There are many reasons why Phuket is Thailand’s most popular tourist destination. Beautiful beaches, amazing Thai and international cuisine, friendly smiling people and great prices combine to attract travelers from all over the world.
Physically, Phuket Island offers everything from tropical rain-forest to picturesque beaches. Rolling hills run from Phrom Thep Cape in the south to the quiet beaches 45 kilometers to the north. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island; at 48 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide, it’s similar in size to Singapore.
To the east are the famous and mysterious Phang Nga islands, Krabi and Koh Phi Phi. To the north, the pristine Similan Islands offer Thailands best diving opportunities. And to the west, thousands of miles of the Indian Ocean, bringing clean and clear air and of course offering spectacular sunsets.
Phuket’s northern beaches – Mai Kao and Nai Yang – are still relatively undeveloped, giving the traveler a glimpse into Phuket’s quieter Muslim-based past. Bungalows on the beach and secluded resorts give way to tranquil evenings in this part of the island.
Just below the airport, Bang Tao, Surin, Laguna and Kamala offers a variety of mostly upscale options, with many 5-star hotels, million-dollar homes and of course beautiful beaches. If you don’t mind the small hike, Laem Singh cove is another option here, tucked away just north of Kamala.
Phuket is perhaps best known for its night-life in the Patong/Karon/Kata area, and it doesn’t disappoint. Travelers from Australia, Europe, Russia and Asia add to the international appeal of the bars and nightclubs, but it’s the beautiful Thai ladies – and lady boys! – that make this a unique experience. Kata is also a destination for surfers world-wide, but don’t try surfing in the high-season, as you need the monsoon winds and weather of May – November to kick up the surf.
The southern beaches of Nai Harn and Rawai are local favorites both for their natural charm and their escape from the more ‘tourist’ areas.
There are also some notable beaches on the east side of Phuket Island. Cape Panwa in particular offers several secluded and scenic beaches. Going north, one can find myriad coves that are often empty of all but the local fisherman or villagers.
While most of the beaches and tourist attractions are located on the west side of the island, Phuket Town’s Sino-Portuguese architecture and rich history blend with a more traditional Thai community, providing travelers with a taste of Thai culture, past and present. There is also a vibrant artist community in Phuket Town, featuring modern music houses, art galleries, local markets and quiet back-streets.
Climate of Phuket
Phuket’s high season is typically warm and dry. If the rains do threaten, clouds will often disappear within an hour or so. During this season, the seas get their famous turquoise color, and are tame and inviting for even the most timid swimmers. It’s a perfect time for families to enjoy the ocean. When Europe is freezing, Phuket is at it’s best.
The end of May until the end of October is the low season. The rainy monsoon season offers it’s own benefits, as the island is quieter and the seas kick up, bringing surfers from world-wide. But don’t be too intimidated by the monsoons, as most days the tropical sun prevails and it’s dry in half an hour!
The most common transportation in Phuket is the Tuk-Tuk, a small, open car. Touring vans, taxis and even motor-bike taxis are also available. While most options have set rates, there are few regulations for Tuk-Tuks, so we’d like to suggest that you negotiate prices before getting in.
You can also rent a motor-bike or car and do your own site-seeing. Rental cars and bikes are reasonably prices and give you the freedom to set your own schedule. If you have questions or are concerned about getting a bad price, we are happy to help arrange rentals in Phuket for you.