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Home » Southeast Asia » Thailand » Phuket


It is a mark of impressive self-control to resist the urge to make a bad Phuket pun. They’re not even half as funny as you initially think, and probably about a tenth as clever.

But Phuket, life is short, and it does wonders for publicity…

Beautiful beaches, night markets, big buddhas and questionable (or seriously legit) Thai cooking classes are all up for grabs. But how to fit in all this wondrousness in such a short time?

The answer is in hand with my top-tier Phuket Itinerary , written for the purposes of indulging your island hopping, street food chopping, Bang Tao Beach loving appetites. These three days may well be some of the most enjoyable of the year, decade, century… etc.

Let’s see what we can do in Phuket!

a girl looking at the crystal clear water at a beach in Phuket, Thailand

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phuket travel recommendations

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A Little Bit About this 3-Day Phuket Itinerary

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Are you an edgy cool person intent on backpacking through Thailand ? Do you feel existential dread from the prospect of an unscripted day?

Then come on through! I am about to uncover some of the best things to do in Phuket , from delicious local dishes and beautiful Islands to authentic Thai culture…

a girl stopping to say hi to a family of monkeys in the streets of thailand

This 3-day Phuket itinerary is set up to be busy, so don’t worry if you feel you can fit everything in! There’s an unreasonable amount to do here, and just taking part in some of it will give you a real feel for the place.

Your Phuket trip is (as always) up to you, so take what you fancy, drop what you don’t, and hopefully, you’ll have a baseline for your perfect personalised itinerary. Taking the time to visit Phuket and its top attractions will be an unreal addition to your Thai adventure!

3-day Phuket Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1: Phuket Old Town | Wat Chalong Temple | The Big Buddha | Kata Noi Beach | Prompthep Cape | Laem Hin Pier
  • Day 2: Bang Pae Waterfall | Sirinat National Park | Bang Tao Beach | The Banzaan Market | Paradise Beach | Bangla Road
  • Day 3: Patong Beach | Phang Nga Bay | Koh Panyi | James Bond Island

Before you head off on your travels, it’s worth getting to grips with where to stay in Phuket . Not only will this drastically improve the odds of your SO liking you, but it will also give you a good idea of what is up in this awesome Thai playground.

Phuket City (or Phuket Town) is Phuket’s capital and is the largest city for miles. If you enjoy learning about history and culture, Phuket City is the place to be. It has ok parties too.

a bull dog laying on the floor with his tongue out

Patong is the most popular tourist destination in the province of Phuket. With picture-perfect coastal views, stunning white sand beaches, a relaxed atmosphere, and beautiful scenic surroundings, I can see why! If you’re searching for Phuket nightlife, Patong is where you want to be.

Karon beach is found on the west coast of Phuket island and is the second-largest tourist beach. Karon is just the place if you’re looking for out-of-this-world views, inviting turquoise waters and long stretches of white sand shores!

Staying with locals in Phuket  through a homestay is another awesome (and cheap) accommodation option, and it comes with a much more authentic feeling.

Best Hostel in Phuket- Lub D Phuket Patong

Phuket Itinerary

This magnificent Phuket Hostel was Voted in 2017 as the “Best New Hostel” in the world, and it must be seen to be believed. Take a dip in the see-through outdoor swimming pool, sunbathe on the huge terrace and treat yourself to a few delicious cocktails or beers. This is a place with vibe and friendliness oozing from the walls! Meet other travelers and enjoy the fun and relaxation of the space. If you’re looking for the beach, then it’s only 2 minutes away! If you want to hit the nightclubs & bars on Bangla road then you only have 5 minutes to walk.

Best Airbnb in Phuket: Luxury Room & Rooftop Pool with Phuket City Views

Luxury Room & Rooftop Pool with Phuket City Views, Phuket

Enjoy amazing views and modern amenities in this luxury condo in Phuket Town. Located on the 11th floor, this contemporary condo offers guests a king-sized bed, colourful décor, and comfortable living space.

With free wifi, two swimming pools and a fitness centre, you won’t find a better Airbnb in Phuket.

Best Budget Hotel in Phuket – U Sabai Living Hotel

U Sabai Living Hotel

This Budget pick is constantly surprising punters with its spacious rooms, cleanliness, and great location. Phuket international airport is 40 minutes away by car, whilst the famous Patong beach is just a 15-minute walk. Traditional Thai massages are on offer, and each room has a private bathroom. Snorkelling and sightseeing tours can be arranged from the front desk, and the on-site restaurant offers a mix of great Thai and western dishes.

Best Luxury Hotel in Phuket – Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa

Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa

One of the best luxury resorts going, this family-friendly resort offers guests access to 3 swimming pools, 8 dining options and a private beach. There is a fitness centre, two whirlpool pools, and of course, a great massage centre. One of the bars even offers guests the opportunity to swim up to it. There are loads of activities for kids on offer too, which makes it super great for family vacations, as well as romantic getaways. If you’re looking to be pampered, look no further.

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crystal clear water with rocks

Ok, without further ado, I present to you my epic, super fun, mostly well-thought-out Phuket Itinerary…


Phuket Old Town | Wat Chalong Temple | The Big Buddha | Kata Noi Beach | Prompthep Cape | Laem Hin Pier

In and around Phuket, day 1 is all about getting to know your immediate surroundings. Then, we move down to southern Phuket, before returning to the city for a seaside dinner. Phuket city accommodation is preferred here!

8:00 am – Phuket Old Town

Phuket Old Town is a must-see place in Phuket and provides you with different shapes and sizes of old Sino-Portuguese splendors, plenty of funky shops, and boutique cafes! Explore and find some of the most unlikely places that will surprise and delight at the same time.

Phuket Old Town is the heart of Phuket’s island and also happens to be the capital. This town is far from ordinary, and offers so much more than you might think! Grab breakfast, and get ready for an awesome day.

Phuket Town displays attractive and aesthetic buildings that date back to the 1800s. There is a unique blend of colonial and Chinese architecture, joint with a tangible quaintness. This makes for a fascinating and eye-opening morning spent sauntering around Phuket’s Old Town. Expect the unexpected and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures !

  • Cost – Free
  • How long should I stay here? 1.5 hours
  • Getting there – Either you’re staying nearby, or you can taxi or bus. Phuket city is the centre so it’s not hard to get to!

11:00 am – Wat Chalong Temple

Wat Chalong Temple

This gorgeous temple showcases the brilliance of Phuket’s architectural creativity as well as the rich cultural history of religion on this island. Wat Chalong Temple is formally known as Wat Chaiyathararam and is a huge part of Phuket’s heritage!

Wat Chalong is the largest, most revered and most visited Buddhist temple in the whole of Phuket island. This temple was built at the beginning of the 19th century and is definitely at the top of our must-see places in Phuket.

You will see that the tallest building on the grounds of this stunning temple is the 60-meter tall stupa that shelters a magnificent bone fragment of the Lord Buddha. The walls and ceilings of the temple are adorned with beautiful and spiritually significant paintings that retrace the story of Buddha’s legendary life. Each of the three floors and also full of large donated golden statues.

  • Cost – Free, but donations are appreciated
  • How long should I stay here? 1 hour or less
  • Getting there – Grabbing a taxi or bus from Phuket is relatively easy. It’s well-known so you shouldn’t have problems getting there!

12:30 pm – Phuket Big Buddha

Phuket Big Buddha

The Phuket Big Buddha , otherwise known as The Great Buddha of Phuket, is a nobly seated Maravijaya Buddha statue in the south of Phuket island. The formal and official name is Phra Phutta Ming Mongkol Akenakiri, shortened to Ming Mongkol Buddha. Find this marvelous statue sitting atop Nakkerd Hill.

The Big Buddha is a 45-meter-tall white statue made entirely out of marble and is visible from anywhere in the southern part of Phuket as it protrudes the skies. Visiting this outstanding landmark is at the top of most must-do-in-Phuket lists and we can easily understand why! This is a monument that pays homage to the spiritual history of Phuket and it is a sobering experience to go and see it! The views from this mountain also happen to be breathtaking.

Mostly built on people’s donation in 2004, The Big Buddha Phuket is actually still under construction. If you feel like doing something to help to finish the broad base of the Buddha, you can sponsor a piece of white marble!

Make sure that you get there before it closes at 7pm!

  • How long should I stay here? 1.5 to 2 hours (with lunch!)
  • Getting there – Taxi, it’s about a 20-minute drive from Wat Chalong. It’s a 6km walk, but up a hill and in the day might not be the best idea.

2:30 pm – Kata Noi Beach

phuket travel recommendations

Kata Noi is without a doubt one of the best beaches in Phuket. The white sands, gorgeous watercolour, and rising cliffs make this a top place to relax for the afternoon! The area gets waves good enough for surfers between May and October and is both pet and nudist-friendly. Kata Noi Beach is perched on the West Coast of Phuket, not too far from the Big Buddha.

Kata Noi is about 700 metres long, which means that if you’re looking for a bit of space, there is certainly that. There are also a load of activities to take part in; banana boating jet skiing and snorkelling are all possible past times here.

Hiking up to the nearby Karon viewpoint is a great way to put the beach into perspective. Enjoy some top-class views, and get familiar with some Thai jungle scenery!

  • Cost – Free (it’s a beach!)
  • How long should I stay here? around 3 hours. Get comfy!
  • Getting there – It’s half an hour’s drive again from the Phuket Big Buddha. Grab a taxi if you can!

6 pm – Prompthep Cape

phuket travel recommendations

If you’re looking for a gorgeous sunset to finish the day off, then I have properly nailed this itinerary. The sunsets at Prompthep Cape are spectacular, but sadly this draws a pretty formidable tourist crowd. You can get a people-free shot by walking to the end of the Cape, but this isn’t an easy walk!

It’s at this point in the day when I start recommending alcohol. Bukito by Promthep Restaurant can offer dinner and drinks, but I’d recommend just going for a beverage or two – I’ve got a great dinner spot lined up for later. The Promthep lighthouse (also a small museum) is worth taking a look at, but it’s not worth staying much longer. Grab a photo, enjoy the sun setting, and get out of there!

People-watching here is excellent, since everyone is just waiting for a sunset photo.

  • Getting there – Sorry to say it’s another Taxi or drive from kata Noi beach. Takes about 20 minutes.

8 pm – Laem Hin Pier

phuket travel recommendations

This is our evening endpoint. Located just north of Phuket City, you jump on a free shuttle boat which will take you out to a pier filled with some of the best local seafood places on the island.

Laem Hin is a vast wooden construction, but can still get reasonably busy. The seafood here is just amazing, so it’s understandable. It’s also cheap! So if you’re here with a family you can really go for the banquet experience.

After a long day, you’ll be ready to relax, so grab a beer or two, then head back to your Phuket Town accommodation for a good night’s rest. You’re going to need it!

  • Cost – Pay for what you buy (<$10)
  • How long should I stay here? around 2 hours
  • Getting there – Long drive back to Phuket town (just under an hour). Then take the ferry shuttle over to the restaurant.

phuket travel recommendations

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These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the  real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.

Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…

Bang Pae Waterfall | Sirinat National Park | Bang Tao Beach | The Banzaan Market | Paradise Beach | Bangla Road

Day 2 is all about tripping, specifically day tripping, and getting out into the furthest reaches of North and Eastern Phuket. Staying near Patong beach will allow you to make the most of this day.

8:30 am – Bang Pae Waterfall

Bang Pae Waterfall

Bang Pae waterfall is one of the top three best-known waterfalls in Phuket, perhaps four if you include a tiny one in Layan Bay, but only three are significant: Bang Pae, Kathu Waterfall and Tonsai Waterfall.

This is a must-see waterfall and getting there is an absolute adventure! Travel through the dense rainforests of Phuket, and see indigenous birds in their natural habitat. The waterfall is on part of a National Park which means you will also see some of the most spectacular jungle fauna!

Bang Pae waterfall is breathtaking and remarkably easy to reach. Take a stroll and see Thai teens and families playing in the stream as you walk up the hill. Visiting a waterfall is a wonderful way to spend a day during your weekend in Phuket, as this is when it is most busy and attracts the locals.

Grab a quick hotel/ hostel breakfast before embarking on this early-morning adventure!

  • Cost – The entrance fee is THB 200 ($6,34) for the national park, and then you will pay either a THB 20 (63c) parking fee for a motorbike or THB 30 (95c) for a car.
  • How long should I stay here? 2 to 3 hours
  • Getting there – Worth hiring a taxi man for the day if I’m honest, but you can bike it too! It’s a 40-minute journey from Phuket Town

11:30 am – Sirinat National Park

Sirinat National Park

The picturesque Sirinat National Park is found on the northwestern coast of Phuket Island.

There is such an atmosphere of peacefulness and so many new types of vegetation and wildlife for you to stumble across! Sirinat National Park stretches over a large amount of pine-fringed beaches, including Nai Thon, Nai Yang, and Mai Khao Beach.

Mai Khao Beach is famous for being the exotic home of nesting sea turtles, such as the leatherbacks and hawksbills! You can also explore tropical coral reefs that are clustered in the clear waters offshore and escape into massive mangrove forests in Sai Kaew Beach.

This is a truly amazing place to be, but it is rural. Pack some snacks for your day before you arrive. Lunch isn’t until later!

  • Cost – The entrance fee is THB 200 ($6,34) per adult and THB 100 ($3,17) per child.
  • Getting there – Sirinat National Park isn’t far from the Bang Pae Waterfall. Hop in your car, you’ll be there in 20 minutes!

Insider Tip: Keep an eye out for the birdlife, many famous and rare birds can be sighted within the canopies of Sirinat National Park! One of the most popular is the Kingfisher.

2 pm – Bang Tao Beach

phuket travel recommendations

If you fancy a slice of the untouched, then Bang Tao beach is for you! An amazingly quiet, pristine beach, it is a great place to doze away the hours of the early afternoon. You’ll need to – things heat up later.

Bang Tao beach is one of the longest beaches on Phuket island. It is relatively uncluttered, and much more peaceful than many of the other beaches in Phuket. There are great fancy restaurants at hotels, but there are some midrange and cheaper places too. Stop off for a relaxing lunch to rejuvenate. Since the beach is so long, I’d recommend heading for the Southern section. There are more places to eat, and it makes the next section of your journey shorter.

Sit back, relax, grab some lunch, and then spread out the beach towel for a little early afternoon sunbathing.

  • Cost – Free!
  • How long should I stay here? About 2 hours
  • Getting there – Just head due south down the coast, it’s on the way to Patong beach. Takes around half an hour.

4:30 pm – The Banzaan Market

phuket travel recommendations

Get swept into the energetic and vibrant mass energy here and explore a new way of shopping. The Banzaan Market is a modern-looking Thai fresh market found on Sai Kor Road, behind the Jungceylon.

Take the time to check into your Patong beach accommodation, and then head back out to the Banzaan market!

You will basically come across all kinds of produce and crafts that you could expect at any other street market, but the Banzaan Market is hosted in a much more pleasant envious mentioned and is famous for being so well organized.

The locals go all out to showcase their best products, and you will be amazed at the bargains you can hunt for! This is a cultural way to end the last of your 2 days in Phuket!

  • Cost – Entrance is free
  • How long should I stay here? About 1 hour
  • Getting there – Short taxi (or walk), after a half-hour drive from Bang Tao beach.

6 pm – Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach

The drinks are delicious, but the food is even better. Choose from their vast range of both Indian and Thai cuisine! We suggest going wild here and trying as many different dishes as you can!

Welcome to paradise! This magnificent and rather private beach is less than 200m in length and hosts a little rocky headland that kind of makes it two beaches if you want to get technical. Paradise Beach is a cosy and tiny cove near Patong and is famous for having lush and calm waters that feature a soft seabed mostly throughout the year.

Sunbathe or stroll the pristine white sand and be shaded by nodding palm trees, you will feel as if you are part of a photo shoot for a holiday brochure! Laze and allow yourself to emerge into the peaceful, picturesque environment that Paradise Beach provides.

Being the home of Paradise Beach Club, this magical cove even has a great choice of facilities, including upbeat restaurants, bars, sea kayaks, beach chairs and so much more. You can even get your party on and join one of Phuket’s only Koh Phangan-style beach parties !

I’d recommend grabbing dinner here, before heading back to Patong to experience the night life.

  • Cost – The entrance fee is THB 200 ($6,34) per person.
  • How long should I stay here? Around 2 hours
  • Getting there – Paradise beach is about 20 minutes from the Banzaan Market, on the West coast.

10 pm – Bangla Road

Bangla Road

Bangla Road in Patong is notoriously named for its highly energetic and lively nightlife! Bangla Road is a  must-visit while you’re in Phuket and you will find the experience to be unforgettable. The nightlife is at the top of its game and offers more clubs than anywhere else in Phuket! Bangla Road is also packed with a ridiculous amount of vibrantly lit bars, go-go bars, girly bars, and relaxed ex-pat bars – think lots of drinks, bizarre spectacles and music!

As the sun goes down, Bangla road becomes closed off to traffic, making it a wonderful space for easy pub-hopping! The neon lights and bars start to come alive and the music from all the bars starts to intertwine with each other.

Have a noisy, fun and energetic night out in this famous street and have a night that will open your eyes to a whole new world! This road in itself is an experience to be had and it can feel like you’re headed into a fantasy land. There are many side roads (called Soi’s in Thai) that lead off from Bangla Road. Here you will find even more bars, as well as mini clubs.

  • How long should I stay here? All night, all day who knows? Tomorrow does happen at some point though so try and get a little sleep xx
  • Getting there – Back to the hotel from Paradise beach (car/taxi 20 minutes), then walk out to the town from your hotel!

Insider Tip: When partying the night away, expect to be hit on by a few ‘women of the night’ and even ‘men of the night’ as Bangala Road is also the sex capital of Phuket. I would strongly recommend that you turn them down, as not all of it is hugely ethical.

Phuket Itinerary

Lub D Phuket Patong

Lub D Phuket Patong Is one of the most EPIC hostels in Phuket! This magnificent Hostel was Voted in 2017 as the “Best New Hostel” in the world, and it must be seen to be believed.

  • Large see-through swimming pool

Patong Beach | Phang Nga Bay | Koh Panyi | James Bond Island

Day 3 is when we ditch the land and look seawards. Think island hopping, but better because I’m in charge…

Accommodation is up to you here, but staying near Phang Nga Bay might be easiest!

9 am – Patong Beach

phuket travel recommendations

A lazy morning is probably not just desired but needed after the previous evening’s revelry. Take an easy stroll down to the beach for a morning swim to wake you up. Grab some street food or breakfast too!

An army marches on its stomach, and there is still lots to do today! Rent a beach chair, drool on the sand a little, but ready yourself! If you’re feeling refreshed already, there is paragliding, jet skiing, and other beachy activities to get you pumped.

Take advantage of a beach massage if you really want to get the ball rolling, and there are always people who will sell you a smoothie by the side of the road. Try one! Patong beach is very much a love-or-hate thing. It is busy but super beautiful. If you don’t mind other people, then you should have a great time.

  • Getting there – Short taxi, or walk from your Patong Beach accommodation.

12:00 am – Phang Nga Bay

phuket travel recommendations

Okay, this is where a visit to Phuket (although already brilliant) becomes truly legendary. Phang Nga Bay itself is made up of hundreds of different points of interest, and choosing which ones to do is entirely up to you!

I’ve included Koh Panyi and James Bond Island on the itinerary list because they are must-haves, but get exploring and you’ll have an awesome time here!

The cave of the reclining Buddha is a great place to start before heading over to Koh Panyi for some lunch. After James Bond Island, think about heading to Laem Haad Beach, Koh Panak, Koh Hong, Kudu Yai or the Koh Yao Islands. Since Phang Nga Bay has so much to do, and it’s relatively spaced apart, it’s worth getting either a private tour boat or joining one with others. There’s so much to see, and it’s not worth missing out on!

  • Cost – 200 Baht ($6) for entrance, plus boat costs
  • How long should I stay here? All day, but try the reclining Buddha first (around 1 hour)
  • Getting there – Sadly, transfer over to Phang Nga from Patong takes around 2 hours. It is super worth it though! Hotels will often offer tours of Phang Nga bay, or you can join a private one!

1:30 pm – Koh Panyi

phuket travel recommendations

This fishing village is almost entirely built on stilts. There is brilliant seafood, which makes it a great lunchtime stop, but people know about it (so it can get crowded too). It’s up to you if you want to luncheon here, but sitting down and taking an easy lunch can be a great way to ease the effects of the two-hour drive in the morning.

It’s a pretty crazy village, and the natural scenery surrounding it is absolutely stunning. There is even a mosque on the island, which is worth having a look at. However, aside from walking the town and trying the seafood, there is not much else to do. Enjoy the environment and prepare for bigger and better things!

  • Cost – To hire a private boat to the island it’s 1500 Baht (around $40). There are regular ferries which are much cheaper.
  • How long should I stay here? under 2 hours
  • Getting there – You can catch a longtail boat from Surakul pier, which takes around 20 minutes.

3:00 pm – James Bond Island

phuket travel recommendations

The famous James Bond Island (or Khao Phing Kan) gathered a lot of international interest, and now gets swarmed with tourists…

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it! It is a stunning place to be, and the cute coves and beaches make a visit very enjoyable. There are some interesting things to buy too, as vendors inevitably follow the tourist crowd.

James Bond island gets mixed reviews since many people go there. Like the Colosseum or Eiffel tower, people just want a money shot before clearing off. However, it is super pretty, and it’s worth going if you’re in the area anyway.

After you’ve enjoyed this tourist trap, I’d recommend chilling at a more relaxed beach until the bay closes at six, or going back to your hotel. If you fancy something active, there is a great range of outdoorsy ways you can explore the magical environment of Phang Nga Bay!

  • Cost – Boats can range between 400 and 2000 Baht (for a private)
  • How long should I stay here? an hour or less
  • Getting there – Boat from Koh Panyi

If you have the time, here are some things that you might want to squeeze in. Alternatively, substitute (or add in) some of these amazing gems to give your trip a distinctly “you” factor…

phuket travel recommendations

Koh Racha, AKA Raya Island, is an island about 20 km south of Phuket. There aren’t any roads or cars, which makes this a haven for naturists. Lots of swimming, snorkelling and beaching is clearly on the cards.

Whilst you can certainly cover most of Raya Island in a single-day trip, if you really want to get a handle on this island, then I’d suggest staying over. There are some really really nice resorts, hotels and hostels that will have everything you need for a great stay.

The amazing Patok beach is a great place to sunbathe, and there are plenty of other things to take part in on the island. Fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, and jet skiing could form part of a top-class day.

  • How long should I stay here? All day?
  • Getting there – 30 minute speedboat from Phuket

Phi Phi Islands

phuket travel recommendations

The Phi Phi Islands were popularised by Leonardo Dicaprio and his pretty face. After he had been there, suddenly everyone else wanted to be there too, and it quickly became a tourist hotspot.

There are several islands in the Phi Phi archipelago, including the main island of Phi Phi Don. Bamboo Island is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, pristine natural state, and amazing snorkelling and diving. Ko Yung (Mosquito Island) is similar but slightly larger. Both these islands are uninhabited.

If you’re looking for some truly unbelievable beaches and marine life, then the Phi Phi Islands are a top destination for you.

  • How long should I stay here? Worth spending a night here. Lots to do!
  • Getting there – Boat from Phuket City

Phuket Simon Cabaret

phuket travel recommendations

Experience something that you have never seen before with this intimate theater extravaganza! The show is a must-see attraction during your travels in Phuket! Witness an extravagant cabaret show with dancers in sparkly attire and even sparklier headdresses.

One of the oddest aspects that makes this show unusual is that it is probably the biggest “transvestite” cabaret show to be found in Phuket. This show features a spectacular musical floor show being performed by the world-famous “ladyboys” of Simon Cabaret.

See for yourself! You will be surprised how elaborate the costumes and makeup are, and how hard it becomes to tell the difference! Stunning costumes, bright lights, an excellent sound system, and expensive decorative sets are all part of this theatrical event that is not to be missed!

One of the coolest things to do in Phuket is to have a glamorous night out at the Simon Cabaret Show. See a variety of acts by dazzling men dressed as beautiful women complete with eye-catching costumes!

  • Cost – Tickets are THB 600 ($18,83).
  • How long should I stay here? 2 hours
  • Getting there – Taxi, or walk in Phuket City

Phuket Sunday Night Market

phuket travel recommendations

The Phuket Sunday Market is known for having a hugely varied selection of curios and secondhand items on sale in a bustling market atmosphere! This is very different from the usual local markets where you can find copied T-shirts and cheap jeans. Hosted from the starting point at Thepkasattri Road and stretching all along the streets to Phuket Road.

All of the old Sino-Portuguese houses along Thalang road are brightly lit with ever-changing colours that add an extra spark to the festive mood created by this one-of-a-kind market! This beautiful historical street is very proud to be the first road on the entire island that is completely free of any large and ugly electric cables hanging around looking like a gigantic mess.

The market is an opportunity for you to try one of the Phuket specialities and explore your boundaries with cuisine! You can find a good mix of sweets and snacks to nibble as you walk. One of the most strange things is the horseshoe crab salad, which is not for the light-hearted!

