Dramatic rock towers, lush green jungle and crystal clear ocean – Phuket is Thailand’s iconic beach destination, an island favorite of sun seekers and celebrities.
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What To Do
Hit the beach – Phuket has a beach for everyone, so go find yours. Kata Noi is small and quiet, Freedom is a snorkeler’s paradise, Surin is an upscale hideaway and popular Patong Beach offers plenty of dining, shopping and entertainment. Many beachfront resorts offer private beaches for a truly exclusive stretch of sand.
Get in the water – Colorful fish, clear water and a variety of undersea landscapes make for great snorkeling and diving. Many beaches offer excellent viewing just steps from the shore, but a guided tour can introduce you to hidden gems.
Party on Bangla Road – Crowded, loud and high-energy, the town of Patong contains the nightlife capital of Phuket. As tourism on the island grew, bars, restaurants and nightclubs popped up along Bangla Road. The late-night festivities here can get raucous and it’s definitely not family-friendly, but if you’re looking for neon lights and loud music, this is the place.
Spend a day in Ko Phi Phi – The nearby Ko Phi Phi islands must be seen to be believed. Look familiar? The sheer limestone cliffs and sheltered lagoons have served as the backdrop for Hollywood films and countless enviable vacation photos. You’ll swim, snorkel and marvel at the natural beauty of Thailand.
What To See
Old Town – In contrast to touristy Patong is Phuket Town, located on the east side of the island. The colorful, historic town center is the perfect place for a leisurely walking tour.
Big Buddha – High on a hilltop in southern Phuket sits the Big Buddha, a towering white statue nearly 150 feet tall. The peaceful Buddha isn’t the only attraction here – you’ll also enjoy an expansive view of the island from on high.
Wat Chalong – This gorgeously decorated temple is Phuket’s largest, dedicated to the monks who cared for the local population during the 19th century.
Monkey Hill – Hundreds of macaques live on this hill near Phuket Town. You can ride to the top in a tuk tuk or car, or climb the steep path on your own, but either way you’ll get up close and personal with the fuzzy local population.
Weekend Night Market – This weekly night market near Phuket Town is popular with tourists and locals alike. You’ll find a little of everything for sale, and even if you’re not buying, it’s easy to spend an evening here people-watching.
When to Go
Phuket is warm year round – the main difference from season to season is precipitation, not temperature. Summer and fall are humid, with frequent afternoon showers.