A Paradise On The Andaman Sea

Phuket – Overview


Pure white sands. Crystal clear waters. Towering limestone cliffs. These await you when you visit the beautiful southwestern island of Phuket in Thailand. Surrounded by the Andaman Sea, this island offers you peaceful surroundings and unlimited access to many picture-postcard beaches, like Patong Beach, Karon Beach and Kata Beach.

Along with its tropical appeal, Phuket is also the place to be if you are looking for a bit of paradise with a relatively low price tag and plenty of budget accommodations.

There are plenty of things to do when you visit Phuket. From taking day trips to visit Phuket Town, enjoying the city’s exciting nightlife, or exploring the island’s flavourful cuisine at the night markets.

When To Go To Phuket

Phuket’s weather is typically divided into two seasons the rainy season and the dry season. The seasons depend primarily on the tropical monsoon, bringing clear blue skies and calm seas for half the year and rain showers the other.

Despite having rain showers for half the year, Phuket does not typically experience typhoons and tropical storms. This is mainly due to its position in the Andaman Sea.

Dry Season

The dry season begins in December and lasts until March. This season is marked by cool, dry air, which results in a slight drop in the average temperature. This is also the high season for tourism.

Rainy Season

The wet season typically begins in June and lasts until early October. Strong winds bring in most air and rain from the Indian Ocean during the southwest monsoon season.

This is considered a low season in Phuket. This means hotel rates and accommodation prices are typically the lowest this time.

Transitional Period

The transitional periods are April to May and October to November. The average sea temperature and average weather are hard to predict during these periods.

Best Time To Visit Phuket

November to April

Ideally, it would be best to visit Phuket during the peak season between November and April. In this period, the temperatures hover in the lower 80s. The waters are also relatively calm, making the weather conditions perfect for beach activities and touring theme parks.


Key events:

Makha Bucha Day, which celebrates the meeting of Buddha and his first 1,200 disciples

Thao Thepkasattri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival, which commemorates the victory over the Burmese army

Phuket Bike Week, Asia’s biggest motorcycle event

May to October

The six months between May and October are considered the monsoon season. While Phuket prices for direct flights, private rooms and mid-range hotels are likely lower this time of year, the water and weather conditions make it difficult for most to enjoy the island’s beautiful beaches.

With that being said, several festivals are held during the monsoon season.


Key events:

Visakha Bucha, which celebrates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death

Laguna Phuket International Marathon, a famous race that offers six distances from 2km to 10.5km

Phuket Vegetarian Festival, held annually on the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar

Getting To Phuket

To reach Phuket town, most travelers can fly into the Phuket International Airport (HKT), the second busiest airport in Thailand. There are two terminals in the Phuket airport; Terminal 1 is for international flights, while Terminal 2 is used for domestic flights.

Despite there being a direct flight into Phuket, most international travellers arrive in Bangkok first. There are several transportation options available to get from Bangkok to Phuket.

Phuket By Flight

There are many flight options available at any time of the year.

Many flights will land at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, catering to over 60 million passengers each year. From there, Phuket, as well as other nearby islands, are easily accessible.

Direct flights from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Phuket International Airport take only one hour. Flight prices are expected to be higher during weekends and the high season.

Direct flights are also offered at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. Although low-cost airlines fly from the airport, seats fill up quickly. So if you are okay with minor inconveniences, taking flights from Bangkok’s domestic airport could be an excellent way to get to Phuket.

If you want to save money even further, you can take evening flights out of Bangkok.

Ticket prices for Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways start from $40. In addition, low-cost airlines like Air Asia fly out from Don Muang Airport.

Phuket By Car

If you are looking to rent a car without a driver to get from Bangkok to Phuket, you would likely need to provide the transport company with an IDL, passport, health insurance and photocopies of certain documents. The price of renting a car starts from $23.

Phuket By Sleeper Train

Trains do not go all the way from Bangkok to Phuket. However, you can ride a train from the railway station in Bangkok and hop off Surat Thani Railway Station. This trip alone takes between 8.5 to 12 hours.

From Surat Thani station, the island of Phuket is a bus ride away! The Phantip Travel Company offers modern buses that directly leave Surat Thai Railway Station towards Phuket Bus Terminal.

There are two types of sleeper train tickets: first class and second class.

First-class tickets give you a private two-person cabin. Second-class tickets mean you have to share a carriage with other passengers. Prices start at $36.

Note: Prices vary widely throughout the year.

Phuket By Non-Sleeper Train

If you are looking to save money on train tickets, there is a cheaper option available. Non-sleeper trains do not provide seats, which means you would have to be okay sleeping while sitting up for more than half a day.

