Phuket Travel Guide

The largest island in Thailand and only one of two with its own international airport, Phuket, is a popular spot for travellers looking for a classic Asian beach holiday. There are plenty of stunning resorts to suit everyone from honeymooners to party lovers and families, unsurprising Phuket is the first taste of Thailand for many. 

Phuket makes an excellent base for exploring the nearby islands with island hopping and day tours popular activities. The famous James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay and Phi Phi Island, made famous in the film The Beach, top the list of must-see sites for most visitors. The stunning scenery of the limestone karst bays and the unbelievably blue waters are hard to forget.  

9 million people visited Phuket in 2022

about Phuket

With an area of 576 sq. km, Phuket is about the same size as Singapore, but with a population of just 600,000 people compared to Singapore’s almost 6 million!

Phuket Old Town is the island’s primary hub and features stunning Sino-Portuguese architecture, much of the central core has been restored and is a must-see for architecture lovers. The famous Sunday night walking street market is a must-see. It’s also fun to explore the old town on a food tour.

Home of the Blue Elephant Restaurant and Cooking School in Old Town, Phuket

Along with the culture of the old town, Phuket island offers over 30 beaches from the bustling 3 km long Patong Beach, the popular Kata and Karon Beaches in the south, to the quieter beaches such as Mai Khao at the northern end of the island.

Getting to Phuket

Phuket International Airport (HKT) is in the north of the island and 33km from Phuket town. It is a very busy airport with close to 100 flights arriving daily from international destinations, including most Australian cities, as well as NYC, LA, and San Francisco in the USA, and many destinations in Europe.

Domestic flights from Bangkok, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, and smaller cities across the country land daily.

There is an array of rental cars counters at the airport, but if you don’t want to drive there are airport shuttle buses, an express bus service to Patong Beach, a public bus service, and transfer companies to get you from the airport to your hotel.

Getting around Phuket

Getting around Phuket can be a challenge, many people choose to rent a motorbike or a car but if you prefer not to drive, you will find you need to be a little more organised.

Tuk tuks, Songtaews, which are converted pickup trucks designed to carry 6-8 passengers, or Grab rideshare services, are the most popular choices. Prices for taxis are much higher than those in Bangkok and ride share is not the bargain you expect.

You may find it worth booking a private driver to explore the interior of the island. There are also plenty of well operated half day and day tours.

When is the best time to visit Phuket

The best time to visit Phuket is between November and February, during the island’s cool and dry season. In these months, the weather is at its most pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 23°C to 32°C (73°F to 90°F), ideal for beach activities, water sports, and exploring the island’s attractions.

  • November to February: Cool and dry weather makes this the most popular time to visit Phuket, but it is also the most expensive.
  • March and April: the lower visitor numbers and relatively good weather make this a fantastic choice
  • May to October: is Monsoon season with heavy rain and rough seas, not the best time for beach lovers and water activities.

While monsoon season can mean heavy rainfall, we have visited in both July and August and had sunny days with the rainfall mainly in the late afternoon. Hotel prices are a steal at this time of year, so book yourself a fancy resort and you will be happy to chill at home when it’s wet. The downside is your boat trips may be rescheduled if seas are rough, so perhaps book these just a day or two before.

Temperature and rainfall in Phuket

Temp. (°C)
Temp. (°F)
Rainfall (mm)
January23 – 3073 – 8830
February24 – 3175 – 9020
March25 – 3277 – 9140
April25 – 3377 – 9180
May25 – 3277 – 90150
June25 – 3177 – 88250
July24 – 3175 – 88230
August24 – 3175 – 88275
September24 – 3075 – 86380
October24 – 3075 – 86310
November24 – 3075 – 86180
December23 – 3173 – 8870

Where to stay in Phuket

Deciding where to stay in Phuket is the first tough decision you face when planning your visit. With 1,800 hotels with a total of 84,700 hotel rooms, suites and villas spread out across the island and many beaches you are inundated with choice. Don’t worry, we have a detailed guide to help you narrow down your choices.

The average time travellers spend in Phuket is between three and ten days. If you are still trying to choose between Phuket and Koh Samui, Thailands other island hot spot we hope this guide has helped. Our Koh Samui guide is here.

Where to go next

Continue your holiday travels in Thailand. After Phuket, the most popular destinations are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui.