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Phuket Guide

Patong Beach: How to decide...

Patong Beach: How to decide..." />

This west-coast resort town is best known for just one street – Bangla Road – which is the densest concentration of bars and clubs anywhere in Phuket and is the island’s primary nightlife destination. This is surrounded by a large number of hotels, ranging from budget guesthouses to small resorts. The picturesque coast road heading north towards Kamala takes advantage of the great sunset views by offering a more luxurious experience, but at the cost of being further from the party. There are also a number of excellent restaurants, countless shops, several cultural attractions and various activities to enjoy in the area.

Relax:       1/5
Party:       5/5
Beach:      4/5
Facilities:  4/5

Who is it For:

  • Budget-conscious holidaymakers
  • People who love to party
  • People who like a busy and lively beach
  • People who want to be centrally-located and want everything in one place

What’s Good:

  • Massive choice of nightlife, dining and shopping options
  • Wide range of hotel prices

What’s Not So Good:

  • There are not many traditional Thai touches
  • Traffic is intense
  • Sea can be rough from May to November

 

Kata Beach: How to decide...

Kata Beach: How to decide..." />

The range of attractions around Kata Beach makes it a pretty good all-rounder as a holiday destination. Its beach is long and lively and is a particular favourite with surfers (from May to November) and student divers (there’s a cool reef to explore between the beach and Pu Island). The nightlife here is fun, but not too raucous. There are several great restaurants to choose from as well as shops, viewpoints and fun activities. It offers fun for all the family, making it a particularly popular destination for young couples travelling with children.

Relax:       3/5
Party:       3/5
Beach:      5/5
Facilities:  4/5

Who is it For:

  • Young travellers
  • Families
  • People who like a good but not hectic nightlife
  • Surfers and student divers

What’s Good:

  • One of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket
  • The length of the beach makes it never crowded
  • Plenty of dining, shopping, and nightlife entertainment options
  • Good range of hotel prices

What’s Not So Good:

  • Distance between the beach and the majority of budget and mid-range hotels
  • Sea can be rough from May to November

 


Karon Beach: How to decide...

Karon Beach: How to decide..." />

The inviting sands of the third longest beach on the island have attracted a number of large, sprawling resorts with designs which blend well with the surrounding nature. This gives a lot of Karon quite a relaxed air. However, the more urbanised northern part of the town also offers many of the attractions of the nearby Patong Beach – to the extent that Karon is sometimes called ‘Patong’s little sister’. This makes Karon a great place for people who want to have a nightlife, shopping and various attractions, but don’t necessarily want it right on their doorstep.

Relax:       4/5
Party:       3/5
Beach:      4/5
Facilities:  3/5

Who is it For:

  • Beach lovers
  • People who like market shopping
  • People who like a little bit of nightlife
  • People who want a compromise between 'too busy' and 'too quiet

What’s Good:

  • Karon Centre is a lively resort town with a great choice of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options
  • As there’s no construction on the beach side, it could retain a nice natural touch

What’s Not So Good:

  • It’s a very spread-out place, so getting from one part to another can be a long walk!
  • Sea can be rough from May to November

Kamala Beach: How to decide...

Kamala Beach: How to decide..." />

The long, curved expanse of Kamala Beach and the little town behind it are just a short distance from Patong, but is practically the polar opposite. Far from being a hive of activity and nightlife, Kamala is popular with retirees for its quiet atmosphere, relaxed pace and abundance of spas, villas and quality hotels. It has a very subdued nightlife, which mostly caters to those seeking a pleasant time instead of high-energy partying. The area best caters to those who are in no rush, want to take it easy, and are quite happy for lazing on the quiet beach to be the day’s most strenuous activity.

Relax:       4/5
Party:       2/5
Beach:      3/5
Facilities:  3/5

Who is it For:

  • Families
  • People looking for a village community feel
  • Budget-conscious travellers

What’s Good:

  • One of the few places in Phuket with many restaurants right on the beach
  • Excellent surf spot in the northern part of the beach from May to November
  • Good range of quality affordable hotels

What’s Not So Good:

  • Very few shopping opportunities
  • Pretty quiet at night
  • Sea can be rough from May to November

Bangtao Beach: How to decide...

Bangtao Beach: How to decide..." />

Bangtao is the second longest beach of Phuket. It really is a place of contrast: the southern part of the beach hosts budget and mid-range hotels surrounding a small fishing village while its central area is occupied by the Laguna Complex - a group of luxury resorts settled between lagoons. The northern area – which ends at Layan Beach – is still rather undeveloped, apart from a few five-star properties set on the verdant hills. Bangtao Beach is a rather quiet destination, yet it hosts a few beach clubs offering night time animation and some excellent restaurants, most of them located on or near Tinlay Plaza at the entrance of the Laguna Complex.

Relax:       5/5
Party:       1/5
Beach:      4/5
Facilities:  4/5

Who is it For:

  • Wealthy travellers
  • People looking for a relaxing escape
  • Families
  • People who like everything in one place

What’s Good:

  • Six Kilometre-long beach offering great relaxing strolls
  • Top-notch restaurants

What’s Not So Good:

  • Very few shopping and nightlife entertainment
  • Sea can be rough from May to November
  • 15km from Patong - where the action is at night

Mai Khao Beach: How to decide...

