Phuket is one of the most popular beach destinations in Asia. Off the South West coast of Thailand, nestled in the Andaman Sea, this huge island is a great place to go to for a tropical break. It has a great reputation for beach parties, but that’s not all Phuket is good for. Phuket has a rich history and intriguing culture, which can be seen in full-swing in its towns.
About Phuket, Thailand
This winding island of white sandy beaches, craggy rocks and bright blue, warm water does not require Indians to obtain a visa before visiting – already a winner for any Indian traveller! Phuket offers a visa on arrival, so you can pick it up on your way in and it will cost approximately 1000 Thai Baht (roughly ₹1,900).
Explore the old towns of the island, the exciting nightlife and the open waters, or sit back, relax and soak up the sun on the ice-white sands with your cocktail in hand! To help you start planning your trip or provide you with some inspiration, our Phuket Tourism Guide shares information on the best places to go, where to stay, how to get around and more!
“The picture postcard beaches are Phuket’s most obvious draw but those who can prise themselves away from the sun loungers will discover the real gem of Thailand’s largest island. The trade in rubber and tin meant that colourful Phuket Town was a prosperous melting pot long before mass tourism.
Wandering the quaint lanes of the old town, exploring colourful Chinese shophouses, shrines, artsy cafes and boutique stores make a refreshing cultural and historic break from the beach. Try to visit during the Vegetarian Festival in October- the religious fervour culminates with incredible acts of self-mortification that make for a unique experience!”
– Anna Phipps, Travel Writer and Blogger, global-gallivanting.com
Phuket Tourism Guide
Places to Visit in Phuket
Phuket has long been known as the ultimate destination for party-goers, but it so much more than just that. With the perfect balance between the natural and man-made, Phuket’s sugar-coated, white sandy beaches and national parks with rock formations jutting out of aquamarine blue waters offer a different kind of experience than its streets. Here are a few places to get your adventure started.
Phuket’s main and most popular city is Patong. It can get pretty busy (especially at the beach), so while it continues to draw lots of attention, some people prefer to avoid Patong’s crowds.
Old Phuket Town, which will show you a quieter side of Phuket. Here you can see some of the vintage architecture and get a taste of the locals’ daily life.
Phang Nga Bay
You probably have seen pictures of this area somewhere without realising it. Beautiful Phang Nga Bay is famous for its huge limestone rock formations that shoot out of its waters. It is a beautiful, quiet beach where you can enjoy some relaxing moments spent lying on the shores or venture into waters for a different kind of experience.
You can tour the caves and mangroves nearby and visit other areas such as the infamous James Bond Island (featured in the film The Man with the Golden Gun). There are a number of boat tour operators run by locals who know the luminous green waters like the back of their hands, so you’re guaranteed to see some incredible sights.
Old Phuket Town
Old Phuket Town is a quaint representation of the life that once was; it oozes personality and is a great spot for anyone looking for remnants of the old Sino-Portuguese way of living. There are plenty of small cafés and restaurants where you can taste some truly authentic Thai food. We recommend the Blue Elephant Restaurant (Krabi Road 96, Phuket town, 83000). It is best to visit in the morning or evening to avoid any crowds down the Phuket Old Street or Soi Romanee (Thalang Road, Phuket Town).
“Tear yourself away from the beach and discover something totally different in Phuket’s Old Town. Here history and culture collide offering plenty of photo opps. Wander past charming Sino-Portuguese shophouses, dip into cool cafes, check out quirky art galleries and dine at some of the best restaurants on the island.”
– Alana Morgan, Founder of paperplanesblog.com
This is one of Phuket’s most significant and important landmarks; it is a giant Buddha sculpture that sits high up in the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata.
A visit to this 45-metre tall and 25-metre wide concrete and white jade sculpture offers visitors a chance to share its spectacular 360-view of the island of Phuket. The Big Buddha is visited by thousands who donate small amounts of money for its preservation and leave written heart-felt sentiments for good luck or to show respect for passed away loved ones. There is also a smaller golden Buddha statue next to this one that you will get a chance to see.
