Phuket is not the first place in Thailand you think of for backpacking. Phuket has world-class resorts, spa vacations, luxury accommodation and all the things you need for a relaxing vacation – but what does it offer backpackers and budget travellers?
You may be surprised to learn that you can travel in Phuket without staying at five star resorts. Phuket is a great place for backpackers, offering good value accommodation and plenty of things to see and do, culture, and the all-important nighttime entertainment. Find out more about why Phuket is one of the best places in Thailand for backpackers.
Phuket: The Expectation
Before traveling on a budget in Phuket you probably have a number of preconceptions. The first is that Phuket is full of luxury resorts and spa hotels, and is geared up towards families and vacationers who like their creature comforts.
This is true, as Phuket offers a great deal of choice in five star resorts and luxury vacation breaks. Phuket is also a magnet for people wanting to lie on a beach for a few weeks, or relax in a spa. But Phuket also offers plenty for backpackers and budget travelers.
Phuket: The Backpacker Reality
Phuket is a prime location for all kinds of vacations and trips, from spa breaks to honeymoons, family vacations to long-term travel. It has an amazing coastline with major resorts and smaller, secluded destinations to explore. It has something for everyone, in fact.
What can you expect from a backpacker trip to Phuket?
If you love beaches, head to the shore at Karon, Patong, Kata, or one of the other popular resort towns. The beaches are not quiet here but they are beautiful and you have a good choice of restaurants, cafes, bars, and beach sports. If you are looking for more seclusion and privacy you can get to a quieter spot, as these are not difficult to find among the many beaches on Phuket.
Check out the Big Buddha on the outskirts of Phuket Town and get a wonderful view over the island from this vantage spot. You can also check out the Big Buddha up close. There is the Phuket Town Weekend Market to explore, and you can also get a great view from the cliffs at Karon Viewpoint. Promthep Cave Viewpoint allows you a fine vista of the north coast, and it is a great place to get to for sunset.
If you are interested in the outdoors and in nature, go to the National Park at Koh Sok – a wonderful location with rainforest, gorges, waterfalls, and treks. You’ll spot plenty of wildlife including monkeys and gibbons, and the bird life is amazing.
Phuket is also your ideal spot for a getaway to nearby islands like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. These are more traditionally “backpacker” islands with plenty of parties and lots of cheap accommodation. They are also very beautiful, and certainly should be on your bucket list.
Backpackers Accommodation in Phuket
Alongside the big resorts and the flashy boutique accommodation there are many options for backpackers and people who choose to spend less on their overnight stays. In all the popular resorts you will find beach huts, hostels, and cheap guesthouses, which vary in quality and price, as well as in facilities.
If you are trying to find a cheap place to stay in Patong you may struggle with quality. The best bet is to go in the off-season when there are better bargains to be found. Or you could skip the tourist haven of Patong and try somewhere quieter instead like Karon or Kata. Here you will have no problem finding somewhere within budget.
If you want a cheaper stay but still benefit from a nice place, try some of the options in Phuket Town. Phuket Town offers good value accommodation since it is slightly less popular than the beach resorts. The town is also a good place for food, drink, and generally soaking up the Thai hospitality.
Eating Out in Phuket
Meals in Phuket can be as expensive or as cheap as you like them. One of the best things about backpacking in Phuket is that you can eat really well for hardly any money. There are plenty of top-class restaurants but there are also many food stalls and cheaper restaurants serving high quality local Thai delicacies, western fare, and dishes from other countries. Eating from food stalls on markets is a great way to sample the variety of dishes that Thailand offers.
Overall, Phuket is a great place to start a backpacking adventure or the ideal spot to recharge your batteries when you have been traveling for a long time. You benefit from creature comforts as well as cheap accommodation and food.
For more information and travel tips for Phuket and Thailand, visit PhuketOn. The PhuketOn blog is your stop for Asian travel inspiration.