Visiting Phuket – A City Guide
Phuket, Thailand is ringed by more than 30 white sandy beaches, lapped by the clear waters of the Andaman Sea. But Thailand’s largest island is much more than a sun-seeker’s paradise. It also has its own rainforest, and the lively main settlement, Phuket City, has a rich cultural history.
Phuket: Layout and Top Attractions
Phuket and its resorts are best known for clean, family-friendly beaches
and the warm sea, ideal for sunbathing, swimming or snorkelling. Along the coast, many bathing areas are fringed by Casuarina trees that act as natural sunshades. Inland, the island is filled with forested hills and limestone cliffs.
Most hotels in Phuket are found in popular resort towns, such as Patong and Kata, in the south and west. Beaches further to the north, including Mai Khao, are often more tranquil and laid back. Phuket City occupies the southeast corner of the island.
Redeem your IHG®
Rewards Club points for a honeymoon or family vacation at a MaiKhao or Panwa Beach resort just steps away from the sea.
A world away from the bustling resorts, you can commune with nature in Khao Phra Thaeo National Park
, a rainforest reserve in northeast Phuket.
Eating Out in Phuket
Phuket has restaurants for every taste, serving Western and local food. Every Thai meal is freshly prepared with aromatic herbs and hot spices, and invariably delicious. You can opt for a local favorite like Pad Thai at a noodle stall or order dinner with fine wines at one of Patong’s sophisticated, air-conditioned restaurants.
Seafood, including fresh lobster and crab, is the highlight of menus at outdoor beachside restaurants in every resort. You’ll find the highest concentration in Patong, which also has a night market that’s one of the best places to sample local Thai cuisine in more informal surroundings.
For regional island specialities, try the markets and restaurants in Phuket City.
Shopping in Phuket
Shopping in Phuket means a visit to local shops and markets that sell everything from clothing and food to luxury silks and souvenirs. Popular local handicrafts include lacquerware, ceramics and items made from beachcombed seashells. Haggling in markets is expected; prices in shopping malls and department stores are fixed.
While most Phuket resorts have some shops and market stalls, you’ll find the widest choice in Patong and Phuket City. There are several shopping malls in both, including Jungceylon
in Patong and Central Festival Phuket
in Phuket City.
Leisure in Phuket
The island’s clear waters are perfect for beach lovers and watersports enthusiasts, with many great spots for scuba diving
, a family-friendly club on Bang Tao Beach, features DJs, live music and a convenient play area for children. Trendy RE KÁ TA
, a club and restaurant on Kata Beach, serves freshly prepared, preservative-free food and plays some of the island’s best music.
For a break from the beach, make a day trip to Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. You can marvel at the beauty of Ton Sai and Bang Pae waterfalls, or challenge yourself by hiking an eight-kilometre rainforest trail.
Beside Bang Pae falls is the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
, where abandoned pet apes are returned to the wild.