An emerald island of karsts, golden sands and night-time revelry, Phuket is Thailand’s ultimate island playground
Peering out of the plane window, a surprising sight awaits. You might be just an hour from Bangkok, but suddenly the high-rise buildings have disappeared and in its place – an idyll of jade-coloured sea and islands topped with forest green. This is Phuket, Thailand’s biggest island and most popular destination for nightlife and golden beaches.
The word ‘busy’ sums up Phuket nicely. Travellers arrive as though en masse; you only need to step foot in Patong, the original party beach resort, before noticing everyone else. Most first-timers visiting Thailand feel drawn to Phuket and for many, its raucousness is part of its attraction. If you’re curious, you can stroll down one of the main nightclub stretches and watch the spectacle of neon lights, beer bars and dancing, but on an island this big it’s also easy enough to keep away from the hedonism. Stroll around a night market, sampling delicious Thai food and bartering for souvenirs; or spend a day getting into Phuket Town’s growing arts-and-crafts scene. And if you want a dazzling beach with the option of venturing into populated spots when you feel like it, you only need to head 20 minutes north or south down the coast before you find gorgeous, infinitely quieter beaches.
However you want to experience Phuket, talk to us and we’ll help plan your ideal Phuket holiday.
- Relaxing on picture-perfect beaches on a beautifully rugged, emerald island
- A great range of accommodation from serene hideaways to gorgeous resorts with award-winning spas
- Visiting iconic filming spots including Khao Phing Kan and Koh Tapu, known as ‘James Bond Island’ as Scaramanga’s lair in The Man with the Golden Gun, and the paradisaical Maya Bay (closed for coral conservation) from The Beach
- Snorkelling and diving in the Andaman Sea and Phang Nga Bay
- Enjoying the buzz of Patong and its famous nightlife and night market.
Phuket holiday highlights
Imagine a dramatic landscape of gravity-defying karsts rising out of the water, where long-tail boats sail between golden beaches bathed in sunshine. Although Patong – the neon-coloured epicentre of Phuket’s party scene – may occasionally overshadow Phuket’s beautiful scenery, the island is large enough to hide quieter spots for relaxation too. Its beaches – draped in golden sand and lapped by the marine-rich Andaman Sea – are definite postcard material. If you’d prefer a more leisurely kind of play, you can nestle away in Kata, where there’s a friendly vibe and lazy days dipping in and out of an infinity pool is the norm. Then as night approaches, catch one of Phuket’s famous sunsets as the sky is painted dusky pink, yellow and amber.
Where is Phuket?
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, an hour’s flight south of Bangkok. It’s on the west coast of Southern Thailand and is connected to mainland Thailand via the Sarasin Bridge. From Phuket, you can reach smaller islands including Koh Phi Phi in an hour’s speedboat ride, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai in 30 minutes’ speedboat ride, Krabi in 3½ hours by road or up to 2¼ hours by speedboat or ferry, and Khao Lak in an hour’s road transfer. As the island is on the Andaman Coast, it has a tropical climate and is affected by the south-west monsoon; take a look at our best time to visit guide for a monthly breakdown of the weather in Phuket.