By far Thailand’s most popular island, Phuket (poo-KET) has its own large international airport so visitors don’t have to change planes in Bangkok like for the other islands. Consisting of about a dozen beach towns around the islands’ perimeter, it’s very important to book a place in an area that suits your travel style.
From Christmas through April, Phuket has nearly perfect sunny weather to match its many gorgeous beaches. The island is extremely popular with people from northern Europe, but the crowds are very international at most beaches in season.
Patong Beach is the main beach city on the island and it’s home to most of the area’s shopping as well as its nightlife and “adult entertainment.” It’s a perfect place for some people and the worst choice for many others.
|Airports||Phuket International Airport (HKT)|
Phuket is a classic beach destination so the most popular thing to do is relax on the sand or by a pool. Depending on the beach or resort you stay at, there might be water sports and other leisure activities, while other places are more basic.
Patong Beach in particular has a large shopping mall and a crowded retail area lined with shops of all kinds. This is also where you’ll find countless bars, nightclubs, and massage parlors.
|Budget breakfast||Food at resorts will usually cost much more than options across the road.||$2.05 - $4.40|
|Budget lunch||Depending on which part of Phuket you are based in, prices can vary greatly.||$2.93 - $5.87|
|Budget dinner||Some sit-down restaurants near the resorts can be great bargains, but not all of them.||$5.87 - $11.74|
|Beer (.33l bottle)||As with other things, it all depends on which area you are in. Phuket Town is cheapest.||$2.05 - $3.52|
There isn’t much point in touring Phuket because honestly there isn’t much to see aside from the similar beach areas.
Boat tours and short cruises are popular, especially in the evening hours..
|Month||High F||Low F||Precipitations(INCH)|
Being not far north of the equator, Phuket is hot and humid all year long, with temperatures holding steady as well. The dry season runs from November through April, and the rainy season is from May through October, but even during the rainy season it’s normally just afternoon cloudbursts on many days, rather than a long soaking.
Choosing where to stay in Phuket is critical because choosing the wrong place could lead to a lousy stay. Patong Beach is loaded with hotels and many of them are quite affordable, but it’s also very loud, crowded, and even a bit sketchy at night. Karon Beach and Kata Beach are both south of Patong Beach and they are quiet and more family oriented, yet they still have many dining and drinking options.
Phuket hotels have a high season running from November through April, but things get even more expensive during the Christmas to New Year’s holiday periods. From May through October is considered the low season, and some fantastic bargains are available, especially at the higher end resorts.
|6.00 - 38.00|
|13.00 - 60.00|
|18.00 - 100.00|
|38.00 - 156.00|
|82.00 - 222.00|
|Hostel Bed||4.66 - 13.97|
Nearly all foreign visitors will land at Phuket International Airport (HKT). Nonstop flights are available from most large Asian cities and even some European cities.
Taxis and shuttles from the airport to the beach areas are pricey for Thailand and it’s best to book in advance if you can.
Most visitors tend to stay in the area where they are staying while in Phuket and it’s usually easy to walk around to restaurants, bars, and shops. Taxis between beach areas are weirdly expensive because a ‘taxi mafia’ controls prices.
|Taxi from airport to beach resorts||19.22 - 29.34|
|Shared minibus from airport to resorts||2.93 - 5.28|
|Local bus from airport to resorts||0.73 - 1.17|
|3km tuk-tuk (taxi) ride in Phuket||9.39 - 11.74|
|Local bus ride in Phuket||0.73 - 1.17|