The Best of Phuket Travel Guide
Phuket has long been a favorite destination for an exotic tropical location in which to enjoy sun drenched beaches and Thai hospitality. Found in Southern Thailand, the island faces the lovely western coastline of the Andaman Sea and has a long and interesting history dating back to 1020 A.D.
One of the reasons travellers come to Phuket is for the powdery, white sand beaches. With more than 30 beaches on the island, it can be difficult to choose a favourite. We’ve narrowed the list down to a few that we feel can’t be missed. Finding a nice beach to spend the day at is easy with this list.
Freedom Beach is considered to be one of the best beaches in all of Phuket. The beach is surrounded by private land and hills of thick jungle. It is only accessible by boat making it feel like a quiet oasis away from the heavy tourism that other parts of the island experiences. Cared for by the locals, the entire beach is secluded in a private bay and retains a great deal of natural beauty. There are a number of restaurants along the south end of the beach and loungers are available to rent for a small fee. The south end of the beach also offers incredible snorkeling opportunities. You can catch a boat to the beach from the pier at the south end of Paton Beach.
Banana Beach is surrounded by coconut palm trees and white powdery sand under foot. The water is quite clear so it’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Being far away from the big resorts, the beach feels quiet and secluded. The beach is home to one small restaurant that serves Thai food and deliciously fresh fish. Loungers are available for rent and several masseuses are set up in the shade near the restaurant.
Kata Noi Beach
Kata Noi Beach is located just a short drive from the larger Kata beach. Kata Noi is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket and is still relatively undeveloped. This beach is also good for swimming and there are loungers available for rent. There are a few small drink stalls set up where you can order a beverage and they serve light snacks, but for the most part this beach is relatively quiet and peaceful. The Kata Viewpoint is just a short drive from the beach. The Viewpoint offers a spectacular vista of three bays – Karon, Kata, and Kata Noi.
Laem Singh Beach
Laem Singh beach is tucked away in a hidden bay and surrounded by jungle making it feel like you are visiting a secret beach. It is a small beach so it does get crowded quickly, especially during high season. There are loungers available for rent and vendors are available serving drinks. There are also water activities available such as jet ski rentals, banana boat rides and water skiing.
Crowning the northwest coast of Phuket is Natai Beach. She is a magical haven. Gazing upon her aqua sea bathes you in tranquility. The curve of her beach creates an enchanting smile. Waves whisper, sparkle, and wink. Our Beach Resort is also located on this untouched beach.
Buddhist temples, also known as wats, are in abundance with 29 temples spread across the island. They all contain beautiful statues and images of Buddha and are an important cultural and religious aspect of the Thai people so it’s worth making a visit to one of them while are you in Phuket.
Wat Chalong is Phuket’s most famous and most important temple. It is well known for its healing powers most notably because of the monk Luang Por Chaem whose statue sits in the prayer hall. Luang Por Chaem was an abbott and an herbal doctor whose skills were called upon to heal the wounded during the rebellion that took place in 1876.
Wat Khao Rang
Wat Khao Rang is small and charming, but also an important temple in Phuket. It is home to a large golden sitting Buddha, an important image to many worshipers on the island and notably the first Buddha image Phuket had. This temple is less touristy and a quite peaceful destination. It is common to see locals donating fresh food and alms to the monks here.
Wat Phra Thong
Wat Phra Thong is another important temple to the Thai people and is known for its half buried golden Buddha. This statue is said to be untouchable because every person who has tried to dig it out has become cursed. Many villagers tried to help with digging it out but never succeeded. Eventually they decided to build a temple around the Buddha statue and it has now become an object of great respect to the local people.
Phuket is a shopper’s paradise offering abundant shopping opportunities including outdoor markets, shopping malls, boutiques and specialty shops. There is something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Jungceylon Shopping Mall
If you are looking to do some serious shopping, you’ll want to visit the Jungceylon Shopping Mall. In recent years, malls have become more popular on the island and Jungceylong is the largest of its kind in Phuket. In fact, it is sometimes considered a city within a city. There are two main stores – Robinson, a department store, and Big C Supermarket plus more than 200 retailers selling items ranging from handicrafts to designer brands. The mall also boasts a cinema, bowling alley, fish spa, and a variety of restaurants and cafes.
