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Phuket Travel Guide

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Welcome to Phuket, Thailand


Phuket, the 'Pearl of the South', is Thailands largest island (48 km in length, 21 km wide) lying in the Andaman Sea off the countrys southwestern coast and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Phuket Town is in the south-east part of the island, the international airport is in the north and the most popular beach resort towns are on the west coast. As one of Asias premier beach resorts, Phuket still retains its own distinct culture from Chinese and Portuguese influences. The island offers visitors warm tropical weather, beautiful white sandy beaches with warm clear water, pristine forests, shopping in up-market stores or traditional markets, many bars and restaurants, enchanting nightlife and friendly locals. Phuket has also been voted one of the Worlds Top 5 retirement destinations by Fortune Magazine.

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Phuket Treasures

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Hotel Ibis Phuket Patong


Mercure Patong Phuket


Novotel Phuket Resort


Travel to Phuket

Phuket International Airport (HKT) is located in the north of the island 32kms from Phuket town and is Thailand's second largest airport.

Taxi from the Airport to Phuket Town will cost 400+ baht. Airport to Kata, Karon and Patong beaches will cost 500-600 baht.

Mini-bus from Airport to Phuket Town will cost 100 baht per person. Airport to Kata, Karon and Patong beaches will cost 150-200 baht per person

Train - There is no train service to Phuket. The closest railway station is at Surat Thani (Phun Phin station) which takes 5 hours by bus to Phuket. The train from Bangkok to Surat Thani takes 12-13 hours and there is a sleeper train at night.

Coach journey from Bangkok to Phuket takes 12-13 hours. Most services to Phuket leave from Bangkoks Southern (Sai Tai Mai) Bus Terminal.

Ferry services connect from Phuket Town (Rassada Port) to Phi Phi Island twice a day, taking 90 minutes and costing 350 baht one-way. The ferry continues on to Krabi (on the mainland) twice a day, taking 90 minutes and costing 350 baht one-way.

Language in Phuket

English is spoken by people in the tourism business. Many staff at hotels, shops, restaurants and museums will speak English.

Phuket Transport

Phuket is a large island and visitors need transport to get around.

Taxis are inexpensive and around the same price as a tuk-tuk but safer and airconditioned. Taxis must use the meter so ensure the driver has turned it on before you move off or you will pay more.

Songtaews are small pickup truck taxis with two plank seats in the back. Signal the driver to stop and negotiate the fare to your destination. Press the buzzer when you want to stop. Generally good for short trips, more convenient than a bus and cheaper than a taxi as you will be sharing with others.

Tuk-tuks are little three-wheeled vehicles (a motor bike at the front with a padded seat in a semi-open cabin at the rear). The fare is generally negotiable but they are no cheaper than a metered taxi and there is no air-conditioning. The tuk-tuk drivers have a reputation for trying to swindle tourists by taking you to shops on the way and pressuring you to buy something, informing you an attraction is closed today (when its open) and generally trying to get money out of you in one way or another.

Motor bike taxis are inexpensive and an exciting ride through the traffic. Negotiate the fare as there is no meter. Passengers must wear a helmet which the driver will supply.

Car & Motorbike Hire is popular in Phuket. Driving is on the left in Thailand. Be careful, as there are many road accidents in Phuket each year. More than 10,000 people are injured and over 250 killed every year in road accidents in Phuket.

Phuket Attractions

There is no shortage of impressive attractions and things to do in this beautiful region of the world.

Phuket Fantasea Phuket Fantasea Show is a stunning 140 acre cultural theme park that is the ultimate in night-time entertainment on Kamala Beach, 4 kms from Patong. Fantasea takes you on a fantastical adventure into Thailands myth, mystery and magic. There is a 3000 seat theatre that stages Las Vegas style productions featuring magical illusions, acrobatics, stunts, pyrotechnics, elephant performances, and a song and dance spectacular that brings to life tales of Phukets history and mythology. There is a Carnival Village shopping street and the Golden Kinnaree buffet restaurant hosting the world's largest buffet of Thai and international cuisine. [open daily, except Thursday, 5.30pm to 11.30pm, show & buffet adult THB1900, child THB1700]

Phuket Zoo is located on the way to Chalong Bay. The zoo contains a collection of Asian and African mammals and birds. Elephant and crocodile shows are performed every day [open daily 8.30am - 6.00pm, admission 500 baht for adults and 300 baht for children].

Khao Rang Hill has a great view overlooking Phuket Town, the southern part of Phuket Island and some of the offshore islands. There are several restaurants featuring spectacular views of the city and a park with a bronze statue of Phraya Ratsada Nupradit, the Governor of Phuket during King Rama V's reign.

Phuket Butterfly Farm is 3kms from Phuket Town via Yaowarat Road and the Sam Kong intersection. There is a great collection of tropical animals such as butterflies, insects and marine life. [open daily from 9am to 5pm, admission 300 baht for adults and 150 baht for children]

Phuket Cultural Center is located near the Phuket Rajabhat University on Thepkrasattri Road. The center exhibits Phukets history, arts and culture. [open daily for free from 8.30am 4.30pm, except public holidays].

Golf is popular as there are 8 international standard golf courses on Phuket Island each featuring scenic views of Phukets mountains and coastline.

