Phuket Island Travel Guide – Tourist Information. Phuket is the number one destination in Thailand, providing beach lovers an outstanding mix of beautiful coastline, excellent hotels and services, plenty of nightlife, great diving opportunities like the Phi Phi Islands and the Similan Islands National Park and Pha Nga Bay. Phuket Island, the largest in Thailand, is 21 km wide and 48 km long. If you’re looking for a great holiday with your family, your friends or as a single, the possibilities in Phuket are endless.
- How to get to Phuket
- Phuket’s climate
- Things to do
- Dining Out, Nightlife & Shopping
- Where to stay
- Sightseeing & beaches
- Local Transport
- Map of Phuket
Phuket has become one of the most visited destinations in the world, flights from Bangkok are daily with Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Air Asia and Firefly from Malaysia. Direct flights also come from Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur. Direct flights from selected Europe destinations are starting to be frequent, like London or Milano with Blue Panorama.
The Phuket International Airport is about a 50 minute drive from all the beaches. Outside the airport there are many taxis and minibuses waiting to take you to the destination of your choice.
Thailand’s roads are good and you can easily drive from Bangkok to Phuket, the journey takes from 9 to 12 hours. Just make sure that the car you renting is fully insured, prices can vary from 800 to 2,000 baht per day, depending on the type of vehicle you’re looking for.
There are no trains running directly to Phuket. Passengers by train have to stop at the Surat Thani Phun Phin railway station. To continue the journey you’ll have to take one of the minibuses which frequently depart from the railway station to Phuket. The minibus ride will take about 3 hours.
Bangkok is serviced by several bus terminals. Mo Chit, offers only limited services to other parts of Thailand. The Southern bus station is across the river in Thon Buri, servicing destinations to the South and West, and is best reached by taxi.
There are buses from Khao Sao Road also but are more limited. You can arrange bus transfers from all other popular destinations such as Koh Samui, Khao Lak or Krabi.
We recommend overnight journeys, maybe a bit slower but much quieter. Expect to pay more than 1000 baht for a VIP bus, spending a little more money can help to make your journey more comfortable. Phuket Bus Terminal Telephone: 076 211977, 211480
Boats arrive at Phuket from Phi Phi Island, Krabi and Koh Lanta 2 times per day with the Phi Phi Ferry Services, at Koh Siree pier which is not far from Phuket Town. Usually you will find many taxis waiting to take you to the destination of your choice.
The selection of Phuket Hotels ranges in class from beach bungalows, with the wave crashing at your doorstep, to 5-star luxury.
While many visitors come to Phuket to relax on the famous beaches, there is a lot more to do whether you prefer a night out or a tour in the national parks. By renting a motorbike or just taking a taxi you can explore Phuket and discover all the activities, the beaches and the outstanding view points. And within a couple of hours of Phuket you can discover the amazing jewels of the Andaman Sea such as the breathtaking rock formations that are in Phang Nga Bay, the beauty of Krabi and the world famous Phi Phi islands.
Follow the link for more information about Phuket Sightseeing Tours
Wat Chalong is the most visited temple on the island. This temple on the road between Chalong and Phuket Town has a particularly unconventional pagoda which offers something more cultured to the visitors. Open: daily, 08.00 to 17.00
Phuket Shell Museum
This museum is entirely dedicated to local, rare and fossilized shells in a modern building north of Rawai. Highlights include the world’s largest golden pearl (140 carats apparently) and a 250kg shell. If you have the time, a stop here is well worth it. Located just north of Rawai. Open: daily, 08.00 to 17.30; tel. 076 613666 Admission: 200 baht
One of the best places on the island to wait on the sunset, organized tours stop here frequently. Look for the hundreds of small elephant statues left here next to the Buddha shrine. Open: always Admission: free
Patong Beach is without a doubt the most famous and developed beach destination of South East Asia. Full of tourists, bars, restaurants and hotels ranging from cheap guest houses to 5 star international resorts.
At night Patong becomes the center of all the nightlife on the island; on the Soi Bangla you will find discos, clubs , go go bars, beer bars and plenty of restaurants. At the beach, which is 5 minute walk max from every hotel in Patong, you can relax under your umbrella enjoying the sunbathing or try one of the water sports such as jet skis or para sailing. The beach is public, however chairs and umbrellas are provided by private vendors for 100 baht per day.