Soi Yot Sane 1, Chaofa West Rd, Chalong, Phuket Town, Phuket, 83100
CC 2.0 / Edwin Lee
Because of the fact that the majority of the Thai population follow the Buddhist faith, Wats (Buddhist Temples) are some of the most important symbols in Thailand. Wat Chalong is open for visitors from 07:00 to 17:00 and is a great place for visitors to come and marvel at the structure and/or learn more about the Buddhist faith. It is an opportunity to pick a quiet spot and partake in some meditation to immerse yourself in true Thai culture and experience ultimate relaxation.
A trip inside Wat Chalong will allow you to see the incredible intricate carvings and detailed paintings that adorn its walls. Overall this is a lovely place to visit for anyone wanting to get a taste of a different culture.
Chaofa Road (West) Chalong Phuket, Phuket Town, Phuket, 83000
Phuket FantaSea Show
A visit to the Phuket FantaSea is like walking into 140-acres of magical wonderland; the whole park is dedicated to celebrating Thailand’s interesting and astounding heritage. Showcases of this history come in the form of games, hand-made crafts, shopping and a vast restaurant with a grand buffet.
The most enticing and exciting part of FantaSea is the incredible live, theatrical show; the myths and legends of Thai culture are played out by incredible performers and acrobats. But that is not all, they use cutting edge technology to enhance the performance making it a moment to never forget and something anyone of any age can enjoy.
99 Moo 3, Kamala Beach, Kathu, Kamala, Phuket, 83150
Viewpoints in Phuket
Phuket’s diverse terrain means there are multiple viewpoints where you can get a sensational view of the entire island! If you’re an aspiring painter or photographer then we recommend you bring your tools, as there are few places that will inspire you more than Phuket. These viewpoints really are a great way to take in the fresh air and just relax outside; take a picnic or watch the sun go down or just take a moment to meditate! Some of the most popular viewpoints include: Laem Phromthemp, Kata, Radar Hill, Windmill and Panwa.
“Phuket offers the ultimate island hopping experience. Take a longtail boat or speedboat and explore the untouched islands of the Andaman Sea as well as famous attractions like Maya Bay Beach and the Emerald Cave. Go all out with a chartered yacht or catamaran to make your trip absolutely unforgettable.”
– Chris and Angela Scott, Founders of www.tielandtothailand.com
Water Sports in Phuket
One of the best parts of visiting Phuket is actually jumping off the island and into the warm Andaman Seas. The beaches are great places to develop your water sports skills or try something completely new. Popular activities include snorkelling, paddle boarding, scuba diving and surfing (when the waters are a bit rougher), or you could even jump on one of the many boats or jet skis available to hire and explore the areas around the island more.
“An island of fun and adventure. From rain forest to azure blue seas kissing white sand beaches it is a paradise. Tons of watersporting activities to entertain the adventurous, jungle walks for the trekkers and night markets with great bargains for the shoppers. Something for everyone.”
– Renuka and Rehat, Founders of www.roadtripper.co.in
Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
This small sanctuary is a charitable cause that saves gibbons from captivity and looks after them enough to be able to reintroduce them into the wild. Gibbon poaching is actually a severe problem in Phuket and they used to be considered tourist attractions in bars and clubs, so avoid those selling photos with Gibbons to support saving these creatures.
Visitors have been amazed at the level of care that comes from those who volunteer with the sanctuary and the project runs purely off donations. Entrance to the project is free, but it is within the Khao Phra Thaew National Park which does charge 200 baht per person (approx. 390 rupees). None of your entry fee goes to the Project so donations are very welcomed with open arms!
104/3 M.3 Paklock, Talang, Phuket, 83110
There are so many interesting experiences to be had in Phuket and some of our other favourites include watching a Muay Thai match in one of the gyms or sports venues or a visit to Khao Lak or Ko Similan National Park. We want to know what you think of these destinations or if you have any more places to recommend, so please do share in the comments section below.
“It is always festival time in Phuket; every day is a celebration with a symphony of whispering palm leaves and waves on wanderlust. Whether you watch this as a spectator or join the festivities by making the ocean or the road as your playground, Phuket will embrace you without judging.”
– Prasad Np, Founder of http://desitraveler.com
Nightlife in Phuket
Phuket is known for its huge array of nightlife and partying opportunities, so we’re going to share a few of them to get you in the partying mood! Phuket is popular with backpackers and budget travellers, so you’ll not have to worry about spending too much money and you’ll be surrounded by an energetic young crowd.
