Visiting Phuket – A City Guide
Phuket 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: city layout and top attractions
Phuket’s biggest draws are its long beaches and 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 the largest and most popular resorts – such as Patong and Kata – in the south and west. Beaches further to the north such as Mai Khao are often more tranquil and laid back. Phuket City occupies the southeast corner of the island.
A world away from the bustling resorts, you can commune with nature in Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, a rainforest reserve in northeast Phuket.
The concierge recommends…
Eating Out in Phuket
Phuket has restaurants for every taste, serving Western and local food. You can eat lunch at a noodle stall, and order dinner with fine wines at one of Patong’s sophisticated air-conditioned restaurants. Whether you opt for soup, salad or curry, every Thai meal is freshly prepared with aromatic herbs and hot spices, and invariably delicious.
The emphasis is on seafood, including fresh lobster and crab, at the outdoor beachside restaurants found in every resort. You’ll find the highest concentration in Patong.
Patong’s night market is a good place to sample local Thai cuisine in more informal surrounds. Just pick the stalls that smell the tastiest.
For regional island specialities, try the markets and restaurants in Phuket City.
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Shopping in Phuket
Phuket’s shops and markets 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 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.
Best night markets in Phuket
Culture & Nightlife in Phuket
As befits a resort island, Phuket’s cultural distractions range from chic cocktail lounges and nightclubs to hedonistic bars and Thai cultural shows. Beach clubs are a popular local phenomenon, usually consisting of a modern restaurant and bar by the sea, serving sunset cocktails with a musical soundtrack.
Patong is the island’s main nightlife hub, with many clubs, bars and discos. Bangla Road is the place to head for the biggest and liveliest. Bars along Beach Road often host live bands.
Top beach clubs in Phuket
Leisure in Phuket
Phuket’s tropical seas are paradise for beach lovers and watersports enthusiasts. But there are also plenty of alternatives, from forest walks to a cultural tour of Phuket City.
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 stretch 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.
Take to the water in Phuket