If you area planning your first time in Phuket and don't know what to do on the island in the days immediately after you arrive, this is the page for you! As the most popular holiday destination in Thailand, Phuket offers a great choice of things to see, things to do, excellent restaurants, exciting nightspots, and good shopping opportunities.
Long-established in Phuket, we know most of its nooks and crannies, and we use our knowledge about the island to guide our friends and families to the best places when they come to visit. This Phuket survival guide is here to indicate what you should not miss on the island, so you won’t have to do the research by yourself. Check out our insider’s view on the best places to discover in Phuket below.
Phuket Island is divided into three main areas: the west and south coasts have beautiful beaches and lively resort towns at which you can find all you need for a comfortable holiday. The north and east parts of the island have genuine traditional touches, including rural areas and fishing villages. Phuket Town (officially Phuket City) is the capital city of the island and boasts a quaint historical district alongside modern shopping malls.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT PHUKET:
Over 30 beaches of all shapes and sizes
Easy access to stunning sights like the Phang Nga Bay, the Phi Phi Islands, and the Similan Islands
Plenty of leisure and sporting activities available
Great choice of dining and nightlife entertainment options all around the island
Wide range of hotel prices
WHAT IS LESS GOOD:
Heavy traffic at rush hours
The most popular places can be crowded during high seasons
There’s definitely a long list of things to see and do in Phuket. Whether you love nature or culture, whether you want to be active or lazy, whether you're on a tight budget or have a bit of money to splurge, there's certainly something for you. Of course, Phuket is best known for its beaches - and rightly so - but we've picked out the places to go when you need a break from the soft white sands. If this is your first time in Phuket, the following things to do should be on your bucket-list.
Phuket Big Buddha
Phuket's Big Buddha has become one of the island's most important and revered landmarks. The image sits on top of the Read More»
Old Phuket Town A-Z
The streets of Old Phuket Town are lined with 100-year-old shop-houses, restaurants, guesthouses, gold shops, art Read More»
Kata-Karon Viewpoint is one of the most frequented viewpoints in Phuket. From here, it is possible to take in views of Read More»
Natural wonders abound in and around Phuket. No holiday on the island would be complete without a few day trips to some stunning places just a short boat ride away. The striking Phang Nga Bay, just northeast of Phuket, has a unique mystical atmosphere. Then there's the tropical feeling of the Phi Phi Islands, reachable in one hour by speedboat. Meanwhile, the breathtaking beauty of the pristine Similan Islands just has to be seen to be believed. If this is your first time in Phuket, the following things to see are unmissable.
Phang Nga Bay
A distinctive feature of Phang Nga Bay is the sheer limestone cliffs that jut vertically out of the emerald green Read More»
Phi Phi Islands
The Phi Phi islands are some of the loveliest in Southeast Asia. Just a 45-minute speedboat trip or a 90-minute Read More»
The Similan Islands National Park consists of nine densely-wooded islands fringed with rocky outcrops and gorgeous Read More»
Even though Patong is the place to see and to be seen at night, most destinations on the island have a few cool joints at which you can enjoy a drink in good company after dusk, including some world-renowned beach clubs. Discotheques, lounge clubs, beer bars, live music venues, and more can be found in Bangla Road, the epicentre of after-dark sensations in Phuket. It can seem a little overwhelming, if you're not ready for it, so we suggest reading up on what to expect before you arrive. If you're coming for your first time to Phuket,the following venues are not to be missed.
Bangla Road (updated)
Soi Bangla awakens when the sun sets. That's when Patong's liveliest party zone becomes closed to traffic and ready for Read More»
Paris has a tower, London has an eye, and Thailand has Phuket FantaSea. It’s packed with tourists, cameras are a
Catch Beach Club
Catch was the first beach club to open in Surin Beach on Phuket west coast in 2006. Directly opposite Twinpalms Phuket, Read More»
Phuket is the number one shopping destination in the south of Thailand. The choice available may not compare with the likes of Bangkok, but you will still find a great range of malls, markets and boutique stores. The night markets are especially noteworthy and, while some are open every night, it's the weekend markets which really stand out, so be sure to leave Saturday and Sunday free for souvenir shopping. If you come for the first time to Phuket,the following shopping opportunities are not to be missed.
Phuket Weekend Market
Phuket’s weekend market, located just outside Phuket Town, is a fascinating jumble of secondhand goods, pirated items, a Read More»
Jungceylon Shopping Mall
Located downtown, diagonally opposite Bangla Road, the Jungceylon Shopping Complex has radically changed the face of Read More»
Central Festival Phuket
Central Festival Phuket is an air-conditioned, fully-equipped three-storey shopping mall lying just outside of Phuket Read More»
Phuket Island gives its visitors the choice of restaurants that serve food from all around the world. Local Thai seafood is naturally the favourite, but your taste buds can roam from Japan to Mexico and from France to Lebanon, often within just a few hundred metres of each other. We’ve picked out three absolute must-try restaurants for your first time in Phuket. One is a stylish seaside establishment especially renowned for its wine cellar and fine cuisine. Another is a great place to try local seafood dishes. Finally, there's an unpretentious Fusion-Thai diner.
Mom Tri's Kitchen
Mom Tri's Kitchen Royale at Villa Royale in Kata Noi is such a clever act: it balances the three factors perfectly and Read More»
Chalong boasts two Kan Eangs, both serve fresh seafood, and both are large affairs. Kan Eang@Pier, however, has recently Read More»
Suay (meaning ‘beautiful’ in Thai) keeps things uncomplicated and cheap but that doesn’t mean it’s not without a lot of Read More»
The range of accommodation options in Phuket is massive. With hundreds of hotels to choose from, you can find something for virtually any budget or preference. There are quaint guesthouses and hostels at one end of the scale, opulent five-star resorts at the other, and plenty of family-friendly mid-priced hotels in between. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront hotel or for a city inn, you’ll find it here. We’ve selected three hotels that we would recommend to our friends and family, each of them in a different budget range.
We try to provide free information that is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. However, if you are planning to travel it's a good idea to double check specific dates and information to avoid surprises.