Bars & Clubs
Travel down the Bangla Road in the evening and you’ll see Phuket turn into a different, psychedelic world; from nightclubs to bars to questionable forms of entertainment, you are guaranteed to experience something new. For a less sophisticated night out where you mingle with other travellers and locals, these bars are ideal – with blaring music and creative concoctions of drink you’ll never be bored.
The nightlife scene is growing rapidly in Phuket and there are several nightclubs we would recommend. The vibe is far more chilled than their counterparts in places like Bangkok or Ibiza; the only request is that you have an amazing time. We recommend the following destinations, each offering their own take on what they think your evening should be like (the only similarity is great music and the chance to dance)
Illuzion Club and Discotheque Phuket is like immersing yourself in a theatrical performance, with dancers and entertainers all around you, it is free to visit this amazing club. Make sure you take a look at their schedule as this venue continues to host popular DJs and artists from around the world: Thanon Bangla, Patong, Kathu District, Phuket, 83150
As one of the longest-standing clubs in Phuket the White Room is a must-do nightclub for those looking to experience an authentic Phuket night out. It has recently been renovated and has a huge dance floor and a good mix of the latest music from all different genres: White Room Nightclub, Soi gonzo 9, Bangla road, Phuket, 83150
Tiger Club is as feisty as it sounds and is impossible to miss! Don’t be deterred by the somewhat outrageous amount of women dancing downstairs, as upstairs towards the back of the complex is a cool area where you can relax with a drink and even play some pool. There is a large area to dance and the venue is incredibly safe with a large number of security guards and well-illuminated exits: 49 Bangla Road, Patong, Kathu, Phuket, 83150
Beach Clubs in Phuket
The beauty of partying in Phuket is that it does not have to happen at night, try one of the many classy beach clubs to enjoy a day lounging and dancing by the sea. You can spend your whole day at one of these beach clubs (found on most of the beaches in Phuket), eating in their restaurants and swimming in the sea, then seeing in the evening with the DJs and cocktails.
Catch Beach Club
Catch Beach Club was one of the first beach clubs to open in Phuket and has remained a very popular destination for locals and visitors to the island. This club has three main sections including a restaurant and lounging area on the beach; staff are pleasant and always there to lend a hand. The DJ and other entertainers arrive at 16:00 and really get the party started: Surin Beach Road, Cherng Talay, Phuket, 83110
Xana Beach Club
Xana Beach Club is located within the grounds of Angsana Laguna Phuket Resort on Bangtao Beach, and has a very classical Western beach look. It also includes a 35metre-pool with a swim-up bar (one of the longest in Asia). As always the music changes as the sun starts to go down and instead of relaxing, chilled tunes you will have a true nightclub experience, with the pleasure of being on the beach!: 10 Moo 4, Srisoonthorn Road, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket, 83110
A few other tips include calling up beach clubs to make reservations so you won’t be disappointed upon arrival and always be safe! Like with any foreign country, you are likely to be spotted as a tourist, so make sure you keep your belongings and drinks close and always in sight.
“Phuket is justifiably famous for its beautiful beaches, but there is so much more to the island than sun, sea and sand. For a totally different perspective on Phuket, be sure to take a leisurely stroll along the historic streets of Phuket Old Town. The old quarter is rich in culture with wonderful architecture, quaint shops and fabulous food.”
– Roy Cavanagh, Founder of www.thaizer.com
Where to Eat: Food in Phuket
Being an island it comes as no surprise that Phuket is famous for its delicious seafood! To try some of these tasty creatures from the deep visit Kan Eang @ Pier and dine in the lap of luxury with speciality Andaman Sea Foods, like tempura and sushi! You have great views of the ocean and this could be a perfect spot for a romantic evening or a lavish lunch.
44/1 Viset Road Moo 5 T.Rawai A.Muang, Phuket, 83130
Pak Nam Seafood
For a lively, warm and sociable environment whilst you tuck into succulent seafood and classic aromatic Thai dishes, Pak Nam Seafood Restaurant is the one for you. It is very popular with the locals which you know is always a good sign, and a great place to meet people and be merry. You can enjoy your meal in the restaurants open-air dining areas or out on the patio of this rustic restaurant. This restaurant charges very reasonable prices and you really will get value for your money; we recommend trying their crab curry with noodles!