  • How long should I stay here? No more than an hour or two. The market is open from 4 pm til 9 pm
  • Getting there – Taxi or walk

a girl sleeping in a hammock on a tropical beach in thailand

Phuket has a welcoming, warm and tropical climate. The beautiful temperatures are wayyy hotter than they are cold, and even when it’s cold, it’s really still quite humid.

The extremely rainy Monsoon season begins mid-May and goes on till October, but don’t let this deter you. This is when Phuket is quiet, so you can experience a more authentic cultural side of the places you visit. It’s the perfect time to visit Phuket’s museums too.

Phuket’s high tourist season is from November to February. During this time, the days are sunny and you won’t have a drop of rain! Making it perfect for lazy afternoons, sightseeing, hiking and water sports.

When getting from place to place in Phuket, there are several options to consider. Tuk-tuks are found everywhere in Thailand, so you will easily be able to hire one at any given time to get you from A  to B. Be sure your driver understands where you want to go and check for an authentic license before you accept your ride!

Hiring out a bike is an excellent option when travelling in Phuket, and is ideal for couples or solo travellers. There are many businesses that hire out bikes, and most hotels offer this service or will know a company.

a girl taking a selfie wearing a helmet as she rides on the back of a scooter.

Taxis are found easily, so hiring one is a good option and the prices are usually very reasonable! The locals are very used to tourists visiting Phuket, and can share some knowledge with you on the coolest places.

Walking in Phuket is beautiful, each place is pumping with vibrancy and culture! Meet the locals, find new spots and enjoy the street food. A lot of places in Phuket are easy to walk to, and it is well worth taking a stroll in some of the more culturally rich and scenic areas.

Packing for a tropical climate is the easiest packing you can do – couple of shorts and a t-shirt, and you’re good to go. Packing for thailand is usually straightforward.

The vast majority of the time, Phuket is a very safe place to visit, but it is good to know a few safety tips too. Be sure to keep your wits about you when dealing with locals after a few drinks, as things can get ugly if you lose your cool and start shouting or behaving like an ass. For the ladies, don’t drink alone or walk the streets at night by yourself, and watch out for drink spiking.

a traditional Thai boat in the ocean of Krabi, Thailand

There are also some safety precautions to heed when swimming in the famous ocean waters of Phuket. Although Phuket’s main beaches are now well-staffed with lifeguards, there are still a number of drownings that occur each year. When the beaches are lined with red flags, these are a warning of strong waves and undertow.

Other safety measures would be simple things like, wearing a helmet if you rent a motorbike in Phuket, driving cautiously and never driving drunk as Phuket has the highest rate of car accidents in Thailand.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance for Phuket

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

phuket travel recommendations

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Here’s what people usually ask us when they plan their Phuket itinerary.

Is a Trip to Phuket a Good Idea?

Probably one of the best you’ve had I’d say. Phuket is magical in every capacity, and taking the time to visit Phuket will boost your Thailand trip into the stratosphere. Not only is it relatively cheap, but it’s super beautiful too!

How long should I spend in Thailand, Phuket Island?

Ideally, you should spend around a week getting to know Phuket, but anything 3 days or above is great too. There is so much to do here, and it’s easiest to get fully comfortable here if you spend a little longer.

What are some awesome free things to do in Phuket?

There are heaps to do for free. Explore the fascinating streets of Phuket Old Town before hitting up one of the many beaches.

What are the best Phuket things to do at night?

Bangla Road is the epicentre of the nightlife scene in Phuket. Alternatively, try the Phuket Sunday Night Market if you want a different vibe.

Phuket is not only a beautiful paradise of long-stretching beaches but also a hub of cultural experiences and friendly locals just waiting to share their stories with you! Embark on the adventure of a lifetime and enjoy moments that take your breath away.

It doesn’t matter how many days in Phuket you spend, you are bound to take something back from the experience. Laze around and allow these lifelong memories to soak in, as you will fall in love with everything about the astounding and magical island!

With our Phuket travel guide, you will have the most amazing time of your life in this mesmerizing part of Thailand as each moment will be full of new experiences and wonderment!

a girl at a secluded beach in Krabi, Thailand as the sun sets

Clair Cathryn

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It’s my second time in Phuket, and I love it! I haven’t visited the Elephant Sanctuary and the Big Buddha yet. Thanks for the tips!

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Phuket Travel Guide: The Best Beaches & Secret Tips

Phuket is mass tourism at its finest. No need to sugar coat anything here because it’s become common knowledge that many parts of Phuket is not as paradise-like as you would imagine Thailand to be. Unfortunately, this is something you experience quite early on and cannot really escape – at the latest, you’ll see what we mean when you walk through the streets of Patong (the hotspot on Phuket).

Although Phuket is notorious in some places for its headache-inducing tourism, there are also some beautiful lesser-known places – thankfully! We ourselves, have personally been to Phuket twice and our mission was none other than searching for the most beautiful sights and beaches , as well as for secret corners on the island. In this travel guide, we will share with you the main highlights in Phuket, as well as our top tips for having a great time on this island.

1. Phuket: What to know before you go & Pre-Travel Tips

2. phuket travel guide: main sights and attractions, 3. beach travel guide: the most beautiful beaches on phuket, 4. the best view points on phuket: our tips, 5. day trip: phuket to phang nga & james bond island, 6. where to eat: tips for restaurants and cafes on phuket , 7. where to stay on phuket: our hotel recommendations, 8. phuket transport guide: how to rent a scooter, 9. extra travel tips for phuket: getting there, travel guides and what to avoid.

Phuket Tips

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. That’s right, it’s an island! Phuket is located in the southwest of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. What many people do not know is that Phuket island is connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Is Phuket the right destination for me?

Phuket cannot be generalised into any one category. In other words: Phuket is so big that there is something for everyone to be found on the island. Therefore, you will find all sorts of people on Phuket: from party-goers to couples or families with children. 

However, if you’re looking for a quiet beach destination for your holiday, then Phuket would not be first on our list of recommendations. There are far better options like Khao Lak , Koh Lanta or Koh Phangan . However, there are exceptions on Phuket, namely regions or (exclusive) hotels where you don’t notice the hustle and bustle .

If you go to Phuket, you have to be aware that the island is almost entirely geared towards tourism. That comes with its many disadvantages, no doubt. But there are also advantages. For example, medical care on Phuket is excellent. This is often not the case in other corners of Thailand. Thanks to the international airport, Phuket is probably (together with Khao Lak) the fastest accessible beach destination in Thailand.

Phuket is understandably an attractive travel destination for people who consider (tourist) infrastructure very important. Alternatively, Khao Lak (which is also located near Phuket Airport), is a great choice too.

Where should I stay on Phuket?

Phuket is much larger than you might think. To put it into perspective, if you travelled from the northern most point to the southern most point, then it would easily take you an hour by scooter – depending on the traffic situation, it can also be significantly longer. Since Phuket is so large and diverse, it is not so easy to find the right area to spend the night.

What we really mean by this is: Avoid Patong! Patong is the most popular place on Phuket, but believe us when we say… you really don’t want to stay here. This is the place where party meets sex tourism and it’s always busy no matter the time of day. We even dare to say that Patong is worse than you might imagine it to be. Kata is also not a great place to be and reminds us a little of Patong.

The south has the advantage of being quite close to the many sights (e.g. Big Buddha, Phuket Town). There are also some great view points in the south. Cape Panwa is a quiet corner in the southeast, which we can highly recommend. (Our hotel tip here is The Cove . We’ll tell you more about this below.)

The beaches in the north tend to be quite calm. So if that’s what you are looking for, then you will love the exploring the north (e.g. Bang Tao Beach). In this travel guide, we will share with you our top tips and highlights on Phuket island and all our favourite beaches.

In summary: This is what to expect on Phuket

  • Phuket is spoilt with lush green, hilly landscapes and is home to some really impressive sights such as the Big Buddha.
  • The sandy beaches on Phuket are beautiful and heavenly, but unfortunately often overcrowded in the high season.
  • That brings us to the not so nice side: In some corners you will definitely be confronted with over-tourism . Phuket is an extremely popular destination for package travellers from Russia and China – especially in Patong and Kata. Crazy, but true: you’ll find a lot of signs in Cyrillic script.
  • But don’t worry: there are also enough places away from the crowds , so you can rest assured that it’s possible to have a great time on Phuket!

Phuket Sehenswürdigkeiten Tipps

In this section, we will show you all the main sights and attractions in Phuket that aren’t beaches (because we have a whole section dedicated to beaches later on). Most of these highlights we are about to share with you are located (roughly speaking) in the south and southeast of the island.

Phuket’s Big Buddha

One of our favourite places on Phuket is the Big Buddha. This 45-meter-high white marble statue is marvellously enthroned on a mountain in the south of Phuket. Not only is the Buddha statue itself already highly worth seeing, but the view from up there is also incredibly stunning.

The Big Buddha is one of the most popular day trip destinations on Phuket. You can expect it to be busy, especially during the day. We have always visited this place during the late afternoon and can highly recommend you to come at this time of day as well. Although you don’t have a direct view of the actual sun setting, it does set somewhat behind the Buddha the soft light is still very beautiful. The later it gets, the fewer people there are. On the other hand, sunrise is also a great time to come visit!

Side note: The construction of the Buddha has been underway since 2004 and is still ongoing – the construction is financed by donations. So for this reason, you’ll see small marble tiles being sold, on which you can write your wishes (or just your name) – consider your tile a contribution.

Getting there & information for visiting the Big Buddha

The Big Buddha is perched on a small mountain in the south of Phuket. You’ll follow a winding road leading up to the Big Buddha, which can be quite steep in places, but is relatively well-maintained. Therefore, you can easily reach the Big Buddha with the scooter if you have experience in riding. What’s even more uncomfortable than the mountain roads are the main roads with high traffic! Thankfully, parking is free.

If you don’t feel confident enough to ride a scooter (which is totally understandable), then we would recommend booking a private driver. We’ll tell you more about our tips and various transport options on Phuket later in this travel guide.

The entry to the Big Buddha is free, however, a small donation is requested. Also, please make sure you dress appropriately – the shoulders and knees should be covered up as much as possible.

Big Buddha Phuket Anreise

Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong is the most important and most visited temple on Phuket. Since it’s quite close to the Big Buddha, we would recommend combining these two places in a single trip. 

As is often the case with Thai temples, Wat Chalong consists of several structures. There are also some green areas around the place, as well as countless stalls where you can buy street food and drinks.

In the building with the large, golden Chedi (shown in the photo on the left), there is a staircase that leads up, and from the top you have a really nice view of the entire temple complex. We visited Wat Chalong at lunchtime, but would actually recommend you avoid coming at this time. Not only is it unbearably hot, but there were simply too many people. It’s best to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon around 4 pm. (The temple is open until 5 pm.)

Travel & information about visiting Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong is located in the south of Phuket, at the foot of the mountain on which you’ll find the Big Buddha. You can easily reach Wat Chalong by scooter . Alternatively, you can also rent a private car with a personal driver. We will share our tips with you about transport, scooter riding, car rentals and private drivers at the end of this travel guide.

The entrance in to Wat Chalong is free. As with every temple in Thailand, you have to make sure you are wearing (or have with you) appropriate clothing before entering Wat Chalong. The knees and shoulders should be covered up as much as possible. However, it’s acceptable for men to wear shorts. 

Wat Chalong

Phuket Town

The old town of Phuket (usually called Phuket Town or Old Phuket Town) is a remarkable mix from the remains of Portuguese colonial architecture and Chinese influence.

Some streets in Phuket Town are really well renovated. We really liked the Soi Romanee (also written Romani). Here you will find some nice cafes, such as the Dou Brew Coffee & Craft or the city’s most popular ice cream parlor, Torry’s Ice Cream. We get the feeling that there are many great restaurants and cafes in Phuket Town to choose from!

Phuket Town is also known for its variety of street art . Some murals or graffiti have been created with impressive detail on the house walls. The mural, which stood out to us the most, was the one with the former king – you’ll find it on Dibuk Road.

Good to know: Phuket Town gets a lot of bus groups during the day. When we arrived around 3 pm there was still a lot going on. But every hour thereafter, it became calmer and quieter. So, if you’re going to make a trip here, we can highly recommend you visit in the late afternoon!

Phuket Town Tipps

There is catch when it comes to beaches on Phuket. While many of them are beautiful in terms of landscape and paradise-like, this dreamy scenery has a price. Some beaches on Phuket are completely overcrowded and these primarily include Patong Beach and Kata Beach. In the high season, you feel like a sardine lying on the beach.

In this section, we will tell you which beaches we would recommend visiting on Phuket. We have listed them from north to south, so hopefully you will find it easy to navigate. Remember that Phuket is big. Very big in fact – and most of the time you will probably be within a short radius of your accommodation. However, the vast majority of the beaches are on Phuket’s west coast .

Banana Beach

Banana Beach is still a bit of a secret tip (if you can even say that on Phuket). It is located between Nai Thon and Bang Tao Beach. You can park your scooter on the street and then reach Banana Beach by a small and rather steep trail.

Once at the bottom, a small bay with a beautiful sandy beach awaits you. If you get hungry, there is also a restaurant. There are no accommodation options here though. What’s interesting, is that Banana Beach is not yet well known and we hope it will stay that way for a long time!

Bang Tao Beach

Bang Tao Beach is north of Patong Beach, but is the complete opposite. The beach is miles long and surprisingly calm . You will always find a cozy place here without a problem. You can also borrow a lounger for around 100 Baht. There are also some small restaurants along the beach.

Some high-priced hotels are located on Bang Tao Beach. There are also cheaper accommodations nearby. So if you want to stay in the north of Phuket, Bang Tao Beach is a good option.

Kata Noi Beach

Kata Noi Beach was once an insider tip. Unfortunately, it is now extremely crowded during high season. The landscape with the light sand is beautiful, but we didn’t last long in January as there were just too many people. We imagine it to be much quieter and more pleasant in the off-season.

Nai Harn Beach & Ao Sane Beach

South of Kata you can reach Nai Harn Beach in about 20 minutes. There is much less going on here than in Kata, although you shouldn’t expect an empty beach – especially not in high season. Nevertheless, we liked the sandy beach. You can also watch the sunset from here.

There are some accommodation options at Nai Harn Beach and you will also find everything you need for the day at the beach (loungers, restaurants and even showers).

Our tip: In addition to Nai Harn Beach, there is another beach that is worth a visit: Ao Sane. Ao Sane consists of two small bays. The beach is best known for snorkelling. Because of the stones, the beach is not quite as suitable for swimming as some others.

Yanui Beach

Yanui Beach is located in the very south of Phuket, just a stone’s throw away from Nai Harn Beach. It is probably one of the smallest beaches in Phuket. Although we were here in the high season (mid-January) the beach wasn’t at all overcrowded. 

There are no showers, loungers or accommodations here, but there is a small restaurant on the other side of the street and a few stands where you can buy something to drink. The beach is not the best for swimming due to the large stones and rocks, but it is definitely possible.

Kata Noi Beach

Karon View Point

Once a secret lookout point, but now a very popular location. The Karon view point (also called the Kata view point) is one of the most popular view points along the west coast of Phuket. It is located on a hill south of Kata Noi Beach.

From this lookout point you can see three crescent-shaped bays: Kata Noi in the foreground, Kata and Karon in the distance. When we were here for the first time many years ago, the view was a little less “overgrown” – but hey, that’s nature and the view is still fantastic! You can even see the Big White Buddha out in the distance.

We highly recommend visiting in the late afternoon . However, if you’re after the perfect sunset photo, then we would recommend a different place, as the sun can hide behind the trees (depending on season). 

Getting there & information for visiting the Karon view point

The Karon view point is located directly on the coastal road in the west (4030). You can easily reach the view point with the scooter and there are free parking spaces available. The Karon view point is always open 24/7 and it’s free for everyone.

Karon Viewpoint

Windmill View Point

A great place to catch the sunset in Phuket is the Windmill view point. However, don’t be fooled by the name because there isn’t actually a romantic windmill or any windmill for that matter. In fact, the view point was named after the (very unspectacular) wind turbines that are located here.

Be that as it may, the view is still really fantastic – especially at sunset! The Windmill view point is located between Nai Harn Beach and Yanui Beach, directly on the coastal road and is very easily accessible. That probably explains why so many people gather here in the evenings. There is a kiosk where you can buy something to drink, then find a grassy patch to sit on and enjoy the sunset.

Getting there & information for visiting the Windmill View point

The Windmill view point is located in the south of Phuket directly on the coastal road (4030). You can park your scooter for free. The view point is always open 24/7 and it’s free for everyone.

Windmill Viewpoint

Promthep Cape

One of the most scenic places in the south of Phuket is this cape called Promthep Cape. The nature here is incredibly stunning and the Cape is almost directly on the coastal road, which makes it very easily accessible. With this in mind, don’t be surprised at the large crowds during sunset .

The most famous photo spot (shown in our picture) is at the top, right next to the street. From here, you’ll find a footpath that leads down to the sea –  we would recommend wearing sturdy shoes. The further you go, the fewer people you’ll meet. That means weighing up view from above vs. less crowds and view down by the water.

Although this place is definitely not a secret tip by any means, we would still highly recommend that you come here for at least one sunset. The gorgeous view makes it all worthwhile!

Getting there & information for visiting the Promthep Cape

The Promthep Cape lies on the southernmost tip of Phuket, more or less directly on the coastal road (4030). You can park your scooter on the street for free. From there, it’s just a short walk (2 minutes) down to the view point. This area is always open 24/7 and free for everyone.

Promthep Cape

Our personal highlight on Phuket was our trip to Phang Nga Bay at sunrise. We spent half an eternity thinking about whether we should fork out the money for this tour. After all, the price was around 120 Euros per person. That’s a lot of money for Thailand.

Anyway, in the end, we are so glad that we decided to do it! The tour started in the middle of the night (around 4 am), so that you arrive at the view point well before sunrise (after a 15-minute hike). The view of Phang Nga Bay at dawn is breathtakingly beautiful!

After a quick breakfast, we got on the boat towards James Bond Island . The small island with the striking 30 meter high rock needle became famous from the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun” – hence the name. A real hype has arisen around the rock and it is one of the most popular excursion destinations from Phuket.

We have to admit that we find the James Bond Rock itself rather average. We were much more captivated by the boat trip through Phang Nga Bay itself. You float across the water in the most beautiful morning light through the expansive karst landscape.

Later, there are a few more short stops (e.g. for a kayak trip) and lunch. At about 2 pm you will arrive back at your accommodation. Our conclusion: Yes, the price is steep. But for such a unique experience, we think the money is well worth it. We can highly recommend the tour!

You can book the tour here: Sunrise in Phang Nga & James Bond Island

Samet Nangshe Tipps

The culinary offer in Phuket is honestly so huge and diverse that it’s overwhelming. Many restaurants – especially those near the hotels – are very touristy (which is not always a bad thing). In this section, we share with you our to restaurant recommendations. If you decide to try some of them out, leave us a message and let us know what your experience was like!

Tip for the Vegetarians/Vegans: We can highly recommend the HappyCow app to all vegetarians/vegans. In our opinion, the few Euros it costs are definitely worth the investment. 

Sai Than Boon Vegetarian Restaurant (Unfortunately reported closed): Our favourite culinary discovery in Phuket! This locally run small restaurant serves only vegetarian Thai dishes. Authentic flair, incredibly friendly owners & super delicious meals – what more could you ask for? Our conclusion: more than recommended!

Rawei Beach Restaurant

Wilson’s Cafe: Very nice, cozy café in Rawai (in the south of Phuket). They serve western dishes such as smoothie bowls, salads or sandwiches. The breakfast menu is also very extensive.

Dou Brew Coffee & Craft: This little hip cafe serves some very good espresso in the Old Phuket Town.

Rawei Beach Restaurant: Not exactly a local tip, but the beach bars in Rawai still come recommended. In some places, you get to sit on the floor in the traditional cultural way. The Rawai Seafood Market is also worth a visit (daily from 11 am to 9 pm).

Dou Brew Coffee

For those seeking tranquility: The Cove on Cape Panwa

Looking for relaxation and tranquility on Phuket? Then you’ll feel right at home here! Our number one choice for a vacation away from the crowds is this oasis in the southeast of Phuket . The Cove on the Cape Panwa peninsula is beautifully designed and the perfect place to unwind.

The hotel is right on the beach . From some bungalows, you can even see the sea. The rooms (or bungalows) are very spacious and tastefully designed – an absolute dream. The hotel beach is very calm and you will find a few restaurants here too – luckily, without any tourist hustle and bustle.

Perhaps the only downside is that the change in tides at Cape Panwa is a little more prominent than in other parts of Phuket. But that wouldn’t stop us from staying here. However, due to the more remote location, the beaches on the west coast are about a 30 minute drive away – but as mentioned before, there is a beach right outside the front door.

Unfortunately the hotel was fully booked during our travel period, otherwise we wouldn’t have hesitated for a second. Next time we stay in Phuket, it will definitely be this one!

You can book the hotel here: The Cove

For a low budget: Sugar Ohana Poshtel in Kata

The bad news first : Kata itself is really awful. The place was already not overly spectacular a few years ago, but nowadays, you simply just want to escape. Kata is most definitely Russian central as the vast majority of vacationers come from Russia.

However, Kata is a strategic location to stay in if you want to discover as much of Phuket as you can on your own. Some beaches or bays are located in the south. The most important sights (Big Buddha, Wat Chalong) are not far either.

If you want to stay in Kata and are looking for cheap accommodation, we can recommend the Sugar Ohana Poshtel . The rooms are pretty and you feel very comfortable. However, the accommodation is located directly on the main street (in the middle of the hustle and bustle), you just have to get used to that. We would not stay in Kata again, but if you are looking for something cheap , then this is the place for you.

You can book accommodation here: Sugar Ohana Poshtel

Sugar Ohana Phuket

There are three major problems when it comes to transport in Phuket:

1. The island is very large and the distances should not be underestimated. 2. There is also a lot of traffic , so much so that they lead to long traffic jams on some routes. 3. The worst of the worst: taxi prices are horrendous! We were told that Phuket harbours a taxi mafia and judging by the extortionately high prices, it could very well be a possibility!

Unfortunately, there is no well-developed public transport network on Phuket. Some routes (especially the ones towards Phuket Town) can be taken by bus, but unfortunately this is basically the only exception.

So if you want to see more of Phuket than the surroundings of your hotel, then you have no choice but to take care of your own transport. Here are the few options we would suggest:

Option 1: Rent a Scooter on Phuket

Renting a scooter is the cheapest and easiest way to get from A to B on Phuket. You can rent a moped and ride around the island for about 250 Baht per day . Petrol is sold in glass bottles on the side of the road. (1 litre usually costs around 40 Baht.)

Is scooter driving dangerous on Phuket?

Yes! Sorry, but yes! Anyone who claims otherwise are obviously unaware of the statistics. Thailand is one of the countries with the highest traffic fatalities worldwide, and the majority of these cases involve mopeds. Riding a moped around Thailand is always risky and Phuket is no exception.

We ourselves have seen a road accident on Phuket with our own eyes and saw injured people lying on the street. It’s awful, but it’s also the reality. However, despite being aware of the risks, we still rent scooters in Thailand all the time. Here are some tips we recommend to stay as safe as possible:

  • We always wear a helmet – always! It’s tempting to drive without a helmet, we get that too. But please don’t put your safety at risk! On another note, we always buy our own helmet at the beginning of a trip to Thailand because the quality of helmets in Thailand are usually sub-par.
  • Sand on the road can easily cause your scooter to slide sideways – especially around the turns. So always pay attention to the road and reduce speed if necessary.
  • We try to avoid driving in the dark (even though we can’t always avoid this). Visibility is of course poorer at night, but above all there is a risk that others will drive under the influence of alcohol.
  • Make sure you don’t burn yourself on the exhaust. There is usually a protective cover made of plastic to prevent this, but it is sometimes fragile or non-existent.

What about the traffic on Phuket?

Super important: drive on the left! Thailand has left-hand traffic, which will be a mild shock for many of you – but you’ll get used to it faster than you think, so don’t worry. There is generally a lot of traffic on the streets of Phuket. However, there are major differences between the main roads and the less busier roads. In any case, be prepared for the fact that there are a lot of cars and minivans on the roads in Phuket.

Do I need an international driver’s license?

No – at least not for renting the scooter. A normal driver’s license is enough for the rental company. BUT: If you get pulled over by traffic control, then the police will most certainly ask for an international driver’s license (more on that in a moment).

Do I need a Class A driver’s license?

Yes and no. You can rent a scooter with an ordinary Class B (which is what most people have for driving cars) – the rental companies don’t care much. However, it does matter to the police and you may face a fine (more on that in a moment). On an even more serious note: if you were to be involved in an accident and it turns out that you drove the scooter without proper legal license to do so, then you will most likely not be covered by your insurance. 

Is it true that there are regular police checks on Phuket?

Yes, unfortunately it happens very often and they’re definitely out to get tourists. Not even 10 minutes after we had just rented our scooter, we got pulled over by road control. Normally they only pull you over in the event of an actual offence (which is fair), however they also set up regular station checks to catch unaware tourists. These are the top offences the police will catch you out for:

  • Helmet: Helmets are compulsory!
  • A driver’s license with Class A: because in Thailand, the law treats scooters as motorcycles and thus requires all riders to have a motorcycle license (Class A).
  • International driving license: This is also often asked for.

