Introducing the city

£1.00 | ฿45.34

GBP | THB

3 * Hotel p/n £15.86 | ฿719.22

One-way ticket £0.67 | ฿30.18

Beer £1.39 | ฿62.88

Main Course £1.33 | ฿60.36

About Phuket

At just under 50km long, Phuket is Thailand's biggest island, jam-packed with an appealing combo of natural beauty and tourist-heavy attractions.

The first thing you'll need to know about this Thai island is that the 'h' is silent in 'Phuket' (just so you can avoid any potential awkward mix-ups in pronunciation). Once you've got that sorted, it's time to look at what this lush rainforest-rich island has to offer.

Attracting some three million tourists every year and home to an international airport, Phuket is one of Thailand's main tourist destinations. In some ways it draws comparisons to Bangkok; busy chaotic streets in high season, a lively (and slightly seedy) nightlife scene in Patong and a luxurious side to match its budget backpacker culture. There's also swanky hotels, high-end restaurants and elegant spas. Yet, the best thing Phuket has to offer is its unparalleled natural beauty; a palm-fringed coastline home to some of the country's most beautiful sandy beaches and calm turquoise waters that are perfect for diving.

So the next time you're thinking whether or not to visit a Thai island, just think - Phuket, I might as well.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

Temperatures are slightly more bearable in December and January in the dry season. However, this is also considered high season so be aware if you want to avoid the large crowds.

Phuket experiences a tropical monsoonal climate. Temperatures remain warm or hot all year round with April to May and September to October being the hottest when average high temperatures sit well above 30 degrees Celsius. Quick thundery showers can occur in any month but the wettest month is September, followed by May and October. Dry season is considered to be between December and March.

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Travioor top tips

Tourist Areas
Food
National Park

Insider Info

  • The main tourist section of Phuket is Patong and this is where you'll also find the infamous Bangla Road nightlife. In high season it's over-crowded and rowdy in the evenings so it's better to avoid here if noise isn't your thing. There are many alternative beaches, villages and areas around the island which may be better suited.
  • If you're on a budget, opt for street food over restaurants. The incredibly cheap street food in Thailand is some of the best you'll experience and is safer than people assume. Street food is fresh and gets cooked in front of you making for a much more interactive dining experience.
  • If you like exploring natural surroundings or have a soft spot for turtles, you'll love the Sirinat National Park in the northwest of Phuket. If you're there in spring, endangered Leatherback Turtles come to lay their eggs here which makes for an unforgettable experience.

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Food and drink

Main Course £1.33 | ฿60.36

3-Course Meal £15.53 | ฿704.22

Cappuccino £1.84 | ฿83.50

Beer £1.39 | ฿62.88

The Scene

The food in Phuket has been heavily adapted to cater to the hordes of international tourists who come here every year. In Patong and other tourist-heavy areas, you'll find an array of international restaurants and well-known branded chains. As Phuket is an island, seafood features heavily on most menus. Of course there are also plenty of authentic Thai restaurants and street stalls selling Thai favourites such as Pad Thai (noodle stir-fry with egg, spring onion, tofu, your choice of meat and peanuts), fried rice and Thai green or red curry. Even if fine-dining is more your thing, you're sure to find a selection of lavish eateries serving world-class cuisine; the variety in Phuket is endless.

As for the drink and the nightlife, it's very much the same. International options and national options are both available and the busiest nightlife scene is in Patong (which unsurprisingly, is also the seediest). Alternatively, a far more upmarket scene can be found in many areas of the island too.

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History

Phuket’s Story

Given Phuket's position between India and China, it has been used as a stopover for a number of years, particularly in the height of the monsoon season. In the 17th century, the Dutch, English and French all sought to trade with what was then known as 'Junk Ceylon' because it was a huge source of tin. The locals knew it as 'Thalang', named after the main town on the island. In 1785, the Burmese attacked Thalang town. Although they failed at their first attempt, they returned some 24 years later driving many residents from their homes. As such, Phuket town grew considerably as a result and overtook Thalang town as the island's main hub to become the centre of tin trade.

The island became known as Phuket when the administrative centre was moved to a mining town called Phuket in the heart of the island and finally in 1916, Phuket became a province. Tourism didn't take off until the 80's which came at a time when the price of tin dramatically fell. Nowadays Phuket is heavily built around tourism but given its large size, there are still many pockets of cultural significance that remind the locals and visitors of life before the tourist industry.

Language

Sa-wùt dee - krúp (m) OR kà (f) | Hello
Koopkhun | Thank you

Thai

The official language in Phuket is Thai, although a southern Thai dialect is used by most. Given the huge tourist industry here, the majority of people also speak English, especially in the main hubs where international visitors are based. You may find some who don't speak any English in the remote areas of the island so it's good to know the basics such as the examples below:

  • Goodbye: Sa-wùt dee krúp (m) Sa-wùt dee kà (f)
  • Please: Ga-roo-nah
  • Yes/No: Châi/Mâi

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Need to know

+66 Dialling Code
191 | 1669 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • An international airport is located on the island.
  • The island is very big so it is by no means walkable.
  • Always be aware of pickpockets and scams, particularly in the Patong area.
  • Dress appropriately when visiting places of worship and temples.
  • Make sure you have proof of departure from Thailand before you get to the airport.
  • You can access nearby islands such as Koh Phi Phi from Phuket.


VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Thailand here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Beaches

Experience the allure of Phuket's beaches, from the tourist-heavy Patong Beach to the hidden gems further afield.

2. Phuket Town

Take in the architecture, culture and attractions at Phuket's vibrant provincial capital.

3. Phang Nga Bay

View the spectacular limestone rock formations which emerge from emerald-green waters on a day tour at Phang Nga Bay.

4. Big Buddha

The drive up to the Big Buddha takes you through quintessential Thailand and the views when you reach the top are incredible.

5. Rawai Village

Visit the cultural, small village of Rawai home to a tribe of sea gypsies, a fishing harbour and a little beach.


See What's On In Phuket