(52/220 Rasadanusorn road, Tumbon Rasada, Amphor Muang, Phuket, 83000)
You must try the local floating restaurants (krachang) including Kru Suwit and Bang Gaan in Phuket; just jump on a boat and head to these unique restaurants to try some Thai Oysters cooked by experienced chefs.
(Along the East Coast of Phuket)
Street Food in Phuket
The street food of Phuket is astounding. It is incredibly affordable and whole-heartedly authentic. You can find street vendors on practically every corner and will struggle to find a meal for more than 50 Baht (approx. ₹100) that won’t fill you up. There are many traditional dishes around, such as hokkien noodles, Haw mok and dimsum, but more often than not you will find street vendors selling cuisines from around the world, including authentic Indian dishes! We recommend trying a Phuket Roti, very much like a classic pancake, you can fill these pancakes with a range of different flavours such as banana, coconut cream and many more delectable ingredients.
You can find great Indian food in Phuket in places other than the streets. For example on the other side of the Raddison Blue Hotel is Curry Night Indian Restaurant, where the dishes are authentic and cooked to perfection by an Indian chef. This well-reviewed destination comes with very reasonable prices and great portion sizes!
(19/15 Moo 8, Sakdidej Rd, Cape Panwa, Phuket, 83000 )
For traditional Northern Indian dishes try the ICC Indian Curry Club where you can choose from an array of vegetarian dishes as well as a melt-in-your-mouth lamb tikka. The service is great and prices are more than adequate.
(Soi Sansabai, Patong, Kathu District, Phuket, 83150)
Tantra in Patong is situated right on Patong Beach meaning you’ll experience a romantic, relaxed atmosphere whilst eating your authentic Indian dishes. Visitors have been surprised at the sheer quality and level of authenticity of the Indian dishes, especially the Papri Chat and recommend you go there for a taste of home.
(186/5-6, Thaweewong Road, Patong Beach, Patong, Kathu, Phuket, 83150)
Where to Stay: Phuket Hotels
As you know where you stay can really make or break a holiday experience, so we’ve rounded up a few of ours guests’ favourites to share with you; they come highly recommended and suit a range of different budgets. The prices we have mentioned are all yearly averages and are likely to fluctuate based on the time of your visit, the duration of your stay and how many of you will be staying at the hotel.
Luxury Hotels in Phuket
Phuket is not short of luxury accommodation that is for sure. This paradise oozes luxury and there are so many incredible hotels in Phuket that offer outstanding hospitality and a wonderful experience. For a highly luxurious and very private experience try the Kata Rocks hotel (approx. ₹54,469); this hotel is more like private apartments in a complex that comes with its own fitness and spa centre. It provides direct access to the beach and the Kata Porpeang Market, Kok Chang Elephant Safari, Kata View Point and Dino Park Mini Golf are all within 3km.
If you prefer more of a traditional hotel experience, the Amatara Resort & Wellness Hotel (approx. ₹25,943) is located in Wichit within a National Park on the beach so you will be in the midst of the pure serenity that Phuket has to offer. Whilst staying at this hotel you have the option to relax on the white sandy beaches or visit the full service spa at the hotel. If you want to do some exploring outside of the hotel the Phuket Aquarium, Khao Rang Hill View Point, Khao Khad View Tower, Saphan Hin Mining Monument and Chinpracha House are all within 15km of your accommodation!
Other recommended hotels include the Six Sense Yao Noi, The Surin or The Banyan Tree Phuket (from ₹35,000-55,000) which are all great options. These are just an example of a few of our favourites, visit the website or click the link at the bottom of this section to see more incredible hotels in Phuket.
Mid-Range Hotels in Phuket
Our selection of mid-range hotels lowers the budget for accommodation slightly and all are within the ₹6,000-₹12,000 budget range. The Sunsuri Phuket hotel finely mixes modern and traditional Thai culture to provide a comfortable and sophisticated accommodation experience. It is a family friendly destination within 4km of Nai Harn Beach, Yanui Beach, the Windmill Viewpoint and Promthep Cape. If you are looking to stay in the hotel then you will have access to five outdoor pools, two restaurants and a full-service spa so you will want for nothing!
