Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, around the same size as Ibiza and The Isle of Man, and it lies in the Andaman Sea on Thailand's Indian Ocean coast. It is also a province which includes 32 smaller islands, many of which are perfect for day trips.
In the past, Phuket was a stopping off point on the major trading route between India and China. And the island retains cultural elements of both countries along with those of the British, Portuguese, French and Dutch whose traders – and buccaneers – were frequent visitors.
It’s a modern, well-developed island with magnificent coves and bays, stunning beaches, incredible cuisine with a truly warm and hospitable atmosphere.
It is warm in Phuket all year round with temperatures ranging between 25 – 34°C (77 – 93°F). Phuket’s weather is typically divided into two distinct seasons, dry and rainy, with transitional periods in between. The seasons are dictated by the tropical monsoon, which is characterized by prevailing winds that blow from the northeast for half of the year, then reverse and blow from the southwest, producing a dry season and a wet season.
The dry season begins in December and usually lasts until March. The northeast monsoon draws cool, dry air from the Asian continent resulting in a slight drop in temperature. This is the high season for tourism in Phuket, when the climate is at its best, characterized by gentle breezes, calm seas and clear blue skies. It is also the coolest time of year.
The transitional periods between the seasons lasts a month or so. During these periods the weather is often hard to predict. The period before the rainy season, around April – May, is the hottest time of year. There may be a lot of rain or none at all. The October – November transition is cooler and usually quite wet.
The rainy season begins in June and lasts until October. The strong winds bring warm moist air from the Indian Ocean and plenty of (warm) rain.
There are more than 30 beaches in Phuket and most of our hillside villas are just a 10 minute or so drive to the nearest beach though you may want explore a number of different areas.
From the popular, party beaches with plenty of activities, to the quiet, serene beaches that are almost empty, you are spoiled for choice. Here’s a selection of the more interesting beaches on Phuket.
The most famous beach in Phuket, it offers more activities than any other beach and has an unrivaled nightlife scene. By day it’s busy with visitors enjoying the various watersports and relaxing on the beach. And in the evening the area is popular with tourists due to its party atmosphere and close proximity to the neon lights of Bangla Road.
Despite being located in the boisterous district of Patong, Freedom Beach is far from what one might expect. A quiet, unspoiled beach, it’s much less accessible than the majority of beaches on the island as land access requires getting in touch with your adventurous side and trekking through a bit of jungle, but it is also reachable by boat – and very much worth the effort.
At around 1.5km long, Kata Beach is big enough never to feel overly crowded and ensures you’ll always have ample space on the beach. It’s ideal for families or those who want a break from the more raucous beaches in the area
Kata Noi Beach
Located to the south of the larger, more popular Kata Beach, it’s much quieter than its neighbour and, whilst still fairly developed, has more of that private, island feel. It’s perfect for day trips to the beach, and the sea here is ideal for activities such as snorkeling and surfing.
Nai Harn Beach
Nai Harn is a small bay with powdery-soft sand and sea that changes from calm in the high season to strong currents in low season, making it a popular spot for Phuket’s surfing and kiteboarding crowd. With much of the surrounding land owned by the Samnak Song Monastery, the area has avoided overdevelopment. Just behind the beach is a lake, where people come to fish and take a ride in swan-shaped pedalos, which makes for a pleasant change of scenery.
Ya Nui Beach
What Ya Nui beach lacks in size, it more than makes up for in beauty. Rather than views of resorts, it features the view of nearby Koh Keyao Noi island. In terms of activities, body-boarding is popular here, as is snorkeling, with some of the best snorkeling to be found out by Koh Keyao Noi, which is only a short kayak ride away.
The sea here gets deeper than in other bays, so be careful if you’re planning on swimming. Surin is an extremely pleasant beach with a number of good restaurants and bars just a short walk away.
Kamala beach has calm, shallow waters making it ideal for families or those who want a relaxing time in the water. With a fishing village nearby, it has retained a sense of authenticity.
A favourite of many who come to Phuket, Karon Beach isn’t quite as popular as Patong but there’s still plenty to do other than sunbathe. The rocky area around the south of the beach is a top spot for snorkeling, but for those who prefer a more high-octane activity it’s possible to rent jet skis on the beach. Whilst the sand might not be as soft as some beaches, the length of the beach means you won’t be short on space.
Laem Singh Beach
If you’re looking for a beach that looks like it’s straight out of a tropical, hidden paradise, Laem Singh beach is the one for you. Inflatables and body boards can be rented from the nearby restaurants, and the snorkeling kits available allow you to take advantage of the clear water and explore the world beneath the waves.