If they fine you, it’s usually 500 Baht per offence. The funny thing about it is that once you’ve paid the fine, you can continue on your merry way. And they even give you a little present with the ‘receipt’ from your penalty. It basically gives you right of way to legally ride the scooter for a more few days, so in case you bump into another police control, you can simply show them you’ve already paid a fine – and they’ll let you go, just like that! 

Is there anything else I should consider?

They often require your passport as a form of deposit . We always try to avoid this by alternatively offering our driver’s license instead – Kathi’s of course, since she won’t be driving. It just gives us more peace of mind. 

Before leaving, you should check that the lights work – just in case you’re met with an unwelcome surprise after your evening dinner to find out they don’t turn on! We made this mistake once and experienced it first hand, so that’s why we’re telling you this. It is also worthwhile to make a short video or photos of the existing damage (scratches, dents), so you’re not liable for extra damages at the end. 

And on a final note: Don’t worry too much ! Fear and scooter riding don’t go well together. Of course, you have to be aware of the dangers, but we don’t want to over-exaggerate the risks of riding scooters in Thailand. We always rent a scooter, in fact, every time we visit Thailand. 

Option 2: Rent a car on Phuket

Of course, driving by car is much safer than riding a scooter. You can easily rent a car from Phuket, but unfortunately, it’s very expensive when compared a scooter. Expect to pay around 1,500 Baht per day to rent an average car. 

We have also rented a car before in Thailand and can confirm that you can do so without any problems . It’s also the better option if you are in a slightly larger group or with children. Since the distances in Phuket are quite large, you’ll find it much more comfortable in a car. 

We always book our rental cars through Sunny Cars and have only had positive experiences with this company so far.

You can search for your rental car here: Sunny Cars

Option 3: Private Driver on Phuket

If you only plan to do day trips on a few days max, then a car with a private driver could be worth considering. No brainer that this option is more expensive than a rental car, of course. Expect the prices to start around 85 Euros for 4 hours and 130 Euros for 8 hours.

You can book your driver here: Private drivers on Phuket

Phuket Roller mieten Erfahrungen

Getting to Phuket: From the airport to the hotel

Thanks to the international airport , Phuket is very easy to reach. There are even direct flights to Phuket from Germany. The airport is located in the north of Phuket where planes fly directly over the beach.

Immediately after leaving the airport building, there are plenty of taxi stands waiting for you. The cheapest option is to take a shared taxi . However, you will most likely be brought directly to your hotel in a minibus. The price varies depending on the destination: to Kata, for example, it costs around 200 Baht.

A private taxi is much more expensive, but also faster and more convenient. For comparison, a trip to Kata would cost 1,000 Baht. Some hotels also offer an airport pick-up service. The best thing is to ask around for the prices. 

Travel Guide for Thailand: Our Recommendation

Most likely (and hopefully) your trip will not only take you to Phuket, but also to other regions of Thailand. In this case, we can highly recommend  Lonely planet’s Thailand Travel Guide. The  Lonely planet Travel Guides are always our first choice for Southeast Asia. They are aimed at individual travellers and are known for being quite extensive and very well researched.

The Thailand Travel Guide by Lonely planet has been around for decades. The new edition appeared in November 2021 and is therefore, quite up to date. With this travel guide you can really appreciated how experienced the authors are. Our conclusion: highly recommended!

You can buy the travel guide here: Lonely Planet Thailand

What to Avoid in Phuket!

One last but very important thing: Phuket is full of elephant camps where tourists can ride on the elephants’ backs on seats especially built for this purpose. Elephant riding and other animal attractions are particularly popular with Russian and Chinese tourists. Please, for the love of animals, do not support these sick businesses. It’s nothing but unnecessary cruelty towards animals and the only way we can stop this together, is by raising awareness and decreasing tourist demands. 

Unfortunately, there are also many providers who have made a business out of the growing ethical awareness. Many self-proclaimed “eco camps” where you can bathe and feed elephants are not as ‘ethical’ as you might think. Since it’s extremely difficult for to know what is truly behind these organisations, we recommend that you avoid all animal attractions.

Phuket Erfahrungen

Disclaimer: Affiliate Links

This travel guide contains our personal recommendations in the form of affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, then we will receive a small commission. This will not change the prices for you at all. A million thanks from the both of us!

Have you ever been to Phuket? Perhaps you have some extra tips or recommendations you’d like to share? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below this travel guide! 

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The best guide i’ve read! Thanks! How do you edit your photos?

Hi Tania, thank you so much! We use Lightroom to edit our pictures. :)

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Phuket's 27 Best Things to Do: Your Ultimate Bucket List

BY Pelago by Singapore Airlines


Phuket - Things to Do

Phuket beckons with its captivating charm, a city adorned with the timeless allure of Sino-Portuguese architecture and 19th-century shophouses that whisper tales of bygone eras.

Beyond the sun-kissed shores that have etched Phuket as one of the hottest beach destinations in the world, the city has more than its fair share of history and culture as well.

Without further ado, here are the best things to do in Phuket:

1. A Memorable Way to Start Your Morning

Morning ceremony thai temple experience at wat chalong.

Are you a morning person? Then this one’s definitely for you!

Visit Wat Chalong , one of Thailand’s most beautiful temples, early in the morning and participate in the morning prayer ritual.

You can also offer food to the monk after the ritual, an act believed to bring good luck in Thailand.

Spend a few hours in the tranquillity of this temple, soak up the peace surrounding you, and feel refreshed.

Even if you are not a morning person, this experience is worth waking up for.

Address: 70 หมู่ที่ 6 Chao Fah Tawan Tok Rd, Chalong, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand ( map )

Timing: Open Daily, 8am to 5pm

2. Explore the Mesmerising Phuket Old Town

Street food tour at phuket old town.

Phuket’s old town is a cultural and historical treasure trove, adorned with Sino-Portuguese buildings boasting remarkable architecture that’s a must-see.

Wandering along these beautiful streets, you’ll encounter food stalls and family-run restaurants offering diverse delicacies.

From Chinese-style noodles to local pancakes, the food scene here mirrors the cultural influences shaping modern Phuket.

Craving a taste of Phuket’s delectable street food?

Opt for a guided tour led by a knowledgeable food guide.

You’ll indulge in the city’s finest culinary delights, starting with breakfast and extending to lunch.

The guide will lead you to hidden gems tucked away in the nooks and corners of the city, ensuring you don’t miss a single delectable detail.

Address: Phuket Old Town, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000 ( map )

3. Be One with Nature at Phuket Botanic Garden

Phuket botanic garden.

Spanning across 30 distinct zones, Phuket Botanic Garden offers a serene sanctuary where you can observe Thailand’s indigenous plant species.

A diverse array of plants awaits your exploration, from vibrant flowers to exquisite orchids.

This venue is perfect for a leisurely few hours, with must-visit attractions including the temperature-controlled Winter Garden and the enchanting Butterfly Garden.

Location: 98 89 หมู่ที่ 4 Soi Jaofa 48, Chalong, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83130, Thailand ( map )

Opening hours: Open daily, 11am to 5pm

4. Experience Pearl Farming with a Guided Tour

Phuket pearl farming experience and guided tour.

Uncover one of Phuket’s hidden gems – its pearl farms. Immerse yourself in the captivating world of pearl farming with a guided tour .

Cruise on a longtail boat, exploring the very spots where pearls come to life, and delve into the intricacies of the entire process, including its scientific nuances.

Wrap up this enlightening experience with a touch of indulgence at their in-house store, where you can treat yourself to some exquisite pearls.

Location: 58/2 Moo1, Thepkrasattri Road, Koh Kaew, Mueang, Phuket 83000 ( map )

Timing: Thurs to Tues, 10am to 2.30pm

Offbeat Phuket Must Dos

5. watch a muay thai match, bangla boxing stadium muay thai match tickets in phuket.

Want to experience something non-touristy?

Make your way to the renowned Bangla Boxing Stadium in Phuket and catch a thrilling Muay Thai match .

Originating in the 13th century, Muay Thai is a martial art celebrated for its simplicity, efficiency, and raw power, seamlessly blending kicks, punches, elbows, and knees with grace and fluidity.

Location: 74/21 Soi Banzaan, Pa Tong, Kathu District, Phuket 83150 ( map )

Timing: Mon: 12pm to 10pm, Tues & Weds: 12pm to 11.30pm, Thurs: 12pm to 10pm, Fri: 12pm to 11.30pm, Sat: 12pm to 10pm, Sun: 12pm to 11.30pm

6. Experience the Rum Distillation Process at Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

Chalong bay rum distillery tour in phuket.

Head on a rum distillery tour to delve into the fascinating world of one of the world’s favourite spirits.

Explore the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery on a guided tour , where award-winning rum is crafted from Thai sugarcane.

Gain a behind-the-scenes perspective on how this unique label produces its signature liquor.

Conclude the tour by savouring their renowned signature cocktails and refreshing mojitos.

Location: 14/2 Moo 2, Palai, Soi 2, Chalong, Amphur Muang, Phuket 83130, Thailand ( map )

Timing: Open daily, 11am to 11pm

7. Enjoy a Dolphin Show

Dolphin show at dolphins bay phuket.

Love dolphins? You’re in for a treat in Phuket!

Witness the captivating acrobatics of trained dolphins as they flip, balance balls, soar through the air, clear bars, and even indulge in a bit of rock and roll and waltz at Dolphin Bay Phuket .

Location: 33, 50, Chalong, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83130, Thailand ( map )

Timing: Mon to Sun, 9am to 6pm. Closed on Tues

8. Treat Yourself to a Unique Selfie Experience

The selfie experience phuket ticket.

Love snapping selfies? Phuket has a treat for you! Explore a selfie museum with 40 fantastic selfie spots, each topping the last.

Go for a special photo shoot with an in-house professional photographer and curate a perfect Instagram photo dump.

The museum also features a cafe serving delightful Italian gelato and ice cream, perfect for cooling down in the hot Phuket weather.

Location: 99/99 Moo 5 Chalermprakiat Road T, Ratsada, Mueang, Phuket 83000, Thailand ( map )

Timing: Open daily, 10am to 9pm

Places to Visit in Phuket with Family

Travelling with family? Check out these interesting places in Phuket.

9. Experience Underwater Life at Aquaria Phuket

Aquaria phuket tickets.

Thailand’s largest aquarium, Aquaria Phuket , is the place to visit in Phuket with family.

The aquarium features 25,000 fascinating aquatic creatures spread across nine zones and four interactive areas, including Mystic Forest, Coastal Haven, the South China Sea, and Station Aquarius.

There’s more! Dine at the underwater restaurant located at the Aquaria and also visit the Trick Eye Museum, a 3-D illusion museum. If you are travelling with children, this experience is going to be epic!

Location: ฟรอเรสต้า ตั้งอยู่ชั้น B1 ศูนย์การค้า เซ็นทรัล ภูเก็ต 199 Vichitsongkram Rd, Wichit, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand ( map )

Timing: Open daily, 10.30am to 6pm

10. Cool Off at the Splash Jungle Water Park

Splash jungle water park phuket tickets.

Dive into water adventures at Phuket’s premier water park, Splash Jungle Water Park , a top attraction on the island.

Beat the heat and amp up the excitement with a variety of thrilling water rides.

The star attractions include the wave pool and a 335-meter-long lazy river.

Designed with a dedicated Aqua Play Pool and Aqua Park for kids, it’s the ultimate way to enjoy a family day in Phuket.

Location: 65, 179 Soi Mai Khao 4, Tambon Mai Khao, Amphoe Thalang, Chang Wat Phuket 83110, Thailand ( map )

Timing: Open Daily, 10am to 5.45pm, last redemption at 4pm.

11. Have Fun at Phuket 3D Museum

Phuket 3d museum tickets.

Another must-see gem in Phuket is the 3D museum, showcasing optical art across five distinct exhibition areas.

With both permanent modern art installations and temporary exhibits, the museum invites you to unleash your imagination and capture some of the funniest photos of your trip.

Location : 130 1 Phangnga Rd, Tambon Talat Yai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand ( map )

Timing : Daily, 10am to 6pm

12. Spend a Super Fun Evening at Carnival Magic Phuket

Carnival magic phuket tickets.

Step into the lively tapestry of Thailand at Carnival Magic Phuket .

This expansive cultural park is a vibrant celebration of Thai festivals, carnivals, and fairs.

Experience the joyous festivities and regal pageantry, all in authentic Thai style.

Ultimately, it’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the spirited way Thais celebrate their everyday lives.

Location : 999 Kamala, Kathu District, Phuket 83150, Thailand ( map )

Timing: Mon, Wed & Sat, 5.30pm to 11.30pm, closed on Sun, Tues, Thurs & Fri

Island Hopping from Phuket

Islands of all sizes surround Phuket, perfect for a getaway. A holiday in Phuket is incomplete without some island-hopping experience, especially when it comes to snorkelling and beach bummin’.

13. Visit the Mesmerising Similan Island

Similan islands tour by speed catamaran or speed boat.

Explore the picturesque Similan Island, boasting pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters teeming with vibrant marine life.

If you’re a nature lover, this island is a must-visit. The beautiful Andaman Sea surrounding it is adorned with colorful coral reefs and diverse fish species.

Hop on a speedboat tour to reach the island, engage in snorkeling activities, and cap off your experience with a satisfying Thai buffet lunch.

14. Visit the Enchanting Surin Islands

Surin islands day tour with snorkeling.

Nestled near Phuket, the Surin Islands form a captivating haven of marine life and natural beauty.

With turquoise waters and powdery white sands, these islands are a sought-after destination for island-hopping enthusiasts in Phuket.

Join a full-day tour to explore snorkeling sites, visit a local village, and encounter the ‘sea gypsies.’

If luck is on your side, you might even spot a turtle or two during your snorkeling expedition.

15. Take a Trip to the Enthralling Racha and Coral Islands

Racha and coral island sunset tour by catamaran yacht.

The pristine Racha and Coral Islands are breathtakingly beautiful, with long white sand beaches and exciting marine life in the surrounding seas, making them an ideal retreat for soaking up the island life.

Marvel at the panoramic views of the ocean and relish the unmatched beauty of the islands on this tour.

It offers the best way to experience the islands, coupled with enjoyable activities like banana boat and speedboat riding, kayaking, parasailing, and more.

16. Visit the Famous James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay

Phang nga bay and james bond island boat tour.

Explore the allure of James Bond Island in Phuket, made famous by its appearance in “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

A visit to Phuket wouldn’t be complete without witnessing the unique limestone karsts emerging from the emerald-green waters.

You can also join a tour that lets you experience the beauty of Phang Nga Bay through diverse options such as canoeing, a Chinese junk boat, a private cruise, and more

17. Check Out the Unforgettable Phi Phi Island

Phi phi islands snorkel and swim tour by speedboat.

Get ready for an epic day exploring Phi Phi Islands !

Kick off your day with a morning pickup at your hotel, followed by a speedboat ride from Nopparattara Pier.

First stop – Bamboo Island, where you can snorkel and soak up the sun on the beach.

Cruise over to Phi Phi Lay to check out Viking Cave, Pi Leh Bay, and the crystal-clear pools at Loh Sama Bay. Lastly, don’t miss a dip in the famous Maya Beach, the star of “The Beach” movie.

Adventure-Related Phuket Must-Dos

If you are a water lover, Phuket has extensive options for you. The seas around the island are a hidden treasure of vibrant marine life and breathtakingly beautiful corals.

You can enjoy a range of water sports here while feeling one with nature.

18. Enjoy the Underwater Vibe with a Scuba Diving Tour

Maiton island: half-day small group scuba diving excursion....

Phuket stands out as a paradise for scuba divers, ranking among the world’s top scuba destinations.

Its waters boast fringing reefs, stunning granite walls, wrecks, caves, and tunnels teeming with vibrant coral gardens and diverse marine life, including whale sharks, manta rays, tuna, seahorses, harlequin shrimp, and more.

For a glimpse into this underwater world, a half-day scuba diving trip to the secluded Maiton Island is the ideal adventure.

19. Feel the Adrenaline Rush with White Water Rafting

White water rafting, flying fox and atv adventure tour.

Seeking adventure? The rivers near Phuket, adorned with thrilling rapids, are perfect for whitewater rafting.

Feel the excitement as you and your teammates navigate challenging rapids, guided by an experienced rafting guide.

Experience the exhilaration of white water rafting down a roaring river, concluding with a zip-line adventure or an ATV ride, all while soaking in breathtaking views.

20. Learn a New Skill - Standup Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddle boarding lessons at talay surf school.

Turn your trip into an unforgettable experience by acquiring a new skill: stand-up paddleboarding.

This cool activity is beginner-friendly, requiring no prior experience or exceptional physical capabilities.

With just a few lessons, you’ll confidently position yourself on the surfboard, mastering the use of the long-handled paddle.

The best way to level up your paddleboarding game? Register for a lesson with schools like Talay Surf Phuket to dive into the world of SUP techniques.

21. Take Surfing Lessons from an Experienced Surf Instructor

Surfing lessons on kata beach phuket.

Elevate your water sports prowess with surfing lessons from a pro instructor.

Experience the adrenaline rush as you ride the white waves of the Andaman Sea, surrounded by the refreshing sea breeze.

This 1.5-hour crash course covers everything, from the basics to advanced levels.

Get ready to master the waves and make a splash!

22. Learn Surf-skating from an Experienced Trainer

Surf skate lesson in phuket.

Love surfing but prefer to stay dry?

Try surf skating, a sport gaining popularity in Phuket.

Unlike traditional surfing, this land-based activity uses specially designed surfboards for smooth carving in an ‘S’ pattern, mimicking the feel of surfing.

It’s incredibly fun and exciting.

Learn surf skating with the crisp sea wind in your hair during this beginner-friendly lesson led by trained instructors.

23. Enjoy a Zipline Adventure

Hanuman world phuket zipline adventure.

Craving heights and thrills?

Dive into a zipline adventure in Phuket, right in Phuket town!

With 16 zip-line routes to choose from, go big and conquer them all if you’re feeling adventurous.

These lines, stretching up to 400 meters, take you through the lush hillside jungle of the island. Get ready for an exhilarating experience in the treetops!

Location: 105 หมู่4 ถนนเหมืองเจ้าฟ้า ตำบล วิชิต Wichit, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000, Thailand ( map )

Timing : Open daily, 8am to 6pm

24. Experience the Thrill of Gun Shooting

Patong paragon gun shooting range in phuket.

Experience the thrill at Patong Paragon Gun Shooting Range, boasting 24 indoor galleries and a private demonstration room, all guided by a professional instructor.

But that’s not all – there are two outdoor ranges and a special combat scenario course to immerse you in the excitement of shooting.

Take your pick from a variety of handguns and shotguns and spend a few exhilarating hours at this range.

Location: Phuket Shooting Range: 82, Rawai, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83130 ( map )

Timing: Daily, 10am to 12am

Best Things to Do in Phuket for Leisure

Love a leisurely vacation? You will be spoiled for choices while visiting Phuket. From exotic Thai spas to restaurants offering unique experiences, Phuket has something for everyone. Here are some ideas for your itinerary.

25. Treat Yourself to a Spa

Coqoon spa at the slate phuket.

Indulging in leisure in Thailand is incomplete without a spa experience, right?

Treat yourself to a massage at Coqoon Spa at The Slate, a luxurious spa destination in Phuket.

Unwind, recharge, and revitalize with the rejuvenating rituals offered here, melting away the stress and tension of your daily life.

Rest assured, all the ingredients used are of top quality to ensure you receive the absolute best.

Location: The Slate Nai Yang Beach 116 Moo 1, Sakhu, Thailand, Phuket 83110 ( map )

Timing: Open daily, 10am to 10pm

26. Get a Unique Dining Experience at L'Arôme by the Sea

Embark on a unique culinary adventure at this elegant and minimalist restaurant in Phuket, a must-visit destination.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by L'ARÔME BY THE SEA (@laromebythesea)

With two distinct space designs, it offers a refined atmosphere. Delight in contemporary French cuisine with a Swiss Alps twist at one of Phuket’s best restaurants .

Pro tip: for an exceptional sunset experience, unwind at the rooftop bar with a refreshing drink.

Location: 247/5 Kammala – Patong Rd, Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Chang Wat Phuket 83150 ( map )

Timing: Open daily, 4pm to 11pm

Phuket – A Perfect Island Getaway

Phuket encapsulates the essence of island life, bustling with activities and adventure from morning until late at night.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a laid-back traveler, Phuket has something special for you. The memories made on this island will linger in your heart forever.

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Travel Itineraries | Luxury Travel | Travel Tips

Add these 20 Top Things to See and Do on your Phuket Travel Itinerary

Add these 20 Top Things to See and Do on your Phuket Travel Itinerary

When it comes to experiencing the best that Phuket has to offer, you’re in for a whirlwind of awe-inspiring activities that cater to every traveler’s dream. We’ve meticulously crafted a list of these 20 Top Rated Things to do in Phuket , which will provide you the most enticing and immersive experiences, promising you a journey of a lifetime. From heart-pounding adventures to culturally enriching escapades, here’s your roadmap to the Best Phuket Activities that will leave you spellbound, and perfectly compliment this 7 Day Phuket Dive + Travel Itinerary.

PS – Before you fly to Phuket, and tick off the 20 Bucket List Experiences listed below, check out these 20+ Travel Hacks and Resources , that will elevate your Travel experience to a different level all together.

1. Big Buddha Phuket 

2. phuket discovery half day tour , 3. phuket ethical elephant jungle sanctuary  experience , 4. phuket old town food tour , 5. thai cooking class , 6. chalong bay distillery tour , 7. phuket giant water lilies & temple tour , 8. carnival magic phuket , 9. phuket fantasea show , 10. simon cabaret show , 11. yona floating beach club day experience , 12. promthep sunset dinner on catamaran yacht experience , 13. aquaria phuket , 14. andamanda phuket , 15. zip-line adventure at hanuman world , 16. coral island snorkelling day trip by speedboat , 17. full-day racha yai scuba diving experience , 18. phi phi island hopping tour , 19. james bond island tour , 20. khao sok national park jungle safari full day tour from phuket.

  • Book these 20 Top Rated Phuket Experiences 

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20 top rated phuket activities and experiences.

A symbol of Phuket’s spirituality and grandeur, the Big Buddha is an iconic landmark that demands a visit. The image of Big Buddha Phuket , is the first thing that pops up, the moment you google Things to See in Phuket . Perched atop Nakkerd Hill, this towering statue, is iconic and offers panoramic views of the island and its surroundings, and is one of the most important and revered landmarks of Phuket. Experience a sense of tranquility as you stand in the presence of Big Buddha Phuket, and soak in the breathtaking vistas that unfold before you.

phuket travel recommendations

Peel back the layers of Phuket’s culture and charm with the Phuket Discovery Half Day Tour . Traverse through cultural landmarks, iconic temples such as the most important and famous Buddhist Temple in Phuket – Wat Chalong , bustling markets and iconic streets of Old Town Phuket , and serene landscapes from one of the most popular and iconic viewpoints in Phuket – Khao Rang Hill . Witness local life up close, as you immerse yourself in the island’s rich tapestry of traditions and history.

phuket travel recommendations

Make a difference while making memories with the Phuket Ethical Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Experience . Engage with these majestic creatures in a responsible and ethical way, contributing to their well-being and rehabilitation. Immerse yourself in their world, as you learn about their history, behaviours, and conservation efforts. In this truly a once-in-a-lifetime connection with the gentle giants, you’ll have the opportunity of feeding them, bathing them and even enjoying a mud spa with Elephants.

Interacting with Elephants in an ethical way at an Ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket is not only one of the most immersive experiences in Phuket but also one of the Best Family Activities with kids.

PS – You can have a similar experience in Chiang Mai as well, as Chiang Mai in North Thailand is home to many Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries as well. And if you do visit Chiang Mai, then this 3 Day Chiang Mai Travel Itinerary might turn out to be helpful, as it recommends the Best Things to do in Chiang Mai, along with accommodation recommendations and a 3 Day Travel Itinerary.

phuket travel recommendations

Delight your taste buds on the Phuket Old Town Food Tour , a culinary adventure through the charming streets of Old Town Phuket. Sample 14+ delectable offerings, consisting of an array of local delicacies such as Hokkien noodles, Thai and Burmese curries, stuffed Bao’s, among other sumptuous local Thai dishes that reflect Phuket’s diverse cultural influences. From street stalls to hidden gems, this tour is a delicious immersion into Phuket’s culinary scene, as you’ll be trying delicacies at street food joints that are only frequented by locals.

Phuket Food Walk 6

The Phuket Old Town Food Walking Tour perfectly blends food and culture together.

After ticking off the Phuket Old Town Food Tour from this list of the Top Things to do in Phuket, it’s time to embark on a gastronomic journey with a Thai Cooking Class that unveils the secrets of authentic Thai cuisine. Under the guidance of skilled chefs, learn to create delectable dishes using fresh ingredients and traditional techniques. Immerse yourself in the flavours of Thailand as you craft memorable meals to savour.

