A guide to Phuket: Where to go and how to get there

It’s never a bad time for an island getaway. When people picture Thailand, they’re imaging white beaches, fresh coconuts, and daily massages. Phuket ticks all the boxes for an indulgent vacation where nature meets luxury, giving you the chance to get your tan on and dive deep into a tropical paradise.

In this guide, we’ll share some hotspots and activities that will make your trip to Phuket unforgettable. While the island may have earned a reputation for being over-crowded with tourists, there are still many ways to enjoy this area that focus on the exquisite details of what Phuket has to offer. If you love traveling to experience extraordinary moments, this island oasis is definitely the destination for you.

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Best Time To Visit Phuket

When you think of a beach vacation, you’re probably looking forward to clear skies and sunny days. Ironically, when most of the northern hemisphere thinks of December to February as the cold winter months, that’s actually the best time to visit Phuket. There’s hardly any rainfall and the weather is comfortably warm without being unbearably hot. If you enjoy diving, this is also the period with the best visibility. If you want to avoid those peak season months though, you can also plan your trip for September or October, towards the end of the monsoon season. What’s a little rain when you can have some peace and quiet in paradise without the tourist crowds (and peak pricing)? Celebrating the Loy Kratong Festival in November on a tropical island is also an unforgettable experience. With a full moon and candle-lit floating lanterns riding the waves out to sea, it’s a magical night for making wishes and enjoying traditional Thai customs.

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Places You Should Visit In Phuket

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It’s easy to get distracted by the sparkling blue ocean and sunny beaches of Phuket, but the inner city’s Sino-Portuguese architecture is just as rich in aesthetics. Take a stroll through the Old Town, where buildings like colonial shophouses and mansions have been carefully preserved. Soi Romanee and Thalang Road are two of the best streets to wander down for a glimpse of what Phuket looked like in the 1800s.

On Sunday evenings, Thalang Road transforms into a bustling street market filled with food, crafts and souvenirs. If you’re looking for something to do on a weekday night though, check out the Chillva Market, a little outside Old Town to the north, for shopping and eating oriented to a younger crowd. They’re open Wednesday to Sunday nights, with many vendors being creative students with their unique designs for sale

Everything about Phuket encourages you to let loose. Besides spa treatments, massage therapy and yoga sessions, you can also grab a drink when the lights come on and the island turns into a vibrant party scene.

Whether or not it’s your cup of tea, you can still walk through Bangla Road in Patong to see where the inspiration for movies like “The Hangover” come from; just be aware of scams and shady offerings. For a more low-key night vibe, visit the bars above Kata Noi Beach known for spectacular views – particularly of Phuket’s amazing sunset.

Island destinations can sometimes feel a little over-commercialized. But with an island as big as Phuket, there are definitely a few hidden gems that are still unclaimed by people looking to capitalize on paradise.

Nai Yang Beach is near the airport and offers long stretches of sand with little development. You can also catch planes flying in and out while you lie tanning in the sun. A little further south is Nai Thon Beach, where the scenery is a mix of grassy jungle and white sand. The drive in takes you through a little village, into lush greenery, and then to the coastline. Closer to city center is Nui Beach is a meticulously maintained area by the Water Beach Club, which means it’s super clean and offers a variety of water and land activities like snorkeling and massage all in the little cove.

Now for the real reason you’re going to Phuket: sun, sea and sky. While Phang Nga Bay’s natural ecosystem has taken a big hit from tourism damage, leading to the closure of Maya Bay to recuperate, there are still many ways to enjoy the beauty of the bay responsibly.

Instead of the normal island-hopping speedboat cruises, reduce your carbon footprint and get even closer to nature with a kayaking or paddling tour that takes you into the caves and mangroves of Phuket. These tours often visit smaller islands, where there are plenty of waterfalls and jungles to explore. For an unforgettable sunset, try spending it snorkeling in the water among schools of fish and coral reefs.

If you have a bit more time to spend exploring Phuket, take a trip to Khao Sok National Park. It’s a 3-hour car ride away, but the landscape is totally worth it. Thailand’s largest areas of virgin forest are here, and parts of it are among the oldest rainforest in the world, even older than the Amazon.

Home to many species of exotic wildlife, including Asian elephants, deer, bears, cats, boars and birds, Khao Sok National Park is teemed with breathtaking sights everywhere you look. Here you can hike, go wildlife watching, explore caves and waterfalls, and enjoy the water around the many lakes within. You can even engage in an ethical, chain-free elephant encounter that is more respectful to the majestic animals than other riding or feeding activities that go on elsewhere around Thailand. There’s a lot to see, so most tours are 2-3 days long for the best experience.

