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Pearl of the Andamans
Thailand's largest island, Phuket lures both die-hard divers and casual beach lovers interested in spending most of their time basking in the sand and munching on local delicacies. Picturesque lagoons and an abundance of modern amenities may be the main incentive for a Phuket vacation, but you can find plenty of other things to do here once you get your fill of sun and sand. Away from the busy waterfront, the island boasts many gardens, Buddhist temples, museums, and aquariums that deserve a top spot on any traveler's Phuket itinerary. Put Phuket at the heart of your travel plans by using our Thailand trip planner.
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Top Phuket tours
BOOK WITH VIATOR Phi Phi Islands Adventure Day Trip with Seaview Lunch by V. Marine Tour
Tours from $84 ›
BOOK WITH VIATOR Luxury Boat to James bond islands with lunch and sunset dinner
Duration: 7h 30min
Tours from $141 ›
BOOK WITH VIATOR Phang Nga Bay Sea Cave Canoeing & James Bond Island w/ Buffet Lunch by Big Boat
Duration: 9h - 10h
Tours from $115 ›
Likely to sell out BOOK WITH VIATOR Phi Phi Island by Premium Speedboat including Buffet Lunch & National Park Fees
Tours from $77 ›
BOOK WITH VIATOR Phuket City Tour: Karon View Point, Big Buddha & Wat Chalong (SHA Plus)
Tours from $30 ›
Likely to sell out BOOK WITH VIATOR Phi Phi Island Private Boat Tour
Duration: 6h - 8h
Tours from $988 ›
Places to visit in Phuket
PatongTrip planner Best for: Beach, Landmark, Gift & Specialty Shop KaronTrip planner Best for: Beach, Gift & Specialty Shop, Spa Phuket TownTrip planner Best for: Religious Site, Kayaking / Canoeing, Lookout Choeng ThaleTrip planner Best for: Nature / Park, Beach, Spa RawaiTrip planner Best for: Lookout, Beach, Scuba / Snorkeling
Regions of Phuket
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Where to stay in Phuket
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Phuket Holiday Planning GuideThailand's largest island, Phuket lures both die-hard divers and casual beach lovers interested in spending most of their time basking in the sand and munching on local delicacies. Picturesque lagoons and an abundance of modern amenities may be the main incentive for a Phuket vacation, but you can find plenty of other things to do here once you get your fill of sun and sand. Away from the busy waterfront, the island boasts many gardens, Buddhist temples, museums, and aquariums that deserve a top spot on any traveler's Phuket itinerary.
Places to Visit in Phuket
Destinations in PhuketRawai: Known for its delicious seafood, this picturesque beachfront town provides plenty of fishing, island-hopping, and snorkeling opportunities.
Patong: The island's party capital attracts throngs of tourists looking for bars, restaurants, spas, and colorful marketplaces.
Phuket Town: Take a break from lazing on the beach during your tour of Phuket and immerse yourself in the history, heritage, and trendy culinary scene of the island's cultural hub.
Kamala: This quiet beachfront village offers visitors a chance for a restful, low-key holiday, away from the party crowds of nearby Patong.
Karon: Boasting a long, sandy shore, this resort town is popular with couples and families with children.
Popular Phuket Tourist AttractionsBangla Road: Lined with bars, clubs, and restaurants, the exuberant Patong road is known as the party and entertainment hub for tourists on a Phuket vacation.
Patong Beach: Sweeping and often crowded with tourists, this beach provides everything from eateries and massages, to a range of recreational activities.
Phuket Big Buddha: This massive white marble has become one of the most visited Phuket tourist attractions--it provides panoramic views from its hilltop location.
Tiger Kingdom: Head to this popular tiger park to interact and have your picture taken with the majestic animals, assisted by a professionally trained guide.
Kata Beach: Close to both Patong and Phuket Town, the 17 km (10.5 mi) beach is renowned for its scenic appearance, snorkeling, and surfing spots.
Karon Beach: One of the longest on the island, palm-lined Karon Beach can be a great place to swim, sunbathe, and unwind during a Phuket holiday.
Jungceylon: This vast, modern shopping center provides an abundance of dining and entertainment choices.
Nai Harn Beach: A picturesque stretch of white sand, this pristine beach boasts clear waters, great for swimming, diving, and snorkeling.
Magnifique Tailor: This popular manufacturer of bespoke clothing is a one-stop shop for an array of styles made of quality fabrics.
Karon View Point: Head up to this scenic vantage point for one of the most recognizable panoramas of Phuket's lush coastline.
Planning a Phuket Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Phuket with KidsYou won't have trouble planning a Phuket itinerary for the whole family, as the island boasts a wide range of child-friendly resorts and plenty of entertainment options.