Thai Cooking Class | Photo by Yoav Aziz on Unsplash

Immerse yourself in the art of distillation with a visit to the Chalong Bay Distillery . Explore the craftsmanship behind Thailand’s finest rum and sip on the rich flavours of the tropics. This tour takes you on a sensory journey, offering insights into the distillation process while tantalising your taste buds with exquisite rum tastings.

While you can always visit the Chalong Bay Distillery on your own, it’s 10 times more fun if you share the experience of sampling the Rum and finely crafted cocktails, after visiting the iconic landmarks of Phuket, with fellow travellers from around the world, that you meet on this popular Full Day Phuket Sightseeing Tour with Cocktail Tasting ,  which has also been rated as one of the Most Value for Money Phuket Tour, by travellers themselves.


Experience tranquility at a local pond that holds the biggest type of Lily pads in the world (the Victoria Amazonica) and explore iconic temples, such as Wat Phra Thong  which is famous for the half-buried golden Buddha statue, Wat Phra Nang Sang -Phuket’s oldest Temple and Wat Sri Sunthon which is home to an enormous golden reclining Buddha, that hold historical and cultural significance. Immerse yourself in serene surroundings, as you uncover the beauty of nature and the spirituality of the island’s architecture.

This Phuket Giant Water Lilies and Temple Tour has gained immense popularity in the recent times, owing to the viral pictures of the lotus pond, and missing out on this Top Phuket Attraction on your 7 Day Phuket Travel Itinerary , would be a shame!

reclining temple phuket tour

The Phuket Giant Water Lilies and Temple Tour will get you plenty of Instagrammable Shots

Step into a realm of enchantment at the Phuket Carnival Magic Experience , where exhilaration knows no bounds. With heart-pounding rides, whimsical games, and live entertainment, this carnival-themed wonderland in Phuket guarantees an unforgettable evening for families and thrill-seekers alike. Be mesmerised by vibrant colours, indulge in delectable treats, and create cherished memories with your loved ones.

phuket travel recommendations

Step into a realm of Thai mythology and enchantment with the Phuket FantaSea Show . Witness a grand spectacle that seamlessly blends cultural narratives, elaborate costumes, and mesmerising performances. This celebration of Thailand’s heritage is a feast for the senses, offering a truly immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Attending the Phuket FantaSea Show in Phuket’s Ultimate Thai Cultural Theme Park is also one of the Best Family Activities with Kids in Phuket.

phuket fantasea show

Phuket FantaSea – The Ultimate Thai Cultural Theme Park

Prepare to be dazzled by the world-renowned Simon Cabaret Show . This spectacular extravaganza showcases the talents of Thailand’s most glamorous and talented transgender performers. With elaborate costumes, mesmerising dance routines, and captivating music, the show is a celebration of diversity, creativity, and entertainment that you won’t want to miss.

Since its opening in 1991, Phuket’s Simon Cabaret has established as one of the must do things in Phuket.

phuket travel recommendations

Elevate your definition of luxury at the YONA Floating Beach Club which also happens to be the World’s First ever Floating Beach Club with mesmerising 360 degree panoramic views.  Imagine lounging on daybeds and sofas, swimming in the infinity pool, and relishing gourmet cuisine—all aboard a luxurious floating paradise. This exclusive experience promises relaxation, adventure, and indulgence against the stunning backdrop of azure waters and endless horizons, making it one of the Most Popular Thing to do in Phuket.

Despite being a relatively new addition to Phuket’s Iconic Landmarks, its popularity has grown through the roof, and has become one of those Unmissable Experiences in Phuket .

YONA Floating Club

Ignite your evenings with unparalleled romance on the Promthep Sunset Dinner Catamaran Yacht . As the sun dips below the horizon, relish a sumptuous dinner on the deck of a luxurious yacht. The vibrant hues of the sky complement the exquisite cuisine, creating a captivating atmosphere that’s perfect for couples seeking an intimate experience.

Relishing a sumptuous dinner along with a drink, while enjoying the panoramic Sunset Views in Promthep, is one of the Most Unique Experiences in Phuket , that you should definitely be ticking off your Phuket Travel Bucket List. The Instagrammable photos you’ll get during the sunset is the cherry on top.

phuket travel recommendations

Immerse yourself in the mesmerising depths of Aquaria Phuket , an oceanarium that brings you face-to-face with marine wonders. Aquaria Phuket is Thailand’s largest aquarium which houses and protects over 25,000 water-dwelling creatures like otters, reptiles, penguins, rays, turtles, sharks, and jellyfish! Traverse interactive exhibits, stroll through captivating underwater tunnels, and witness exotic marine life in their natural habitats.

A visit to Aquaria Phuket is perfect for families and marine enthusiasts, as this experience promises awe-inspiring encounters, and is an ideal Rainy Day Activity in Phuket.

phuket travel recommendations

A trip to Phuket will be incomplete without visiting Andamanda Phuket – Phuket’s Largest Waterpark . Home to 29 thrilling water slides, this Thai heritage themed waterpark which embraces the local culture, also has an artificial wave pool and plenty of unique dining experiences, which makes a visit to Andamanda Phuket, a fun filled day activity specially for thrill seekers and families with kids.

phuket travel recommendations

For the thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts, the Zipline Adventure at Hanuman World offers an adrenaline-pumping experience. Glide through lush rainforests, whizz past towering trees, and take in panoramic views from high above. It’s a heart-racing adventure that allows you to see Phuket from a completely different perspective.

Apart from the soaring through the jungle at Phuket’s newest Eco-Adventure Zip-line park, you can also tick off Walking along the longest Skywalk in Thailand , making a visit to Hanuman World, a fun and safe adventure for the whole family.

Hanuman World ziplining

Set sail for the Coral Island, a marine paradise just off the coast of Phuket. Dive into crystal-clear waters and discover a world teeming with colourful coral reefs and exotic marine life. Whether you’re snorkelling, swimming, or simply lounging on the idyllic beaches of Coral Island, this Coral Island Snorkelling Day Trip from Phuket by Speedboat is a beach lover’s dream come true, and perfect for a relaxing day trip from Phuket.

phuket travel recommendations

Plunge into the vibrant underwater world around Racha Yai with a Full-Day Scuba Diving Experience. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced diver, these crystal-clear waters offer a chance to explore diverse marine life and stunning coral formations, creating memories that will stay with you forever. 

As a novice or a beginner, this Full Day Racha Yai Scuba Diving Experience is perfect, because you get the required training by certified instructors, and get to do two open water dives with an Instructor by your side as you Discover Scuba Diving in the pristine waters around Phuket.

As a certified diver, you can go on any of the Phuket Scuba Diving Day Trips offered by Sea Bees Diving (as recommended in this 7 Day Phuket Dive + Travel Itinerary ) or any of the many Dive Schools in Phuket.

phuket travel recommendations

Embark on a journey to the breathtaking Phi Phi Islands , where turquoise waters and stunning landscapes await. Snorkel in crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, bask in the sun on pristine beaches, and explore picturesque villages that seem straight out of a postcard.

In this popular Phi Phi Island Hopping Tour from Phuket , you will visit the famous Maya Bay (if its open), Pileh lagoon , Viking Cave, Ko Phi Phi Le , Koh Phi Phi Don , Nui Bay and Bamboo Island , making this adventure filled Day Trip from Phuket, not just an excursion; but a magical escape to paradise.

phuket travel recommendations

Long Tail Boats add a unique character to Koh Phi Phi

Another famous Day Trip from Phuket is the James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay Tour from Phuket . Embark on an iconic journey to James Bond Island locally known as Khao Phing Kan , a location made famous by the legendary 007 film. Along with marvelling at the dramatic limestone cliffs, emerald waters, and surreal landscapes that define this stunning destination, you will also get to explore the beauty of Phang Nga Bay and Hong Island on a kayak.

phuket travel recommendations

James Bond Island – One of the Most Iconic Landmarks in Thailand

Unleash your inner explorer with this Khao Sok National Park Jungle Safari Full Day Tour from Phuket . Venture into dense jungles, glide across serene lakes, and marvel at towering limestone cliffs. Engage in jungle safaris, bamboo rafting, and wildlife encounters, as you reconnect with nature’s wonders in this captivating natural haven.

This is one of the Most Underrated Day Trips from Phuket , yet the most fulfilling Phuket Experiences  for any outdoor lover.

phuket travel recommendations

Book these 20 Top Rated Phuket Experiences  

By clicking on the links below ⬇︎

Top Rated Phuket Best Tours –  Phuket Discovery Half Day Tour | Ethical Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Experience   | Phuket Giant Water Lilies and Temple Tour | Promthep Sunset Dinner Catamaran Yacht Experience | Zipline Adventure at Hanuman World

Top Phuket Day Trips – Coral Island Snorkelling Day Trip from Phuket by Speedboat | Full Day Racha Yai Scuba Diving Experience | Phi Phi Island Hopping Tour from Phuket | James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay Tour from Phuket | Khao Sok National Park Jungle Safari Full Day Tour from Phuket

Best Phuket Culinary Experiences – Phuket Old Town Food Tour |   Thai Cooking Class | Full Day Phuket Sightseeing Tour with Cocktail Tasting  

Best Phuket Cultural Experiences – Phuket Carnival Magic Experience | Phuket FantaSea Show | Simon Cabaret Show  

Top Phuket Landmarks –  Big Buddha Phuket | Aquaria Phuket   |  YONA Floating Beach Club | Andamanda Phuket  

Before you go, you might also want to check out Where to Stay in Phuket?

You can either see the best Phuket Hotels and Resorts by searching in the box below , or you can also check out these recommendations featuring some of the Best Pocket Friendly Luxurious Properties in Phuket .

Phuket is a place where adventure, culture, and entertainment converge to create a travel experience like no other. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of ziplining through lush jungles, the sparkle of a glamorous cabaret show, or the tranquility of a sunset catamaran tour, Phuket has something to offer every traveller.

Your journey to Phuket’s top attractions and activities begins now. Embrace the magic, and let your memories unfold.

So, without any delay, add these incredible activities to your Phuket Travel Itinerary and prepare to be amazed. Your journey to this Thai paradise will become an even more enriching and exhilarating adventure.

Top 20 Things to See and Do in Phuket

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Your Trip to Phuket: the Complete Guide

phuket travel recommendations

If you can only visit one place in Thailand, zero in on the island of Phuket. Set some 400 miles south of Bangkok, Phuket crams a near-excess of sights and activities within its coastline: gorgeous beaches, delicious food, amazing natural parks, and access to some of the Andaman Sea’s most breathtakingly beautiful islands.

Backpackers introduced Phuket to the tourism world. The first backpacker-friendly accommodations sprung up in Patong in the 1970s, presaging a steady rise in visitors that peaked at 14 million in 2018. Phuket’s present-day attractions have evolved with tourist tastes; beyond the beaches, visitors can now check out Phuket’s Michelin-starred restaurants, world-class theme parks, and luxury hotels fringing the sands.

For the first-time visitor to Phuket, the island can be a lot to unpack at first glance. Read on to make sense of Thailand’s most popular tourist destination, and how you can have the time of your life when you visit.

Planning Your Trip

  • Best time to visit : Plan your trip between mid-October to mid-February; the “winter” months coincide with a cool, dry climate caused by northeast monsoon winds blowing in from Siberia.
  • Language: Central (standard) Thai is widely spoken throughout Phuket, though southern Thai is the local mother tongue. A fair number of Phuket locals can manage basic English, but don’t expect them to manage sustained conversation. These are a few useful phrases to learn when traveling in Phuket.
  • Currency : The Thai Baht (THB) is standard currency across the island.
  • Getting Around: You can ride buses (songthaew), tuk-tuks, or motorbike taxis to get around Phuket. Songthaew commute between Phuket Town and resort areas like Surin, Karon, and Patong. Tuk-tuks and motorbikes can take you on a point-to-point basis for short distances.
  • Travel tip: Phuket’s beaches are lovely to visit and swim in—but during the monsoon months between May and October, riptides and unpredictable swells make them positively dangerous for casual swimmers. Watch for red flags on the beaches, which warn against swimming when the conditions are too risky.

Things to Do

For an island just over 200 square miles in area, Phuket offers a surprising number of things to see and do. To be sure, its beaches are Phuket’s spotlight attraction, but there’s more to discover once you move beyond the coastline.

  • Enjoy Phuket’s beaches . Each beach in Phuket offers a distinct appeal that caters to different folks—partygoers go to Patong Beach, couples to Karon, and nature lovers and plane-spotters prefer Mai Khao.
  • Visit Phuket Town. In its heyday, Phuket Town was a key trading post for Thai, Chinese, and British colonial entrepreneurs. While the tin trade that drove local business has long since faded, the old town has retained its old-timey charm, its townhouses having been converted into museums, restaurants, and shops.
  • Take in the nightlife. All nightlife adventures in Phuket begin at Bangla Road in Patong—a neon-lit thoroughfare with attached soi (alleyways) brimming with bars, live music venues, and street performers.
  • Go island-hopping: The seas of southern Thailand offer some of the most breathtaking views, both above and underwater. Tours to Koh Phi Phi, Phang Nga, and Koh Similan can be easily booked from your Phuket hotel.

Explore more attractions with our full-length articles on the best things to do in Phuket , the best day trips from Phuket , and scuba diving excursions from Phuket .

What to Eat and Drink

Thanks to Phuket’s long history as a trade entrepot, the local culinary scene bears influences from all over—European fine dining, Southern Chinese home cooking, and Thai royal cuisine, among others. Foodies in particular swear by Phuket’s fusion of Thai and Chinese cuisines, the natural result of the island’s Chinese/Peranakan community centered around Phuket Town.

The local food scene has earned Phuket recognition as a "Creative City of Gastronomy" by UNESCO, owing to the variety of dishes and dining styles. High-end diners can take in a meal at one of the island’s Michelin-starred restaurants, while budget eaters can count on Phuket Town's hawker-style premises that resemble similar setups in Singapore and Malaysia . The street food scene in Patong helps balance out the town’s raucous nightlife, and many resorts offer in-house dining experiences overlooking the sea.

Learn more with our guides to foods to try in Phuket , Phuket's best restaurants , and Phuket's nightlife scene .

Where to Stay

The vast majority of hotels and resorts in Phuket are located around the west coast, as Phuket’s top beaches can be found there. One exception is Phuket Town, whose affordable hotels are offset by its considerable distance from the beaches.

The graceful Sino-Portuguese buildings, cheap food, and activities around Phuket Town make it an excellent choice for history nerds and foodies. Meanwhile, budget travelers and partygoers should look for accommodations around Patong, home to the island’s hottest nightlife scene and most affordable budget hotels. Hotels around Karon Beach offer a happy medium for tourists who like staying close to the beach, but abhor Patong’s congestion and party-happy atmosphere. The relaxed energy around Karon appeals to families, couples, and seniors.

For a selection of Phuket accommodation options, check out this list of Phuket’s top hotels.

Getting There

Some 16 million people fly into Phuket International Airport from all over Asia and Europe. Located at the northern end of Phuket, the airport sits over 20 miles from the island’s main tourist stretches. If you’re flying in during Phuket’s peak season, be aware that it will take over an hour to get to or from your Phuket resort, so plan accordingly.

Phuket is connected by bridge to the Thai mainland, allowing domestic travelers to take the bus from cities around Thailand to the island. Most cross-country buses arrive and depart to/from Phuket Bus Terminal 2 on Thepkasattri Road in Ratsada.

Despite Phuket’s relatively low crime rate, some risks remain for visitors to the island. The beaches hide dangerous riptides and jellyfish, whereas locals might also take offense to fighting words or undue talk about politics or religion.

When hanging around the beaches, keep the following threats in view.

  • Beware of riptides. During monsoon season, Phuket’s beaches hide a nasty secret: deadly riptides that can pull you out to the open sea, or pull you under to drown. Patong, Karon, and Kamala beaches are notorious for these. If you see red flags flying on any Phuket beach, do not go into the water.
  • Listen for tsunami warnings. The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami hit Phuket hard, killing over 5,000 people. Today, an advanced tsunami warning system watches over Phuket; warnings will be sent via broadcast media and SMS on local cellphones, giving you plenty of time to head to higher ground.

Thai locals are some of the most easygoing people on earth, but remember that their patience can be severely tested, too. Here’s how to stay on locals’ good side—and how to stay out of trouble otherwise:

  • Never get angry or aggressive . Avoid conflict wherever possible. Thais do not go for pranks or humiliating jokes at their expense, and they also look down on Westerners picking fights. You should also avoid political talk—Thailand has a lese majeste law that penalizes insulting talk about their royal family, so steer clear of that topic in polite conversation.
  • Don’t do drugs. Thailand has extremely punitive laws against drug trafficking and use. You can spend years in prison if caught with even a small amount of prohibited drugs, or get the death penalty at worst.
  • Keep your eyes open for scams . Tourist locations tend to attract a fair number of scammers, and Phuket is no exception.

Money Saving Tips

Even as luxe hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants have taken over, they haven’t crowded the backpackers out yet—budget travelers can still find plenty of ways to stretch their dollar. Follow these simple rules to get the most value out of your Phuket trip:

  • Eat the way locals do. Get a meal at a Patong food hall, or hunker down to street food in Phuket Town. The cheapest meals can be found at wet markets in your vicinity, where you can get rice, meat, and a drink for no more than 100 baht ($3.30).
  • Use local transportation. Look up the songthaew routes around your hotel and your preferred destinations, and ride them whenever possible. Tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis will also let you haggle the price down to a certain extent.
  • Visit Phuket in the low season. Between May and October, Phuket gets the brunt of the monsoon season. Prices are at their lowest for both accommodations and transportation, though, which can save you money in what is arguably Thailand’s priciest town.
  • Get a local SIM card for your phone. Assuming your phone is compatible with the local networks, buying a prepaid SIM card will let you surf the web and call home without breaking the bank. You have your choice of three brands: AIS , DTAC , and TrueMove . All are available at the airport, or at any convenience store on the island.
  • Drink Thai-made beers. Chang, Leo, and Singha beers are much cheaper than Australian or European beers around Phuket—and they’re arguably just as good. "History of Phuket." 2021.

Channel News Asia. "Phuket already bursting at the seams but more tourists on the way." December 8, 2019.

The Phuket News. "History: Cultural History of Phuket Town." May 6, 2016.

UNESCO. "Creative Cities Network: Phuket." 2015. 

Michelin Guide Global. "Phuket Restaurants." 2020.

The Nation Thailand. "Tsunami warning system finally ready, after 8 years." December 25, 2012.

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Phuket Travel Guide 2024 – Discover Phuket With Us!

An insider’s travel guide to phuket island.

Our Phuket Travel Guide shares 30 years of passionate exploration and photography to help you plan your trip. We’ll help you prepare it, and decide where to stay to fit your holiday style, pick all the best things to do and even discover some hidden gems off the beaten track, secret beaches and amazing islands. Try with us some real local food in local restaurants, explore night markets, and discover the notorious nightlife and the famous Bangla Road in Patong Beach.

1st time in Phuket? Start here!

There are usually 5 steps to plan a perfect trip to Phuket: When to go ► How long should you stay ► Where to stay ► Which Hotel ► What to do with your precious holiday time after you finally have dropped your suitcase in the perfect hotel! We help you with each of these steps… and more!

Sunset on Kata Beach

Phuket Trip Planner 2024

What to do in phuket in 2024.

Phuket is Thailand’s largest and best-known island, about 850 km southwest of Bangkok. The island is relatively small: 48 km north to south, and 21 km west to east which makes it easy to explore in a day or two. Beyond 40 superb beaches, the list of things to see and do during the day is vast: the Big Buddha, the many beautiful temples and the streets of Old Phuket Town are just the most popular.

Then you have even more exploration to do just outside Phuket: Phang Nga Bay with James Bond Island and Samet Nangshe Viewpoint, plus dozens of tropical islands with stunning sceneries that are just a short boat ride away. There are activities for everyone: scuba diving, snorkelling, golf, ziplining and muay Thai for active travellers, cooking classes and spas if you prefer to take it easy. Families are not forgotten! kids can feed the elephants, learn to surf safely and play in water parks.

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Phuket Map and Beaches Locator

Our map will help you locate the many beaches and visualise our small island’s geography.

Beach Map and Travel Guide

The Beaches of Phuket

Phuket Island has more than 40 amazing beaches so it is important to keep in mind a few useful facts that could help you pick which beach you wish to stay on, and which beach you want to explore during your holiday. We also remind you that the situation is very different during the high season and the low season.

  • Most of the sandy beaches are on the west coast .
  • The most popular beaches are in the southwest, but they are also the busiest : Patong, Kata and Karon beaches can be bustling during the high season.
  • The central west part of Phuket is getting trendy : Kamala and Bang Tao Beaches offer now a lot of fancy restaurants and beach clubs and a vast choice of 4 and 5-star resorts at affordable prices.
  • The northwest beaches are peaceful with enough restaurants and great hotels for a great holiday, such as Naithon, Nai Yang and Mai Khao beaches.
  • There are still some hidden secret beaches!

Phuket Best Beaches

Your Patong Beach Guide

Patong Beach, Phuket

Patong Beach ⛱️

Other beaches of phuket.

Kata Beach

Phuket Hotels and Accommodation

There is a vast range of hotels for all budgets, and it can be challenging to pick the right beach and hotel. Most hotels are on the main beaches of the island: Patong, Kata, Karon, Kamala, Bangtao, Maikhao and Old Town . Before diving into this section of our travel guide, it is good to think about what you want your holiday to be like.

Party near the beach, quiet and remote? Are you planning to spend a lot of time in your hotel to mainly relax or is it just a base to explore the island? What is your budget, when do you plan to visit? Is the weather important or can you take a bit of rain for better prices? In the past 12 years, we have explored and reviewed hundreds of hotels on the island, from luxury to budget, from beachfront resorts to private villas.

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Islands Nearby

As your plane approaches Phuket island, and if you are lucky enough to have a window seat, you will be amazed by how many islands you will fly over! In the northeast, the vast Phang Nga Bay on the island’s northeast is home to hundreds of those exotic islands, often consisting of tall limestone cliffs with a beautiful crescent of white sand that reminds of Robinson Crusoe.

Cruising east and southeast, Phi Phi Islands are the best known, but there are other gems where we often go for a break, 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. Similan Islands is another iconic gem open only during the high season (October to May) and located a bit far in the northwest area.

Islands near Phuket

Travelling to Phuket with kids offers a perfect blend of family fun and relaxation with the island’s beaches, attractions, and exciting adventures. Kids can enjoy building sandcastles on picturesque shores, exploring vibrant markets, and visiting attractions like the Aquarium and ethical elephant sanctuaries. Family-friendly accommodations with pools and childcare services make for a comfortable stay.

What to Do in Phuket with Kids and family activities in Phuket

Where and What to Eat?

Thai food is an endless discovery and if food is as important to you as it is to us, Phuket will surprise you! Experience true local food with us, as there is much to enjoy in south Thailand, from the cheapest street food to Michelin restaurants and everything in between.

You can find great Thai food by the roadside for just 50 baht or have a fancy dinner with a sunset on a romantic terrace by the sea. The choice of Thai food is staggering! and we share new places as we discover them. You can start with the classic and well-known Thai dishes and the amazing seafood, try some excellent street food, and then experience real southern specialities.

Best Thai Restaurants in Phuket

Patong Beach nightlife has always been legendary; it’s pretty unique and as fun and wild as you want it to be Bangla Walking Street , also known as Bangla Road is where you will find clubs with famous international DJs, excellent live music bands that won’t cost you more than a drink to enjoy, dozens of easy-going beer bars, and, of course the go-go bars that always trigger curiosity. While Patong is the beating heart of the nightlife here, each beach resort has something to offer after dinner, from rooftops to beach clubs, all the way to simple bamboo bars on the sand, facing the ocean!

Bangla Road in Patong Beach

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. The Sunday Walking Street Market is the most talked about, but at least six more markets are open on weekdays, including Chillva Market and Naka Market in Phuket Town but also Malin Plaza in Patong Beach.

Phuket Night Markets

Useful Information

This section of our travel guide covers all the aspects and elements you need to plan your first or next trip, from the correct Phuket pronunciation to weather information , when is the best time to come, weather information month by month (even with a live webcam!), where to exchange money at the best rates as there are many options for getting Thai Baht, but the best rate is in the street and at the many ATMs around the island. We also share some driving, car rentals and scooter rental information, but keep in mind that driving here can be challenging for beginners!

Phuket Weather Webcam

Beyond Phuket

The following sections are still growing, designed to help you plan a stopover in Bangkok or a trip to the nearby Krabi or even Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. We are currently spending a lot of time exploring two nearby destinations: Khao Lak and Krabi.

Bangkok, Thailand - What to Do in Bangkok


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Travelers guide to the amazing island of Phuket, find the best things to do, places to go, travel tips and advice.

Phuket Travel Guide

Phuket Travel Guide Contents

Places To Go | Things To Do | Hotels & Resorts | Tours | Weather & When To Go | Getting There & Around | See & Do | Where To Stay | Day Trips & Excursions | Typical Costs | Money Saving Tips | Safety Tips | Recommended Resources | Transport | Travel Blog

Welcome to Thailand Travel Hub’s complete guide to Phuket, Thailand’s world-famous tropical paradise which attracts millions of tourists every year, and for good reason. Located on Thailand’s west coast in the Andaman sea, this incredible destination offers something for everyone, whether you want to relax on a secluded white sand beach, shop till you drop in a modern mall or Thai night market, or even indulge in the infamously hedonistic nightlife of Patong. With fantastic weather, delicious food, stunning beaches and friendly locals, a trip to Phuket is an experience not to be forgotten.