Local Thai Dining
Laem Hin Seafood is one of the best known local seafood restaurants in Phuket, situated on the east coast of the island.
Koh Ang Seafood looks small and narrow, but once inside it’s much bigger than you think. It’s very popular with locals and it’s always busy.
Pak Nam Seafood in Phuket Town is a great Thai restaurant located off the tourist areas. It’s a firm favourite with locals and expat residents.
Kalim Rim Lay Restaurant is a little known local restaurant serving good honest Thai food and seafood at good prices. It’s not far from Patong Beach.
Som Chit Restaurant is famous for its delicious Hokkien Noodle Soup. Som Chit (which is pronounced ‘Som Kit’) is easy to find, near the clock circle in Phuket Town.
Home Kitchen, Bar & Bed is the relatively new project of Chef Daniel Isberg in the northern part of Patong Bay. It’s set in a two-storey building with the second floor shaped as an upside-down boat’s hull, opened to the sea. The food is exquisite and the design of the restaurant is an art form in itself.
Joe’s Downstairs is one of Phuket’s most prominent restaurants enjoying a stunning location on the granite cape that separates Patong from Kalim beach
Acqua is a modern Italian restaurant that is the labour of love of Sardinian-born chef, Alessandro Frau. With clean lines, a futuristic design and great views out over the Andaman, Acqua is a leading contender for one of the most aesthetically-pleasing restaurants in Phuket.
DeDos Restaurant offers one of the best dining experiences in Phuket. It is located on Tinlay Place near the entrance to Laguna Phuket Resort Complex in Bangtao. Run by Pablo Blattman, a Swiss-Bolivian Chef who studied cuisine at the prestigious Paul Bocuse Institute near Lyon in the southeastern part of France, DeDos is a gastronomic restaurant serving dishes that blend French cooking techniques with Mediterranean and Asian influences.
Bampot Kitchen & Bar is a Modern European restaurant and the menu would grace any haute cuisine restaurant in the world. It’s also located at the entrance to the Laguna Resort area of Bangtao Beach.
La Gaetana is one of the best and longest established Italian restaurants in Phuket and is recommended by long-time residents and local Thais. It’s not about the view or the location, it’s all about La Gaetana’s excellent cuisine and very cozy atmosphere.
Blue Elephant is located in a renovated old mansion that oozes mystery and intrigue. It’s the perfect restaurant to celebrate a special occasion.
Mom Tri’s Kitchen at Villa Royale is quite simply unique and one of the most romantic places on the island.
Wok Pagoda is set in a superb location on a hill overlooking Chalong Bay and is the sister restaurant of Mom Tri’s. Both have internationally recognized chefs and their culinary creations are amongst the very best in the country.
La Gritta at Amari Phuket at the southern end of Patong has wonderful views of Patong Bay. Add in excellent Italian cuisine and you get yourself a fabulous, romantic evening.
The Xana Beach Club Sunday Fun Brunch is very much true to its name, providing an enjoyable pool party atmosphere and a great selection of high quality cuisine. It has a street market style of set-up with offerings from around the world.
Coast Beach Club & Bistro at Centara Grand Beach Resort offers panoramic views of the Andaman Sea with local and international delicacies, including freshly landed seafood and grilled meats.
The Sunday Family Brunch at Hilton Phuket Arcadia takes the concept of a family dining experience seriously. As well as being delightful for the grown-ups, thanks to an incredible variety of high-quality cuisine, it is sure to be a memorable meal for the little ones too, with activities and attractions and even a dedicated buffet set out on low-level tables, so everyone can help themselves.
Seafood & Jazz Sunday Brunch at Banyan Tree Phuket has an enviable reputation for its gastronomic delights and attention to detail.
Trisara Resort puts on a palatial spread that showcases international food matched with local specialties. The brunch takes place on the ground floor of this impressive all-villa resort next to the swimming pool and you can enjoy it in air-conditioned comfort or al fresco on the terrace.
Vanilla Sky Bar & Gastro Pub at Cape Sienna is positioned perfectly on the cliffs of Kamala’s Nakalay Bay to take in the stunning Phuket sunsets.
Kata Rocks Bar at Kata Rocks Resort is set on the edge of the resort’s stunning floating swimming pool with unparalleled views of the Andaman Sea. It is chic in design with creative cocktails paired with delicious tapas.