The Layalina Hotel is situated on the beach and is a much quieter hotel experience, as there are only 15 rooms! All of these rooms have jetted bath tubs, private patios and free Wi-Fi, as well as access to the spa services at the hotel. It is nearby (within 5km) to the Tsunami Memorial, Phuket FantaSea show, Laem Singh Beach and Surin Beach!
Some of our other most highly recommended hotels in this budget range include the Eastin Yama Hotel Phuket, The Village Resort and Spa or the Phuket Riviera Villas. To view more of the amazing hotels in Phuket, click the link at the end of this section to visit the Expedia website.
Budget Hotels in Phuket
Phuket on a budget is very accommodating and you won’t be short of exciting and comfortable options. These hotels range from ₹2,000-₹4,000 and offer many great amenities and close access to the incredible sights and beaches Phuket has to offer. For example The Signature Phuket, in Chalong, is within 5km from the Phuket Zoo, Chalong Temple and Phunaka Golf Course. The Windmill Hotel is family friendly and provides guests with a restaurant, an outdoor pool (and kids pool) and a bar/lounge, as well as free Wi-Fi and a romantic rooftop terrace.
A few of our other recommended budget hotels in Phuket include the ButDifferent Hotel, Kamala Tropical Garden and the Alexander Hotel Patong. As always explore the hotels further on the Expedia website to find one that will suit your needs perfectly!
There are many different areas of Phuket to discover, the link below will show you all of the great hotels in Phuket, click now to start planning!
Getting Around: Transport in Phuket
Getting around Phuket probably could not get any easier than it already is. The beaches and restaurants will more than likely all be within walking distance from your hotel and this is a great opportunity to really immerse yourself in island life and take in the sights. However, if you are unable to or don’t really see yourself as much of a walker, there are other easy options.
This is the most popular method of travelling around Phuket. Whilst very useful, these small vehicles do not pride themselves on comfort levels, so we advise not taking one if your journey is longer than 30minutes. Whilst Tuk Tuks used to be cheap their popularity has sky-rocketed and they’re no longer the cheapest method of transport; however, they are private and efficient (and still cheaper than a taxi).
Flagging a taxi in Phuket is actually a lot harder than you would imagine, they’re not as popular on the island as they on the mainland and you could be waiting a while. Trying to find a taxi with a fixed flat rate is more advisable than those with meters, but the best idea is to try downloading an App like GrabTaxi or Uber, where you can order your taxi to your location. Wi-Fi may not always be the easiest thing to find, so ask your concierge for a local taxi number or taxi stand where you will be able to pick one up.
Song Taews (Local Buses)
These local buses are smoother and more efficient than you might think. They are open air and have no designated stops so you can flag them down wherever on their route. They are bright blue and run from 7.00am to 6.00pm and even more helpfully their destinations are written in English! They cost about 10-15 Thai baht (approximately ₹28-38) per journey and are most easily located in the main towns.
A popular and fun way of getting around Phuket has been via motorbike! Tourists have been hiring these vehicles and taking excursions across the island for years. Undoubtedly being outside and feeling the cool breeze on your face is a great way to see more of the island, but we strongly recommend caution! Hiring these motorbikes can be risky as they don’t tend to come with insurance and you will be liable for the cost of all damages. Also, they can prove a bit risky to your health and safety, especially if you are not used to driving a motorbike or the roads of Phuket (traffic regulations are highly disregarded).
Best Time to Go / Weather in Phuket
The temperature in Phuket tends to stay around 30°C all year round, but it is the rain that really changes the climate of Phuket. Between December and March you may experience a slight drop in temperature and the rain will die down, leaving Phuket calm and still like a giant rock in the middle of a lake. This is probably the best time to visit Phuket as you won’t have storms or rain getting in the way of any of your excursions.
Outside of December-March weather gets hotter and more humid, there is still plenty to do, but the weather might just be a bit overwhelming. From July-October things can get a bit more raucous as the see becomes more boisterous and the weather more challenging to manage. It’s a great time to visit if you’re a keen surfer, but not so great if you’re looking to laze around in the sun.
So to get your holiday started click on the link below to find the perfect flights for you!