Shopping is another main attraction, on basically every street you can find many vendors offering jewellery, clothes, electronics, art, video games, CD’s, DVD s and nearly anything else anyone might want. Quality ranges from world class shopping centers like Jung Ceylon to cheap markets where prices are not fixed. If luxury, international cuisine and nightlife are what you desire then you may never want to leave Patong Beach.
Karon Beach is just five minute drive south of Patong and is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket and a great place for a family vacation. The majority of commercial developments and hotels are restricted to the other side of the road giving Karon Beach the feel of a true tropical beach The long stretch is called Karon Yai – with kilometres of chairs and umbrellas, while Karon Noi at the north end is enjoyed by guests of the Resort Le Meridien. You can also find many seafront guesthouses and resorts.
The Karon Plaza area has many guesthouses, bars and shopping markets. There are also restaurants for all tastes and pocketbooks from Thai to international cuisine. Karon beach is a quiet place, so don’t expect to find the same nightlife as Patong Beach, however there are some very nice lounge bars and beer gardens. Karon is the perfect family beach getaway providing everything you might need.
Kata Beach is another popular Phuket destination for families. Most activities take place around Kata Yai, a long beach with many chairs and umbrellas. Here you can relax or enjoy water-sports and the little sister beach, Kata Noi provides nice snorkelling and in the low season, some of the best surf in Thailand.
At Kata Beach, many hotels and resorts line the road back from the beach with all tastes and budgets catered to. At night, you may dine, shop, or visit a few nightspots. In Kata village you can find restaurants offering international as well as Thai cuisines. At night you can have a beer in one of the small bars around the area while listening to live music.
During the first week of December, the annual King’s Cup Regatta sailing races take place. This week long yachting festival adds excitement to the area with daily sailing class races and parties until the early morning.
There is a second section to Kata, over a small ridge, known as Kata Noi. This is a far more exclusive, smaller and more expensive beach to stay on. The middle section of the beach is fronted by empty land which forms a nice public space shaded by coconut groves. In Kata Noi you can spend a day away from the crowds of the bigger beaches.
Kamala Beach is located north of Patong Beach, about a 10 minute drive. It is a quiet Muslim community appealing to families and couples that like relaxing and the quiet atmosphere of its unspoiled beach. A few resorts are clustered up in the headland, offering outstanding sea views. Behind the beach, many restaurants and bars have sprouted up, providing a good selection for visitors. The beach is clean and quiet, despite the more recent development of the area.
Accommodation is mainly in guest houses and the night-life at Kamala is relatively quiet and low key. If you are looking for more night life Patong beach is only about a 10 minute drive away. Kamala Beach is also home to Phuket’s first theme park, Phuket FantaSea. With a cast including 50 elephants, skilled performers and acrobats, and elaborate costumes and pyrotechnics, it provides a nice and different evening out. The park also has a decent buffet along with games and shops. A road runs along part of the southern end of the beach, the middle section has a park and a Tsunami memorial. Kamala has a pleasant atmosphere and relaxing feel to it, contrasting with the more commercial tone of Patong and Karon.
Surin Beach is certainly quieter than the other larger beaches on Phuket and quite exclusive. Located north of Kamala, Surin Beach is alive every day with improvised football matches, volleyball, kite surfing, para sailing and just relaxing enjoying the sun and the ocean. Surin Beach is quite popular with locals. There are also plenty of small Thai vendors with their traditional beach front restaurants and bars.
In Surin Beach, the finest restaurants and bars sit alongside luxury resorts that offer a fine dining atmosphere and health and wellness services. If you like shopping The Plaza Surin is the place to go offering the best of style and sophistication. Two levels of retail shopping contain many stores devoted to home décor and entertainment, antiques, collectibles and fashion, while the top level is reserved for Silk, a restaurant, bar and lounge where fine dining joins with the island’s premier groovers and shakers.
The climate is pleasant all year, with temperatures from 25 to 34 C. November to April is the so-called high season which is warm and dry. From May to October is summer. The best period to visit Phuket is from February to April: tourists start to gradually leave and the weather is simply perfect.