Although Patong has a party reputation, it attracts its share of families and boasts the largest array of hotels, many of which are suitable for kids.
The small, beachside village of Kamala can be a great choice for a laidback, relaxing getaway.
The resort town of Karon or the long, sandy shores of Kata Beach provide an easygoing atmosphere, but their proximity to Patong allows for trips to the bustling tourist hub.
Phuket Town represents a fun day tour or stopover option with its interesting architecture, museums, and dining scene.
Things to Do in Phuket with KidsBesides the abundant sandy beaches and resorts equipped with swimming pools, there's plenty of activities and attractions in Phuket to keep the kids entertained.
Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon at one of the water parks, such as Splash Jungle, or roam the diverse attractions of Phuket FantaSea.
The more adventurous families can add a range of activities, from go-karting to zorbing to their Phuket itinerary.
Younger children will enjoy play areas such as The Kids Club Phuket, a playground and entertainment center where your tots can spend hours immersed in fun games and activities alongside professional carers.
Tips for a Family Vacation in PhuketA trip to Phuket with your kids doesn't require any special precautions, such as vaccinations, but remember to use plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent, as mosquitoes are ubiquitous.
Necessities such as diapers, formula, and most medicines can be found almost everywhere in Phuket, but changing facilities are few and far between, so consider bringing a mat with you if you're traveling with an infant.
Bottled water is omnipresent and affordable--use it instead of tap water whenever you can.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Phuket
Cuisine of PhuketInfluenced by Malay and Indonesian cuisines, as well as traditional Thai cooking, Phuket's diet relies heavily on freshly caught seafood and liberal use of spices and herbs.
Curries, ranging from mild to very hot, are popular in Phuket, as are noodle dishes and meals of Chinese origin, such as "dim sum."
A representative Phuket dish, "tom yam goong" is a hot and sour prawn soup, made with plenty of chili paste.
Roadside stalls and street carts are ubiquitous, selling all kinds of delicious snacks and desserts, including sweet pancakes made with coconut milk and bananas, and fresh fruit sprinkled with salt and chili.
During a Phuket vacation, hit a local marketplace, or sign up for a cooking lesson to sample delicacies and learn about the local culinary scene.
Shopping in PhuketA Phuket holiday is the perfect chance for a shopping spree, as the island is home to a cornucopia of markets and department stores, selling everything from authentic handicrafts and fine jewelry, to affordable clothing and electronics.
Tailor shops are everywhere in Phuket, offering quality bespoke outfits for a reasonable price.
Traditional art and antiques, Thai silk products, and jewelry made from local pearls are some of the popular souvenir and gift choices available in Phuket.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Phuket
Interesting Facts About Phuket* The name Phuket is derived from the Malay word for hill, but the island used to be called Jungceylon, now the name of a popular shopping mall
* Phuket is the largest island in Thailand
* Once known for its profitable tin and rubber trade, Phuket now largely depends on its thriving tourism industry
* Although famous for its sandy beaches, mountains actually cover almost 70 percent of the island
Holidays & Festivals in PhuketThe calendar year in Phuket has its fair share of festivals and celebrations, some specific to the island and some observed nationwide.
The most famous and distinctive festivity, Phuket Vegetarian Festival takes place in late September or early October. During nine days, the eclectic festival is marked with street parades, strict diets, and performances, including walking on burning coals and piercing the skin with knives.
If you're planning a trip to Phuket in November, you might witness the colorful Festival of Lights or "Loy Krathong," a countrywide event during which candlelit floating lanterns are released into the sea.
In April, people gather in the streets for the annual Songkran festivities--armed with water guns, buckets, and other contraptions, the locals soak everything in sight with ice cold water. These water fights are just part of traditional Thai New Year's celebrations.
Useful Phuket Travel Tips
Climate of PhuketAlthough the weather in Phuket is always warm, with temperatures averaging between 25 C and 34 C (77 F and 93 F), the climate can be divided into two seasons.
The dry season, lasting from December to March, might be the ideal time for a tour of Phuket, as temperatures tend to drop slightly and light breezes bring relief from the heat.
From June to October, the wet season brings heat, humidity, and rainfall. The rest of the months are characterized as transitional periods, characterized by unpredictable weather.
Transportation in PhuketGetting around the island during your Phuket vacation can be a hassle due to chaotic road traffic.
The best options for very short trips are taxis or tuk tuks. For longer distances, you can look into renting a car or a motorcycle--the latter is the more affordable but riskier choice.
Always exercise caution when driving around Phuket, especially on a motorcycle, as road conditions vary and accidents are not uncommon.