Phuket Island is the gem in the crown of Thailand. The largest of the Thai islands is adorned with jungle landscapes and lapped by the balmy Andaman Sea. Its stunning beaches are well set up for those looking for fun and relaxation. The year round tropical climate brings plenty of sunshine for those looking for the perfect sun kissed holiday of a lifetime in 2019 / 2020.
You can get around this beautiful island and explore its landscapes by either motorcycle or car. Be in awe of the exotic birds and wildlife or take to the beach for an afternoon of snorkelling, scuba diving or jet skiing. Phuket Town is an excellent place to soak up some Thai culture. Its many temples, restaurants and opportunities for a Thai massage make it a must in any itinerary when you’re visit Phuket in 2019 / 2020.
Take a boat ride to one of the smaller nearby islands and spend the afternoon snorkelling and having lunch. You can opt for a slow, relaxing boat or take the adrenaline-fuelled option and plump for a ride on a speedboat.
A trip to Phuket's interiors will introduce you to a vast expanse of mangrove forests. The Phra Taew National Park is an excellent place to escape the crowds and discover a region of the island rarely visited by tourists. The Big Buddha, a massive and iconic sculpture situated on the top of a hill, offers panoramic views over the island. Trek to the top and take advantage of the café and gift shop before heading back to your sublime beach resort. There is also a small but fascinating zoo in Purkett where you can get up close and personal with a range of animals and birds
Phuket’s old town has a large collection of mansions, many of which can be visited. The town is also home to several temples including Jui Tui and Put Jaw Temple, the oldest Chinese temple on the island.
While Phuket may be an island, its large size means that it is more akin to a city, with a variety of eateries from street food stalls to world-class fine dining restaurants. As a rule of thumb, the quality of food you'll eat on holiday in Phuket will be excellent. Thai cuisine encompasses a wide array of ingredients and styles. From fresh beef salads to succulent coconut-based curries, there are endless dishes to sample – some of which will be familiar, others which will delight and surprise you in equal measures.
Classic staples of Thai cuisine are pad thai, green curry and papaya salad (som tam). All are readily available and best sampled in an authentic street-side cafe. If you want to dine out somewhere a little more upmarket, there are plenty of options. Mom Tri's Kitchen, located in Kata Noi, serves some of the best food on the island in a stunning setting. The dining terrace overlooking the sea is a treat for all those who visit. If you're staying in Patong, check out La Versace. This open-air restaurant serves classic French dishes in a stylish and sophisticated environment.
With its excellent beaches, range of activities and reasonable prices, a holiday in Phuket is an excellent destination for families. Children will love the beaches where they can play in the crystal clear waters, but there's also plenty to do away from the sands.
The Splash Jungle Waterpark is popular with children of all ages and a fantastic full or half-day activity. Covering over 6,400sqm, the numerous waterslides and pools are all manned by professional lifeguards so you can let the kids play with peace of mind. If you're on holiday with teenagers, the Mid-Air Circus Academy is sure to be a day they'll never forget. They can learn the basics of circus skills under professional supervision from trained experts. Surf House Phuket offers visitors the opportunity to take to the waves regardless of the weather. It's suitable for all ages and has a restaurant where the adults can relax if they don't feel like riding the waves.
Action & Adventure
The island is full of a range of activities for those seeking some action while on holiday in Phuket. From speed boat rides to windsurfing, the larger beaches have plenty of places where you can arrange equipment hire. The scuba diving conditions here are famous for world class waters and rich marine life. Experienced divers can book an excursion and take part in a night dive, wreck dive or a casual daytime adventure. If you're a novice diver, you can book yourself into one of the many reputable diving schools to gain your open water qualification or take part in an introductory class where you can get a feel for exploring the underwater world. Head inland to take advantage of the largely undiscovered interiors of mangrove forests and local villages.
Patong is, without question, the most popular of Phuket's beaches. Known for its hedonistic nightlife, stunning sands and restaurants to satisfy every taste, there is something for everyone on Thailand's most popular beach. However, away from the throng of activity of Patong, there are several alternative beaches where you can relax away from the crowds.
Just along the coast from Patong is Freedom Beach. This paradise cove is only accessible by boat – but the secluded delight is well worth it for those willing to make the journey. Kata and Kata Noi are two beaches that, while close to each other, offer visitors something very different. Kata is the more developed of the two. Laced with excellent amenities, it has by no means been spoiled by tourism. Its smaller neighbour has a much more exclusive feel and only a handful of sun loungers and vendors – ideal if you're looking to relax in peace but still be able to easily access food, drink and an afternoon massage.
Phuket, and Patong Beach in particular, is famous across the world for its hedonistic nightlife scene. The action in Patong centres around Bangla Road and the sois (small streets) surrounding it. The nightlife here can be quite frenetic and is well-suited to those looking for a wild time while on holiday in Phuket. There are endless bars where you can stop for a drink or listen to some live music, and some favourites which prove eternally popular with visitors.
If you want to watch the sun go down right on the beach then Old Dutch Bar, Relics Pub and YoYo's Bar are well-established crowd pleasers. Phuket has its own sizeable gay scene located around the Soi Paradise area. They have many popular cabaret and ladyboy shows. Despite Phuket’s reputation as a party destination, much of the island is a more sedate affair. All resorts have beach-side bars that serve up local beers, wine and cocktails into the early hours.
Phuket is perfect for couples. Whether you're looking to relax in a luxury resort or party the night away in one of the many bars and nightclubs, the island has lots to offer. Many couples choose to avoid Patong Beach and instead opt for one of the lesser-known, and quieter, resorts.
Thai massage is an ancient practice in Thailand and you'll be able to enjoy an hour-long treatment either on the beach or in one of the many spas across Phuket. Both fine dining and quick eats are abundant in Phuket and you can enjoy everything from succulent salads on the beach to world class Italian restaurants in the evening.
Most of the cultural attractions on the island are centred around Phuket Town. Old Phuket is famed for its many 19th century mansions – they give a fascinating insight into the life of Thailand's elite. If you want to visit a classic Thai temple, then Wat Mongkol Nimit is right in the middle of town. The opulent grounds and interiors are simply stunning and a must-see when on holiday in Phuket.
Phuket Cultural Centre gives an insight into the history of the island. It's free to visit and open daily. Phuket has a large Chinese immigrant population - their past can be explored at the Thaihua Museum when you visit Phuket on holiday.