From the endless beach umbrellas to the quiet hills, the mud-soaked ATVs and the friendly elephants, Phuket is an island that never ceases to reinvent itself. There is so much to see and do for beach bums, extreme adventure enthusiasts, night owls, culturati and every kind of traveller. No wonder the world comes here to let loose and chill out!
Best of Phuket
1. Patong Beach
The 3,000-metre stretch of sand with endless rows of sun beds and umbrellas is the most famous and most developed beach in Phuket. Patong is not just famous for its pristine beaches, but also for its blinding neon lights and loud music from the town’s bustling nightlife.
2. Karon Beach & Kata Beach
The twin beaches of Karon and Kata are the peaceful southern alternatives to busy Patong. Karon’s high-end resorts and long, unbroken stretch of sand rival nearby Kata’s scenic views and array of bars and restaurants.
3. Ao Phang Nga
Dramatic limestone karst formations springing out of emerald green waters of the Andaman Sea are Phang Nga Bay’s claim to fame. Go on kayak rides that pass through the narrowest openings in the towering formations to discover hidden lagoons!
4. Phuket Old Town
In this historically rich part of Phuket, you will find delightfully preserved private residences, shop houses, temples, public museums and cafés that will take you to Phuket’s fascinating past when Portuguese and British influences were omnipresent 100 years ago.
Phuket is renowned for its seafood restaurants with a wide variety of fish, lobster, prawn and shellfish. Choose from fancy, floating or rustic establishments by the seafront, with scrumptious views to match the delicious dishes. Don’t miss the oysters and crabs served with chillies and an assortment of spices!
6. Promthep Cape
Laem PhromThep is a rocky headland which protrudes out into the sea. Each afternoon, a huge crowd will flock here to wait for the spectacular sunset in this southernmost part of Phuket Island. Don’t forget to check out the lighthouse which houses several maritime collections.
7. Wat Chalong
Don’t pass up the chance to be part of this 19th Buddhist century temple’s colourful history, which has seen miraculous events and violent conflicts amongst Chinese secret societies. The Grand Pagoda houses a relic of the Buddha, while a hall displays statues of the temple’s previous abbots.
8. Similan Islands
Derived from the Malay word for “nine”, the Similans are nine postcard-perfect paradises. While the views above water may not be as dramatic, its underwater kingdom is bound to impress. Ranked among the world’s best dive sites, the Similans also boast the oldest coral reefs in Thailand.
9. Big Buddha
A winding road leads to the top of Nakkerd Hill, where the 45-metre concrete and marble statue looks over the island. If not for the spiritual merit, come for the superb panoramic views. Drop by the golden temple of Wat Chalong while you’re in the area to complete your pilgrimage.
10. Muay Thai
The Art of Eight Limbs is certainly not your average boxing match. A muay thai fight is part ritual, part sport, and a complete must-see for all martial art fans and for those seeking to observe a popular local pastime.
11. Dinner Shows
Ladyboy cabarets, traditional cultural performances or animal shows—there’s much to amuse and entertain in the theatres of Phuket after dark, from the family-friendly to the incredibly outlandish. The most popular ones would be the Phuket Fantasea and Siam Niramit.