Heading to Thailand’s biggest island for your next vacation? Or just dreaming of that fantastic trip to Phuket you’ll take some day? Phuket, with its white-sand beaches, glorious climate and wealth of things to do, is on everyone’s wish-list. Here are our 10 top tips for enjoying Phuket to the max.
1. Choose Which Beach to Visit
Of course, you’re not going to stop at one beach if you’re in Phuket for more than a few days. But it pays to find out where the best beaches are, depending on your taste, so you can enjoy more of what you like and less of what you don’t. If you are looking for the busy, popular beaches with all the amenities, head to the West Coast. Surin Beach is fringed with palms and is ideal for swimming in the high season (paddling at other times when the ocean is rougher), and Layan Beach is particularly beautiful in the Sirinat National Park. Kata and Kata Noi beaches are a little further along the road and are quieter. Close to the island’s southernmost point is Nai Harn Beach, which is next to the charming town of Rawai.
2. Take a Trip to a National Park
Khao Phra Thaeo National Park is a fantastic place to visit – featuring lush rainforests, calm and tranquil pools, waterfalls, and wildlife like elephants. Khao Phra Thaeo is in the north of the island.
3. Visit Phuket Old Town
Many tourists miss Phuket Old Town off their trip list but this is a mistake. Phuket Old Town is a beguiling mix of colonial architecture and traditional Chinese style buildings. The old-fashioned shop houses now feature art galleries, small boutiques, and coffee shops as well as a range of restaurants serving mouth-watering food.
4. Don’t Miss the Turtles
You can witness the hatching of baby sea turtles on three of Phuket’s protected beaches, during the hatching season. Turtles go back to the beach they originally were born to lay eggs that hatch after around 60 days. The season is from November to February – you may be able to carefully watch the turtles but it is important to remember that these are endangered species that must be treated with respect.
5. Sort Out Airport Transportation
You will most probably need to take a ride that lasts up to an hour to get to your hotel from the airport. Phuket is a large island and it can be expensive to get a taxi for this trip. If the hotel offers a pick-up service, use it as it will probably be more economical. Otherwise you can get a metered taxi from outside the airport, or take the airport bus service which goes to Phuket Town with a lot of stops.
6. Diving Tips
Phuket is an ideal location for diving and it attracts thousands of divers every year. An excellent dive excursion is to Phi Phi Islands (where The Beach was filmed). You’ll find a whole host of PADI schools on Phuket if you are a beginner diver.
7. Don’t Miss the Night Market
Thalang Road in Phuket Town boasts some historic streets that are great for wandering. And at night, the streets come alive for a market that provides a mouth-watering array of food dishes.
8. Check out the View at Promthep Cape
The Cape stretches out into the sea on Phuket’s southernmost point. Promthep Cape is regarded by many to be the most beautiful spot on the island itself and you can see for miles on a clear day – often across to the Phi Phi Islands.
9. Get Around Easily
You may need to use transportation to get around the island – you can rent a car or a motorbike for the duration of your stay, or for a few days. Otherwise, there are taxi bikes and tuk tuks for quick trips. Taxis are also an option. For all modes of transportation, make sure you are not paying too high a price and don’t be afraid to negotiate.
10. Swimming in Phuket
The high season is ideal for swimming in Phuket as the waters are calm and clear. It is important to swim only in designated areas on busy beaches to avoid jet skis and other water craft. In the low season the water gets rougher and it is often unsafe to swim during this time.
For more information and to book your dream hotel on Phuket, check out Phuket On. Find out how to find the best restaurants, hotels, beaches and more with Phuket On.
Featured image via Didier Baertschiger / Flickr