Phuket is the most popular tourist destination in Thailand. There are hundreds of easily accessible islands and many party places that can make you groove whole night. With enormous options of resorts, activities, and places to go, Phuket makes up for the best beach destination.
How to get there?
There is an international airport in Phuket. Most of the flights are direct or via Bangkok. If you are traveling from India, there are many low cost direct flights to Phuket, costs anywhere around 15 to 25 thousand INR for return airfare.
From airport you can take a bus or a taxi to reach your hotel. It takes around one hour and a half hours to reach Phuket town from airport. I travelled with my friends and we had a packaged deal where airport pick and drop was included in a limousine taxi. However if you are traveling solo or haven’t booked any package, then prefer to use orange bus or a metered taxi, it is much cheaper.
Where to stay?
There many properties to choose from which are near Patong beach, Karon beach, or Kata beach. Phuket offers accommodation options right from fancy hostels to classy five star hotels. There is an option for every budget traveller. We had a fantastic stay at Patong Bay hill resort. The pictures below are the views from my room on 3rd floor at the hill. 😍
Phuket offers many options for island hoping, water sports, and night life. Day trip suggestions are:
Phi phi island day trip
Phi phi island or Koh phi phi le is located under Krabi district but is easily reachable from Phuket. Under our package ferry ride to Phi Phi island was included, which did not include snorkeling or stops at any island (we came to know about this only after we reached Phuket). We paid 800 Thai Baht extra for speed boat ride which has two stops for snorkeling, and stops at two islands, and Maya Bay. I suggest you clarify this beforehand while booking a package. Speed boat is definitely better way to reach island as it takes just 45 minutes while ferry takes 2 hours.
When you take Phi Phi island tour they will take you to Monkey island, Phi Phi don, stops for snorkeling, Maya bay, and last island stop for swimming. The island they stop for swimming are very rocky, so it is a good idea to wear swimming shoes.
What I did not like: The boat tour operator does not motivate tourists to do snorkeling. They didn’t even have any arrangements for safety tubes which non swimmers can use. Also no music on speedboats and no much stop at islands. They would leave people behind if anyone is late. I found it rude. As per my experience in Mauritius and Philippines, island tour operators are very friendly and makes it a point that every tourist experience Marine life with required safety.
What I loved: Speed boat ride, Marine life in Phi Phi is beautiful, best for snorkelling and scuba diving, blue lagoons in Maya bay. It’s perfect for island hoping and swimming. Food was good.
Maya bay in Phi Phi islands
Other island day trips available from Phuket are:
- Phang Nga bay and James bond island
- Koh Tao island for full moon parties
- Similans island, considered best for it’s beaches, marine life and certified scuba diving
There are options for liveaboard boats for overnight stay on ocean and island hoping. If you wish to see starry nights from middle of ocean then choose this (Now you know what next I want to do 😉).
Apart from beaches, Phuket has a lot to explore. Here is list of what you can see:
Big Buddha Temple
Do not miss it, it is magnificent. Buddha statue is made of marble tile. It on a hill top and gives divine feeling. Moreover you can do ATV biking near Big Buddha Temple.
Karon view point
That’s one good spot to view the long stretch of Kata beach. The view is fantastic and breeze is refreshing.
There are options like Elephant Sanctuary, Hanuman world Zipline, Promthemp caps for sunset, Wat chalong temple (only if you like to visit temple and little funfair) and Fantasea park.
You can reach any of the places by tuk-tuk or cabs. There is an option to hire a bike if you want to drive and explore on your own, however it is advisable to have an international driving license for it.
Night life scenes
Whether you’re on a solo trip or travelling with friends, go to Bangla road and experience the energy of music, people, and food. The clubs at bangla road play throbbing music which will make you groove. My favorite was Club Illusion.
There are many live music performances, sex shows, massage centres, botox centres, and lot of craziness going on the Bangla road. It is fascinating to see people across the world roaming on a single street.
And there is a beach just opposite of the Bangla road, so in case you want to relax and unwind just go sit at the beach.
- Always bargain. Tuk-tuk charges way too much and often reduces price if you bargain. Same goes for shopping.
- If you renting any equipment or bike, take photograph of it. Even your snorkeling gear.
- Start your day early for island trips. It is always better to be there first before the crowd comes in.
- Do your research beforehand, some places are not worth the time and you can tell your taxi driver to exclude it. For example, Wat chalong temple was not so good, but our taxi driver took us there instead of Promthemp cap which we requested later. It is necessary to fix the location and negotiate beforehand.
So these were my suggestions for planning a trip to Phuket, Thailand. Plan minimum 5 days trip to Phuket if you like to explore all the mentioned islands and culture of Thailand.
Happy travels 🙂