It’s easy to get distracted by the sparkling blue ocean and sunny beaches of Phuket, but the inner city’s Sino-Portuguese architecture is just as rich in aesthetics. Take a stroll through the Old Town, where buildings like colonial shophouses and mansions have been carefully preserved. Soi Romanee and Thalang Road are two of the best streets to wander down for a glimpse of what Phuket looked like in the 1800s.

 On Sunday evenings, Thalang Road transforms into a bustling street market filled with food, crafts and souvenirs. If you’re looking for something to do on a weekday night though, check out the Chillva Market, a little outside Old Town to the north, for shopping and eating oriented to a younger crowd. They’re open Wednesday to Sunday nights, with many vendors being creative students with their unique designs for sale

Now for the real reason you’re going to Phuket: sun, sea and sky. While Phang Nga Bay’s natural ecosystem has taken a big hit from tourism damage, leading to the closure of Maya Bay to recuperate, there are still many ways to enjoy the beauty of the bay responsibly.

 Instead of the normal island-hopping speedboat cruises, reduce your carbon footprint and get even closer to nature with a kayaking or paddling tour that takes you into the caves and mangroves of Phuket. These tours often visit smaller islands, where there are plenty of waterfalls and jungles to explore. For an unforgettable sunset, try spending it snorkeling in the water among schools of fish and coral reefs.

Everything about Phuket encourages you to let loose. Besides spa treatments, massage therapy and yoga sessions, you can also grab a drink when the lights come on and the island turns into a vibrant party scene.

 

Whether or not it’s your cup of tea, you can still walk through Bangla Road in Patong to see where the inspiration for movies like “The Hangover” come from; just be aware of scams and shady offerings. For a more low-key night vibe, visit the bars above Kata Noi Beach known for spectacular views – particularly of Phuket’s amazing sunset.

Island destinations can sometimes feel a little over-commercialized. But with an island as big as Phuket, there are definitely a few hidden gems that are still unclaimed by people looking to capitalize on paradise.

Nai Yang Beach is near the airport and offers long stretches of sand with little development. You can also catch planes flying in and out while you lie tanning in the sun. A little further south is Nai Thon Beach, where the scenery is a mix of grassy jungle and white sand. The drive in takes you through a little village, into lush greenery, and then to the coastline. Closer to city center is Nui Beach is a meticulously maintained area by the Water Beach Club, which means it’s super clean and offers a variety of water and land activities like snorkeling and massage all in the little cove.

If you have a bit more time to spend exploring Phuket, take a trip to Khao Sok National Park. It’s a 3-hour car ride away, but the landscape is totally worth it. Thailand’s largest areas of virgin forest are here, and parts of it are among the oldest rainforest in the world, even older than the Amazon.

 Home to many species of exotic wildlife, including Asian elephants, deer, bears, cats, boars and birds, Khao Sok National Park is teemed with breathtaking sights everywhere you look. Here you can hike, go wildlife watching, explore caves and waterfalls, and enjoy the water around the many lakes within. You can even engage in an ethical, chain-free elephant encounter that is more respectful to the majestic animals than other riding or feeding activities that go on elsewhere around Thailand. There’s a lot to see, so most tours are 2-3 days long for the best experience.

Top-Rated Hotels In Phuket

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Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo

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The Capitol Hotel Tokyu

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Hoshinoya Tokyo

Shin-Nihonbashi, Tokyo
Ultimate 5-star Ryokan in the City Centre
$ $ $ $ $

Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo

Ginza,Tokyo
A Taste of Modern Luxury in Ginza
$ $ $ $

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu

Akasaka, Tokyo
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Phuket Travel Tips

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How To Get Around Phuket

Technically, the little red cars known as tuk tuks in Phuket are actually songthaews, not the three-wheeled vehicles seen in other areas of Thailand. They are better equipped to handle the hilly terrain on the island and can take you from point to point quickly. Make sure you agree on a price before you get on board though.

When traveling, Uber is your best friend. However locals prefer using Grab, which connects you to both Grab cars, local taxis and motorcycle taxis through a similar platform. Grab allows you to pay in cash as well. Using apps instead of hailing a taxi on the street saves you the hassle of trying to communicate your destination with the driver and helps you avoid being scammed by drivers who refuse to go by the meter.

The larger, blue buses which are full-sized songthaews are open-air and are a cheap way to get around. Destinations are written on the buses but you can also ask the driver to stop anywhere along the route – it’s quite casual.

When you’re island hopping, it’s the only way to get around. Most tours operate private speedboats or longtail boats, or you can hire a boat to take you directly to an island without a tour, but there are also public ferries that connect the larger islands to each other as well.

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