Also, while Thailand is a safe place (in general), there are several pickpocket incidents reported in open carriages. Travellers are also often the target of pickpocketers. If your finances allow, consider booking a private cabin instead.

Phuket By Bus

There are both day and overnight buses from Bangkok to Phuket. All buses offer air-conditioning, snacks and drinks. Between the two express buses, bus tickets for overnight trips fill up quickly, especially during the high season.

Buses to Phuket leave from the Southern Bus Terminal or the Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal in Bangkok. You can also go to Khao San Road where some travel agencies that operate a bus going to Phuket are located.

Bus ticket prices cost from 890 THB to 1200 THB, depending on the carrier. Low-cost carriers typically do not offer much legroom.

Note: Bus trips from Bangkok to Phuket can take at least 14 hours. The time does not account for traffic jams.

Getting Around Phuket

There are many modes of travel available in Phuket. However, the tuk-tuk remains the best option. These small yellow or red trucks can be seen anywhere.

With that being said, tuk-tuks are only viable if you are getting around Phuket town. For trips outside of town, here are other options:

Phuket Ride-Hailing Apps

In recent years, ride-hailing apps have taken over the world by storm. These apps can easily be downloaded to your smartphone device and used as a way of flagging down a taxi. In many cases, the prices displayed in the app are cheaper than metered taxis.

There are three ride-hailing apps used in Phuket:


After initially launching in Malaysia, GrabTaxi has expanded to several other countries in Asia, including Thailand. The company offers five types of vehicles:

  • GrabCar, a four-seater private vehicle
  • GrabTaxi, a four-seater cab
  • GrabVan, fits up to 10 people
  • JustGrab, books the nearest taxis and cars for a reduced fare
  • GrabSUV, a premium vehicle that seats four people with enough space for luggage


Bolt was designed by a 19-year-old high school student in 2013 and was first launched with 50 drivers on the streets of Estonia. Today, it is one of the most used ride-hailing apps in Europe and in Thailand.
In Phuket specifically, Bolt offers five types of vehicles:

  • Bolt, a four-seater vehicle for a fast and convenient ride
  • Economy, a four-seater car offered at a reduced fare
  • Taxi, a four-seater cab
  • XL, a six-seater van perfect for small groups
  • Van, an eight-seater van perfect for larger groups

Hello Phuket Service

Hello Phuket Service is a ride-hailing app similar to Bolt and Grab that is only available for people in Phuket. The app offers three types of vehicles:

  • Taxi, can seat up to four people
  • Phuket Limousine, can seat between four to six people
  • Van, may seat seven or more

Hello Phuket Service is currently only available in the Thai language.
Note: Drivers working for ride-hailing apps could take you anywhere in Phuket except in the Patong area due to ongoing tension with taxi drivers.


A four-seater private vehicle


a four-seater car offered at a reduced fare


a four-seater cab


a six-seater van perfect for small groups


an eight-seater van perfect for larger groups


Phuket Car

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Phuket Metered Taxi

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Phuket Songthaew

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Phuket Motorbike

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Phuket Boat

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Phuket Motorbike taxi

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Phuket Local Bus

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Where to Stay: Phuket

You may have heard plenty of suggestions about where to stay in Phuket. However, it is easy to get lost in everything offered by the biggest island in Thailand. While Phuket is known worldwide for its white sandy beaches and its lively people, there is so much more that makes the city stand out.

Every little beach town in Phuket offers its own distinct personality. Some beach towns feature old-colonial-style shops and restaurants that take you on a trip down memory lane. Other beach towns provide luxury hotels and lively nightlife, making it a popular tourist destination.

Deciding where to stay in Phuket can be overwhelming. This is why we made a guide that covers some of the best areas and beaches to stay in Phuket.

Jump to location

Patong Beach


Depending on who you ask, Patong Beach can be the best or the worst beach in Phuket. While many praise Patong Beach for its clean beaches, fantastic restaurants, lively nightlife, and range of private rooms and luxury villas, some dislike the area for its go-go bar nightlife, overcrowded beaches with noisy jet skis, and tour groups constantly parading the streets looking for the perfect selfie.

Having said that, the crowd does not make it entirely impossible for you to enjoy the beach, especially if you are into the thrill of nightlife and are interested in the prospect of partying all night long.

Beach lovers who are not into nightlife should still make the trip to Patong Beach, particularly Bangla Road. This area houses a world-famous entertainment centre, with musicians and performers lining the streets.

Phuket Old Town

Located on the east coast, Phuket Town is the largest city in Phuket and the province’s capital. Unlike other small cities, Old Phuket Town is far away from the beaches that draw most tourists to the province. However, where the city lacks crystalline waters, it makes up for its many heritage sites and vibrant culture.