Discover the best hotels and resorts, the best beaches, the best activities and the best places to shop and eat on the island, along with our essential travel tips and advice, travel resources and booking information, all here in one place. Phuket has a vast array of accommodation options, with everything from the most basic hostel dorms to five-star ultra-luxury spa resorts, here you can find all the key information which you need to ensure that you choose the place that’s best suited to you. Wherever you choose to stay, Phuket is a great choice and you can look forward to an amazing holiday experience surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and crystal clear azure waters.

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Weather & When to Go to Phuket

Like the rest of Thailand, Phuket has three seasons; "cool", "hot", and "wet" (the monsoon season). But don't be deceived, the cool season is actually still hot, so a better description would be "hot", "very hot", and "monsoon". The best time to visit is undoubtedly between November and April when you will find that the conditions are optimal for enjoying the beaches and engaging in water-sports or boating activities, with a good amount of sun and minimal rain.

The cool season is November to February when you can expect average daily temperatures of 25°C. This is followed by the hot season from March to May, when you can expect temperatures of around 30°C, and the rest of the year, June-October is the monsoon season when you can expect temperatures of around 28°C. During the monsoon season, the rain can be torrential, heavy enough to make driving very hazardous, and it can stop and start very quickly. Despite this, visiting during the rainy season can still be fun as you will find fewer tourists and should be able to secure a better deal for your accommodation – but just make sure any plans you have are flexible to allow for the downpours.

How To Get To Phuket

Phuket is connected via two road bridges to the mainland in the Phang Nga Provence, although there are also speedboat transfers from Ko Hae, Ko Phi Phi and Krabi. If you’re traveling from Bangkok to Phuket , there are several transport options from flights leaving Don Mueang or Suvarnabhumi Airports, VIP buses from the southern bus terminal or Khao San Road, or a combination of train and bus from Bangkok's Hualampong train station.

Getting to Phuket by Plane – Flying is the easiest way to get to Phuket, with most travelers stopping at Bangkok before arriving at Phuket International Airport, although there are also many charter flights which fly direct from some international airports (especially in the high season). Budget flights from Bangkok start at around 700 baht ($23) each way but can cost considerably more if you book them last minute. Flights take around 1 hour and 15 minutes. A good tip is to fly from the older, domestic airport called Don Mueang (DMK) as the fares will almost certainly be lower.

Getting to Phuket by Bus – Buses depart from both of Bangkok's bus terminals and arrive in Phuket around 13 hours later, costing you 600-1000 baht ($20-$33) per person. There are also numerous private tour buses which can be booked at hotels and travel agents in the capital which may be more comfortable but don't count on it. If you travel by bus never leave your valuables in any stowed luggage, things can and do sometimes go missing.

Getting to Phuket by Train – It is possible to go as far as Surat Thani by train, and then continue your journey to Phuket by bus, but this will take a long time and cost more than a budget air ticket so is not a great choice, but if you want to travel last minute and haven’t booked flights it could be an option. Trains depart Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station and arrive at Surat Thani 9-12 hours later at a cost of around 500 to 1500 baht ($16.50-$49) each way.

TTH Recommendation: There are many methods of transport you can take to get to Phuket and surrounding area, including Taxis, Minivans, Buses, Ferries and Flights . All can be booked in advanced and conveniently online. We highly recommend 12Go Asia , they have an easy-to-use booking system and helpful staff if you have any questions or queries with your bookings.

Check Transport Routes and Book Tickets on 12Go Asia

Getting Around Phuket

Once you've arrived on the island, there are many ways to get around. Phuket has a decent number of tuk-tuks, which look a little different to the tuk-tuks in the capital, the ones here are a little bigger and painted red. Be warned, though, for many years now, visitors and locals alike have complained about the prices which they charge, and it has been suggested that the drivers collude to keep the prices high – try to avoid using them where possible.

Taxi - Metered, air-conditioned taxis are a much better bet, however, they can be difficult to find and the driver may, as usual for Thailand, refuse to use the meter. If he does so, refuse the taxi and look for another as you will invariably end up paying at least double what the meter would have charged. There are public buses on the island which are good value, however, the network is radial with Phuket Town at the center meaning to go from one beach to another would require two buses and take longer than you would imagine.

Songthaew - Songthaews are the best compromise for most travelers, being cheap, convenient and safe. They are a little smaller than the ones you would see in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, but they work on the same principle. Songthaew's run from Ranong Road in Phuket Town and on to Phuket's most popular destinations such as Chalong, Kamala, Kata, Karon, Makham Bay, Nai Harn, Nai Yang, Patong, Rawai, Surin and Thalang. Songthaew's do not have any bus stops, to get on just flag one down, then to get off, just ring the bell, your fare will be 15-40 baht ($0.49-$1.30) depending on distance. Fares start from 15 baht and a typical journey to Phuket Town from one of the main beach towns will cost around 30 baht. Songthaew's always return to their origin at Ranong Road in Phuket Town, so unfortunately you can't get a Songthaew from beach to beach. Songthaew's run from 7am to 6pm.

Motorbike - By far the most convenient way to get around is to hire a motorcycle. For 300 baht ($10) a day, you can go as far as you want and explore the island at your leisure. 60 baht ($2) will get you a full tank of gas, which will seem to last forever. A few key points though; only get a bike if you have a motorcycle license and are a confident rider as some of the roads can be treacherous. Always wear a helmet and never drink and drive, even if others appear to be doing it.

Airport Bus - An Airport Bus runs from Phuket International Airport to Phuket Town Bus Terminal, which leaves every hour starting at 7.30am to 9.30pm from outside the arrivals hall in the domestic terminal. You will need to look out for the orange bus, the fare is 100 baht. When you exit the arrivals hall just turn left to reach the pickup point. If you are going to Thalang, Kamala Beach, Surin Beach, Bang Tao Beach, Por Bay you can get off at Horoines Monument for a connecting bus. If your going to Patong Beach, Kata Beach, Karon Beach or Rassada Pier you will need to get a connecting bus at the Phuket Bus Terminal.

Where To Stay In Phuket

Patong Beach

Patong is the biggest and most developed part of the island, and for many people, it will be the best place to stay. It has a huge choice of accommodation, hundreds upon hundreds of restaurants, bars, pubs and by far the best nightlife options. It is also home to some of the island's best shopping, including the JungCeylon mall and many night-markets and small shops. Patong is fairly large, and a bit too big to be able to comfortably cover on foot, so hiring a motorcycle would be advised. The downside is that it is packed with tourists, especially on the beach, and can be quite noisy at night time.

Karon Beach

Karon is a little more relaxed than Patong and noticeably smaller, but still has a lot of choice and variety with many restaurants and bars, and the nightlife is more subdued. The beach is not so packed and cleaner as a result, making Karon a great compromise for most travelers with the nightlife options of Patong still only 15-20 minutes away. It is a better choice for families as some of the Patong entertainment options are not quite family-friendly (with lady-boys and young girls walking around in bikinis in the evenings).

Kamala Beach

Kamala is smaller and quieter than Karon and can be covered on foot fairly easily. It is more relaxing and has a laid-back village feel to it, the northern end is the quietest, with most amenities being found on the Beach Road at the southern end. Kamala has a fantastic beach, which is quieter and cleaner than either at Karon or Patong, with noticeably fewer tourists. Kamala is only 15 minutes north of Patong, so if you want a more chilled holiday but still want to be within easy reach of extensive shopping and nightlife options, Kamala could be the place for you.

Kata Noi Beach

Kata consists of two beaches, Kata Yai (big Kata) and Kata Noi (small Kata), both of which are beautiful with clean, clear waters and white sands. Kata has many accommodation options and plenty of restaurants, bars and shopping options and all the amenities you could need during your holiday. There are also some lively nightlife spots, but nothing as in your face as Patong, which when combined with the great beaches makes this a popular choice for families. Kata could neither be described as quiet nor busy, but a happy compromise with some great value hotels.

Surin Beach

Surin is a more upmarket destination with luxury, private resorts, with prices to match. A popular getaway for celebrities, the town itself has little to offer, with most amenities being provided inside the resorts themselves. There are a few high-end restaurants and cocktail bars attached to some of the resorts which are open to the public, where you can try some exquisite food from international chefs. Surin beach is very quiet but stunningly clean and beautiful, a welcome change if you want some peace and quiet.

Phuket Town

Phuket Town

Phuket Town is very different to other destinations on the island, and although it doesn't have a nice beach, there is still plenty to see and do. It is a fully functioning Thai town and looks like many provincial towns around the country, and as such, you can see monks walking the streets in the early morning and Thai people going about their business during the day. Cheap accommodation is abundant, and the town is peppered with great restaurants, bars and attractions with plenty to see and do in the evenings. Great for backpackers on a budget.

TTH Recommendation: There are lot's of fantastic accommodation options available in Phuket, from budget hostels, guest houses, beach bungalows, hotels and high end resorts. It's always best to book online before you go, we recommend and . Both companies offer excellent customer service and good cancellation policies just in case you change your mind or your travel arrangement change. You can also check out all the customer reviews and experiences before you make your booking!

Check Out Our Top 16 Best Places To Stay In Phuket

Best Things to See & What to Do in Phuket

Phuket Beaches

Discover Phuket's Beautiful Beaches

Phuket is home to some spectacular beaches with perfect white sands and crystal clear warm waters, but Patong beach, in particular, can get quite crowded and busy during the high season. But don't worry as Phuket has more than 30 beaches, with some very secluded and serene places if that is more your speed. Different beaches will have a different feel, with different types of sand, scenery, varying numbers of tourists and different local amenities, so take the time to find out which one you’d prefer.

Some beaches will, unfortunately, be thronged with tourists in addition to hawkers hassling you every five minutes to buy sunglasses, fresh coconuts, or to get a massage, whilst on the other hand, it is also possible to find secluded, quiet beaches with less than a dozen people on them. Some of the more up-market resorts even have private beaches, so that may be something to consider if your budget can stretch to it. But in short, Phuket is famous for its beaches and whichever one you choose you will be sure to enjoy yourself.

There are some truly stunning beaches in Phuket . In Kata for example there’s the gorgeous Kata Noi, which retains a slightly rustic ambience with far less crowds than its lively neighbour Kata Beach, while in Surin, you’ll find the curvaceous Laem Singh Beach – which is surrounded by thick rickets of forest and the most beautiful aquamarine waters.

Scenic Nai Thon Beach is one of our favourites though. A part of the Sirinat National Park – meaning that in terms of development, it’s been almost entirely left alone.

Kamala Beach is another pretty beach that has retained some of its original charm and has a lovely fishing village attached to it with a few restaurants and bars. Stick to the north side of the beach if you want to avoid the crowds.

The more popular beaches include Freedom Beach in Patong, Karon Beach and the once secret Banana Beach – which despite efforts to keep it cloaked in mystery is now a constant on the tourist trail.

Diving around Phuket

Diving & Snorkeling Around Phuket

The surrounding waters of Phuket offer some the best diving sites in the world, such as the world renowned Similan Islands, Surin Islands, Richelieu Rock and Koh Tachai to the North and dive sites such as the King Cruiser Wreck, Anemone Reef, Racha Yai, Racha Noi and Phi Phi Islands to the south. Checkout our article on the best dive sites in Phuket to find out more.

Phuket hosts some of the best diving experiences and marine life in the world, which keeps divers from all over the world coming back time and time again. There are an extraordinary amount of fish species, including angelfish, lionfish, scorpionfish and trumpetfish, as well as manta rays, seahorses and of course sharks. Whale shark, reef sharks and leopard sharks are all commonly spotted. You can also expect to experience some amazing coral reefs, shipwrecks, sea caves, pinnacles, shelves and swim-through's.

Whether you are an advanced diver or a complete beginner, Phuket is an excellent place to enjoy a spot of scuba diving. Scuba diving in Thailand is an absolute bargain with single dives available from as little as 1500 baht ($45) or a complete PADI open water dive course from as little as 8500 baht ($280). With the prices being so low here in Thailand, it offers a great opportunity to get your scuba diving certificates completed.

There are numerous dive shops to choose from, so feel free to shop around for the best deal. Phuket is a fantastic place for divers with many excellent dive sites featuring extensive coral formations and an abundance of aquatic wildlife. There is a choice of basic or more advanced dives, with an interesting wreck site to be explored in Racha Yai, make sure to discuss with your dive shop if that is something that you might be interested in. Most of the dive centres offer packages with a 3-dive deal going for around 3500-4000 baht ($115-$132) but note that many charge for extras such as equipment hire and insurance.

Phang Nga Bay

Explore Phuket Island & Beyond

Phuket is a huge island and you’ll need to allow several days to explore and visit the top attractions. But don’t forget to allocate a few days to visit the Phi Phi islands and Phang-Nga bay, which are a must if you can spare the time. And then there are the Similan islands, plus many other tiny islands dotted about where you can spend a whole day visiting and doing some swimming or snorkelling, there’s a lot more in the area than just Phuket island itself.

Phang-Nga Bay is an unforgettable experience with dramatic limestone formations seeming to rise out of the sea. It is a fantastic photo opportunity and James Bond fans may remember the scenery from "The Man with the Golden Gun".

The Phi Phi islands are just as spectacular and are worth an entire day of your time. Once touted as the most beautiful islands in the world, they were hit hard by the 2004 tsunami which wiped out practically all of their infrastructure, but it has now been rebuilt and the islands welcome many visitors daily.

Phuket Temples

Visit Phuket's Stunning Temples

Phuket is home to many Thai temples (29 in fact), known as wats, and also some Chinese shrines (known as Taoist temples). These temples are intricately constructed and incredibly ornate, they are fascinating and relaxing places to visit whilst a trip to some of the more important ones should be on every visitor's agenda. Remember that Thailand is a deeply religious country, with around 95% of the citizens being practising Buddhists, and as such these temples are working places of worship, meaning you will have to be quiet when visiting, take off your shoes, and ensure that shoulders and knees are covered to avoid offending the locals.

Wat Chalong is the biggest and most important temple on the island, it is a beautifully elaborate and colourful temple which features lots of gilding and the traditional multi-layered roof, and inside you will see handmade antique hardwood furniture, Thai porcelain and many large golden Buddha statues. On the walls are depictions of Buddha's life story, you could easily spend an hour at this temple alone, make sure you don't miss it.

Phuket Nightlife

Experience The Buzzing Nightlife In Phuket

If you want to find the best nightlife on the island, Patong is the place to go. Whether you fancy listening to some live music, seeing a comedy show, relaxing in a sports bar or going to a cabaret, Patong has got all bases covered. And of course, if you're looking for something a little more raucous, there are nightclubs and a string of go-go bars and lady bars. But don’t panic if you’re not staying in Patong, because all but the quietest locations on the island will have some nightlife, but may well be notably more sedate and family-friendly.

There are numerous bars around the island where you can stop for a cold beer and a game of pool, with many showing sports on large screen TVs. Numerous bars will have flags outside indicating to passers-by what types of food and drink they serve, you’ll see many Scandinavian bars and British-style pubs where you can find a taste of home in the evening if you’ve had enough Thai food or just fancy something a little less exotic.

Food In Phuket

Indulge In The Amazing Cuisine Of Phuket

Food is incredibly important in Thai culture , and indeed you’ll find plenty of great restaurants on the island to sample some of the country’s famous cuisine. And as food is such great value in Thailand, make sure to treat yourself at least once by visiting one of the island’s best restaurants such as the Siam Supper Club or the Blue Elephant. There are numerous cookery classes on the island too, which are great fun and can reveal the secrets of how to make that delicious Pad Thai or green curry which you can whip up once back at home to impress your friends and family.

But Phuket doesn't just offer Thai food, of course. There is an abundance of cuisines from around the world, with everything from authentic Italian pizza, fish and chips, Chinese food, Indian curries and Turkish kebabs to Korean BBQ, Russian and even Armenian food. Whatever you fancy, you can find it here. Just don't forget to try the street-food; from noodle soups to tacos, Thai desserts, pancakes or waffles, the street-food on Phuket is very cheap and delicious.

Tours, Day Trips & Excursions In Phuket

There are numerous day trips and excursions available in Phuket, and these can be booked quickly and easily from either your hotel or the nearest travel agent. Booking a trip or tour is a great way to enjoy a stress-free day out, and in most cases will cost a lot less than you may have thought. Day trips and activities are a fantastic choice for when you've spent too long lying on the beach and are a fascinating way to experience a bit of the local culture whilst having the chance to meet other like-minded people.

Boat Trips - You can book all kinds of boat trips, either around the island or to other small islands in the vicinity, which can include snorkeling, fishing, beach hopping or just sightseeing. You can book a private boat or one shared with other guests, depending on your budget. Many will include a buffet lunch and complimentary drinks. A popular full-day tour is one that takes in the Phi Phi Islands, the famous Maya Beach and the Coral Island, with prices around 3000-4000 baht ($100-$133).

Phuket Sightseeing Tours - You can also book minibus tours of the island, which will show you the most dramatic and beautiful highlights of Phuket, and stop to enjoy the most spectacular viewpoints for some fantastic photo opportunities. You could even combine your sightseeing tour with half-day trips to the elephant sanctuary, or include the mangrove jungle and hidden beach tour (which involves driving quad bikes), almost all the packages can be tailored to your needs with little added expense.

Thai Cooking Tours - There are also half-day food tours where you will be guided around some of the best spots on the island to try tasty local specialties such as Burmese curries, Hokkien noodles, zesty grilled satays and many other tasty morsels, and you will be shown around some of the local food markets which you may otherwise have missed. There are also many Thai cooking classes which last for 3-4 hours and start at about 1500 baht ($49) per person. Then there is the amazing cocktail workshop at the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery for 1700 baht ($56), an experience not to be missed.

Khao Sok National Park Tours - For those willing to go a little further onto the mainland, there are jungle tours of the incredible Khao Sok National Park, where you can see ancient rainforest, stunning scenery with dramatic limestone cliffs, and an abundance of local wildlife including elephants, tigers, monkeys, deer, tapir, wild boar and hundred of tropical bird species.

TTH Recommendation: You'll find travel agents and tour companies absolutely everywhere in Phuket, whether you are staying in Patong, Karon, Kamala, Kata, Surin or Phuket Town. However if you want to plan ahead, you can conveniently book online with Get Your Guide and Viator . Both companies offer excellent customer service and have excellent customer reviews. Another reason to booking online is you can look at customer reviews and experiences before you make your booking! Get Your Guide and Viator have a good cancellation/refund policy, in case your travel arrangements happen to change.

Check The Best Phuket Tours & Activities On Get Your Guide

Prices, Expenses & Typical Costs In Phuket

Accommodation - Phuket is a little more expensive than many other places in Thailand, but despite that, you can still find hostel beds from as little as 130 baht ($4.30) per night in the low season. At the other end of the scale, there are a few resorts where you can drop 152,000 baht ($5000) per night. Good quality, comfortable boutique-style guesthouses are usually in the 1000-2000 baht ($33-$66) range, with family rooms for a family of 4 at around 1500-3000 baht ($49-$100) per night.

Transportation - Transportation is noticeably more expensive in Phuket than on the mainland. Motorbike rentals start at 250 baht ($8.23) per day and can save you a fortune if you are a competent rider. Tuk-tuks are expensive, with short trips within the same area at around 200-300 baht ($6.50-$10), and a trip from the airport to Patong or vice-versa can be over 1000 baht ($33), however, prices can usually be negotiated. Metered taxis are a bit cheaper (if they use the meter that is). Songtaews are a great compromise at 25-40 baht ($0.80-$1.33) per person.

Food and Drink - Don't disregard the roadside food vendors, they offer the best value and their food can be just as good if not better than many restaurants. Expect to pay 40 baht ($1.33) for a plate of food or a bowl of noodles, many will provide drinking water free or have sodas for 15 baht ($0.50). In a local-style restaurant, a Thai meal with rice will usually be under 100 baht ($3.33), Western food is more expensive. Expect to pay 150 baht ($4.94) for a full English breakfast, 150-200 baht ($4.94-$6.58) for that familiar fast food meal such as KFC or McDonalds, and with imported food such as Australian steaks, the sky is the limit. Seafood, however, is great value and will almost certainly be much cheaper than in your home country, so make the most of it!

Alcohol is expensive by Thai standards, a 620ml beer will be 65 baht ($2.14) in 7-Eleven and 70-150 baht ($2.30-$4.94) in a bar or restaurant. Cocktails start at 150 baht ($4.94) but can be as much as 600 baht ($20) in upmarket places, and imported wine, being heavily taxed, usually starts around 1000 baht ($33) per bottle. There are locally produced wines at much lower prices, but don't expect too much from them.

Recommended Budgets - Budget backpacker staying in a shared dorm, no alcohol: $25-$30 per day per person. Young traveler in boutique guesthouse with some attractions and nightlife: $70-$80 per day per person. Party animal budget staying at Patong guesthouse or hotel: $120-$140 per day per person. Family of four with guesthouse or resort, attractions, taxi/tuk-tuk transport and restaurant meals: $240-$300 per day per family. Luxury traveler, 5-star hotel, taxis, cocktails and evening entertainment: $320 and up per day per person.

Phuket Money Saving Tips

Avoid expensive taxis - Avoid expensive taxis and tuk-tuks and try to stick to the songtaews wherever possible. It's very easy to fritter away $30 a day on tuk-tuks if you're not careful and on a two-week vacation that can add up. If you're staying in a built-up area such as Patong or Karon, you will find that many places are with 10-15 minutes walk anyway.

Be careful of the hawkers - A lot of the stuff they sell is junk. But if you really want something go and buy it at the night market for half as much! Don't be surprised if that hand-carved item stains all your clothes in your suitcase because it was covered in boot polish, not paint.

Eat street food and at local restaurants - Western-style restaurants charge a premium and usually don't offer anything more than the cheap local restaurants. Try to stick to smaller, basic places and street food stalls and you will save a fortune, you can eat five street food meals for the price of one large McDonalds meal! Look for where the locals are eating, a busy restaurant is always a good sign in Phuket. Most Western food is done badly in Thailand, remember that when ordering.

Don't buy your currency in your home country - You will get 10-15% more by changing it once inside Thailand. Even at the airport in Phuket, you will get a much better rate than back home, but they are very picky about torn or defaced bills, so check them before arriving. SuperRich in Phuket Town often has very good rates.

Don't be scared to offer less - Thais respect a decent haggler! You can haggle with tuk-tuk drivers and at markets, but not in shops or restaurants. Don't come in so low that you insult the vendor, about 50% or a little more is a good place to start proceedings. Many Phuket vendors are aware that prices are cheap for westerners and will try and raise their prices accordingly.

Don’t drop your cigarette butts - If you are a smoker, always ensure that you dispose of your cigarette butt responsibly. Throwing it on the street or even down a drain is not allowed and if spotted you could be charged a 2000 baht ($65) fine. Try to find an ashtray if possible.

Ask for a discount at your hotel - If you are planning on staying several nights at the same hotel or guesthouse, and you haven’t booked and paid in advance, ask for a discount. More often than not you may be given a token amount such as 100 baht ($3.28) per night deduction, but you will then be asked to pay upfront. Most places will charge a deposit of 1000 baht for the key or key-card, so don’t lose it, and don’t forget to reclaim your deposit upon departure.

ATMs charges are very steep - Try to avoid using your foreign debit card in a Thai ATM as the charges are sky-high. There is a 220 baht ($7.25) charge on foreign card transactions which cannot be avoided, plus your bank back home will add on their foreign withdrawal fee and may also use an unfavorable exchange rate meaning that you could lose $25-$30 per withdrawal. For budget travelers this could easily be a day's budget lost so look at other options before traveling. Some banks offer debit cards with no foreign transaction fee (but you'll still pay the 220 baht each time), plus there are international money cards which can be preloaded with funds. Failing that, you should either bring as much cash with you as you feel comfortable with or make use of travelers cheques.

Beaches are free - If you find yourself short of funds, spend a day on the beach and eat street-food, the beaches are free and 2 street-food meals will cost as little as 80 baht ($2.65).

Look for happy hour deals and food vouchers - Many, if not most bars will have some kind of promotion or happy hour. This can range from 50% off deals to buy two beers get one free, or even a free beer with certain meals. If you’re a fast food fan, all the big chains in Thailand produce money off vouchers and coupons which can be picked up in various shopping malls, or you can download their online app to get free meals and discounts.

Is It Safe to Travel Around Phuket?

Phuket, like most parts of Thailand, is very safe, and certainly much safer than somewhere like London or Paris, for example. However, as it is arguably Thailand's most upmarket destination attracting tourists with money to spare, basic precautions should still be taken to protect yourself from opportunists. Bear in mind that many Thai people in the service industry earn under $10 per day, so be careful about flashing large wads of cash in your wallet, leave any valuable jeweler at home, and place expensive belongings in the hotel safe before venturing out. You are extremely unlikely to be the victim of violent crime, but petty theft and scams still take place.

