Spectacular scenery, stunning tropical sunsets and warm blue sea awaits you in Thailand's most popular beach destination. This fun island provides a combination of perfect beaches, superb hospitality, modern facilities, great cuisine and good value accommodation! Phuket, commonly referred to as the 'Pearl of South', is the largest island in Thailand. See our Phuket Property Guide and Phuket Location Guide for more information.
Phuket is the wealthiest province in Thailand. The island's wealth means that is has an excellent infrastructure, great roads, world class hospitals, schools, shopping-centers and all of the other comforts you have come to expect from a western lifestyle. It also has the highest cost of living of any Thai province, although it's still very affordable by western standards and even a modest income from home can make you a person of leisure here. Phuket's location in the Andaman Sea has made it a home for foreigners, and there are plenty of services available to make it easy to relocate to Phuket, whether for a season, a few years or to retire.
Phuket is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims, and to a lesser degree Europeans, Arabs, Indians and sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas are Muslim, while there is a strong chinese influence in the towns and business. Outside of the provincial town, the rural folk speak with a thick Southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand. The provincial town's economy having boomed over the past decade has lead to a lot of the youngsters leading similar lives to those in Bangkok. Altogether, the lifestyle of the urban Thai-Chinese resembles that of Bangkokians. Influx of tourism and western culture has also had a huge impact in the last decade.
Phuket is hot and humid throughout the year. The hot season is generally considered to be from March to early May. During the summer monsoon season from May to October, mornings and afternoons are still sunny and clear, but it tends to rain in the evenings and water clarity goes down. September and October are usually the wettest months of the year, though even during this period the rains are usually broken by off-and-on spells of fine weather. December to May is often referred to as the "high season", as this is the time period where most tourists visit Phuket.
Phuket lies in the Andaman Sea which is part of the Indian Ocean. It is the biggest island in Thailand and the only island big enough to be a province in its own right. The island is 49km long and 21km wide comprising a total area of 570 sq km. including 70 sq km from 39 smaller islands around Phuket. Phuket is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel and connected by the 600-meter Sarasin Bridge.
Entertainment, Activities and Recreation
There is an abundant amount of things to do in Phuket. Below we have listed a few of the main features:
- Scuba diving
- Sailing and Yachting
- Deep Sea Fishing
- Sea Canoeing
- Elephant riding
- Muay Thai training (Thai-boxing)
- Mountain Biking
- Jungle Trekking
- Horse Riding
- Bungy jump
- Health Spa's
- Theme Park's
- Cooking classes
Phuket has a busy nightlife, second only to Pattaya among Thailand's beach resorts. Nearly all the tourist areas have some bars where you can enjoy a drink, though you will need to head over to the larger resort areas such as Patong or Karon for a more vibrant atmosphere. For discos and nightclubs, and the widest variety of bars, Patong is the place to be.
Mai Khao (Sai Kaeo) - near the airport, very quiet (aside from the planes!) and far away from it all
Nai Thon and Nai Yang - two quiet beaches in Sirinat National Park
Bang Thao (Laguna Beach) - long, very quiet beach
Surin and Pansea Beach - an up-and-coming upmarket destination
Laem Sing - small bay with stunning views, between Kamala Beach and Surin Beach
Kamala Beach - a quieter beach to the north of Patong
Kalim Beach - a series of small beaches just to the north of Patong
Patong Beach - the largest beach resort, known for its nightlife
Karon and Karon Noi Beaches - the second most-developed beach after Patong
Kata Yai Beach - busy, clean tourist beach with good surf
Kata Noi Beach - quieter sister of Kata Yai
Nai Han and Ao Sen - a quiet beach (probably the best) in the south, near Phromthep Cape view point
Ya Nui Beach
Rawai, Mittraphap and Laem Ka - set off point for lots of local islands, popular with locals for eating on the beach
Cape Panwa - home to Phuket Aquarium
Ko Bon - 10 minutes from Rawai, an ideal island for a day of snorkeling and relaxing.
Ko Hae (Coral Island) - 15 minutes by speedboat from Chalong Bay, accessible all year.
Ko Lon - quiet, mostly Muslim island with a few bungalows
Ko Mai Thon - gorgeous little island with only one (expensive) place to stay
Ko Maphrao (Coconut Island)
Ko Racha (Ko Raya) - consists of two islands (Yai and Noi), popular with scuba divers and a relaxing snorkeling destination.
Ko Sire (Ko Si Le) - Sea Gypsy colony, connected to the mainland by a causeway
Ko Yao - two islands halfway to Krabi, with four upmarket resorts