For our fellow travelers who will be holidaying in Phuket, we have prepared a comprehensive guideline with all the essential things you need to know.
Phuket is arguably one of the place not to miss when travelling in South East Asia. Hugely famous for its wild party scene around Patong area, Phuket also offers some of the most beautiful beaches in Asia, with breathtaking boat excursions to secret islands, interesting culture, and delicious food.
If you are not sure where to go or what to do in Phuket, you can get an insight here on each of the places you should visit or stay.
Patong, the party town.
Patong is the party town of Phuket. Here, you will find all kind of hotels, resorts chain by the beach, strategically located to visit the rest of the island. However, if you are looking for a quieter place, you should head to Rawai area (South) or Mai Khao (North) where you will find some different scenery.
Phuket owes its vibrant nightlife reputation to Patong, the party capital of South East Asia. First part of your party journey will be Bangla Road, a street lined with bars, most of them being gogo bars with Thai girls dancing or lady boys, who are widely accepted in Patong. Ping pong show and other kind of erotic performances, massages are available around the area as well. With so many good clubs, pubs and unusual attraction, this will definitely be a night you remember, or not!
Other than partying, we advise you to have a look at the Bangla boxing stadium in Patong for a fight as you’ve never seen before. Fights usually happen every Sunday, Wednesday & Friday.
Kata & Karon beaches, the quieter side of Patong.
You won’t find as much nightlife happening as compared to Patong, and the beaches are quieter as well. This is a good location to stay for families as you will be close to scenic beaches and well located for a lot of other things to do in Phuket. For example, you may take part in a Thai cooking class in Kata, an area that is rich for its food and restaurants selections. Mom Tri’s kitchen is an excellent location for a dinner with a scenic view, ideal for viewing the romantic sunset. Also located in Kata beach, Kwong Shop Seafood is the spot to be to get a taste of Thai local food and also has an affordable price range.
The Chalong bay pier, home of Phuket boat tours.
Strategically located and close to the harbour from which many boat tours bring you to the southern islands. A great way to get an insight on the culture would be to visit the Talad Sod, a daily local market, which opens early morning at 6AM. Here, you’ll get the chance to see Thai’s way of life and their rich and colourful food displayed on different stalls. Thailand has this unique market culture, which caters to both shopping addict and photography enthusiasts.
Phuket’s weekend market is also located in Chalong and held during the evenings. We highly recommend that you to come with an empty stomach and a big shopping bag!
Do not forget to visit Chalong’s most popular attractions, the Wat temple & the Big Buddha. This is a cultural visit that must not be missed, with the view of 36 Buddhas seated, reclining and meditating on the first two floors. Impressive, culturally impressive, and tranquil, this temple visit should be on your list!
Do not miss the Chalong Bay Rhum distillery. Founded by two French rhum experts, a tour around the distillery will expose you to the meticulous processes required in the preparation of a quality rhum, with of course a tasting of this unique rhum through a well prepared Mojito. Be warn, the Mojito is not only tasty, but strong! (Closed on Sundays)
Lastly, Chalong Bay and its pier are the place to be if you desire to get on tour to Phuket islands, or get your own boat for the day with family and friends. Check out here our extensive and carefully selected list of boat charters & tours in Phuket.
The emerging Muay Thai sanctuary, Soi Ta Ied (Ta Ied Road).
This small street located between Chalong & Phuket Town is the fitness and Muay Thai sanctuary. In this single street alone, you will find 8 Muay Thai and martial arts camps. The most reputable camp is the Tiger Muay Thai which offers 99 weekly classes of all kind of martial arts. You will find there cheap accommodations and Muay Thai classes from USD 18, a must-do when passing by Phuket.
Kathu & its “natural made” thrilling activities.
Between Phuket Town and Patong is located Kathu, the home to natural attractions that will awe nature lovers or adrenaline seekers.
For the thrill seekers, you have the option of zipling across some of Phuket’s thickest forests, bungee jumping, wake boarding, zorbing and many more.
These activities will not only get your heart racing, but also offer unique opportunities of appreciating Phuket’s beauty from an unusual perspective. For example, you will be ‘flying’ across a 400m zipline, and also abseil 40m down an old tree. This treetop activities are carried out with professional guides and equipment, and allows thrill seekers an aerial view of Phuket that is hardly seen by many. Vertically challenging and beautiful, this is one activity you should try while in Kathu!
More info about the zipline & treetop activities here.
A visit to Kathu waterfall is definitely recommended! The waterfall itself is stunning, while the challenging journey will make the scenery all the more worthwhile!
