Located just off the South West coast of Thailand, situated in the Andaman Sea, is the vastly popular island of Phuket. This tropical paradise is one of the most thrilling beach destinations in Asia and the ideal location for a holiday break. Famously known for its party and nightlife scene, this island has a number of hidden gems that will enhance your experience and holiday immensely.
Discover the colourful cultural history of the island, as well as its idyllic white, sandy beaches and azure blue sea (so clear you’ll be able to see the fish swimming around your toes). There are a number of bustling nightlife experiences and a vast amount of places to relax with cocktails and other cool drinks. Alternatively, head into the old towns of the islands and do how the locals do.
The currency in Phuket is the Thai Baht (THB) and Singapore is one hour ahead of Phuket, so effectively our guide is teaching you how to travel back in time to get the most out of your holiday. We’ll share with you all of the best places to visit, things to do, restaurants to eat in, hotels to sleep in and more.
- Its original name was Jungceylon. This is where the name of the Jungceylon Shopping Mall actually comes from.
- There are a total of 36 beaches on Phuket, with the most popular being Patong, Kata, Kamala and Karon.
- Most of the island’s economy is based on tourism today. However, in the past it was the tin mining industry which first propelled it to prosperity in the 16th
- On the 1st – 9th day of the ninth month on the Chinese lunar calendar, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is held. This is, one of the biggest events of the year, amassing enormous crowds who flock to sample some of the finest meat-free dishes in the country.
- Despite still being Thai food, Phucket actually has a reputation for being spicier than the rest of the country, so be prepared when trying those local dishes.
Food in Phuket
“While dreams of Phuket are often beaches and parties, the unique mixture of Chinese, Malay, Portuguese and Indian influences in the delicious food is what I love so much about the island. In Phuket Town, try Noy Pochana for dishes like gaeng som (sour curry) and goong pad sataw (shrimp with stink beans) and a truly local experience.”
By Mark Wiens, Migrationology
No matter what your tastes or budget may be, Phuket has a spectacular array of restaurants and eateries where you can indulge with delicious drink menus, whet your appetite and try something new.
Image source: Jana Reifegerste
Phuket Floating Restaurants
There’s several floating restaurants available in Phuket, all featuring a wonderfully fresh, fine dining experience. They are also home to some of the best seafood around, and on an island like Phuket, that’s no small accomplishment. It seems like these restaurants have been around for centuries but they actually have their origins only a little over 20 years ago. In a stroke of genius, they were constructed by a group of entrepreneurial friends. It’s a wonderfully relaxing place to eat with equally chilled out surroundings.
Address: East coast of Phuket
Opening Hours: Daily: usually between 10.00 – 22.00
Lock Tien Food Court in Phuket Town
Dishing up wonderfully authentic local cuisines of all shapes and sizes, Lock Tien Food Court is not a fine dining experience. It’s rustic, down to earth and unpretentious, but that does not mean you won’t find world class culinary experiences right here. Even better, you’ll find them at a fraction of the price. This is a busy, bustling local hotspot with an energetic ambience. You really get the feeling of being in the midst of local life at the heart of Phuket Old Town.
Address: At the traffic lights between Dibuk and Yaowarat Road, right next to Hi-So Shop. It has a sign in English.
Opening Hours: Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday – Monday: 10.00 – 17.00
Image source: stu_spivack
Upmarket Italian cuisine may not be what you most associate with the island of Phuket. Looking out at the stunning Kalim Beach from the inviting interiors of Acqua though, it might be the surprise location you’ve always wanted to tuck into some incredible European cuisine. The restaurant itself is just as elegant as its surroundings: beautifully decorated and quite distinct from almost anything else in the area. The food is truly world class, with oysters flown in from France and a wine list reaching into the hundreds, all from its hand picked cellar.
Address: 322/5 Prabaramee Road Kalim Beach
Opening Hours: Daily: 16.00 – 23.00
Mom Tri’s Kitchen at Villa Royale
This is another high-class eating establishment, proving Phuket truly does have everything from cheap and cheerful street food to the most upmarket dining experiences. Here, you can find something delicious at any price but if you are willing to pay a little more, Mom Tri’s Kitchen is here to spoil you. This amazing restaurant features an incredible 700 strong wine list, live music, outdoor pool, two bars and a wonderful selections of gourmet delights to tantalise your taste buds.
