A Brief Guide to Phuket

Thailand may have a reputation as a budget destination, but Phuket is definitely the exception. For those who prefer the extra luxury option, Phuket has it in spades. You will certainly notice this with Phuket villa rentals, where the quality (and the price) is comparable to anything you might find in North America or Europe.

In fact, in many cases, it could reasonably be said that the quality of what is on offer will exceed your expectations. When you also consider the tropical island setting, Phuket becomes frankly irresistible.

Sunset at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Mai Khao Beach, Phuket, Thailand

The Lay of the Land

Phuket’s size, as the largest of Thailand’s islands, gives it a unique characteristic of being able to cater to many different tastes and desires. It’s kind of like a real-world version of Fantasy Island, where if you can imagine it, there’s a very good chance you can find it.

Officially, Phuket’s huge expanse is divided into three districts:

  • Muang – the entire south end of the island
  • Thalang – the north end of the island
  • Kathu – a small slice of the central west coast

Less officially, most travelers regard the island as being composed of three distinct zones, according to the geography and types of activities that are mainly encountered in each one. These are:

  • The west coast – beautiful tropical beaches, luxury resorts, non-stop partying and nightlife.
  • The south east – less “touristy” beaches, health spas, fantastic snorkeling and diving sites.
  • The interior – where you go to get away from the crowds and get back to nature.

For most travelers who are just in Phuket for a short visit, the west coast is the place to go, as that’s where most of the action is. Families traveling with children may prefer the south east area, which is a more relaxed and family-friendly environment.

If you’re staying for a longer time, you can find happiness anywhere on the island. While it’s a big island by Thai standards, it’s still very easy to get around, especially if you have access to your own transport. Car and motorbike rentals are available at reasonable rates.

When you need to take a break from relaxing at the beach and partying the nights away, Phuket offers many interesting sights and activities to keep your vacation time fresh and exciting.

Sights to See in Thalang

Some of the most popular places to visit in Thalang include:

  • Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation Project – Who doesn’t love gibbons? There is no fee to visit the Gibbon Project, but admission to the surrounding National Park will cost around 200 baht per person. Open daily, closes early on Saturdays and holidays.
  • Bang Pae Waterfalls – If you’ve just left the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, this is the next logical stop along the path, as it’s also located in the National Park. The waterfalls are not huge, but the scenery is enchanting and you can cool off with a swim in one of the most amazing places you’re ever likely to take one.
  • Thalang National Museum – An interesting museum where you can learn the history of Phuket. Admission is just 30 bahts for adults, while accompanied children can enter for free.
  • Splash Jungle Waterpark – You don’t need to be a kid to enjoy a day of fun at Splash Jungle Waterpark. It’s open daily from 10am to 6pm, and costs 1250 baht for admission.

Sights to See in Muang

Most of the top attractions in Muang can be found in the vicinity of Chalong Bay, near Phuket Town.

  • Big Buddha – Located 3km from Wat Chalong temple, this impressively big statue sits atop Naka Kerd mountain, with glorious views of the surrounding area.
  • Dolphins Bay Nemo – A highly entertaining dolphin show run by ethical operators. Prices are according to how close to the action you are seated, and range from 600 baht to 1000 baht.
  • Old Phuket Town – A great place to enjoy a lazy afternoon tea amidst well-preserved architecture, before visiting the Night Market.

Sights to See in Kathu

Patong Beach is where you’ll find most of Phuket’s tourist population whiling away their days on beach activities before getting their groove on at the nightclubs, bars, and restaurants of Patong by night. But beyond the beach and the big city, Kathu has a few hidden gems to explore:

  • Suwan Khiri Wong Temple – The contrast between this laid back temple and the busy city and beach areas couldn’t be more pronounced. A great place to get away for a bit of quiet time.
  • Flying Hanuman – Ziplining is a popular activity throughout Thailand, and the Flying Hanuman is one of the best zipline experiences. Cost is around 2000 baht per person.
  • Kathu Waterfall – A forest oasis of tranquility, with beautiful views and structures.

Phuket Has It All

Phuket is, in so many ways, the perfect tropical island getaway. With high-quality accommodations, incredible food, great nightlife, wonderful beaches, stunning forests and so much more. Your vacation in Phuket is exactly what you make it, so plan your time well and discover why Phuket is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

About The Author

Mike Richard
Founding Editor
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Mike Richard has traveled the world extensively since 2008. He's camped in the Jordanian desert with Bedouins, tracked African wild dogs in South Africa, and survived a near-miss shark attack in Mexico. He loves the great outdoors, good bourbon, and he (usually) calls Massachusetts home. He also enjoys speaking in the third person.

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