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Phuket Travel Guide

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Phuket, located in the south of Thailand, is the country’s largest and earliest-developed island. With its wide and beautiful beaches, flawless white sand, emerald waters, and swaying coconut groves, Phuket is praised as the “Pearl of the Andaman Sea.” In addition to the main island of Phuket, more than 30 surrounding outlying islands are unique in their own way. Every day tens of thousands of tourists take part in island hopping tours including Phi Phi Islands, Emperor Island, and Similan Islands, diving into the sea and enjoying the fun of vacation.

After nightfall, the various bars of Phuket keep your blood pumping until dawn, as well as the special ladyboy shows and Muay Thai boxing fights. Of course, seafood meals and classic Thai spas are also must-have experiences in Phuket.

Are you itching to fly to Phuket right now? Don’t be impulsive. Check out our this Phuket travel guide on the best places to visit, the best time to visit and how to get there before you go, which will help you a lot.

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Best Places to Visit in Phuket

1. Patong Beach – The Busiest Beach in Phuket

Lying 15 km from Old Phuket Town, Patong Beach is Phuket’s most developed beach. The beach is 3 kilometers long, with soft sand and gentle waves, and is surrounded by restaurants, bars, and small stores. Patong Beach offers a wide range of water activities, including parasailing, banana boating, sailing, surfing, and motor boating, allowing visitors to enjoy the tropical island atmosphere. At night, Patong Beach is even more lively, with holiday villages, open-air bars, dance halls and nightclubs bustling with people. It is a very enjoyable experience to sip the special wine while feeling the gentle sea breeze. Walking along Bangla Road is one of the best things to do in Phuket for couples.

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2. Similan Islands – A World-class Diving Paradise

The Similan Islands, located about 85 kilometers northwest of Phuket, were designated as a national park in 1982 and are the most beautiful and unspoiled islands in the world, consisting of nine archipelagos. Boasting blue sea and vast sandy beaches, the Similan Islands are known around the world as a diving paradise. The spectacular coral reefs have earned the islands the nickname “Coral Gardens”. The wide variety of marine life provides a beautiful underwater paradise for deep-sea divers. The Similan Islands are open from November to April and are off-limits to tourists during the rainy season.

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3. Emperor Island – Phuket’s Famous Snorkeling Resort

Emperor Island is known by many tourists as the most-visited “retreat away from the world” for its pollution-free beaches and crystal clear waters. The island is just a 30-minute speedboat ride south of Phuket. Due to its late development, Emperor Island is a relatively new place compared to other popular destinations in Phuket, which is less frequented by tourists, creating an extraordinarily secluded environment. It retains its pristine natural beauty with reefs and corals all over the place. The clear waters make Emperor Island the best place to snorkel around Phuket.

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4. Phuket FantaSea – A Night Disneyland of Phuket

Situated in Kamala Bay, Phuket, Phuket FantaSea is the largest entertainment city in Thailand, featuring Thai ethnic culture. It is a fantasy world with the world’s most spectacular Las Vegas style theater, where visitors can watch unique Thai cultural theater performances with lovely animals. Tourists can also enjoy a sumptuous dinner in the world’s grandest Thai restaurant, where the buffet is royal-style including both regular (Thai, Chinese, Western, and Japanese) and seafood buffet options. Besides, the Festival Village offers visitors some of Phuket’s most interesting shopping experiences and street performances.

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5. Phuket Night Weekend Market– Phuket’s Most Popular Market

Phuket Night Weekend Market is the largest night market in Phuket, divided into three main parts: indoor, open-air, and dining, with over 400 stalls selling food, clothing, handicrafts, second-hand goods, antiques, pirated products, tourist souvenirs, and more. If you are a foodie, the Weekend Market is a must-see attraction in Phuket. Sweet butter corn, spicy sausages, coconut milk ice cream, tropical fruits… every snack is a temptation for your stomach. Apart from that, you will witness folk artists playing and singing as well as photography enthusiasts making exhibitions. The market is usually open between 16:00 and 22:00 on Saturday and Sunday.