Address: 12 Kata Noi Road, Phuket 83100
Opening Hours: Daily: from morning breakfast to evening dining
Image source: Ron Dollete
Home Kitchen, Bar & Bed
Home Kitchen, Bar & Bed is a restaurant that keeps its menu as unique as its décor. It has an incredible serene, calm, chic ambience brought to you by designer John Underwood, who specialises in reimagining vintage furniture and turning it into something new and exciting. Similarly, the menu takes old recipes and fuses them across different cuisines and even continents to provide a truly distinct dining experience, brought to you by internationally recognised chef Daniel Isberg. There’s also a wonderful view of the ocean to complete your experience, which is fitting, considering their seafood may very well be the best available in all of Phuket. They’re also known for their terrific selection of cocktails and great music. This is a restaurant that really does have it all if you’re willing to pay a little more.
Address: 314 Phrabaramee road, Kalim beach, Patong, Kathu District, Phuket 83150, Thailand
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 17.00 – 02.00, Sunday: 17.00 – 00.00
- Understand the ATMs:
Unlike many other places around the world, in Thailand, your money comes out of an ATM machine first. This means it can be easy for the uninitiated to lose their card after having a drink or two.
- Know where to find your ideal destination:
Different areas are better suited to different kinds of travellers. If you want somewhere busy, Patong is the place to be. Looking for an area a little less frantic for families? Then Kata or Kamala are good choices. If you want somewhere really quiet, then Mai Khao Beach is a peaceful pick.
- Be prepared for the heat:
Don’t let the odd cloud fool you. The sun here is fierce and sun cream is an absolute must to avoid getting badly burned.
- Respect red flags:
If you see a red flag near water, that’s to be taken seriously. This is because, during low season, certain areas can be extremely dangerous, no matter how strong a swimmer you are.
Getting Around Phuket
Image source: Phucket@photographer.net
The quaint little island of Phuket is one of the easier places to travel around. Most beach resorts are small enough to get by on foot, with plenty of shopping districts and places to eat located nearby to most hotels. However, if you do need to venture out a little further, there’s plenty of ways to get around.
Taxis are a little different here than other areas of Thailand. Metered taxis are quite a rare thing here and flagging one down can take some time. The going rate is usually a flat pick up fare of THB50 and then TH 7 for every kilometre after that. For long journeys however, they may ask for a fixed rate. This is also true of private firms, which are more expensive but generally have better cars.
Image source: Taiwan Yun
Alternatively, you can go for the much loved Tuk Tuks, which might not offer as much in the way of luxury but are a truly unique way of getting around, and are the most common form of transport in Phuket. Unfortunately, despite their somewhat run down appearance, they are actually a rather expensive way to travel. If you do wish to use their services, agree on a price with the driver before setting off. Although, considering they are often double the price of a taxi, you may be better off with the former.
Image source: Phuket@photographer.net
Other travel options include local busses. These run between 7am to 6pm and are a cheap way of getting around town. Unlike other countries, there’s no set bus stops. You simply tell the driver when you wish to get off. These open top wonders usually come in at under THB50 per trip. However, they are a little unreliable, as there isn’t much structure in terms of when they operate or where you can catch one.
If you are planning to hop on a bus during your visit, a rough guide is that they usually arrive between 20-30 minutes at a time and stop at Big C, Central Festival and Jungceylon Shopping Mall. There’s also three bus terminals in Phuket: one is off Phang Nga Road, one is on Thepkasattri Road and another is on Ranong Road in Old Town. There’s also the airport bus, which leaves from Bus Terminal 1 (Phang Nga Road).
There’s motorbike rentals available across the island too, but this can be very dangerous as insurance is rarely included. Motorbike taxis also come with similar risks.
Flights to Phuket
Image source: Phuket@photographer.net
When flying into Phuket for your holiday, you will land in the Phuket International Airport, which is the third busiest airport in all of Thailand. Located on the north of the island, it is 32 kilometres away from the Phuket City centre. You can therefore travel onto your destination via taxi or vehicle hire after arriving.
There are direct flights available to Phuket International Airport from various airports in Singapore. Six different airlines fly direct from Singapore Changi Airport, offering around 74 flights between the two destinations every week. The average flight time for this 609-mile journey is just 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Now you know the best attractions, beaches, restaurants and hotels that Phuket has to offer, it’s time to begin your tropical island adventure. Browse Expedia to find the very best prices on flights to Phuket.