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Thailand Holidays - Phuket Beach Holiday Deals - aerial view

Phuket Holidays

Reference WW39678
Phuket Holidays

In the Andaman Sea off Thailand's west coast, the holiday hub of Phuket, or the 'Pearl of the South' as it has become known, is connected to the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge. Thailand's largest island, Phuket is incredibly diverse with rocky and sandy beaches, tall cliffs, forests, waterfalls and temples.

Phuket caters to all, with a variety of holiday resorts offering accommodation from backpackers and simple guesthouses to modern luxury hotels, though the beachfront bungalows on unspoilt stretches of white sand are rarer now than they used to be. There are numerous activities in or near Phuket to enjoy on holiday, including mountain biking, bungy jumping and golf. It is even possible to go elephant trekking. A variety of tours offer day trips to the cliffs of nearby Phang Nga Bay, Koh Phi Phi, and the beaches and islands around Krabi. There is plenty to do on the island, whatever your budget and several offshore islands are good for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Phuket has a huge variety of goods and shopping establishments, from markets and street stalls to department stores and specialist shops, and a range of restaurants from Thai seafood to Indian and Western cuisine. Phuket also has its own airport, making it easy to get to and from Bangkok, and although the island hosts thousands of tourists in peak season, its sheer size allows visitors to escape from the madding crowds. Patong Beach is the island's most famous and developed beach resort, offering a wide choice of holiday activities, dining options and nightlife. It is situated nine miles (15km) from Phuket City.

Our selection of hotels in Phuket:

Detailed City Overview

Phuket in Detail

In the Andaman Sea off Thailand's west coast, the holiday hub of Phuket, or the 'Pearl of the South' as it has become known, is connected to the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge. Thailand's largest island, Phuket is incredibly diverse with rocky and sandy beaches, tall cliffs, forests, waterfalls and temples.

Phuket caters to all, with a variety of holiday resorts offering accommodation from backpackers and simple guesthouses to modern luxury hotels, though the beachfront bungalows on unspoilt stretches of white sand are rarer now than they used to be. There are numerous activities in or near Phuket to enjoy on holiday, including mountain biking, bungy jumping and golf. It is even possible to go elephant trekking. A variety of tours offer day trips to the cliffs of nearby Phang Nga Bay, Koh Phi Phi, and the beaches and islands around Krabi. There is plenty to do on the island, whatever your budget, and several offshore islands are good for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Phuket has a huge variety of goods and shopping establishments, from markets and street stalls to department stores and specialist shops, and a range of restaurants from Thai seafood to Indian and Western cuisine. Phuket also has its own airport, making it easy to get to and from Bangkok, and although the island hosts thousands of tourists in peak season, its sheer size allows visitors to escape from the madding crowds. Patong Beach is the island's most famous and developed beach resort, offering a wide choice of holiday activities, dining options and nightlife. It is situated nine miles (15km) from Phuket City.

Getting Around in Phuket

Public transport is quite limited in Phuket. Local buses, in the form of converted pick-up trucks (songthaews), operate along set routes and are a convenient and cost-effective means of getting around. The destination of the songthaew should be written in English on the front of the vehicle. Tuk-tuks are popular on the island, but they are not metered and it's not uncommon for drivers to overcharge unsuspecting passengers. It's best to negotiate a fare before getting in the vehicle. Although not as common as songthaews and tuk-tuks, metered taxis are available in Phuket. Drivers are sometimes reluctant to use the meter, and it's best to agree on the fare before embarking on a journey in a taxi. Motorbike taxis are a cheaper means of getting around the island. Car and motorbike hire is available on Phuket and both offer a good means of getting around the island.

Nightlife in Phuket

Phuket's nightlife is second only to Bangkok for the sheer buzz. The liveliest resort area in Thailand, the larger towns on the island offer plenty of entertainment into the wee hours of 5 or 6 am. Many restaurants and markets also stay open until 11 pm, enhancing the festive atmosphere.

The epicentre of Phuket's nightlife is Patong Beach, and within the town, Bangla Road is the main concentration of bars and clubs, ranging from seriously dodgy beer bars to upscale cocktail lounges, as well as pumping nightclubs, rowdy karaoke bars, gay bars, jazz clubs, relaxed pubs and go-go bars. At the top end of Bangla Road are several side-by-side establishments to party into the early hours. Paradise Complex is Patong's gay area, with more than 50 bars, karaoke clubs, restaurants and discos.

The bars and nightclubs in Phuket have gotten stricter in the last few years about carding patrons, especially in venues offering more than food and drink. Tourists should take care not to go out alone at night, and to keep an eye on their drinks at all times.

Shopping in Phuket

While not on the same level as the legendary shopping in Bangkok, Phuket is still a great place to find bargains in Thailand. The island has everything from air-conditioned shopping malls to noisy night bazaars and open-air village food markets.

The best place to find Thai silk and other traditional Thai souvenirs in Phuket is Kamala Beach. Cheap souvenirs like hats and scarves are available along the beach walkway in high season, and there are a number of shops near the beach restaurants selling sarongs, toys, and hand-carved items. There are even shops along Kamala's main road that will turn out copies of your favourite suit remarkably quickly.

One popular souvenir from Phuket is pearl jewellery, available locally from the Phuket Pearl Factory in Sapam.

There are two main shopping malls in Phuket: Central Festival Phuket and Jungceylon Shopping Center. Central Festival Phuket is dominated by a single Central Department Store selling everything from silk sarongs to designer watches, while Jungceylon Shopping Center has more than 200 stores offering everything you can think of, from pirate DVDs to perfume.

Most department stores and shops have fixed prices, however, market stalls and street vendors are willing to bargain anywhere from 10-40 percent off the original price.

Sightseeing in Phuket

Many visitors come on holiday in Phuket simply for the beaches, but there are many things to see and do in Phuket out of the water. Phuket's long and fascinating history is detailed at the Thalang National Museum, while the island has almost 40 Buddhist temples, including the famous Wat Chalong. The 147-foot (45m) Big Buddha is also a popular attraction, visible from most of southern Phuket.

Phuket has rightly earned its reputation as a paradise for outdoor activities, and visitors will enjoy exploring some of the biggest waterfalls in Thailand, and other pastimes like fishing and hiking. Also interesting are the Muay Thai boxing matches staged in Saphan Hin Stadium.

Fun in the sun and sea is the main attraction of Phuket however, and there is no end of opportunities for snorkelling, scuba diving, cliff diving, sailing kayaking and jet-skiing.

Top 5 Things to do in Phuket

Nai Harn Beach - Nai Harn is one of the island's most popular places with in-the-know locals.
Phuket Big Buddha - Phuket's Big Buddha is one of the island's most important and revered landmarks on the island.
Wat Chalong - The most important of the 29 buddhist temples of Phuket is Wat Chalong or formally Wat Chaiyathararam, located in the Chalong Subdistrict.
Karon View Point - Karon Viewpoint (which used to be Kata viewpoint) is one of the most frequented viewpoints in Phuket.
Monkey Hill - Monkey hill is a small but interesting attraction in Phuket where you can go for walk or play with active monkeys around you.

When to Visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Currency Baht
  • Flying time from the UK 12 hours and 40 minutes
  • Primary Language Thai
  • Passport & Visas Brits must have a full 10-year British Passport that's valid for six months after you return to the UK.
Glorious weather, picturesque scenery and tons of different and exciting activities to enjoy, this is Phuket to a tee.
Alistair Lillie - Longhaul Expert