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6. Wat Chalong – The Largest Buddhist Temple in Phuket

Located in the Gulf of Chalong in the southern part of Phuket Island, Wat Chalong is the largest and most magnificent of the 29 Buddhist monasteries in Phuket. The temple combines the architectural styles of southern, central, and northeastern Thailand to create a strong Hinayana Buddhist atmosphere. Two revered monks are enshrined in Wat Chalong, and tourists can see their life-size statues. The temple also houses 108 golden Buddhas, making a deep impression. It is quite a meaningful experience to take photos or wedding photos inside the temple in local costumes.

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Recommended Itinerary

Best Time to Visit Phuket

Located in the tropics, Phuket Island has a humid tropical climate, with no winter. November to February is the best time to visit Phuket, during which the weather is dry, sunny and with little precipitation, which is ideal for outdoor activities. Daytime temperatures in Phuket hover around 29 ºC during this time. Phuket starts its rainy season in April and lasts until mid-October, with May being the wettest month (78% humidity). This is the low season for tourism in Phuket when many attractions are closed. It rains almost every day from June to August, which can have an impact on the schedule. It is a time to avoid traveling to Phuket Island.

☛ See also: Best Time to Visit Thailand

Phuket Transportation

How to Get to Phuket

Phuket Island is generally accessible by air and long-distance bus.

By Air

Phuket International Airport (HKT) serves the island of Phuket, about 32 kilometers from the city center. The airport ranks second in Thailand in terms of visitor throughput, due to the large number of international tourists visiting Phuket directly.

There are no direct flights to Phuket from the US, UK, France and other European and American countries. People can fly directly to Phuket from Hong Kong, Sydney, and Kuala Lumpur, taking about 3 hours and 45 minutes, 9 hours and 15 minutes, and 1.5 hours respectively.

Usually, the flight time from Bangkok to Phuket is about 1.5 hours and costs about US$35 each way.

By Long-distance Bus

Visitors can also choose to take a long-distance bus to Phuket from Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal, which takes about 12 hours. This is usually preferred by backpackers. There are two types of long-distance buses, air-conditioned and fan buses, as well as first- and second-class seats, with prices ranging from 700-1,000 baht.

How to Get around Phuket

Transport in Phuket is varied from buses, taxis, motorbikes, and ferries to rental cars. Tourists can choose different modes of transportation according to their own needs.

By Bus

Phuket has airport buses, which are run by the government and designed for local residents and terminate in Phuket Town. The fare is 100 baht per person. No buses run between the airport and the three major beaches.

By Taxi

There are very few taxis on Phuket Island, operating mostly between the airport and hotels. Taxi fares start at 200 baht and increase by 20 baht for each additional kilometer. It costs about 850 baht (US$22.5) to take a taxi from Phuket International Airport to Old Phuket Town.

By Songthaew

Tourists can be transferred from Old Phuket Town to various beaches. It operates from 7:00 to 18:00 and runs every 30 minutes. The songthaew has no fixed station and visitors can pick it up anywhere along the route.

It costs 20 to 30 baht each way. Note that the last bus from the beach back to Phuket Town usually leaves at 18:00.

By Ferry

Ferries are the most common means of transport in Phuket to the surrounding islets, such as Emperor Island, Coral Island and Phi Phi Islands.

Boats from Phuket to Phi Phi Islands depart daily at 8:30 am, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm; The return boat from Phi Phi Islands leaves daily at 9:30 am, 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm. The one-way ticket costs 700 baht and the journey takes about 2 hours.

By Motorcycle

Many tourists like to rent a motorcycle, which is quick and cheap. The usual motorbike ride from Phuket Town to Patong Beach costs 250 baht. Within Phuket Town, a short trip by motorcycle is about 20 baht. However, it’s not very safe to ride a motorcycle because the roads in Phuket are mostly built on hills and are very steep.

By Chartered Car

Chartering a car for a tour around the island is a good option to get around between the different beaches. There are many cheap car rental agencies in Phuket Town. Suzuki jeeps can be rented for about 1,400 baht per day (including insurance), and even down to 750 baht in the low season. Discounts are available for rentals of a week or more.

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