Thai Village and Orchid Farm Phuket Travel is located on Thepkasattri Road 3 kms from Phuket town. Following lunch there is a spectacular cultural show featuring Thai dances, Thai classical and folk music, Thai boxing and elephants. [open daily from 9am to 9pm, cultural shows performed daily at 1pm and 5.30pm, Adults 650 baht, children 330 baht]

Simon Cabaret is located on the hill just outside Patong and is a popular tourist attraction featuring an exotic & hilarious transvestite (lady-boy) cabaret. [Shows at 7.30pm and 9.30pm, admission is 600 baht].

Phuket Aquarium is located at Cape Phanwa and is an amazing underwater world with over 150 different species from freshwater and marine habitats, most of them local species from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. [Open daily from 9am to 4.30pm, Adult 100 baht, Children 50 baht]. Take a Songthaew (local bus) from Phuket Town.

Elephant trekking is a must-do experience in Thailand and a way of supporting the remaining domesticated elephants of Thailand and their mahout (trainer). The elephants are gentle and well trained, taking visitors on interesting jungle treks.

Dinos Park Mini Golf is located at Karon beach next to the Marina Phuket Resort. The 18-hole mini-golf course feature dinosaurs and an erupting volcano. [open daily 10am12pm, admission 120 Baht, Green fees are 240 Baht for adults and 180 Baht for children]

Thai Massage & Spa has evolved into a major business in Thailand. A traditional Thai massage starts around 250 baht in one of many massage shops in Phuket. There are many places to get a massage right up to 5-star hotels/resorts that offer a whole range of spa treatments to guests.

Thai Cooking - Some hotels have their own in-house Thai restaurant offering cooking classes to visitors. The cooking class will teach basic skills sufficient to prepare a Thai meal in your own home or even training to professional standards.

Old Phuket (self walking tour) During the tin-mining boom in the 19th century many fine mansions and shops were constructed in the Sino-Portuguese architectural style. These buildings have been preserved and can be viewed by taking a walking tour of the area, especially on Thalang road, Dibuk, Phang-nga, Yaowarat, and Krabi roads. There are also old European-style buildings such as the Phuket Courthouse, and Siam City Bank.

Outdoor Activities Phuket provides visitors with the opportunity to engage in many outdoor activities, including: scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, parasailing, jet-skiing, yachting, fishing & deep sea fishing, sea canoeing, horse riding, mountain biking & hiking.

Phuket Phuket Kata Beach

Phuket Beaches

The most popular beaches, with amenities and entertainment options, are on the south-western side of the island.

Patong Beach is the largest and most famous beach resort on Phuket. It is known for its vibrant nightlife and entertainment. Kamala Beach is a quieter beach 15mins north of Patong. Bang Tao Beach is a long, quiet beach on the west coast just north of Kamala beach and about 20 mins north of Patong. Most of the beach is occupied by the Laguna complex, a massive five-hotel development with golf course. Immediately south of Patong is the beautiful Karon Beach, the most up-scale of Phuket's beaches, and further south is Kata Yai Beach which is popular with tourists for surfing and the quieter sister Kata Noi Beach. Nai Han Beach is a lovely beach on the southern coast near Phrom Thep Cape, the most southerly part of Phuket. While swimming on Phukets beaches it is important to take notice of warning flags on the beaches especially warning of dangerous currents during the monsoon season from May to October.

Phuket Nightlife and Entertainment

Patong is the centre of the island's famous nightlife and entertainment scene. Beer Bars, Night Clubs, and Go-Go Bars are found all over Patong. These establishments are hosted by bar girls who welcome all customers for a drink but are really working girls who want the customer to pay money to the bar so that the girl can leave with the customer.

Kata Beach, Karon Beach and Phuket Town also have some lively nightlife. Many of the major hotels and resorts offer quality international restaurants and bars, featuring cabaret shows and live music.

Phuket Dining

Patong is the centre of the island's nightlife and entertainment scene. There are numerous restaurants and bars.

Kata Beach, Karon Beach and Phuket Town also have great dining options. Many of the major hotels and resorts offer quality international restaurants and cafes.

Food Courts are located in most of Phukets shopping malls and offer visitors good value meals. Phuket has most of the usual American fast food chains such as McDonald's and Burger King. Coffee shops such as Starbucks and Gloria Jeans have become common in malls and commercial centers.

Street food vendors are common and can usually be found in places with high amount of pedestrian traffic.

Beyond Phuket

Phi Phi Island is a beautiful island set amongst dramatic limestone cliffs in the Andaman Sea and has perfect white sand beaches, crystal clear water, great snorkelling and secluded resorts. It can be reached by fast ferry services from Phuket Town (Rassada Port) twice a day, taking 90 minutes and costing 350 baht one-way.

James Bond Island is an uninhabited island made famous by the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. Many tour operators take tourists here on day trips.

Krabi is a delightful southern Thailand coastal town and can be reached by fast ferry services from Phuket Town (stops at Phi Phi Island) twice a day, taking 3 hours and costing 700 baht one-way.

Khao Lak is a coastal area located 80kms north of Phuket Island with beautiful beaches and resort hotels. It is ideal for access to the world class reefs of the Similan Islands.

Khao Sok National Park located 2 hours drive north of Phuket is popular for trekking in the rainforest. There are many rainforest eco-tourism style resorts in the area.