Old Town Phuket was once filled with run-down mansions and shophouses. Many have now been restored to their former glory and operate as boutique hotels, museums, galleries, and restaurants. The streets are also lined with rows upon rows of small designer shops selling locally-produced clothing and handmade crafts, as well as stalls selling the best of Phuket’s cuisine.


Kamala Beach

Kamala Beach is just a 15-minute drive north of Patong Beach. As a result, Kamala Beach is less hectic despite the close distance between the two neighbourhoods. This makes it a great location to go to for families visiting Phuket.

Compared to other nearby beaches, Kamala Beach offers more affordable dining and drinking options. It also features many family-friendly activities and sightseeing points.

In terms of accommodation, families have several options to choose from—whether it’s beach clubs, mid-range hotels, or luxury resorts with an outdoor swimming pool.


Karon Beach

Karon Beach is a stunning white sand beach that stretches at least 3.5 kilometres. It is also one of the most popular beaches on the island.

Despite being a famous beach, people who come to Karon do not have to contend with crowds. This is because there is plenty of space. Additionally, there are no beach bars in Karon. While there are restaurants near the coast, they are located on the other side of the road, separated by rows upon rows of towering palm trees.

Karon offers many activities and places for tourists, including Karon Temple Market, Dino Park Mini Golf and surfing.


Surin Beach

Surin Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive. Offering crystal clear waters and soft golden sand, Surin Beach is an excellent place for sunbathing and swimming—so much so that even celebrities can’t resist its charms.

Apart from the beach, Surin also has a small town centre with local restaurants, art galleries and unique boutiques. However, there is not much activity once the sun sets.


Kata Beach

If you are travelling with family, there is no better place than Kata Beach. This coastline is beautiful no matter what time of year. It is also home to great restaurants serving authentic Thai dishes.

Aside from restaurants, Kata Beach is home to a few shops that sell clothing and souvenir items made by locals and several supermarkets stocked with basic necessities and more. People who want to feel more “zen” can also drop by the spa and wellness centre on Kata Beach.

One of the most popular things to do on this tourist beach is to visit the Kata Beach House Reef to rent equipment for snorkelling or diving.

If you are looking for a place with affordable accommodation but without the crowds, Kata Beach is the place to be.


Nai Harn Beach

Nai Harn may not be as popular as Patong or Karon, but it is still considered one of the most stunning beaches in Phuket. This picturesque beach is sheltered inside a cove, with green jungle-clad hills flanking either side. While it is also not the most famous beach, the weather conditions on these sands are well-suited for swimming for most of the year.

This beach is popular among people who want some time away from Phuket island’s touristy hot spots and nightlife. It is also popular with people who want to go on a romantic getaway without spending a huge amount of money.


Mai Khao Beach

Located on the northwest coast of Phuket, Mai Khao Beach is the island’s longest beach. However, it is also the least developed.

This quiet beach is located in the Sirinat National Park, established to preserve the natural habitat of sea turtles who come to the shore to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, the widespread illegal poaching activity on the shores has made it impossible for sea turtles to lay their eggs on the coast for years until January 2021, when authorities found a nest buried deep in the sand.

The beach is mostly quiet, except for when airport planes take off from the neighbourhood’s southern end. This made the beach famous for Instagram-worthy shots of planes flying over the beach at low altitudes.


Things to Do In Phuket

No trip to Phuket, Thailand, would ever be complete without day trips and trips to famous tourist attractions. There are many memorable things to do in Phuket, from exploring all its white sand beaches to sailing in the Andaman Sea. In this section, we’ll list our picks of things to do in Phuket.

Explore the Shoreline

White, powdery sand. Crystal clear and warm waters. Hours of sunlight. These and more are awaiting you on the island’s popular beaches. There are many places to choose from, with each area boasting its own unique quality:

  • Patong Beach
  • Kamala Beach
  • Karon Beach
  • Surin Beach
  • Kata Beach

Reconnect With Nature

Holidays are all about taking a break from the pressures of work and the hustle and bustle of the city. What better way is there to find your inner calm and peace than by reconnecting with nature? The island of Phuket offers a wide range of activities perfect for people who want to tap into that zen feeling and rediscover the beauty of the world around us. Here are some activities for you to reconnect with nature:

  • Phang Nga Bay Sea Cave Canoeing + James Bond Island Tour
  • Karon View Point
  • Phuket Jet Ski Tour to Seven Islands
  • Jungle Hiking Excursion in Khao Phra Teaw Park
  • Phuket Elephant Sanctuary Tour

Discover New Hobbies

A new place means a new beginning. And the best way to start any “beginning” is by discovering hobbies and talents you never knew you had a passion for. Improve your relationship with the kitchen and food by taking Thai cooking classes or bring out your inner Rembrandt with a class on painting with acrylics. Here are some hobbies to pick up while in Phuket:

