Phuket is Thailand’s largest province and one of the world’s most famous dream destinations, with its spectacular vistas, white beaches, blue sea, glistening waterfalls and lush forests. In the past Phuket was a popular trading ground and stop-off point for merchant ships, but today the island generates a large portion of its income through tourism, and it shows! There is a huge range of holiday accommodation available, and the island caters to your every holiday whim - whether you want to scuba dive with schools of colourful fish, detox with juice and yoga, party all night, or just lie on the beach with a cocktail, Phuket will deliver the perfect holiday for you.
Fun Facts about Phuket
- Phuket was originally known as Jung Ceylon, which comes from the Malay title ‘Tanjung Salang’ (Cape Salang)
- The island is the largest in the Southern Thailand region
- In Phuket it is common for beer to be served with ice. While this may seem strange to some, it served an important purpose - without the ice, your beer will be warm within minutes!
- In Thailand it is common for motorcyclists to carry an umbrella in one hand, while using the other to steer
- Drinking beverages from plastic bags is a common sight in Thailand. Many retailers buy larger bottles, and sell smaller servings in plastic bags to make more profit
Where to Stay in Phuket
Whether you want a villa with a sea view, a hut on the beach or a modern town apartment, Phuket has it all. The island has loads of beach areas and they each have their own personality, so decide the type of holiday you want and then match it up with the best area for you to stay in! Popular tourist areas are Patong Beach, which is the party and shopping area; Karon Beach which has some good budget holiday rentals, and Kata Beach, which boasts white sand and clear water and is a favourite with families due to the range of safe family accommodation available. Self-catering and bed and breakfast options are available all over the island, so you can decide how much eating out and cooking you want to do!
Things to Do and See in Phuket
Make sure you take a day to visit the breathtaking Pha Nga Bay. A boat trip from northern Phuket, cruising around the picturesque scenery, will leave you astounded by the natural beauty. Your tour guide is bound to pass by James Bond Island, which found international fame due to its appearance in the Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
Phuket’s towering Buddhist temples are a classic symbol of Thailand. The island features a total of 29 temples, each with its own magnificent beauty. Wat Chalong is a must-see - though it is still an active religious site, visitors are always welcome to come and learn more about Buddhism. Make sure that you take clothes to cover your shoulders, to show your respect to the site.
Muay Thai Boxing is a popular sport throughout the whole of Thailand, and is truly a nail-biting sport to behold. Regular matches can be witnessed in Phuket City, involving highly skilled martial arts professionals. The awesome power and dexterity of these expert athletes is a true spectacle and worth going along to see.
For thrill seekers, don’t miss out on a trip to the Flying Hanuman! Prepare yourself for half a day of exciting abseil drops, mountain climbs and jungle zip lines - fly through the air at top-speed, with towering forests either side of you - you are guaranteed an adrenaline rush like no other!
Before going home, why not take a boat trip to the Ko Yao Yai and Ko Yao Noi islands? You could even get a villa rental for the night and head back to Phuket the next day - a “holiday-within-a-holiday”! These islands are smaller than Phuket, but they have a wealth of their own unique attractions.
Eating and Drinking in Phuket
Thai food is one of the world’s great cuisines, and you will be spoiled for choice during your time on Phuket. As long as you are careful, you should try the street food - from insect delicacies to fresh seafood, to spicy chilli dishes, all of which can be accompanied by a deliciously cold Tiger beer! Fresh fruit can also be bought from fruit vendors, who wander the streets with their mobile stalls. The ice-packed fruit is cool and refreshing, and can be served freshly cut on a skewer. If you are in a self-catering guest house, you will love the wide range of open-air restaurants, so that you can enjoy the beautiful scenery while enjoying a delicious noodle soup or spicy papaya salad.
Phuket is a famous party island, and the nightlife can be as crazy as you want it! For a more sedate experience, rent a villa with a swimming pool and a barbecue so that you can just chill out at home in the evenings rather than deal with the crowds at the famous Patong Beach!
Transport within Phuket is easy, due to an abundance of tuk-tuks - the famous Thai taxis that look like tiny mini-vans. Make sure you agree a price with the driver before getting in - tuk-tuks have no meter! You should get an idea pretty quickly of how much a ride should cost between your apartment and the beach! Renting your own moped is also popular, just be careful as local drivers seem fairly reckless by European standards!>