Phuket Weekend Market
The Phuket weekend market is a smaller version of the well-known Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. This market is held on weekends and is a must see on your to-do list while visiting Phuket. The market offers a covered and uncovered section with a range of items for sale such as vintage items, shoes, and accessories. The market also has a wide range of food selling local favorites, tropical fruits, and even deep-fried grasshoppers if you are brave enough to give them a try.
Phuket Old Town
Old Town is a historical area filled with boutiques and art studios that have been operating for generations. The streets are filled with purveyors selling handicrafts, textiles, antiques, and art. Visiting Old Town is a unique experience and one that shouldn’t be missed. There is a nice variety of authentic shops void of any chain brands.
Jim Thompson Thai Silk Shop
Jim Thompson is a well-known name in the silk industry. He is an American business man who is responsible for revitalising the silk industry in Thailand in the 1950s and 60s. His brand is a leader in silk products and famous throughout the world. With many shops located throughout the country, the main outlet is located in Phuket. The shop sells silk as well as linens, cotton, handbags, leather goods, children’s items and even furniture.
Phuket has many options to offer in terms of dining. In addition to traditional Thai cuisine, there are many other Asian and international offerings. You are sure to find something to please your culinary palette. Here are a few options we recommend.
Acqua is an excellent choice for fine dining in Phuket. The restaurant offers modern Italian cuisine from Sardinian chef Alessandro Frau in a trendy and chic atmosphere. Acqua has won many awards and is considered a top dining choice on the island. The menu features fresh and local seafood as well as the finest ingredients brought in from around the world. With a modern black and white theme, excellent service and gorgeous views of the Andaman sea, Acqua is a perfect choice for a night out.
DeDos is considered one of the best dining experiences in Phuket. The chef, Pablo Blattman, is of Swiss-Bolivian descent and provides a gastronomic cuisine blending French cooking techniques with Japanese and Thai influences for a truly unique dining option. The vibe is casual and classy with an intimate interior perfect for cosy and lingering dinners. The menu offers 43 items and is reviewed and updated yearly to keep things fresh. However, favourites such as the foie gras ravioli with mushroom sauce are a mainstay. The restaurant also offers an excellent choice of wines to complement the menu.
Chalk and Cheese
Chalk and Cheese is a wonderful, little restaurant tucked away along a quiet and unassuming street. It might not easily catch the eye of a passer-by but if you do happen to visit you will not be disappointed. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team with unique backgrounds. Husband, Patrik Lundgren is of a Chilean and Swedish background and wife, Khum Phonchan Chiarram has an Asian and Thai background. The food is a blend of these cultures serving home-style Thai, Mediterranean and Swedish dishes. The owners are passionate about their food and their guests providing wonderful dining, a quaint atmosphere and impeccable service. Dishes of note on the menu are the Swedish meatballs and the salmon pad hed hom.
Phuket is well known for its nightlife and party atmosphere. When the sun goes down, the nightlife revs up. With everything from go-go bars and discos to cabaret shows and beach bars, there’s something to appeal to everyone.
Seduction is the largest club in Phuket and offers five separate venues all with different styles of music. The vibe is modern and hip and it’s a popular spot for the younger crowd. The club consists of four different levels all featuring different atmospheres to suit your mood. There is a restaurant located on the rooftop, a terrace, a large dance floor, and two lounge clubs. Hosting famous Thai and international DJs, Seduction is the place to dance and party the night away. Doors don’t open until 10 pm and the party carries into the night with the club closing at 4 am.
Wassa Homemade Bar
Wassa Homemade Bar is the place in Phuket to watch the sun go down. The bar offers an open air platform with views of the entire bay of Patong. Getting here is a challenge as the bar is located at the top of a narrow and very steep road. The journey is worth it though when you make your way to the top and take in the scene. Wassa has a very relaxed and laid back vibe, surrounded by rain forest and farm land, it’s a great place to chill and enjoy a drink.
Dream Beach Club
If you are looking to party right on the beach, look no further than Dream Beach Club located on Layan Beach. The beach bar, located directly on the sand, offers two swimming pools and four bars. The club provides many loungers, sun beds and sofas to cozy up on and grab a drink. A resident DJ is on staff playing R&B and jazz music further adding to the chill vibe. With a fabulous drink and food menu Dream provides a great evening party location.