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.

Phuket key facts

Time difference

GMT +7 hours

Currency

Baht

Flying time to destination

11½ hours

Language

Thai. English is widely spoken at beach resorts.

Passport & visas

•   You need a full EU 10-year passport. We recommend that the expiry date is at least six months after your arrival back in the UK.
•   You only need a visa if you’re staying longer than 30 days (29 nights), and you can get one from the Thai Embassy.

Phuket good to know

Health and vaccinations

No vaccinations are compulsory but some are recommended. For more information, contact your GP or a specialised vaccination centre.

Tipping

Tip porters and hotel staff if you’re happy with their service. If a service charge isn’t added to your restaurant bill, tip 10-15%.

What to wear

•   Dress neatly in all religious shrines - never go shirtless or in shorts, hot-pants or other scanty attire.
•   Take off your shoes when entering private Thai homes, chapels that house Buddhist images, and mosques.