Be very careful on the roads - Like many places in Thailand, your biggest danger is likely to be the roads and the traffic, especially if you are renting a vehicle. Some of the roads on Phuket can be very steep, winding and poorly maintained and as such, don’t attempt to drive yourself unless you are confident that you can do so safely. Take care when crossing the road, Thai drivers are not the most diligent in the world, and drunk-driving is unfortunately commonplace.

Keep your wits about you - Particularly in Patong at night, visitors should be aware of their surroundings and possessions. If someone tries to say that they know you from your hotel, it will be a scam. If a lady-boy puts her arms around you and kisses you on the cheek, check to see if your wallet, watch and necklace are still there immediately.

What what you drink - Drink-spiking can happen, so don't let your drink out of your sight where possible. Don't trust people who approach you out of the blue, and don't be tempted by offers to go somewhere you aren't comfortable with. If you are visibly intoxicated, you will be more likely to attract the attention of thieves and scammers so take care when enjoying the nightlife.

Stay away from trouble - If you witness an altercation involving a Thai person, under no circumstances should you get involved as you are very likely to end up being assaulted, blamed for something or possibly both. The best advice is to get as far away from the situation as you can.

Watch out for creepy-crawlies - Other wildlife will include numerous lizards (both inside and outside), spiders, scorpions, snakes, mosquitoes, hornets and the dreaded giant centipede, which the Thais call “da-karb”. Most are harmless unless provoked. If you find something nasty in your bedroom, ask a Thai for assistance, they will know immediately whether it is dangerous or not.

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The Ultimate Phuket Travel Guide

Phuket Thailand Island trip

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How to get there | Secret Escapes

Is Phuket worth visiting?

Phuket proudly takes the crown for being Thailand’s largest island at an impressive 543 km² and also one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations.

This is for good reason. Phuket has a large international airport (HKT) and is connected to the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge, making accessibility a breeze. Conveniently, this airport hosts many flight connections, often at similar prices to flights to Bangkok .

Besides the easy accessibility, Phuket also serves as the ideal gateway to Southern Thailand and the islands of Krabi , Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi .

The large island is packed full of sun-kissed beaches, stunning viewpoints and amazing adventure opportunities. Not to mention the crazy nightlife that Phuket is famous for, bringing every party-reveler’s dreams to life!

Is Phuket too touristy?

As a result, Phuket’s potential as an ideal tourist destination hasn’t gone unnoticed by travel agencies. This has meant that it can often feel very busy and touristy.

You will still find a great number of things to do and sights to explore, but just bear in mind you will have to share this beauty with many other tourists.

If you’re looking for peace and seclusion, one of the other Thai islands in the Andaman sea such as Koh Lanta may be a better fit!

Also read: Top 12 Things to Do in Phuket

Where to stay in Phuket

Phuket is made up of 3 districts that are then further divided into 103 villages, making it quite overwhelming when it comes to deciding where to stay.

Not to mention the 40 plus beaches that it has to offer.

To make it easier for you to decide where to stay, we have simplified the process by highlighting the three main areas to stay.

After reading our guide, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of the most popular areas to stay, but there’s still plenty of other places to explore.

Location #1: Phuket Town – the centre for history and culture

Phuket Town Thailand

Situated on the south east coast of Phuket, there is much to admire in this quaint old town.

As the capital of Phuket Province, the area boasts stunning Sino-portugeuse architecture that makes you believe you’ve been transported to Europe.

You could easily spend a week in Phuket Town, and still be finding new discoveries everyday, thanks to the abundant number of amenities on offer – temples, markets, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Take your pick!

However if you’re a real party animal, Phuket town can be rather quiet on weekday nights. It also doesn’t have a beach, so you’ll have to travel to one of the beaches nearby.

Nevertheless, we think it is well worth making this sacrifice if you’re hunting for an authentic Thai ambience. That’s exactly what you’ll find!

Location #2: Patong – party, party, party

Boxing stadium in Phuket Thailand

If you’ve heard anything about Phuket, you’ve probably heard of the out-of-this-world nightlife that lines Bangla Road in Patong.

This party hub is bombarded with neon signs, blaring music and hordes of people! It’s pretty much impossible not to find something that fits your taste.

Most backpackers tend to call Patong home during their stay due to a large number of hotels, budget guesthouses and small resorts. You’ll be spoilt for choice really but prepare to fall asleep to the sound of some heavy base.

Unlike Phuket Town, Patong is located along the beach. It’s almost the perfect place to recover from your hangover, if you ignore the noise of the songthaews passing promoting the local boxing matches or the jet skies bouncing over the water!

Location #3: Kata – a laid back vibe where you can learn to surf

Kata Beach Phuket Thailand

Although Thailand doesn’t have a reputation as a surfer’s paradise, you can end up having a great surfing session at Kata beach . Phuket’s surfing season runs from June until September.

Just a 20-30 minute drive South from Patong, you’ll find a number of surf and diving schools lining Kata beach, of which Phuket Surfing is the most popular one.

Even if you don’t fancy surfing, you can just relax in one of the trendy beach bars. Technically most beach bars don’t sit directly on the beach, though. The Club Med resort occupies a large part of the beachfront, so you’ll have to wander slightly further to the second road to find more budget friendly bars and restaurants.

Alternatively, a cluster of modest-looking beach restaurants can be found at the far end of the beach, perfect for those who love eating their dinner whilst dipping their toes in the sand.

After, enjoy the relaxed nightlife it has to offer before retiring to your pick of accommodation, of which Kata offers a good variety.

How to get around in Phuket

One of the most comfortable ways of getting around is by taxi.

Metered taxis are becoming more common in Phuket, but the best way to guarantee getting one is using Grab, Asia’s version of Uber. It’s literally a life saver!

And of course it’s Thailand so wherever you are, you’ll probably be able to find a whizzy tuk-tuk or samlor, but unlike the rest of Thailand they’re slightly different in Phuket.

They have 4 wheels instead of 3! This isn’t the only difference, a lot of the tuk-tuks in Patong have been pimped-out to the max. They’re hard to miss with their pumping music and disco lights.

No matter which tuk-tuk, they will come at a higher price than you’ll be used to. They tend to be the most expensive form of transport in Phuket as the drivers don’t like to haggle. Expect to pay around 200 baht for a short trip around Patong!

Pro tip: make sure to agree on a price before getting in and be aware some drivers like to take you to shops where they get commission. Just say no!

Songtaew in Phuket Thailand

Local buses or song-taews, painted bright blue for recognition, may be a better option for slightly longer journeys.

These buses run regularly between 7am and 6pm. To give you an idea of prices, the 30-minute journey from Phuket Town to Patong costs around 15-20 baht.

Like a normal bus there are a few fixed stops but you can pretty much hop on and off almost anywhere by flagging one down or ringing the buzzer onboard.

Coming from Phuket airport? There is an airport bus that can take you all the way to Phuket Town for about 100 baht. Alternatively there are also shuttle buses going to both Phuket Town and Patong. See our Phuket airport guide for more details .

If you want to be completely independent, we recommend hiring a motorbike for around 250 baht/day. Of course, it’s important to have some driving experience and an international driver’s license.

How to get to Phuket

Bus in Phuket Thailand

Best places to stay in Phuket

Aekkeko Hostel - Budget Friendly

phuket travel recommendations

Aekkeko Hostel is set in central Phuket Town within walking distance of numerous bars, restaurants, and sights.  It’s a vibrant and colourful place with so many chillout places it’s impossible to keep count.

Offering both dorm beds and private rooms, there’s something for everyone. Plus, the dorm beds are huge! The staff will welcome you like family making you feel right at home.

  • Excellent staff
  • Ideal location
  • Terrace and many chillout spots
  • Clean and comfortable

Private room starts at $19 per night.

Check Available Rooms

Baan Sutra Guesthouse - Budget Friendly

phuket travel recommendations

Baan Sutra Guesthouse is in the perfect location, just a 1-minute walk from the Old Town. Yet when you step through its doors, you forget about the chaos outside. The hotel is clean, serene and homely.

The rooms are bright and very spacious. You’re guaranteed to have a comfortable stay here, especially with the helpful and friendly staff.

  • Beautiful rooms
  • Perfect location
  • Helpful staff

Private rooms start from $28 per night.

HOMA Phuket Town - Mid Range

phuket travel recommendations

Calling all digital nomads or anyone looking to relax without having to spend too much money. HOMA has everything you could need — a huge rooftop swimming pool, games room, gym, co-working space and an Italian restaurant. You never have to leave! 

The rooms are modern with vibrant pops of colour and huge beds. Need any help? The staff are always there to give you recommendations and make sure you have the best stay.

  • Huge rooftop swimming pool
  • Onsite gym and co-working space
  • Italian restaurant

Private rooms start from $49 per night.

Hotel Tide - Treating Yourself

phuket travel recommendations

Staying at Hotel Tide puts you seconds from the beach and in the middle of luxury. The huge swimming pool overlooks the beach and is the perfect place to escape the heat. Or relax on the terrace or nets overlooking the sea.

Here you’ll be a 10-minute drive from the Old Town, but if you don’t want to make the journey, you can enjoy the onsite delicious restaurant. This is the ideal place to unwind and chill in Phuket.

  • Amazing swimming pools
  • Right on the beach
  • Beautiful and spacious rooms
  • Onsite restaurant

Private rooms start from $57 per night.

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Kate Writer with Gecko Routes

Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.

Maarten founder of Gecko Routes

Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.

Chiang Mai Thailand

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Home » Travel Guides » Thailand » 15 Best Beaches in Phuket

15 Best Beaches in Phuket

Thailand was the first of the countries in South East Asia to develop a strong tourist economy and it has maintained its lead.

There is a fascinating history and culture in this country, formerly known as Siam.

Bangkok, its capital, is a hugely popular place; however, its extensive coastline and offshore islands are an even greater attraction.

There are east and west facing coasts and some of the world’s best beaches.

Some have been used as locations for Hollywood films, drawing hundreds of travelers to the pristine coves depicted on the big screen.

There are plenty of options, and the island of Phuket has become the first choice for many.

Phuket sits in the Andaman Sea – a mountainous island covering 550 square kilometers, blanketed in forests with gorgeous white-sand beaches.

Let’s have a look at the best beaches in Phuket :

1. Banana Beach, Coral Island

Banana Beach, Coral Island

The beach gets its name from the fringe of trees that border its crescent-shaped shoreline.

It is not easy to find, but the search brings its rewards.

Banana Beach has remained fairly quiet because of its relative inaccessibility; you need to walk down from the parking lot through the forest to get there.

There are some facilities, with a local restaurant catering to visitors.

The monsoon season from May to October means that swimming is not advisable during these months.

It doesn’t mean hour after hour of rain each day, so it’s still worth a visit during these months.

At high tide, there is very little beach to sit on, but as the water recedes, beautiful sands are revealed.

2. Nai Thon, North West

Nai Thon, North West

Nai Thon is becoming more popular precisely because it has not yet become a target for developers.

You will enjoy your journey to reach this beach as you travel through the forest then along a stunning coastline.

If you want a break from sunbathing, there are coves to explore, while diving in clear, warm waters gives access to a whole different world.

You can hire scuba equipment but you must be qualified.

There is a small village with a few restaurants and basic accommodation, so you have the option of using Nai Thon as a base away from the crowds.

3. Freedom Beach, Patong

Freedom Beach, Patong

You will avoid the crowds if you choose to go to Freedom Beach but must be prepared to trek for a kilometer or so through jungle to get there.

The alternative is to travel by boat.

You will find sun loungers when you get there but if you want to snorkel in the clear blue waters, you need to bring your own gear.

If you prefer just to enjoy the beautiful setting and white sand, that is a valid way to spend the day; you can refresh with some simple Thai food and cold drinks from the small café.

4. Kata Noi Beach, Kata

Kata Noi Beach, Kata

As yet, there is minimal development on Kata Noi Beach.

You can get yourself a sun lounger but there is little else – beach vendors certainly don’t bother with Kata Noi.

Surfers enjoy the northern end of the bay but surfing is more of a challenge in monsoon season when the water gets rough.

There are no restaurants or bars on the beach itself, but those built on the hills behind offer fantastic views of the region as a whole.

Sunset is certainly a good time to head up there after a day on the beach – you will get photographs that are truly memorable.

5. Kata Beach, Kata

Kata Beach, Kata

Kata Beach will certainly be more crowded than many others.

Few of Phuket’s beaches attract more people, and many holidaymakers choose accommodation fairly close by.

This doesn’t mean the beach has lost its natural beauty; shade is provided by the attractive casuarina trees lining the beach.

There are plenty of options when it comes to food and drink, whether you are just looking for snacks or a full Thai meal.

You can learn to surf here but even experienced surfers do not test the relatively rough waters once the monsoon season arrives.

6. Ao Sane Beach, South West

Ao Sane Beach, South West

This beach has basic facilities and plenty of shade provided by the almond trees.

It is a great place for snorkeling, and yachts are often moored here during high season.

There are plenty of granite boulders around the beach but don’t worry, you can relax on sandy stretches that have changed little over the years.

There are three small bays and you can walk from one to another.

Chairs can be rented for a nominal fee and snorkeling gear is available for hire.

Parking is limited but this beach rarely attracts large crowds.

7. Patong Beach, Patong

Patong Beach, Patong

Patong is the heart of Phuket.

What makes this beach popular with some is what makes it unpopular with others – crowds.

It is approaching four kilometers long, with the busiest stretch in the center.

You will not find anywhere to park, so access Patong Beach by walking or taking a taxi.

It is quieter on the northern edge and there are still good facilities.

At the southern end, the water is often not so clear.

A small fishing village is in the south and there are some water sports to enjoy there as well.

8. Surin Beach, Surin

Surin Beach, Surin

It is all change in Surin.

One of its beaches can no longer be accessed by land because it is private property, and Surin itself has changed completely.

It is a lovely stretch of sand but the restaurants have gone.

Development is scheduled, but in the meantime, there are fewer nicer beaches, even if the infrastructure is lacking.

Chairs have returned! The water is lovely, clear and warm.

In high season, it is a great place to swim.

You can no longer walk off the beach to have dinner locally, but by day – at least for the time being – try Surin Beach.

9. Nai Harn Beach, Nai Harn

Nai Harn Beach

Nai Harn’s beautiful white sand slopes gently down into the Andaman Sea.

The beach is large, and because of its size, is rarely too busy, thereby retaining a tranquil atmosphere.

It is a large bay in the south of Phuket which locals and tourists enjoy in equal measure.

There are good restaurants close by with plenty of shade as you eat lunch.

Shopping and accommodation add to the attractiveness of the area.

The sheltered bay is a popular spot for yachts to anchor.

Those wanting a relaxing massage on the beach will have no problem finding someone to do it.

10. Panwa Beach (Khao Ka), Phuket Town

Panwa Beach

This beach a few kilometers from Phuket Town has changed little over the years.

The sand may be rough but the water is shallow.

It is a lovely setting with great views across the bay and island.

Villas and condominiums have been built along the length of the beach but there are some fishermen’s huts in between.

If you go to the west end of the beach, you will find a mangrove swamp.

There are still a few fishermen here; it is so different from many of the crowded tourist areas, despite the building of those villas and condos.

11. Bang Tao Beach, Laguna

Bang Tao Beach

This eight kilometer stretch of beach has few equals in Phuket.

There is a golf course and a few beach resorts but public access is still available to these lovely sands.

This area was abandoned after the tin mining finished but that led to developers seeing an opportunity.

It is now a more expensive part of the island, with villas and hotels popping up, yet it remains affordable and accessible.

Lunch and a drink by the beach certainly do not ‘’break the bank.’’ The shopping is fairly exclusive, however.

12. Laem Ka Beach, South

Laem Ka Beach

Laem Ka is an east-facing beach in Southern Phuket where swimming is a popular pastime.

It is only 150 meters long and surrounded by boulders.

A sheltered beach, it is a great place for picnics in the shade.

Locals enjoy weekends here and the sea is very safe, even for young children.

The whole setting is beautiful, with views of the offshore islands, Koh Bob, Koh Lone and Coral; they are covered in green vegetation which contrast beautifully with the blue seas.

There is car parking behind the beach and good facilities on hand.

13. Kamala Beach, Kamala

Kamala Beach, Kamala

If you are looking for a family beach that is not too crowded, Kamala may be the place for you.

What was once a little Muslim village is now a bustling small town.

Swimming is good, except in the monsoon season when the waters get a little rough.

Hotels, bars, and restaurants have sprung up without the beach losing all of its charm.

There is a well-developed nightlife scene now, and the fresh produce market is full of color.

It is a surprise that more visitors do not come to Kamala but that does not disappoint those that do.

14. Ao Yon Beach, East

Ao Yon Beach

Ao Yon remains a secret. There is not even a signpost – all you are likely to meet is the occasional local.

The challenge is to find An Yon, but once you do, you will be happy that you succeeded.

Palm trees, white sands, and a clear blue sea will welcome you.

There is a small village of fishermen who specialize in oysters, grown on rafts offshore.

Locals come to picnic but very few foreign tourists make it here yet.

Dragon Boats are often a feature on the weekend.

You will find small cafes selling typical Thai cuisine.

15. Yae Beach, Patong

Longboat to Yae Beach

Just north of Patong, this 200-meter stretch of sand is fairly quiet, although you will find loungers, a beach bar, and toilets.

There are a few rocks around, so it is not the best beach for swimming.

At high tide, the sea covers all but 10 meters of its width.

The best way to get to Yae is by longboat from Patong.

In any event, that is certainly the fun way! Sunset is a great time of day when you can sit at the bar and enjoy the colors.

There is a resort behind Yae with luxury villas, pool, and spa.

15 Best Beaches in Phuket:

  • Banana Beach, Coral Island
  • Nai Thon, North West
  • Freedom Beach, Patong
  • Kata Noi Beach, Kata
  • Kata Beach, Kata
  • Ao Sane Beach, South West
  • Patong Beach, Patong
  • Surin Beach, Surin
  • Nai Harn Beach, Nai Harn
  • Panwa Beach (Khao Ka), Phuket Town
  • Bang Tao Beach, Laguna
  • Laem Ka Beach, South
  • Kamala Beach, Kamala
  • Ao Yon Beach, East
  • Yae Beach, Patong
  • Other Asian Countries
  • Restaurants

Amazing Thailand – Travel Tips


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Explore phuket like a pro: 11 must-know travel hacks.

Explore Phuket Like a Pro

Are you planning a trip to Phuket and want to make the most of your time on this beautiful island? Here we go! This article shares 11 must-know travel hacks for exploring Phuket like a pro. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, these tips will help you make the most of your trip.

Choosing the right time to visit & explore Phuket is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable trip. We’ll provide insider tips on when to avoid crowds, save money, and enjoy the best weather. From planning your trip and packing essentials to navigating Phuket and understanding the local culture, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to explore the island like a pro and make unforgettable memories.

Key Takeaways

  • Plan your trip to Phuket between mid-October to mid-February for the best weather and avoid the crowds.
  • Pack light and intelligent, including sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable shoes.
  • Respect the local culture, learn a few basic Thai phrases , and be mindful of the environment.

Table of Contents

High season, our recommendation, planning your trip, packing light, essential items, public transportation, car rentals, basic phrases, local customs, phuket’s beaches, phi phi island, hotels and hostels, private rooms, get a local sim card, use offline maps, use google translate, use free wi-fi, health and wellness, 1. set a budget, 2. look for deals, 3. choose affordable accommodation, 4. save money on food, 5. use public transportation, 6. book activities in advance, explore phuket like a pro ➢ frequently asked questions, choosing the right time.

When planning a trip to Phuket, choosing the right time to visit is crucial. The timing can affect your experience and budget. Here are a few things to consider when deciding the right time to visit Phuket.

The high season in Phuket is from November to February. The weather is dry and sunny during this time, making it perfect for outdoor activities and water sports. However, this is also the busiest time of the year, and prices for accommodations and activities are at their highest. Book your accommodations and activities well in advance if you plan to visit during the high season.

The low season in Phuket is from May to October. The weather can be unpredictable during this time, with occasional rain showers and thunderstorms. However, this is also when you can find great deals on accommodations and activities. If you’re on a budget, this might be the best time to visit Phuket.

If you plan to visit Phuket during holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s, or Chinese New Year, expect higher prices and bigger crowds. These are peak times for tourism in Phuket, and accommodations and activities can get booked quickly. If you plan to visit during the holidays, book well in advance.

Based on our experience, the best time to visit Phuket is during the shoulder season, from March to April and September to October. The weather is still good during these months, and the crowds are smaller than during the high season. You can find good deals on accommodations and activities, and you won’t have to deal with the public and high prices of peak season.

Choosing the right time to visit Phuket can significantly impact your experience and budget. Consider the weather, crowds, and prices when deciding the best time to visit.

When planning a trip to Phuket, it’s essential to do your research to ensure you get the best deals and make the most of your time there. Here are some travel hacks that can help you explore Phuket like a pro:

  • Use travel websites like Traveloka to find the best deals on flights and accommodations. You can also compare prices across airlines and hotels to find the most affordable options.
  • Book your flight tickets in advance to save money. Flights to Phuket can be expensive, especially during peak season, so it’s best to book early to get the best deals.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself in unexpected events, such as flight cancellations or medical emergencies.
  • Look for deals on activities and tours in Phuket. Many websites offer discounts on popular attractions like Phi Phi Islands and James Bond Island.
  • Research the best time to visit Phuket. The peak season is from November to February when the weather is dry and sunny. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so expect large crowds and higher prices.
  • Consider staying outside of the main tourist areas to save money on accommodations. Places like Kamala and Rawai offer a more laid-back atmosphere and often have lower prices.

With some planning and research, you can explore Phuket like a pro and make the most of your trip.

Packing Essentials

Regarding traveling to Phuket, packing-wise can make all the difference. Here are some essential items to pack to explore Phuket like a pro.

Packing light is key when traveling to Phuket. We recommend bringing only the essentials and leaving some room in your luggage for souvenirs. One of the best ways to pack light is by using packing cubes. These handy organizers can help you keep your clothes and other items separated and easy to find.

Here are some essential items to pack for your Phuket adventure:

  • Water bottle: Staying hydrated is vital in Phuket’s hot and humid climate. Bringing a reusable water bottle can help you save money and reduce plastic waste.
  • Sunscreen: Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is crucial in Phuket. Make sure to bring a high-SPF sunscreen and apply it regularly.
  • Mosquito repellent: Mosquitoes can be a nuisance in Phuket, especially during the rainy season. Bringing mosquito repellent can help you avoid itchy bites.
  • Lightweight clothing: Opt for light, breathable clothing to stay cool in Phuket’s tropical climate. Quick-drying fabrics are also an excellent choice for beach activities.
  • Comfortable shoes: Comfortable shoes are necessary for exploring the city or hiking through the jungle. Sandals or flip-flops are great for the beach, but bring closed-toe shoes for more adventurous activities.

By packing light and bringing these essential items, you’ll be well-prepared for your Phuket adventure.

Navigating Phuket

When exploring Phuket, knowing how to get around efficiently is essential. Here are some tips on navigating the island like a pro.

Phuket has a reliable public transportation system that includes buses and taxis. Buses are the cheapest option, but they can be crowded and slow. Cabs are more expensive, but they offer a more comfortable ride.

It’s important to note that taxis in Phuket do not use meters, so it’s essential to negotiate the fare before getting in. Generally, we recommend agreeing on a price before starting the journey to avoid surprises.

Renting a car is an excellent option for those who want to explore Phuket at their own pace. Many car rental companies are on the island, and prices vary depending on the season. We recommend booking in advance to get the best deal.

When renting a car, having an international driver’s license and familiarizing yourself with the local driving laws is essential. In Phuket, cars drive on the left side of the road, and speed limits are strictly enforced.

Overall, navigating Phuket can be easy and hassle-free with some planning. Whether you choose to take public transportation or rent a car, make sure to stay safe and enjoy all that the island has to offer.

Understanding the Local Culture

When traveling to a new place, it’s always important to take some time to learn about the local culture. Phuket is a beautiful island with a rich history and unique customs worth exploring. Here are some tips to help you understand and appreciate the local culture.

Even though many people in Phuket speak English, it’s always helpful to know some basic phrases in the local language. Here are a few words that will come in handy:

Thailand is known for its friendly and welcoming people, but respecting local customs is essential. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Dress modestly when visiting temples or other religious sites. This means covering your shoulders and knees.
  • Remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a temple.
  • Don’t touch someone’s head, as it’s considered the most sacred part of the body.
  • Avoid pointing your feet at someone, as it’s considered impolite.
  • When giving or receiving something, use both hands to show respect.
  • Please don’t raise your voice or show anger in public, as it’s considered impolite.

Understanding and respecting the local culture will give you a more enjoyable and meaningful experience in Phuket.

Exploring the Island

Phuket is a beautiful island with many attractions to discover. To make the most of your trip, we suggest exploring the island’s beaches and taking a day trip to Phi Phi Island.

Phuket is famous for its stunning beaches, with many to choose from. Each beach has its unique charm, so it’s worth exploring a few to find your favorite. Here are some of our top picks:

  • Patong Beach: One of the most popular beaches in Phuket, known for its lively atmosphere and nightlife.
  • Karon Beach: A quieter option than Patong, Karon Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  • Kata Beach: Another peaceful option is Kata Beach, which has crystal clear waters and white sand.
  • Nai Harn Beach: For a more secluded experience, head to Nai Harn Beach, surrounded by lush greenery.

