amazing combination of green hills, emerald seas, golden beaches and jungles
Let the biggest island of Thailand take you on an adventure of a lifetime! Don’t believe the hype that all you get there are endless parties and sun burns! With its dramatic coastline, breathtaking scenery, cordial people who are masters of hospitality, it is no surprise many consider it paradise. But in 2004 this Eden turned into hell when the power of nature claimed its toll. At least 250 people died in the catastrophic tsunami that followed the earthquake and shattered the tourism industry. However, the island has recovered and is now again on the wish list of many.
In fact, it is probably the most touristy spot in Thailand, yet the “commercialization” has let its charm intact. Phuket is large and offers more than parties and crowds. Patong is its biggest city where you can enjoy the bustle of urban life. But the island offers stunning natural beauty. With all the prettiest shades of blue water, karst and sandy coastline, and eye-catching sunsets, Phuket pleases all tastes.
If you’re about to go and explore the tropical island life of Phuket, then the following travel guide will ease your decision on what to do and see.
Things to do in Phuket
Relive the old days
..by visiting the Old Phuket town. It is often overlooked, but it really shouldn’t be. The town is charming with its one of a kind combination of old and new. Here simplicity meets sophistication. Travel back in time when you stroll on its picturesque streets, with colorful houses that are so unusual for this part of the world, and enjoy in the vibrant, but a relaxed buzz of the city.
Soak up the sun
..and let your worries slip away at one of the many superb beaches of Phuket. If you like sand under your toes, you should head on the west coast. Some of the most exclusive and popular sandy beaches are there. Banana Beach, Nai Thon Beach, Kata Noi Beach, or Kamala Beach- to name a few. If you prefer peace and quiet, you can find some hidden gems around the island. Be extra careful from May to October, during the rainy season, as the sea is rough. Rip currents are common and the majority of beaches don’t have lifeguards, so pay attention to the red warning flags.
Party like there’s no tomorrow
Phuket is Thailand’s Ibiza- an island of eternal fun, excitement and ongoing parties. When the sun sets, the party begins. Go-go bars, cabaret shows, discos, clubs, famous bands, and DJs,… They all make sure to keep up with its festive reputation. Most known and famous is Patong’s Bangla Road, where the loud music and the flashy neon lights dictate the rhythm of the party.
The Andaman Sea, where parts of Phuket lay, is a special Thai natural treasure. With its dazzling islands, bewitching beaches, and crystal clear waters, it is a magnetic attraction. As the island is the base for sailing to this precious Thai jewel, you should definitely seize the opportunity and explore its beauties.
Thanks to Phuket’s rich history, there are numerous museums you can go to, such as Thalang National Museum, Phuket Mining Museum, Phuket Seashell Museum, Phuket Post Office Museum, or have fun at Trickeye Museum!
Phang Nga Bay
..is a scene from dreams, only that it is real. Sheer limestone karsts jutting vertically out of the emerald green water are not to be missed. If possible, it’s best to stay away from the standard bus-boat tours. This way you can have a relaxing day and enjoy the quiet beaches at your own pace.
Khao Phra Thaew reserve
..is perfect for those looking for a jungle-like adventure, as this virgin rainforest on north Phuket is striking in its pristine beauty.
Because of its fame, Phuket is very like going to be the most expensive part of your Thai vacation. However, you can find many affordable options and stay inland will cost you less. Since the competition is high the business owners are forced to keep their prices within normal ranges.
Food is inexpensive. Once again, it’s all down to location. Places across the fancy resorts, don’t charge as much. Prices of the meals vary between 2 to 5 or 6 USD for breakfast and lunch or 9 USD for a dinner. Surprisingly, drinks are not too expensive. To save some extra bucks, take advantage of the happy hours or buy alcohol at stores.
Is fairly inexpensive, with prices for the taxi from the airport to the beach resorts starting between 19 and 29 USD. If you’re traveling on a budget, a shared minibus will probably be your preferred option as it won’t cost you more than 6 USD. Local bus- although not the most comfortable- will cost you even less, usually under 2 USD. Tuk tuks are available here as well, and the starting price is around 9 USD for a 3 km ride.
It all depends on what you decide. Like mentioned, the Big Buddha is free of charge but you can leave a small donation. Others activities might cost you more, especially during the high season. Going on tour with agencies is more expensive, although it takes some worrying about planning and organization off your chest.