Escape at the Novotel Karon has an extensive cocktail list and an equally impressive tapas and antipasto menu.
360 Degrees at The Pavilions Resort has uninterrupted panoramic views of Layan and Laguna and they serve fantastic tapas and excellent cocktails.
On Top is located on the 7th floor of the Swissotel Resort Phuket on Patong Beach and it has established itself as a firm favourite with locals and visitors.
Gastro Pubs and Bars
There are a plethora of British, Irish and Australian bars in Phuket and many of them serve very tasty traditional pub food at very affordable prices. They take their food seriously and they all have a great range of draft and bottled beers and multiple television screens showing world sports.
On every major street you’re bound to find a diverse range of food stalls. Some are permanent and others move around the city. And you’ll often find tasty snacks being served at these stalls that you won’t find in traditional restaurants. The hot food is cooked in front of you and many of these street hawkers have very loyal local customers. If a stall is busy, there’s a very good reason for that and you should join the queue, you won’t be disappointed.
Phuket Night Life
There are several hot-spots in Phuket for an evening out and they’re all fascinating in their own way. Taking a stroll and stopping off for a drink here and there is a great way to get a feel for each area
Soi Bangla or Bangla Road is at the heart of Phuket nightlife.
The New Tiger entertainment complex is in the famous Soi Bangla in Patong Beach. With three floors dominated by three massive tigers, high ceilings and a lot more room to walk around the New Tiger is party central.
Soi Seadragon is the main street of Patong beach. This is where most Go-Go bars are located. The street is covered over so you don’t have to worry about inclement weather and there are plenty of beer bars in the central part.
Soi Easy is close to the beach and the main attractions are the Hollywood Disco and the Aussie Bar on the second floor.
Phuket Shopping Malls
The five best shopping malls in Phuket feature international brand names at bargain prices, lively entertainment and restaurants serving culinary delights from all around the world.
Jungceylon Mall enjoys an extremely convenient location in the heart of Patong Beach./p>
Central Festival Phuket is situated on the western outskirts of Phuket City, it’s the largest shopping mall in Phuket./p>
Limelight Avenue is a modern shopping mall located on New Dibuk Road in the heart of Phuket City and is just a few steps away from Phuket Old Town./p>
Premium Outlet Phuket is located along the Bypass Road, on the northwestern outskirts of Phuket City, this quaint shopping complex is built like a village and features boutique shops and a few restaurants and bars./p>
Banana Walk is a futuristically designed shopping mall made of stainless steel, aluminium and Plexiglas and is located 100m south of Bangla Road on Patong Beach Road.
Phuket Night Markets
Chillva Market Phuket is a trendy night market with an impressive selection of stalls despite its relatively small size. Located by the side of Yaowarat Road, it has a distinctive look created by the use of colourful shipping containers as shop-fronts.
Phuket Weekend Market is the largest of the night markets on the island
Walking Street is set in a picturesque part of Phuket Old Town and is as much a cultural attraction as it is a great night market. The old Sino-Portuguese houses, which line the 350m road, get lit up in vibrant colours while the spaces in-between them are packed with traditional local food stalls and Thai handicrafts.
Phuket Indy Market is home to independent traders rather than professional merchants and is the closest thing Phuket has to a ‘bring-and-buy’ sale.
Malin Plaza is particularly popular for its food stalls, the tastes are great and the prices are low making it a popular dining spot for budget travellers in Patong.
Phuket boasts a wide range of treatments from simple Thai massages on the beach to independent local spas and award-winning 5-star Resort spas. Here are a few of the most memorable ones on the island. And we can of course arrange for you to have a private massage and spa treatments in your villa which your villa manager will be delighted to arrange for you.
Angsana Spa is an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary massages, Angsana has three outlets in Phuket. Their Spa Laguna outlet is considered the best.
Mandara Spa is hands down the best ‘couple’ spa in Phuket, Mandara has 16 exclusive rooms available only for you and your partner. Located in the famous J. W. Marriott Resort, this spa aims to make your experience as romantic as possible.
Oasis Turquoise Cove Spa
Oasis Turquoise Cove Spa is an award-winning Thai spa chain it’s décor is reminiscent of old Morocco with a central pool and a touch of Thai here and there.
The luxurious Siladon Spa is probably the best day spa in Phuket. Located amidst the mountains, it offers a panoramic view of Patong Bay
Eforea Spa on the beautiful Hilton property is one of the top choices for visitors to Phuket.