Phi Phi Island is a must-visit destination when exploring Phuket. Many tour operators offer day trips to the island, famous for its stunning scenery and crystal-clear waters. Some of the top attractions on Phi Phi Island include:

  • Maya Bay: This is the beach made famous by the movie “The Beach,” and it’s easy to see why. Towering cliffs surround the bay and have crystal-clear waters.
  • Monkey Beach: As the name suggests, this beach is home to a troop of playful monkeys. Visitors can feed and interact with the monkeys, but be careful not to get too close.
  • Viking Cave: This cave is home to ancient paintings and is a popular spot for snorkeling.

Overall, exploring Phuket and its surrounding islands is a fantastic experience that is not to be missed. With so many attractions, this beautiful island has something for everyone.

Accommodation Tips

Regarding accommodation in Phuket, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some tips to help you find the best one for your needs.

Phuket has many hotels and hostels to suit all budgets, from luxurious 5-star resorts to budget-friendly hostels. When choosing a hotel or hostel, consider the following:

  • Location: Choose a hotel or hostel that is centrally located or close to the attractions you want to visit.
  • Amenities: Check what amenities the hotel or hostel offers, such as free Wi-Fi, breakfast, swimming pool, and air-conditioning.
  • Reviews: Read reviews from previous guests to get an idea of their experiences.

Some of the best hotels in Phuket include Amanpuri, The Nai Harn, and The Shore at Katathani. Check out Lub d Phuket Patong and Bodega Phuket Party Resort for budget-friendly options.

If you prefer more privacy, you can opt for a private room in a hostel or guesthouse. Private rooms are usually more expensive than dorm rooms but offer more comfort and privacy. When choosing a private room, consider the following:

  • Ensuite bathroom: Choose a room with an ensuite bathroom for more convenience and privacy.
  • Size: Check the size of the room to ensure it can accommodate your needs.
  • Amenities: Check what amenities the room offers, such as air-conditioning, TV, and free Wi-Fi.

Some of the best guesthouses in Phuket include Baan Suay, The Memory at On On Hotel, and The Luna Hostel.

Overall, Phuket offers various accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. You can find the perfect accommodation for your Phuket trip by researching your needs.

Staying Connected

Staying connected while traveling in Phuket is essential to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip. Here are some tips to help you stay connected:

Getting a local SIM card is the easiest way to stay connected in Phuket. You can purchase a SIM card at the airport or any convenience store. The two leading providers are AIS and TrueMove H. Both providers offer affordable data plans with good coverage throughout the island.

While exploring Phuket, it’s essential to have a map handy. However, relying on your mobile data can be expensive and unreliable. We recommend downloading offline maps before you arrive in Phuket. Google Maps lets you download maps for offline use, which can be a lifesaver when lost in an unfamiliar area.

Communicating with locals can be challenging if you’re not fluent in Thai. We recommend downloading the Google Translate app, which allows you to translate text and speech in real time. This can be incredibly helpful when ordering food or asking for directions.

Many restaurants, cafes, and hotels offer free Wi-Fi to their customers. While it’s not always reliable, it’s a great way to save on data usage. Just be sure to use a VPN to protect your personal information when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

By following these tips, you can stay connected while exploring Phuket like a pro.

Health and Wellness

When traveling to Phuket, it’s essential to prioritize your health and wellness. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and energized during your trip:

  • Stay hydrated:  Getting dehydrated with the tropical climate and high temperatures is easy. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re spending time outdoors.
  • Eat well:  Phuket is known for its delicious food, but making healthy choices is essential. Look for local fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid overly processed or fried foods.
  • Get moving:  Exercise is a great way to boost energy and stay healthy while traveling. Take advantage of the beautiful beaches and go for a swim or a jog. Many hotels also offer fitness facilities or classes.
  • Combat jet lag:  Jet lag can be challenging traveling from a different time zone. Try to adjust your sleep schedule a few days before your trip. Once you arrive, spend time outside in natural light to help regulate your body’s internal clock.
  • Take care of your skin:  Protecting your skin from damage is essential with so much time spent in the sun. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30, and reapply every few hours. Consider wearing a hat or staying in the shade during the hottest day.

By prioritizing your health and wellness during your trip to Phuket, you’ll be able to fully enjoy all the fantastic experiences the island has to offer.

Budgeting Your Trip

When planning a trip to Phuket, budgeting is vital. Here are some tips to help you save money and make the most of your trip:

Before planning your trip, decide how much you want to spend. This will help you prioritize your expenses and avoid overspending. Consider the cost of flights, accommodation, food, transportation , and activities.

There are many ways to save money on your trip to Phuket. Look for deals on flights, accommodation, and activities. You can also save money by traveling during the off-season when prices are lower.

There are many affordable options for accommodation in Phuket, including hostels, guesthouses, and budget hotels. Consider staying outside the main tourist areas, where prices are often higher.

Eating out can be expensive in Phuket, especially in tourist areas. To save money, consider eating street food or shopping at local markets. You can also save money by cooking meals if your accommodation has a kitchen.

Taxi and private cars can be expensive in Phuket. Use public transportation, such as buses or tuk-tuks, to save money. You can also rent a scooter or bicycle to explore the island.

Booking activities in advance can save you money and ensure you get the best deals. Look for online deals or ask your accommodation for recommendations.

7. Take advantage of free activities

There are many free activities in Phuket, such as visiting the beaches , exploring the temples, and hiking in the national parks. Take advantage of these free activities to save money.

Following these budgeting tips, you can enjoy your trip to Phuket without breaking the bank.

What are some cultural customs to be aware of when traveling to Thailand?

Being aware of the country’s cultural customs is essential when traveling to Thailand. Some customs to remember include dressing modestly when visiting temples, removing shoes before entering homes or temples, and respecting the Thai monarchy. It’s also important to avoid touching people’s heads or pointing with your feet, as Thai culture considers these disrespectful actions.

How can we make the most of a 7-day trip to Phuket?

With only seven days in Phuket, planning your itinerary carefully is essential. Some must-see attractions include visiting the Big Buddha, exploring the beaches of Phuket, and taking a trip to the Phi Phi Islands. To make the most of your time, consider hiring a local guide to show you around and provide insider tips. Additionally, try the local cuisine and immerse yourself in Thai culture.

What are some common mistakes tourists make in Thailand?

One common mistake tourists make in Thailand is failing to respect the country’s cultural customs. Additionally, some tourists may fall victim to scams, such as overpaying for transportation or selling fake goods. To avoid these issues, it’s essential to research the customs and culture of Thailand before traveling and to be cautious when making purchases or accepting offers from strangers.

What are some must-see attractions in Phuket?

Phuket has various must-see attractions, including the Big Buddha, the Phi Phi Islands, and the Wat Chalong temple. Other popular interests include the Phuket FantaSea show, the Bangla Road nightlife district, and the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. Be sure also to explore the beaches of Phuket, such as Patong Beach and Kata Beach.

What are some tips for exploring Phuket on a budget?

To explore Phuket on a budget, consider staying in budget accommodations such as hostels or guesthouses. Opt for street food or local restaurants instead of expensive tourist restaurants. To save on transportation, consider renting a motorbike or taking local buses instead of taxis. Finally, look for free or low-cost activities like hiking or visiting local markets.

What is the best way to create an itinerary for a trip to Phuket?

When creating an itinerary for a trip to Phuket, it’s essential to consider your interests and travel style. Start by researching the must-see attractions in Phuket and then narrow down your list based on your preferences. Consider hiring a local guide or joining a tour to learn more about the local culture and history. Finally, leave some free time for unexpected adventures or relaxation in your itinerary.

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  • 48 Hours in Phuket, Thailand

What to do, what to eat and where to stay in this province of Thailand.

Thailand Travel 48 hours

phuket travel recommendations

Phuket is a beautiful province off the western coast of southern Thailand along the Andaman Sea. It consists of the island of Phuket along with 32 smaller islands. Though you're not likely to do a weekend getaway to Phuket—you'd spend basically the whole time on the plane when traveling from the U.S.—it does make a great stop as part of a multi-city excursion throughout Thailand or other parts of Southeast Asia. It's the perfect place to pamper yourself at one of the many seaside resorts and spas, sample local fare at one of the many MICHELIN-recommended restaurants  and enjoy the various attractions. So if you're looking for recommendations for your next visit to Phuket, we've got you covered.

The Sunday market along Thalang Road in Old Phuket Town.

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Thailand’s largest island and a province in its own right, PHUKET (pronounced “Poo-ket”) has been a prosperous region since the nineteenth century, when Chinese merchants got in on its tin-mining and sea-borne trade, before turning to the rubber industry. It remains the wealthiest province in Thailand, with the highest per-capita income, but what mints the money nowadays is tourism: with an annual influx of visitors that tops five million, Phuket ranks second in popularity only to Pattaya, and the package-tour traffic has wrought its usual transformations. Thoughtless tourist developments have scarred much of the island, and the trend is upmarket, with very few budget possibilities (expect to shell out up to twice what you’d pay on the mainland for accommodation and food, and sometimes more than double for transport, which is a particular headache on Phuket). However, many of the beaches are still strikingly handsome, resort facilities are second to none, and the offshore snorkelling and diving is exceptional. Away from the tourist hubs, many inland neighbourhoods are clustered round the local mosque – 35 percent of Phuketians are Muslim, and there are said to be more mosques on the island than Buddhist temples; though the atmosphere is generally as easy-going as elsewhere in Thailand, it’s especially important to dress with some modesty outside the main resorts, and not to sunbathe topless on any of the beaches.

Phuket town

Diving and snorkelling off phuket, phuket day-trips and other activities.

Phuket’s capital, Muang Phuket or Phuket town, is on the southeast coast, 42km south of the Sarasin Bridge causeway to the mainland. Though it’s the most culturally stimulating place on Phuket, most visitors pass straight through the town on their way to the west coast, where three resorts corner the bulk of the trade: high-rise Ao Patong, the most developed and expensive, with an increasingly seedy nightlife; the slightly nicer, if unexceptional, Ao Karon; and adjacent Ao Kata, the smallest of the trio. If you’re after a more peaceful spot, aim for the 17km-long national park beach of Hat Mai Khao, its more developed neighbour Hat Nai Yang, or one of the smaller alternatives at Hat Nai Thon or Hat Kamala. Most of the other west-coast beaches are dominated by just a few upmarket hotels, specifically Hat Nai Harn, Ao Pansea and Ao Bang Tao; the southern and eastern beaches are better for seafood than swimming.

As with the rest of the Andaman coast, the sea around Phuket is at its least inviting during the monsoon, from June to October, when the west-coast beaches in particular become quite rough and windswept. At any time of year, beware the strong undertow and heed any red warning flags; there are dozens of fatalities in the water each year, but there is currently no official lifeguard service on the island. Some stretches of Phuket’s coast were very badly damaged by the December 2004 tsunami, which caused significant loss of life and destroyed a lot of property. Reconstruction was swift, however, and a first-time visitor to the island is now unlikely to notice any major post-tsunami effect.

Travel ideas for Thailand, created by local experts

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Experience the best of Thailand as you discover glitzy Bangkok's temples, markets and waterways. Compare the bustling, lively capital with the glorious rolling hills and lush interior of mountainous Chiang Mai before heading south to beach bliss and unexpected cultural delights in hedonistic Phuket.

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12 days  / from 2450 USD

Thailand Discovery

A great way to discover Thailand, take in the Central Plain and Bangkok, the north with Chiang Mai and the south at the lively resort of Phuket.

Though it has plenty of hotels and restaurants, PHUKET TOWN (Muang Phuket) stands distinct from the tailor-made tourist settlements along the beaches as a place of tangible history and culture. Most visitors hang about just long enough to jump on a beach-bound songthaew, but you may find yourself returning for a welcome dose of real life; there’s plenty to engage you in a stroll through the small but atmospherically restored heart of the Old Town, along with many idiosyncratic cafés and art shops, several notable restaurants and some good handicraft shops. The town works well as an overnight transit point between the islands and the bus station or airport, but is also worth considering as a base for exploring the island, with more interesting and affordable accommodation, eating and drinking options than the beaches, but linked to them by regular songthaews.

Thinking of travelling to Phuket? Start planning by learning about how to get to Thailand .

Phuket Town Sino-Portuguese architecture

As Chinese immigrant merchants got rich on tin-mining profits so they started building homes. Though the very richest commissioned enormous mansions, a number of which survive in Phuket town today, the vast majority bought themselves eminently practical terraced shophouses at the heart of the merchant district. Phuket’s Old Town retains south Thailand’s finest examples, some of which are open to the public, but there are also intact, if less well-conserved, shophouse neighbourhoods in many other southern cities, including Ranong and Takua Pa.

Shophouse design followed a standard prototype favoured by the mixed-race Chinese–Malay (“Baba”, or “Straits Chinese”) immigrants from Melaka and other parts of the Malay Peninsula. It’s a style now widely dubbed Sino-Portuguese because Melakan architecture of the time was itself strongly influenced by the territory’s Portuguese former colonists, though it also incorporates traits from Dutch and Anglo-Indian colonial architecture. Although some features have evolved with changing fashions the basic look is still recognizably mid-nineteenth century.

Because streetside space was at a premium, shophouses were always long and thin, with narrow frontages, recessed entrances and connecting porches that linked up all the way down the block to make shady, arched colonnades known as five-foot walkways, ideal for pedestrians and shoppers. The front room was (and often still is) the business premises, leaving the rest of the two- or three-storey building for living. A light well behind the front room encouraged natural ventilation and sometimes fed a small courtyard garden at its base, and the household shrine would always occupy a prominent and auspicious position. Outside, the hallmark features that make the neighbourhoods so striking today include pastel-painted louvred windows that might be arched or rectangular and perhaps topped by a pretty glass fantail, lacquered and inlaid wooden doors, fancy gold-leaf fretwork, detailed stucco mouldings and perhaps Neoclassical pilasters.

Ngan Kin Jeh: the Vegetarian Festival

For nine days, usually in October or November, at the start of the ninth lunar month, the celebrations for Ngan Kin Jeh – the Vegetarian Festival – set the streets of Phuket buzzing with processions, theatre shows and food stalls, culminating in the unnerving spectacle of men and women parading about with steel rods through their cheeks and tongues. The festival marks the beginning of Taoist Lent, a month-long period of purification observed by devout Chinese all over the world, but celebrated most ostentatiously in Phuket, by devotees of the island’s five Chinese temples. After six days’ abstention from meat (hence the festival’s name), alcohol and sex, the white-clad worshippers flock to their local temple, where drum rhythms help induce a trance state in which they become possessed by spirits. As proof of their new-found transcendence of the physical world they skewer themselves with any available sharp instrument – fishing rods and car wing-mirrors have done service in the past – before walking over red-hot coals or up ladders of swords as further testament to their otherworldliness. In the meantime there’s singing and dancing and almost continuous firework displays, with the grandest festivities held at Wat Jui Tui on Thanon Ranong in Phuket town.

The ceremony dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, when a travelling Chinese opera company turned up on the island to entertain emigrant Chinese working in the tin mines. They had been there almost a year when suddenly the whole troupe – together with a number of the miners – came down with a life-endangering fever. Realizing that they’d neglected their gods, the actors performed elaborate rites and kept to a vegetarian diet, and most were soon cured. The festival has been held ever since, though the self-mortification rites are a later modification, possibly of Hindu origin.

The reefs and islands within sailing distance of Phuket rate among the most spectacular in the world, and diving and snorkelling trips are both good value and hugely popular. Many trips operate year-round, though some of the more remote islands and reefs become too dangerous to reach during part or all of the monsoon season, roughly June to October.

Andaman coast dive and snorkel sites

Anemone reef.

About 22km east of Phuket. Submerged reef of soft coral and sea anemones starting about 5m deep. Lots of fish, including leopard sharks, tuna and barracuda. Usually combined with a dive at nearby Shark Point. Unsuitable for snorkellers.

Burma Banks

About 250km northwest of Phuket; only accessible on live-aboards. A series of submerged “banks”, well away from any landmass and very close to the Burmese border. Only worth the trip for its sharks. Visibility up to 25m.

Hin Daeng and Hin Muang

56km southwest of Ko Lanta. Hin Daeng is an exceptional reef wall, named after the red soft corals that cover the rocks, with visibility up to 30m. One hundred metres away, Hin Muang also drops to 50m and is good for stingrays, manta rays, whale sharks and silvertip sharks. Visibility up to 50m. Because of the depth and the current, both places are considered too risky for novice divers who have logged fewer than twenty dives. Unsuitable for snorkellers.

King Cruiser

Near Shark Point, between Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. Dubbed the Thai Tanic, this became a wreck dive in May 1997, when a tourist ferry sank on its way to Ko Phi Phi. Visibility up to 20m, but hopeless for snorkellers because of the depth, and collapsed sections make it dangerous for any but the most experienced divers.

48km east of Phuket’s Ao Chalong. Visibility up to 30m. The most popular destination for Phuket divers and snorkellers. Spectacular drop-offs; good chance of seeing whale sharks.

Ko Racha Noi and Ko Racha Yai

About 33km and 28km south of Phuket’s Ao Chalong respectively. Visibility up to 40m. Racha Yai (aka Raya Yai) is good for beginners and for snorkellers; at the more challenging Racha Noi there’s a good chance of seeing manta rays, eagle rays and whale sharks.

Ko Rok Nok and Ko Rok Nai

100km southeast of Phuket, south of Ko Lanta. Visibility up to 18m. Shallow reefs that are excellent for snorkelling.

96km northwest of Phuket; easiest access from Khao Lak. One of the world’s top diving spots. Visibility up to 30m. Leopard sharks, whale sharks and manta rays, plus caves and gorges.

174km northwest of Phuket; easiest access from Khuraburi. Shallow reefs of soft and hard corals that are good for snorkelling.

Richelieu Rock

Just east of Ko Surin, close to Burmese waters. A sunken pinnacle that’s famous for its whale sharks. Considered by many to be Thailand‘s top dive spot.

Shark Point (Hin Mu Sang)

24km east of Phuket’s Laem Panwa. Protected as a marine sanctuary. Visibility up to 10m. Notable for soft corals, sea fans and leopard sharks. Often combined with the King Cruiser dive and/or Anemone Reef; unrewarding for snorkellers.

Bookings for most of the following Phuket day-trips and activities can be made through any tour agent and should include return transport from your hotel (though not for the cooking classes). In addition to the trips listed below, diving is also available (see Diving and snorkelling off Phuket). Other sights worth checking out, especially for kids, include the Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World in Phuket town, the Aquarium on Laem Panwa, the Shell Museum in Rawai, the Big Buddha near Chalong and the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project near Thalang. Avoid any tour that features Ko Siray (Ko Sireh), the island across the narrow channel from Phuket town, which merely encourages tour-bus passengers to gawp at Phuket’s largest and longest-established indigenous chao ley community.

Bicycle touring

Full- and half-day guided mountain-bike rides into Phuket’s rural hinterlands and to Ko Yao Noi, as well as multi-day rides around Phang Nga Bay, with Action Holidays Phuket.

Elephant trekking

Award-winning, conservation-conscious Siam Safari runs Four-in-One tours featuring their hillside elephant camp plus rubber tapping, buffalo-cart riding and a sail on a Burmese junk; tours to Khao Sok National Park are also on offer.


One- and three-day courses at Hat Nai Yang and Ao Chalong (depending on the season) are offered by Kiteboarding Asia.

If you just need a little time off from the beach, head for the eighteen-hole Dino Park mini-golf, next to Marina Phuket Resort on the headland between Ao Karon and Ao Kata, which is part of a pseudo-prehistoric theme park comprising a dinosaur restaurant and an erupting “volcano” (evenings only).


There are dozens of companies offering canoeing and kayaking in Phuket, but the two with the best reputations are John Gray’s Sea Canoe, who offer “Starlight” afternoon and evening trips around the spectacular limestone karsts of Ao Phang Nga, as well as multi-day and self-paddle trips; and Paddle Asia, who run day-trips to Ao Phang Nga and multi-day trips, which can include Khao Sok National Park and other adventure activities.

The rainy season (roughly May–Oct) is the best time for surfing off Phuket’s west coast; courses and board rental are available from Phuket Surf on Ao Kata Yai.

Thai cookery courses

Most famously, every Sat and Sun morning at The Boathouse hotel on Ao Kata Yai; but also at the Holiday Inn Phuket, 86/11 Thanon Thavee Wong, Patong; and the Blue Elephant Restaurant, 96 Thanon Krabi, Phuket town.

Thai culture and wildlife tours

Plan to Phuket run a number of tours, including full-day “Culture Tours” that include market and temple visits, batik-making and rubber production; and “Jungle Tours” to Ton Sai waterfall and the Gibbon Rehabilitation project; or a combination of both.

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The Best of Phuket Travel: Planning your Phuket Trip

The Best of Phuket Travel: Planning your Phuket Trip

To all travellers out there, our Phuket travel is here to enable you to make the best of your tropical island getaway with a perfect Phuket travel plan for 2023 and to embrace this majestic island fully.

A World Renowned Island

Phuket is the name of both a province and an iconic island in southern Thailand. For many years, Phuket island has been a well-loved paradise for many travellers seeking sunshine and pristine beaches. The stunning destination is also Thailand’s largest island , with beautiful white sand beaches lining its southern and western coasts, and a few smaller islands are just offshore from the mainland, waiting for you to explore.

Exploring the Old Town as part of your Phuket travel itinerary will reveal that tin mining was a major source of income for much of the island’s history. Tin demand declined in the 20 th century, giving rise to other industries such as rubber production and tourism, the latter of which has been the province’s main source of income for the past two or three decades.

Now, the island is a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches and numerous Phuket beach resorts . As mentioned before, Phuket is the country’s largest island and also the busiest, with an average of approximately 10 million visitors annually.

Getting into Phuket

Depending on where you are in the world, there are various ways to reach Phuket, but the majority of visitors will most likely fly into Phuket International Airport (HKT) . As the airport is in the northern part of the island, you will need to set up a transfer to your hotel, which can be easily arranged with your hotel or via taxi or public transport in the area. Depending on where your Phuket hotel is located, it could take only 10 minutes or an hour to reach your room.

Carry The Appropriate Power Adapter

Although this may be a small detail, it could make your holiday much easier. In Thailand, you will find two-pronged round or flat sockets of Type A, Type B, Type C, or Type F. So take care to bring the appropriate power adapters for your equipment. The standard voltage is 220V, and the frequency is 50Hz.

Best Time of Year to Visit Phuket

One of the frequently asked questions is; what is the best time to visit Phuket? Our answer is since Phuket is a tropical island, the best time to visit is generally influenced by the weather. The island has the least rain from the end of November to the middle of April , making this the best time to visit and enjoy your Phuket travel across the island. The oceans will also be at their calmest during this time of the year. Crystal-clear water and warm sand await your visit.

On the contrary, even though November to April is the best time to visit Phuket in terms of weather, it is also the peak season . It lasts from late November and until mid-April, with January and February being the busiest months. If you want to visit Phuket when the weather is at its best but would prefer to avoid the masses, you could look into planning a December or March trip. If you are looking for water fight fun, the Songkran Festival in mid-April is the ideal time to visit. Additionally, you can choose a hotel located in a more secluded beach, such as the Kamala beach resort , which offers more privacy and calm.

Monsoon Season

The monsoon season in Phuket lasts from May to October . You are rather likely to experience some sunny weather at any time of the year; however, due to the weather’s unpredictability, it can be difficult to rely on pure sunshine every single day.

The Best Locations to Stay in Phuket

Among the numerous beaches of the island, Kata , Karon , Kamala and Patong are the most highly regarded beach areas to stay on the island and with many choices for a 5-star hotel in Phuket . 

The Best of Phuket Travel: Planning your Phuket Trip

Kata can provide an excellent mix of pristine beaches, eateries, activities, and nightlife. The area does not offer as many stores, restaurants, and pubs as Patong, yet it is also not as packed with people.

The Best of Phuket Travel: Planning your Phuket Trip

Kamala Beach resorts are often regarded as a delight, with a serene environment on Phuket’s west coast, highly regarded by families and those looking for a relaxing vacation. The beach is extensive, and there are numerous impressive local and international restaurants directly on the beach. During the high season, Kamala features a pristine beach with clear waters. It has a lot of beach eateries, shopping, superb Phuket hotels, and direct access to the beach.

The Best of Phuket Travel: Planning your Phuket Trip

Karon is a neighbourhood of Kata, located to the north. There are a selection of Phuket beach resorts in the higher parts of the area and a developed central area resembling Patong.

The Best of Phuket Travel: Planning your Phuket Trip

Patong is among the busiest places on the island, owing largely to Bangla Road, the epicentre of Phuket nightlife. It has the highest concentration of bars and clubs, as well as numerous shops and restaurants. If you enjoy partying, this is the place for you. However, the immediate area of Patong may not be suitable for those looking for a peaceful vacation.