  • Thai Cooking Class
  • Muay Thai
  • Yoga Class
  • Surfing Lesson
  • Acrylic Paint Class

Immerse In Thai Culture

Thai culture is as colorful and vibrant as they come. There is no place better to learn about the daily lives of the Thai people than in Phuket. Our cultural activities include exploring authentic Thai cuisine, experiencing shopping nights the way locals do, and immersing yourself in the architecture and history of classical Thailand. You can visit…

  • Phuket Old Town Food Tour
  • Sunday Walking Street Night Market
  • Big Buddha & Wat Chalong
  • Fruit Carving and Market Tour
  • Phuket Old Town Walking Tourbangko

Phuket Travel Tips: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are other things you can do in Phuket!

Travel Guides

Do I need a visa to visit Phuket?

Tourists coming from a country eligible for a Visa Exemption and do not plan to be in Thailand for more than 30 days are not required to apply for a visa beforehand.
Tourists coming from a country not eligible for a Visa Exemption could apply for a Visa on Arrival. However, the visa costs 1,000 Thai Baht and will only be valid for 15 days.
Tourists planning to visit Thailand and stay in Phuket town for longer should apply for a 60-day Tourist Visa from the Royal Thai Embassy.

What should I prepare before visiting Phuket?

Before entering Phuket, make sure you brought with you proof of COVID-19 vaccination and your passport. If you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, you may be required to take an RT-PCR or ATK test.

What is the island of Phuket best known for?

Phuket is known across Southeast Asia for its blue waters, beautiful beaches, traditional Thai food and spicy culture. It is also an excellent destination for people who wish to go island hopping, climb limestone cliffs and take cooking classes.
Apart from visiting Phuket’s best beaches, the island is also the gateway to James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay. The small needle-shaped island earned its moniker after it appeared in the 1974 hit “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

What is the best thing to do in Phuket?

If you feel sporty, try surfing along the west coast of Phuket. Generally, there are surfboard rental shops along the beach. The price of renting a surfboard ranges from 100 to 300 THB.

What are the best tourist areas to visit in Phuket?

There are plenty of must-see attractions on Phuket island. However, to get the whole experience, you should take some time to visit the following places
Patong Beach – Kata Beach – Kata Noi Beach – Bang Tao Beach – Karon Beach – Nai Harn Beaches
Locations in the city
Old Phuket Town – Phuket Weekend Market – Phuket’s Big Buddha – Cape Panwa – Sirinat National Park – Bangla Road
You can also head to Phi Phi Islands (Koh Phi Phi) or Krabi from Phuket via boat rides.

What is the currency used in Phuket?

The currency in Phuket is Thai Baht (THB), the same currency used throughout Thailand. Therefore, it is recommended that you exchange your currency before travelling to Phuket.
If you need to exchange currency upon or after arrival, you can exchange your home currency at the Phuket International Airport and local banks.

What are the payment methods in Phuket?

Besides paying in cash, some hotels and resorts also accept debit cards and international credit cards. However, Thai banks may charge service fees and other additional fees if you use globally accepted credit cards.

What should I avoid in Phuket?

Before travelling to Thailand and Phuket, one of the foremost things you should remember is never to disrespect the Thai Royal Family. Any sign of disrespect can have consequences, including possible jail time.
Another thing to remember is never to bring your shoes inside temples. While it is not as common practice now as it was a decade ago, some establishments still follow this rule. When in doubt, check if there are shoes in front of the shop.

How much should I budget for Phuket?

A solo traveller looking to spend a week-long holiday in Phuket should expect to pay around USD 1,455. A couple taking the same trip would likely spend USD 2,613, while a family of four could spend USD 4,899.

Do I need a driving license to rent a bike or car?

Many bike and car rental shops would accept a home driving license. However, people driving using a home driver’s license may be asked to pay a fine of THB 500 if they are caught by police officers.
Additionally, insurance would not work in the case of an accident if you only have a home driving license.

What plug types are used in Phuket?

Phuket, as well as the rest of Thailand, uses 220V AC electricity. Most outlets feature two-prong round or flat sockets.

What happens if I overstay in Phuket?

A person who overstays in Phuket may be asked to pay a fine of THB500 per additional day for the next 40 days and THB 1000 beyond that.

What food-ordering apps are available in Phuket?

There are five frequently used food delivery service apps used in Phuket, including Food Panda, Grab Food, WeSerce, Line Man and Aroi Dee.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Phuket?

The general consensus is no. It is highly recommended that you purchase bottled water from convenience stores.

What are the dishes I should absolutely try in Phuket?

People who visit Phuket should try their famous Pineapple Fried Rice, Tom Yam Kung and Fried Curry Crab.

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