Mai Khao Beach: How to decide..." />

Mai Khao Beach, at 11km, is the longest beach in Phuket. This long, deserted beach offers a panorama similar to that of the 350km coastal area between Phuket Island and Ranong at the border with Myanmar: a loooong stretch of sand fringed with pine, tropical almonds, and palm trees as well as splendid tropical seaside plants. Mai Khao seems far from everything and, apart from a few luxury resorts and the refreshing Splash Jungle Water Park, most of the beach belongs to Sirinath National Park as it is the only place in Phuket where the Giant Ridley Sea Turtles lay their eggs each year between November and February. If you are looking for a ‘far-from-it-all’ type of holiday, Mai Khao Beach is definitely the place you are looking for.

Relax:       5/5
Party:       0/5
Beach:      4/5
Facilities:  1/5

Who is it For:

  • Honeymooners
  • Luxury travellers
  • People who want to get away from it all

What’s Good:

  • 11-kilometre-long beach offering great relaxing strolls
  • Protected area under National Park status
  • At convenient distance from the airport (5km, without noise disturbance)

What’s Not So Good:

  • Very few dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options
  • Sea can be rough from May to November
  • Very far from Patong Beach (30km) - where the action is at night

Nai Harn Beach: How to decide...

Nai Harn Beach: How to decide..." />

Quiet and tranquil, Nai Harn Beach is amongst the most popular places for locals. This is mostly because, being in a narrow, hill-lined cove, there isn’t much space for too many hotels. The geography does create an excellent harbour, and offers visitors a cool choice of tiny beaches and coves such as Ya Nui and Ao Sane, making Nai Harn especially popular with sailors as well as snorkelers and divers. The area has a steady pace, with some great local restaurants but very few shops or other attractions apart from the splendid panoramas offered at Promthep Cape and Windmill Viewpoint. Nai Harn Beach is therefore the best place for enjoying a relaxing stay in natural surroundings without being totally isolated.

Relax:       4/5
Party:       0/5
Beach:      4/5
Facilities:  1/5

Who is it For:

  • Beach and nature lovers (the area is not overdevelopped)
  • Snorkelers

What’s Good:

  • Three beaches and one lagoon
  • Snorkelling and diving
  • Peaceful environment

What’s Not So Good:

  • Sea can be rough from May to November
  • Very few shopping and nightlife entertainment
  • Limited fine-dining options

Rawai Beach: How to decide...

Rawai Beach: How to decide..." />

Rawai Beach is at the south-eastern tip of Phuket Island. Historically the very first tourist beach of Phuket, it somehow retained its local touch with the sea gipsy village and the many long-tail boats belonging to local fishermen anchored along its 2.5km length. The departure port for island-hopping to Coral and Racha islands, the atmosphere of Rawai is really tranquil compared to that of Patong. With only a few shops and nightlife options, the resort town nevertheless hosts a few great beachside restaurants. Its proximity with Nai Harn and Chalong also gives visitors good opportunities to discover some of Phuket’s most notable attractions like Promthep Cape and Phuket Big Buddha. The accommodation scene of Rawai features a wide range of hotels and resorts from budget to five-star.

Relax:       4/5
Party:       1/5
Beach:      3/5
Facilities:  3/5

Who is it For:

  • People looking for the ‘local’ experience
  • People who want to get away from overcrowded tourist areas

What’s Good:

  • Local seaside restaurants
  • Laem Ka Beach and Promthep Cape are nearby
  • Easy island-hopping opportunities

What’s Not So Good:

  • Very few shopping options
  • Very quiet at night

Surin Beach: How to decide...

Surin Beach: How to decide..." />

Blessed with remarkable natural beauty, Surin Beach is a highly exclusive area. It is popular with visiting celebrities for this very reason and many of the large houses in the area are the private property of multimillionaires. It is not so exclusive as to be completely exclusionary, however, and it offers a peaceful yet cosmopolitan stay, with the small town being home to a range of high-end shops and boutiques. Surin Beach is somewhat limited in attractions, making it better suited to those who want to escape and relax in relative privacy.

Relax:       5/5
Party:       1/5
Beach:      5/5
Facilities:  3/5

Who is it For:

  • Wealthy travellers
  • People looking for a more exclusive destination
  • Celebrity spotters
  • People seeking total relaxation

What’s Good:

  • Great sundowner spot
  • Trendy shopping
  • Good surf spot from May to November
  • Good snorkelling in high season at the northern end of the beach

What’s Not So Good:

  • Very few attractions or things to see and do, except for the beach
  • Sea can be rough from May to November

Phuket Town: How to decide...

Phuket Town: How to decide..." />

Relax:                2/5
Party:                 2/5
Neighborhood: 4/5
Facilities:           5/5

The provincial capital and largest urban area of the island, Phuket Town’s narrow streets are filled with great restaurants, boutique shops and unique attractions. This is the ideal location for people who want every day of their holiday to be different; filled with new discoveries and new experiences. The town has absorbed many aspects of the varying cultures which have called it home over the centuries, making it also place of beautiful historic designs and features. Being the hub of local life, Phuket Town is probably the best place to get the “real Thailand” experience on the island and there are regular local markets to explore.

Who is it For:

  • Backpackers
  • People interested in history and culture
  • Local food lovers
  • People who like market shopping

What’s Good:

  • Affordable dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment
  • Phuket Old Town is a charming and lively district
  • Seductive affordable hotels

What’s Not So Good:

  • No beach (swimmable)
  • Traffic is intense at rush hour
  • Quiet on week days' nights



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