Things to do in Phuket Guide
Island paradise, chilled-out retreat and party capital all rolled into one, Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and the place to go for a fun-filled getaway. One of Thailand's most popular destinations, Phuket is known for its sun-drenched beaches and dizzying array of nightlife. Head to Patong to party, or quieter Karon to soak up some sun - don't forget to explore Phuket Town's Chinese heritage and unique architecture. From temples to Muay Thai and raucous cabaret shows, there’s more to Phuket than just palm-lined beaches. So book your Phuket flights, grab a towel, and discover this absorbing destination.
Hit the sand & work on your tan at…
- Chilled out and calming Karon Beach
- The aptly-named Paradise Beach
- Delightfully secluded Nai Harn Beach
High on the list of things to do in Phuket is spending some time in the party centre of Patong. By day, Patong is your average tourist-lined beach; by night, it transforms into the nightlife capital of Thailand. The almost four-kilometre long beachfront is lined with clubs and restaurants which light up after dark, with the liveliest clubs concentrated around Bangla Road. If partying is not your scene, consider taking a trip out to breathtaking Phang Nga Bay, where a series of spectacular limestone islands jut out of the water.
Party on in Patong and head to…
- The Ice Bar for a chance to cool off
- Soi Sea Dragon for a choice of 45+ bars
- Sin City Bar for the most decadent drinks
Phuket restaurants reflect the diversity of the island's inhabitants, and Western staples abound (for a touch of the exotic, however, try dining on one of the island's famous floating seafood restaurants). Those with a craving for western food will find the greatest range in Patong, and the Bangla Road area is also the place to head for nightlife. There are countless bars and clubs located along the vibrant thoroughfare of Bangala Road, most catering to a specific niche market. As famous for its nightlife as its soft sands stretching towards the Andaman Sea, Patong’s backstreets and sois are packed with popular clubs and bars, teeming with an array of international visitors.
Sup on some sumptuous cuisine like…
- Spicy prawn-packed Tom Yum Goong
- The south’s signature Massaman Curry
- Famously fresh Pad Thai noodles
Phuket accommodation tends to sell out quickly during the high season (January through March), so it's best to book well in advance. As to be expected, Patong offers a wide range of accommodation, from cheap hostels to upmarket hotels. The beaches at Karon and Kata are both quieter than Patong and affordable resort-style accommodation is plentiful. Some of the best deals on Phuket hotels can be found away from the tourist hotspots, with a number of resorts dotted around picturesque Chalong Bay. If you're architecturally-inclined, consider staying in often overlooked Phuket Town, where you'll find the island's best examples of Sino-Portuguese architecture.
Retreat to a luxurious spa at…
- So Thai Spa – perfect for couples
- Oasis Spa Kamala – indulgent massage
- Spa by Burasari – unique flower power
Phuket shopping entails a mix of popular markets and established shopping centres. Traditional wooden puppets are popular souvenirs at the OTOP Market in Patong, while Thai silk is available at Central Festival Phuket in Phuket City and at Patong's sprawling Jungceylon shopping centre. Look out for 'batik' – a traditional Thai cloth typically used to make bright sarongs and bags if you're after an authentic Thai souvenir to bring home. The colourful fabric is readily available in the textile shops dotted around Patong, Phuket City and the southern seaside village of Rawai.
Phuket like a Local
Given that Phuket weather is so inviting, it's tempting to spend most of your time relaxing on the beach. However, if you scratch beneath the surface you'll find plenty more to do. Consider kayaking around the limestone caves in Phang Nga Bay or stretching your vocal cords at one of Patong's popular karaoke bars. Beachside massages are common on the island but for a more holistic experience, consider taking a relaxing yoga or meditation class.