As the largest island in Thailand, Phuket is a great escape for anyone looking for a world-class tropical island holiday replete with lovely hotels, desolate beaches, international airport, enticing food and restaurants, amazing nature, cultural diversity, thriving nightlife and much more. No matter your style, age, budget or interests, there is something for everyone in Phuket. So sit back, relax and enjoy our seven top tips for visiting Phuket.
Let’s begin with the beaches. It’s no secret that Phuket has some of the best stretches of white sand in the country, the most famous being Patong, Kata and Karon. But in truth, the very best of the best are a well-kept local secret. Where you want to be is off the beaten trail at little havens like Banana Beach, located just a few kilometers north of Outrigger Surin Beach Resort; Laem Sing Beach, located just south of the busier Surin Beach; and the large, but still secluded, Naithon Beach.
Food, glorious food! Other than stunning beaches and friendly locals, this is the one thing most people agree on is the best in Thailand. We don’t have space to list them all, but you will want to stop by Old Phuket Town for coffee and cake at one of the ubiquitous hipsters cafes; Rawai Beach for fresh seafood straight off the boat; any road-side street stall for noodles (kuay tiaow); and any beach for fresh coconut juice and/or mango and sticky rice.
Phuket is a great hub for island hopping. There are lots of options, from major tourist attractions like Koh Phi Phi, to smaller unknown islands like Koh Kai Noi. Other islands near Phuket include Koh Yao Yai, Koh Yao Noi, Koh Lon, Koh Racha and dozens of others. These are great for day trips. You can go by tour boat or private longtail to many of them; it just depends on what kind of traveler you are: adventurer, thrill-seeker, or VIP, requiring some convenience and pampering.
The Andaman Sea, with Phuket as its hub, will always be Thailand’s reigning maritime jewel. Here you’ll find some of the most beautiful islands and beaches in the region, crystal clear waters and stunning geography. Phuket has emerged as the star performer in Thailand’s thriving yacht charter industry and is a major draw card for regatta sailing enthusiasts. If you love to take to the high seas for leisure or even big game fishing, there is much for you to seek out and enjoy in Phuket’s waters.
Did you know that Phuket is a world-class training ground for some of the world’s best triathletes? With its unique combination of expert coaches, Olympic-class swimming facilities, specialist fitness centers, athletic tracks, great local roads for cycling through stunning tropical scenery, fantastic local beaches for swimming and warm weather. Whether you want to train for a day, a week, a month or a year, Phuket can accommodate. We’ll see you at the famous Laguna Phuket Triathlon!
Naturally beautiful Surin Beach has sometimes been called “Millionaire’s Row” due to its plethora of top-end restaurants, beach clubs, houses, and resorts that pepper the boardwalk, surrounding mountains and roads nearby. Coupled with the glitz and glamour, however, is the local touch of small beachside vendors serving authentic Thai food, iced coffee (known locally as “cafe yen”), icy pops and other tasty Thai snacks. The fine white sand and turquoise water of Surin Beach has ensured that the picturesque beach is very popular with tourists and Thais alike, who come for R&R, delicious local food and lively fun once the sun goes down.
Cycling Phang Nga with Views of Phang Nga Bay
A distinctive feature of Phang Nga Bay is the sheer limestone karsts that jut vertically out of the emerald-green water, with James Bond Island being the most iconic example. A great way to enjoy the spectacular scenery – with only brief encounters with the tourist crowds – is by bicycle. Not for the faint of heart, a bike ride with views of Phang Nga Bay involves steep climbs and windy descents, but the view is well worth the effort.