Feel the local vibe of Phuket Town.
You must be wondering if Phuket was colonised by Portuguese upon viewing the architecture in this area. But believe it or not, Thailand is the only Asian country not to be colonised. The reason behind this unique architecture is that 4 generations ago, the Thai used to go to Penang in Malaysia where Portuguese colony used to pass. Their frequent visits inspire them to produce some similar architecture back home. This 60,000 inhabitant city is home to coffee shops, small streets to hang around, souvenir shops, and a great cultural shopping experience at the Sunday’s night market in the old town.
Located in the heart of the city, you should not miss the Blue Elephant for a Royal Thai dining experience in an old-Chinese colonial style mansion. Taste the most sumptuous Thai food of Phuket during a dining experience or learn to cook during their cooking workshops.
Go out in Kor Tor Mor to see how Thai young locals party.
Rawai and secret beaches.
At the southern tip of Phuket, along with Chalong Rawai are the main port of Phuket. This is the ideal area to get aboard a longsail boat for a nice day out in the sea. Some of the quietest and most splendid beaches are located in the area, among them Nai Harn which also happens to be a tiny village. Swimming is recommended only during the peak season (Nov to May ). Meanwhile, the rainy season brings all the surfers to its waves. At night, a reggae club brings the crowds around Rawai to dance by the beach.
Don’t miss Friendship beach on your way, a long secluded beach offering a totally different landscape whether it is high or low tide. The scenery is beautiful, and you can even enjoy a horse ride if you fancy one. You may also practice some kite surfing! On days when there aren’t much wind, your instructor will offer you to get a day out in the sea with its long tail boat and paddling on SUP boards. Your instructors will be happy to offer you a drink aboard the boat while watching the sunset!
This is also a worldwide known location for its unique detox and fitness program. More info about Phuket’s detox programs here.
Lastly, but not exactly in Rawai, another area to spot stunning and quiet beaches, would be the area of Cape Panwa and Ao Yon beach. This is an ideal place for honeymooners, Sri Panwa will answer your expectations for a romantic escape with its breathtaking poolside villas.
Meet the locals in the sea gypsy village.
Phuket town is connected to this fascinating gipsy village by a bridge. You will arrive to an island by crossing it, passing through a reserve of friendly monkeys and arrive to the Sea Gipsy village. These fishermen are the first inhabitants of Phuket, and some even argue that they are the first to have discover Phuket while they were still nomadic fishermen. They now live as a secluded community, and are very humble and friendly with tourists. This is a perfect approach to try interacting with the locals. If you are a Bahasa Malayu speaker, you’ll be able to communicate with them too. However if you don’t, you’ll have more fun going there with an experienced guide, and we would suggest to go on this “Meet the locals” tour, organised by a fantastic local lady called Chaya.
Golf clubs & Luxurious resorts, Up in the north of Phuket.
The airport being closed by, this is an easy and quick escape if you come to Phuket for just a weekend, or also if you wish to stay in one of these luxurious resorts along the coast.
Most people commonly head to southern parts of the islands but you should also consider the northern areas that offer a different lifestyle.
In the West part, you will find the quiet beach of Nai Yang stretching over 9 km to Mai Khao beach. Trisara and Indigo Pearl resorts, located around the area are two of the luxurious options offering all kind of activities for their guests, but make sure you get out and experience the local attractions too.
On a cultural note, don’t miss the Songkran festival in April where locals release turtles to the sea on the beach of Mai Khao.
Few kilometers south is the beach of Laguna where you will also find some of the most sumptuous resorts of the island, close by are the splendid golf of Laguna, and further north is the Blue Canyon Country club.
If you have the time, it also worths giving a visit to this Gibbons reserve in the North East side of Phuket.
Lastly, if you want to feel the Phuket night fever while staying in the north of Phuket, we highly recommend you the Xana beach club or Bliss beach club at Bangtao beach. Internationally recognised DJ often plays there, enjoy the luxury of some classy and trendy cocktails while watching the sunset, a must-do in Phuket!
While visiting Phuket, you might not spend 100% of your time on the island of Phuket itself. Phuket became famous for its surrounding exotic islands, among them James Bond island that owes its name to the 1974 movie: “The man with the golden gun”. The majestic Phang Nga Bay connects Phuket to Krabi, day trips tours are organised in this area to enjoy the view of the impressive limestones. Rock climbing is usually practiced in Ko PhiPhi & Raillay beach, close by Krabi.
Now that you have all the necessary information to decide where to go in Phuket, let us know which place you have preferred.
Stay tuned for other things to do in Phuket.