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Phuket travel guide

Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, is known for its dazzling white beaches, thriving dive scene (thanks to the surrounding underwater wonders), fresh and fabulously tasty local cuisine, party culture and its deluxe resorts. For the curious traveller, there’s also a world of Phuketican cultural heritage to discover, with museums, historic Sino-Thai mansions, shrines, temples and more. Did we mention the food? Crabmeat curry… spicy Phuket prawns… you’ll never want to leave.If you’re planning a visit, explore our Phuket travel guide and find out how to make the most of your time in this Thai island paradise. We’ve collected the best tips from our travel experts, and have all sorts of suggestions for things to do, the best time to travel, where to stay, getting around and more. We even have a handy guide to Suvarnabhumi Airport (aka Bangkok Airport).

Where to stay

Knowing where to stay in Phuket is essential to shaping your holiday experience. Stay in Phuket Town itself and enjoy close access to the cultural highlights of the region. Alternatively, you can get away from it all by relaxing at an exclusive hotel on one of the smaller islands. Your vacation can even change depending on which beach you stay at. After all, there are places where people party until dawn and places that are more secluded and romantic.

Things to do

From sunrise until well past sunset, there’s plenty to do in Phuket. Unwind with some sunbathing and lazy walks on one of the white-sand beaches, or hop on a boat to explore the different islands in the region. Give yourself time to explore the culture too – both the beautiful temples and the vibrant nightlife.

Travel tips

Before starting your holiday adventure, take some time to brush up on some Phuket travel tips. Knowing little things like how to avoid an upset stomach (buy bottled water and don’t drink the tap water) will help you enjoy a smoother travel experience when on your Phuket holiday. It’s also important to note that Thailand has left-hand driving and the locals are less likely to slow down for amber lights. Instead, they speed up to beat the red light. So be careful if driving a rental car or motorbike.Here’s some key advice for your Phuket holiday that you should bear in mind before...

Getting Around

From the traditional Thai tuk-tuks to the multipurpose minibus, there’s a wide selection of Phuket transport options. Getting around the main island of Phuket is simple, too. It doesn’t take much to arrange a visit to Patong Beach in the west before going to Chalong Bay in the east by jumping on a bus or hailing a taxi. Alternatively, hire a car or motorbike to get around Phuket at your own speed.Walking the island is also an option. Some tourist attractions are within strolling distance of one another and other locations on the surrounding islands are only accessible by foot. Just make...

Where to eat

As a popular holiday destination, you’ll be spoiled for choice when looking for something to eat among Phuket’s food and drink offerings. Pick from street food stalls in the markets to high-end restaurants inside resorts, depending on your tastes and budget. Generally, you’ll get to enjoy fresh local ingredients – especially seafood – when picking your dish. Thai food is famed for balancing salty, sweet, and sour tastes. They also like to cook with a lot of chilies, so if you're not keen on spicy food, politely ask for a milder option.

Shopping

If part of your holiday budget’s set aside for Phuket shopping, start your retail adventure in one of the shopping centres. Here you’ll find local labels and more recognisable international brands – perfect for picking up any last minute holiday items. Go beyond the malls and into the Old Town district and you’ll discover small antique shops and those all-important souvenirs, as well as clothing and crafts. Open-air markets are also a big deal in Phuket, especially in the cooler evenings when streets become vibrant Phuket shopping destinations. Finally, for an extra holiday treat,...

Best time to travel

The weather in Phuket is warm year-round, with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 34°C. Unlike Australia with its four seasons, Thailand only has three distinct seasons: wet, cool, and hot. Despite its tropical location, Phuket doesn’t experience a lot of monsoons. Downpours will generally pass and be followed by more sunshine soon after. While the best time to travel to Phuket is from December until March, you can still enjoy visiting these islands during the low season. Some surfers prefer going around September, as the waves are higher. Whenever you decide to travel to Phuket, the...

Beaches

There are more than 30 Phuket beaches to choose from, so you should be able to discover more than one paradise that suits your holiday beach needs. Some are perfect locations for people-watching, while others are more secluded. It’s easy to spend several days of your holiday swimming in the sea, lounging in the sun and getting massages. There are also smaller islands close to Phuket that are prime for exploration. Either head over to them on a day tour, or take a little more time by staying in a resort for a night or two. Either way, this playground of exotic islands is best seen by...