5.Old Phuket Town

The Best of Phuket Travel: Planning your Phuket Trip

To get a sense of local life and the heritage of Phuket, the Old Town is the place to be. It is home to many endearing Sino-Portuguese shophouses, temples, museums, and some of Phuket’s most original and captivating street food. All of which makes it an ideal spot to experience Phuket’s culture and heritage. If you are going to Phuket for beach relaxation, the Old Town may not be the prime spot.

6.Rawai & Nai Harn Beach

The Best of Phuket Travel: Planning your Phuket Trip

Located on the island’s southern tip and are popular among the local residents and domestic tourists. Rawai is characterised as being comparable to Patong but quieter, and it serves as the starting point for traditional Thai longtail boat trips to the neighbouring islands.

5-Star Phuket Hotel in Kamala Beach with Majestic Andaman Sea Views

The Best of Phuket Travel: Planning your Phuket Trip

Experience the hight of luxury at the Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort for your Phuket travel plan 2023. This resort offers direct access to Kamala Beach with water activities, sports, and various things to do in the surrounding bay to explore all the Andaman Sea has to offer. Situated on the Millionnaire’s mile near the tranquil fishing village and trendy beach clubs of Kamala Beach while being a short drive to lively Patong Beach. This luxury family resort in Phuket also benefits from access to Phuket’s best sites, including Big Buddha , Phi Phi island and James Bond island .

Apart from the luxurious rooms and suites with private terraces, amenities, and facilities, we also offer experiential dining at renovated venues with Thai, Indian, Japanese & International cuisines for the whole family to enjoy throughout the vacation.

Visit our website or contact us today to find out more.

Tel: +66 7623 1234 

Fax: +66 76 231 233 Email: [email protected]

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Hyatt, 5 Star Hotel Phuket


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Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

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After Your Trip

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines


Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine


There has been evidence of chikungunya virus transmission in Thailand within the last 5 years. Chikungunya vaccination may be considered for the following travelers:

  • People aged 65 years or older, especially those with underlying medical conditions, who may spend at least 2 weeks (cumulative time) in indoor or outdoor areas where mosquitoes are present in Thailand, OR
  • People planning to stay in Thailand for a cumulative period of 6 months or more

Chikungunya - CDC Yellow Book

There is no longer active cholera transmission and vaccine is not recommended.

Cholera - CDC Yellow Book

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Thailand.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to Thailand. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to Thailand.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

Japanese Encephalitis

Recommended for travelers who

  • Are moving to an area with Japanese encephalitis to live
  • Spend long periods of time, such as a month or more, in areas with Japanese encephalitis
  • Frequently travel to areas with Japanese encephalitis

Consider vaccination for travelers

  • Spending less than a month in areas with Japanese encephalitis but will be doing activities that increase risk of infection, such as visiting rural areas, hiking or camping, or staying in places without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets
  • Going to areas with Japanese encephalitis who are uncertain of their activities or how long they will be there

Not recommended for travelers planning short-term travel to urban areas or travel to areas with no clear Japanese encephalitis season. 

Japanese encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine for US Children

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Thailand take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for Thailand.

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Dogs infected with rabies are sometimes found in Thailand.

If rabies exposures occur while in Thailand, rabies vaccines are typically available throughout most of the country.

Rabies pre-exposure vaccination considerations include whether travelers 1) will be performing occupational or recreational activities that increase risk for exposure to potentially rabid animals and 2) might have difficulty getting prompt access to safe post-exposure prophylaxis.

Please consult with a healthcare provider to determine whether you should receive pre-exposure vaccination before travel.

For more information, see country rabies status assessments .

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Yellow Fever

Required for travelers ≥9 months old arriving from countries with risk for YF virus transmission; this includes >12-hour airport transits or layovers in countries with risk for YF virus transmission. 1

Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

Avoid contaminated water


How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil
  • Avoid floodwater

Clinical Guidance

Avoid bug bites.

  • Mosquito bite
  • Avoid Bug Bites
  • Mosquito bite


  • Sand fly bite
  • An infected pregnant woman can spread it to her unborn baby

Airborne & droplet

Avian/bird flu.

  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Thailand, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Thailand. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Some diseases in Thailand—such as dengue, Zika, and filariasis—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine. Follow the insect avoidance measures described above to prevent these and other illnesses.

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Thailand include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Thailand. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Thailand’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in some parts of Thailand. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.


Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Thailand may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Thailand, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in Thailand, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for Thailand .

Traffic flows on the left side of the road in Thailand.

  • Always pay close attention to the flow of traffic, especially when crossing the street.
  • LOOK RIGHT for approaching traffic.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

To call for emergency services while in Thailand, dial 1669 for an ambulance, 199 for the fire department, and 191 for the police. Write these numbers down to carry with you on your trip.

Learn as much as you can about Thailand before you travel there. A good place to start is the country-specific information on Thailand from the US Department of State.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Thailand for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

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Self service laundries - Nai Yang Forum

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Self service laundries

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Any recommendations for self service laundries in Nai Yang? I prefer doing laundry myself so that I can seperate delicate fabrics. Had a bad experience previously with dropping laundry and having delicate clothing ruined. Not interested in paying hotel prices for laundry. Thank you

5 replies to this topic

phuket travel recommendations

Lord Google lists several coin laundries in the area. Otteri is a chain popping up all over the country, not sure about the other two listed.

Most hotels send their laundry out to a local shop, so same risk at higher cost.

NY is small with a very small centre where the relatively small number of shops, bars & restaurants are concentrated. I have stayed there many times but don’t actually recall seeing a self service laundry - basically these comprise usually just a number of coin in the slot washing machines lined up, sometimes partially sometimes wholly undercover.

It will take you literally 10 minutes to walk around the centre and check for yourself.

"bad experience previously with dropping laundry and having delicate clothing ruined ...."

You could hand wash your "delicate" stuff and dry them on your balcony, near an open window or in your bathroom.

Bring more durable clothing?? 5 5 5

In the last couple of years many modern places have opened up using American front loaders from about 11kg up to 28kg (IIRC) with varying wash temperature (you pay a little extra for heat) and also a similar range of dryers. This is in stark contrast to the one-size-fits-all roadside top-loaders that people used to just set up in front of their houses.

There are several in Kamala and they are excellent, and only slightly more expensive than the old machines. I have also noted the Otteri places, one of them part of a gas station complex along with the usual 7-11.

I would be astonished if there aren't a few dotted around Nai Yang.

Thank you all. The self service laundromats have popped up everywhere. We. Use them regularly on our travels. Helps when you have dress /shirt fabric which might shrink at too high a temperature. Walked the area last year and did not see any.

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Nai Yang Hotels and Places to Stay

Discover where locals travel in Vietnam

Nov 17, 2023 • 5 min read

phuket travel recommendations

Escape the crowds in Vietnam by paddling through lush Tra Su Cajuput Forest, in the Mekong Delta © Tuleyhcm / Shutterstock

Thanks to its beaches, historic sites, mountain hikes and irresistible food, Vietnam draws travelers from all over the world. 

Yet as you navigate the hordes at the most popular destinations in this stalwart of Southeast Asia , you’ll realize the secret is out. Which is why you might appreciate recommendations from three plugged-in, Vietnam based travel writers for experiencing country’s wonders – without the crowds.

Just promise us you won’t share these picks too widely.

Farmers are selecting fresh coffee beans at a farm, Buon Me Thuot, Dak Lak, Vietnam

Chasing waterfalls and coffee in the Central Highlands: Buon Ma Thuot

Christine Van is a seasoned magazine lifestyle editor and Viet-Kieu American who, for the past two decades, has made Vietnam her home.

If you love coffee, this is your paradise. Buon Ma Thuot , tucked away in the highlands of Central Vietnam , is famous for its coffee culture. Here, you can enjoy guided tours of lush coffee plantations, taking in the aroma of freshly roasted beans. You can even learn how to make your own cup of joe in the Vietnamese style. As the largest coffee-producing region in the country, Buon Ma Thuot is fiercely proud of its primary export and even hosts an annual coffee festival in mid-March.

Yet the wonders of Buon Ma Thuot extend far beyond its coffee culture. Mystical waterfalls like Dray Nur and Dray Sap evoke fairy tales. While swimming isn’t allowed, the lush greenery and the sound of cascading water create a scenery that’s breathtaking to experience from land. 

After visiting the waterfalls I usually head back to my uncle’s home nearby. Those without local family could do worse than the Dakruco Hotel , which has comfortable rooms plus an outdoor pool and spa where you can relax after a day of exploring.

To truly immerse yourself in the local culture, a visit to Lak Lake is a must. This serene oasis is surrounded by charming villages and inhabited by the welcoming M’Nong ethnic group, who reside in vibrant settlements of rattan and wooden stilt houses by the water’s edge. Many companies offer canoe tours of the lake, allowing you to interact with the M’Nong people and partake in their cultural traditions, including folk songs and drumming.

End your day with a fabulous meal at Quan Nem Nuong Thanh Loan, where you can enjoy nem nuong dak lak , one of Buon Ma Thuot’s signature foods. This dish features seasoned ground pork mixed with a medley of herbs and spices, all wrapped in fresh rice paper. The rolls are then grilled over hot coals, resulting in a flavorful and slightly smoky taste.

A market vendor at Chau Doc, An Giang, Vietnam

Holidays in “the kingdom of fish sauce”: Chau Doc

Phan Cac Truc grew up in Vietnam and now dedicates her time to the visual arts, writing and storytelling.

Close to the Cambodian border,  Chau Doc is a city in the Mekong Delta  that’s home to Chinese, Cham and Khmer communities; the diversity of its residents is apparent across its architecture and cuisine. In addition to Mekong Delta cruises, visitors can stop by sacred sites like the Hang Pagoda or Ba Chuc Tomb , or immerse themselves in nature and wildlife at the Tra Su Bird Sanctuary .

But my primary reason for visiting is the Chau Doc Floating Market , which promises unique culinary adventures thanks to the incredible variety of fish harvested from the river. Don’t miss out on mam (fermented seafood), and the famously diverse range of fish sauces, made from such different types of fish as snakehead, catfish and anchovy. Bun mam , a local soup, is sometimes referred to as “Vietnamese gumbo” and a dish I encourage tourists to try. Or the region’s signature dish, lau mam (fish sauce hot pot), which offers a mouth-tingling combination of shrimp, fish, meat and over 20 different types of vegetables and herbs. During the new-year season, the market buzzes with activity as people prepare for the festivities, creating a vibrant atmosphere.

Another must-visit destination in the region is the floating Tra Su Cajuput Forest, a conservation area and one of Vietnam’s most beautiful sites. The best time to visit this unique ecosystem is during and immediately after the monsoon season, which runs from June until November. This is when the floating forest wakes up and transforms into brilliant shades of green. I also recommend the 4km (2.5-mile) hike up Sam Mountain, where you can take in panoramic views of the vast expanse of rice fields extending towards the border. Before your trek, pick up some hot sponge cakes made from palmyra sugar, a local speciality, that you can easily purchase from houses or stalls in the village.

Fishing boats on the beach at sunrise, Lang Co, Hue, Vietnam

A treasure trove of natural wonders in southern Central Vietnam: Lang Co

Lifestyle, food and beverage writer Giang Pham is based in Ho Chi Minh City .

Far away from Vietnam’s bustling tourist spots, Lang Co is a hidden gem that takes pride in its rich traditions, warm hospitality and diverse landscapes. Located between the imperial city of Hue and Danang in Central Vietnam, it’s where I go to find pristine fishing villages, national parks, white-sand beaches and turquoise bays.

When visiting, I stay at Laguna Lang C o, a 280-hectare (692-acre) resort that overlooks the sea and is surrounded by lush forests and mountains. The resort’s staff arrange all sorts of local tours, including to the fishing village of Canh Duong. Here, locals continue to observe traditional and sustainable fishing rituals, such as sun-drying fish in natural salt to enhance their flavor and preservation. The hotel actively works with local fishermen in the area, and you can embark on a boat tour with one of them to learn more about how fishing sustains this village.

Another must-visit is Bach Ma National Park , an absolute treasure trove of natural wonders with awe-inspiring views, towering waterfalls measuring nearly 300m (984ft) in height, and a remarkable array of flora and fauna. With its peak elevation reaching 1450m (4750ft), the park offers breathtaking vistas overlooking Lang Co Bay. You’ll find a number of guided trails to explore; most are moderate, and some will even take you to the crumbling remnants of French colonial villas and hotels.

For those seeking standout local cuisine and fresh seafood including oysters that smell of the seashore, I highly recommend Lang Chai Lang Co Seafood Restaurant. Located near the picturesque Lap An Lagoon, this restaurant has stunning views of the bay. 

The ideal time to visit Lang Co region is from March to July, when sunny weather predominates with minimal rainfall. Warning: it can get very humid. From August to December, the rainy season arrives, bringing lush green landscapes.

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  • World's Best

Travel + Leisure Readers' 25 Favorite Islands in the World of 2023

Looking for an unforgettable island getaway? Here, the top 25 islands in the world, as part of our annual "World’s Best Awards" survey for 2023.

How Voting Works

What readers loved, the full list.

Laura La Monaca/Travel+Leisure

Island vacations can be a blissful combination of thrilling adventures, sun-kissed beaches, and vibrant cultures. Some islands offer adventure and water activities, others offer a tranquil escape. But the best islands are a marriage of the two.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).

Islands were specifically rated on the criteria below:

  • Natural attractions/beaches
  • Activities/sights
  • Restaurants/food
  • People/friendliness

For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.

The top three favorites are iconic island getaways: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Islands, The Maldives, and Indonesia’s Bali. Greece, which has more than 6,000 islands and islets, has three winners on the list: Paros (No. 11); Rhodes and the Dodecanese (No. 19); and Santorini (No. 25). Portugal had two (Madeira at No. 4 and the Azores at No. 17) and Thailand had two in the top 10 (No. 5 Phuket and No. 7 Koh Samui.)

Read on to discover why Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Islands claimed the No. 1 spot and which other islands were crowned the world’s best.

1. Great Barrier Reef Islands, Australia

Irjaliina Paavonpera/Travel+Leisure

The Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches for 1,400 miles off Australia’s northeastern coast, is home to the world’s largest collection of coral reefs – almost 3,000 in all. It’s also home to a group of roughly 900 islands that T+L readers have voted their favorite in the world. A T+L reader who has more than once stayed on Hamilton Island said, “The physical beauty of the area is without equal. Just love the island and the people of Australia.

Reader Score: 96.11

The physical beauty of the area is without equal.

2. Maldives

Lauren Breedlove/Travel+Leisure

The Maldives is made up of 1,192 islands — and only 200 of those are currently inhabited. Home to about 3 percent of the planet’s reefs, the Maldives is also known for its clear emerald waters, luxurious overwater bungalows, and providing travelers with an isolated retreat. According to a T+L reader, it’s “heaven on Earth.” The best time to visit is the dry season , which typically runs from November through April.

Reader Score: 95.68

3. Bali, Indonesia

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From the bustling streets of Ubud and the trendy beach clubs of Seminyak to the serene retreats of the north shore, there’s something for everyone on Bali . Also called the "Island of the Gods,” Bali is renowned for its world-class resorts, luxury spas, and wellness retreats. The island is deeply rooted in spirituality and tradition, so visitors can also immerse themselves in the island's culture, whether it be exploring ancient Hindu temples, participating in a melukat ceremony, or witnessing a traditional dance performance. 

Reader Score: 94.40

4. Madeira, Portugal

Travelers are treated to idyllic scenery at every turn on the Portuguese island of Madeira , whether they’re hiking alongside the famous levadas (irrigation channels), exploring the enchanting Laurissilva Forest , or simply taking in the panoramic vistas from Pico do Areeiro . One T+L reader said, “The diversity of the island, from rocky beaches to fogged-in mountains, has something for everyone.” And no visit would be complete without indulging in the fortified wine and the fresh seafood for which the island is famous. 

Reader Score: 94.33

5. Phuket, Thailand

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Known as the “Pearl of the Andaman Sea,” this tropical paradise offers stunning white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and boundless adventures. Travelers can relax and soak up the sun on its world-famous beaches or do more outdoorsy things like snorkeling around vibrant coral reefs and exploring the hidden coves. Phuket , known for its nightlife, is a two-hour boat ride from the nearby Phi Phi Islands. Among the many hotels, an honorable mention goes to Amanpuri , which readers voted their third favorite resort in Southeast Asia this year.

Reader Score: 94.21

Book Now: Tripadvisor

6. Skye and the Hebrides, Scotland

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The archipelago, off the western coast of Scotland, offers white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and ancient ruins. Skye, known as the "Misty Isle," boasts dramatic cliffs, majestic mountains, and picturesque lochs. One T+L reader said the islands are “nature at its best.” Whisky enthusiasts can embark on a distillery tour to savor the renowned Scottish spirits, while music lovers can sit in on a cèilidh — a sort of Gaelic jam session – at one of the local pubs

Reader Score: 94.13

7. Koh Samui, Thailand

Tucked away in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui has it all: idyllic beaches, culture, and luxurious retreats. You can unwind on popular beaches like Chaweng and Lamai, or explore the island’s spiritual traditions at Wat Plai Laem or the Big Buddha Temple. And for a glimpse into the local lifestyle, there’s no better place than the bustling night markets. According to one T+L reader, Koh Samui is “the most beautiful and paradisiacal island on the planet.” As for where to stay, Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort readers favorite resorts in Southeast Asia. 

Reader Score: 93.89

Book Now: | Expedia | Tripadvisor

8. Dominica

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When it comes to untouched landscapes in the Caribbean, Dominica — nicknamed the “Nature Island” — stands apart from other islands. Its lush landscape includes volcanoes, hot springs, waterfalls, and black sand beaches. Where to stay? Secret Bay in Portsmouth secured the No. 1 spot for Best Hotel in the Caribbean this year, too.

ReaderScore: 93.66

9. Langkawi, Malaysia

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One of Malaysia’s most popular islands, Langkawi has something for everyone: beaches, a great food scene, diving spots, and vibey nightlife. Visitors can take the SkyCab to the top of Gunung Machinchang, where they’ll be rewarded with dramatic 360-degree views; visit Pantai Pasir Hitam, the island’s black sand beach; or experience the impressive Seven Wells Waterfall.

Reader Score: 93.65

10. Boracay, Philippines

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More than 7,000 islands make up the Philippines, and Boracay still manages to stand apart from the rest. The tiny island — just 4.5 miles long — is known as “the island that never sleeps” for its parties and nightlife. One T+L reader called the island “the best leisure vacation destination.”

Reader Score: 92.94

11. Paros, Greece

Nestled in the heart of the Cyclades , Paros offers a perfect blend of picturesque landscapes, idyllic beaches, enchanting whitewashed villages, and rich cultural heritage. It’s also a hit with history buffs, as it has ancient ruins like the Sanctuary of Apollo and the Venetian Castle. Mix in pristine sandy shores, delicious Greek cuisine, and vibrant nightlife, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best islands to visit.

Reader Score: 92.47

12. Fiji Islands, Fiji

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Tucked away in the crystal-clear waters of the South Pacific, these islands boast lush tropical landscapes and vibrant coral reefs. Fiji is a slice of paradise for all, but especially so for those who enjoy cliff jumping, zip lining, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Beyond its beaches, travelers can immerse themselves in the local culture by visiting crafts markets and participating in traditional kava ceremonies.

Reader Score: 92.29

13. Golden Isles, Georgia

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The Golden Isles in Georgia — encompassing Jekyll Island , St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Sea Island — is a captivating destination with pristine beaches, natural beauty, and rich history. Jekyll Island, once a private retreat for America's wealthiest families, offers a glimpse into the opulent Gilded Age with its historic mansions. Little St. Simons Island is a secluded paradise, providing an exclusive escape for nature enthusiasts, with its diverse ecosystems and unspoiled beaches. Meanwhile, Sea Island is known for its luxurious resorts and offers world-class amenities, including golf courses, spas, and fine dining experiences. St. Simons Island is home to a charming coastal village with a stunning lighthouse and a vibrant arts scene.

Reader Score: 92.15

14. Moorea, French Polynesia

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Known as the “Magical Island,” Moorea is an unforgettable tropical getaway. It has hiking trails through its tropical forests with panoramic viewpoints, like Mount Rotui, and secluded waterfalls. The island's rich Polynesian culture can be experienced through traditional dance performances and visits to local markets. One T+L reader raved that it’s one of their favorite islands of all time. 

15. Zanzibar, Tanzania


Pristine beaches and picturesque sunsets are a guarantee in Zanzibar . Travelers can also visit one of the many local spice farms to learn about the role that cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon played in the island's history. Whether you’re walking through the historic Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site , or trying to spot the Zanzibar red colobus monkeys at the Jozani Forest Reserve, Zanzibar offers travelers an experience that merges relaxation, adventure, and history.

Reader Score: 91.53

16. The Seychelles

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The Seychelles , an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is known for its powdery white-sand beaches. The islands also boast lush tropical forests and nature reserves, such as Vallée de Mai , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where rare Coco de Mer palms can be found. Hikers can follow trails to breathtaking viewpoints, cascading waterfalls, and hidden coves. Seychelles is also home to unique flora and fauna, including giant tortoises, rare birds, and exotic plant species. 

Reader Score: 91.47

17. The Azores, Portugal


The Azores are a hidden gem in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that some call the “Hawaii of Europe.” The archipelago comprises nine lush volcanic islands, each offering a unique experience. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy São Miguel's picturesque lakes, waterfalls, and forests. Hiking trails lead to breathtaking viewpoints, such as the Sete Cidades crater, where visitors can marvel at the contrasting colors of the twin lakes. The local cuisine is also a highlight, with fresh seafood like rockfish and barracuda, São Jorge cheese, and sweet pastries like filhóses to tantalize the taste buds. 

Reader Score: 90.92

18. Bora-Bora, French Polynesia

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Known as the "Pearl of the Pacific," Bora Bora is a dreamy destination with turquoise lagoons and iconic overwater bungalows. It comes as no surprise that the island's crystal-clear waters offer world-class snorkeling and diving experiences, but there’s a variety of other thrilling activities, like Jet Skiing, parasailing, and helicopter tours. Local guides can arrange workshops that teach visitors about Polynesian traditions, dance, and cuisine. A T+L reader called the island "otherworldly," while another said it's an "amazing location for anyone."

Reader Score: 90.80

19. Rhodes and the Dodecanese, Greece

Rhodes, known as the "Island of the Knights," is steeped in history, with its medieval city , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcasing ancient ruins, fortified walls, and grandiose architecture. Beyond history, Rhodes offers stunning beaches, like those in Faliraki and Lindos. Travelers can also venture to the other Dodecanese islands, each with its own unique charm. 

Reader Score: 90.67

19. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Mackinac Island is unique in that cars and trucks are banned, so residents and visitors rely on horse-drawn carriages and bicycles for transportation. Its historic downtown has cozy cafes, quaint shops, and plenty of well-preserved Colonial, Georgian, and Greek Revival architecture. One T+L reader sums up the destination perfectly: “there’s no place like it.” (Mackinac is home to three of T+L readers' 10 favorite midwest resorts: Hotel Iroquois , Island House Hotel , and Grand Hotel .)

20. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galápagos Islands , in the Pacific Ocean, are famed for their extraordinary biodiversity. Exploring the islands offers up-close encounters with remarkable creatures (think giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies ) in their natural habitats. Visiting the Galápagos also gives travelers a chance to gain a deeper understanding of evolution and the fragility of ecosystems through educational programs and guided tours. 

Reader Score. 90.60

22. Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands, Croatia

Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands in Croatia offer travelers a unique Mediterranean experience. Hvar, known as the "Queen of the Dalmatian Islands," has lavender fields, vineyards, and magnificently clear waters. Visitors can explore the charming old town of Hvar, which has picturesque squares, historic buildings, and a medieval fortress offering panoramic views of the harbor and the Adriatic Sea. Hvar's vibrant nightlife scene is also a draw, with trendy beach clubs and bars energizing the evenings. 

Reader Score: 90.20

23. Sicily, Italy

Laura La Monaca/Travel+Leisure

Steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty, Sicily is a must-visit destination. Not only is it home to rich historical sites (like the Greek Theatre of Syracuse , the Villa Romana del Casale , and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento ), but it also has stunning nature, between Mount Etna and the beaches overlooking the crystal-clear Mediterranean. The island’s culinary scene is equally exciting: visitors can sample delicious street food like panelle and crocchè, and indulge in local dishes like pasta alla Norma . 

Reader Score: 90.13

24. Anguilla

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Anguilla, a British territory in the Caribbean, is a secluded getaway with 33 beaches. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla and Frangipani Beach Resort both ranked as two of the best resorts in the region. Hike to the top of Crocus Hill for views, go on a self-guided walking tour of the Anguilla Heritage Trail, and don’t forget to try a Johnny Cake — a staple in Anguilla's local cuisine.

Reader Score: 90.10

25. Santorini, Greece

Adhithya Nataraj/500px/Getty Images

Often touted as one of the most romantic islands in the world , Santorini is known for its whitewashed buildings with blue domes. Overlooking the Aegean Sea, the volcanic island is home to several picturesque villages like Oia , Fira, and Imerovigli. One T+L reader raved that the island has “beautiful sunsets” and “wonderful views,” plus excellent food and friendly locals.

Reader Score: 89.51

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