a very relaxing experience, it's a place to just enjoy and see how the hours pass by just doing "nothing". However, it also offers a ton of activities, tours and entertainment options; Water sports, tours, shopping, exploring, night clubs, the list goes one! Combining a good mix of these activities plus some time to enjoy the paradise alone is advised. Many travellers come for around a week/10 days because that's the package from many agencies. However, one week in Phuket can be quite long, and expensive!
A comfortable 3 to 4 nights would be ideal to explore the island by a couple of tours, relax, swim and enjoy the cooler evenings in Phuket.
Phuket Photo Slide 📷