When the south west monsoon arrives from May to October, it brings with it rain and wind. Rain often means a refreshing shower before the sun returns. The hottest period is between April and May when temperatures range from 30 to 36 C.
Just click for useful information about the weather in Phuket:
Phuket Island has an impressive variety of Phuket scuba diving opportunities available which suit all levels of divers and it’s a perfect destination if you’d like to combine your holiday with diving, the beach, shopping and night life. From the nice and easy day trips to Racha Yai, perfect to discover scuba diving the first time, to the amazing and advanced dive sites of the Similan Islands National Park, Phuket offers it all.
Kite Boarding is becoming popular in Thailand and you can learn or rent equipment in Phuket, Samui, Hua Hin und Trang.
Take a helicopter tour of Phuket or Phang Nga Bay with Sky Dance Services. All Phuket tours depart from Phuket-Sa Khu Heliport, which is located about 5 minutes south of Phuket International Airport.
Phuket is growing in popularity as a destination for sport fishing and angling. Black marlins, sea bass, sailfish and king mackerel are just some examples of what you might catch in the Andaman Sea. Just click for more info about Fishing Phuket.
For golfers from all around the world, Phuket is probably the nicest place of all for hitting a golf ball. Thailand has plenty of good courses, but only in Phuket is it possible to enjoy first class golf, plus hotels in all categories, beautiful beaches, coral reefs in case you’d like to scuba dive, excellent food and a varied night life.
Just click for more information: Phuket Golf Info
The only theme-park on Phuket stages a fabulous entertainment extravaganza every evening. It includes the combined spectacle of animals, the circus, comedians and Thai cultural displays. Located in Kamala, extensive shuttles are provided from everywhere on the island. Multiple winner of Thailand Tourism Awards Best Attraction. Open: daily, pick up starting at 17:00, show time 21:00. Contact us for tickets and reservations now.
These blue buses are the cheapest way of getting around, from Phuket Town to all the main beaches from 07:00 to 17:00, the fare is 30 baht, and all buses depart from Phuket Town at Ranong road.
Tuk tuks are small red or yellow trucks, fares can be very high in comparison with other parts of Thailand. A short trip cost in tourist areas normally 200 baht and more than 500 baht for a long distance. Some bargaining skills are essential.
Widely available 24 hours a day and fares are negotiable. All motorbike taxi drivers wear vests of various shades that indicate which group they belong to. They can be found clustered at street corners or in front of shopping mall entrances. Fares run from 20 to 300 baht depending on the distance.
From the airport, you can catch a fixed-fare minibus taxi, costing around 200 baht shared with other people or 800-1,2000 baht for a private taxi, depending on the distance. Or use Easy Days Phuket Airport Transfers, No haggling with the touts at the airport. Start your holiday in a relaxed fashion.
Metered taxis are also available. The service stand is located in the car park outside the terminal. There’s a 100-baht surcharge, plus the meter cost of 50 baht for the first 2 km and 7 baht per additional km. For long distances, especially to and from the airport, a flat rate is often charged.
Car / motorbike rental
Renting a car/jeep or a motorcycle is truly the best way to tour the island at your own leisurely pace. There are also several small local operations found along the roads in tourist areas. Car rental starts at 700 baht/day for Suzuki jeeps, while motorbike rentals run around 150-250 baht/day. Just keep in mind to drive very carefully and on the left.
Whatever your taste or your budget, in Phuket you will find something for you. Pretty much anywhere on the island you can find local Thai and international cuisine, including Italian pizzerias, steakhouses, German, French, Austrian, Greek, Arabic, Indian, Chinese and Japanese restaurants.
If you’re looking for night-life action Patong Beach is the place to be. The main centre is located around the Soi Bangla where you will find more than 200 bars, pubs, go go bars, and clubs. Families and couples might prefer quieter beaches like Kata, Karon or Kamala; although even in Patong you can find some nice and more quiet lounge bars or pubs with live music. You’ll be amazed at the selection of the shopping opportunities in Phuket, shoes, clothing, perfume, games, souvenirs, oil paintings and designer label products are all here. All sorts of Thai handicrafts can be found in Patong.
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