The largest island in Thailand with its own international airport, Phuket, is a popular spot for travelers 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.
12.9 million people visited Phuket in 2019
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.
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.
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.
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 spread out across the islands, and many beaches you really are inundated with choices. Don’t worry, we have a detailed guide to help you narrow down your choices.
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 organized.
Tuk Tuks, Songtaews, which are converted pickup trucks designed to carry 6-8 passengers, or Grab rideshare services, are the most popular choices. You may also decide to book a driver for a half day or a day to explore the interior of the island.
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. Many domestic flights from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and other cities across the country land daily.
There is an array of rental cars on offer at the airport, but there are airport shuttle buses, an express bus service, a public bus service, and transfer companies to get you from the airport to your hotel.
The average time travelers spend in Phuket is between three and ten days.
Where to go next
Continue your holiday travels in Thailand. After Phuket, the most popular destinations are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui.