Phuket island review
Phuket is the largest and most significant island in Thailand. Because Phuket is highly developed, it offers an array of quintessential beach life unparalleled in the Kingdom. Its equatorial island-city appeal and proximity to bucket-list destinations of the Andaman Sea, make Phuket an international magnet for sea lovers and thrill-seekers.
You will need at least 7 days to discover the best of Phuket island. Plan your Phuket vacation around gorgeous beaches, colorful temples, and endless eco-adventures like elephant sanctuaries. Phuket also promises immersive local cuisine and culture, glamorous shopping, and the party that never stops. There’s something for everyone in Phuket.
Phuket (pronounced as “Poo-ket”) is a gateway for popular day trips to the Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands, Racha Islands, James Bond Island, Phang Nga Bay and the islands around Krabi. With so many tropical paradises within easy reach, a Phuket vacation can be cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.
- AIRPORT Phuket & Krabi
- BEST TIME TO VISIT Nov - May
BeachesSee all (9)
SnorkelingSee all (6)
Boat TourSee all (10)
Why visit Phuket
- All the beaches you can ever ask for in the same location.
- An abundance of scenic islands with more gorgeous beaches you can visit during a boat day trip.
- A vibrant heritage of bygone sailors in Phuket Town traverses museums, cozy markets, and charming Sino-Portuguese architecture.
- The Big Buddha rising above the South of Phuket island is magical.
- Wat Chalong and the other 28 colorful Buddhist Temples are the sights to behold.
- Siam Niramit theatre amazes with colossal acts on the History of Thailand and religious beliefs that shape it the way it presently is.
- Visit numerous elephant sanctuaries to get immersed in the life of gentle giants.
- Phuket is a haven for water sports like jet-skiing, surfing, kayaking, and sailing. While surrounding deep waters promise fascinating scuba diving.
- On Patong and Paradise beaches, you’ll have enough nightlife to entertain you for weeks if not months.
- If you have been eating some Thai food back home, prepare to taste the real thing in Phuket.
How to reach Phuket
Located in the southwest of Thailand in the Andaman Sea, Phuket is a global tourism hotspot featuring an international airport directly connecting Phuket with dozens of countries. Phuket flights are simply in abundance. As befits the largest island in Thailand, getting around Phuket may be troublesome for first-time travelers. With 30 beaches to choose from that are hours drive apart, it is essential to plan your vacation around preferred activities. Like so, many people decide to visit Phuket as it’s a grand starting island for island hopping in the Andaman Sea.
Phuket island is a multifaceted image of Thailand. But it doesn’t mean you should not explore all the other islands around. Since about 30 islands surround Phuket nearby, with dozens more within easy reach by a private boat, it’s tough to mention all. Still, we have curated the best islands close to Phuket for a wholesome experience, which you should consider visiting. Phuket is only 40 minutes from Phi Phi Islands by private boat and the same distance from the pristine Racha Islands. You can reach Phuket from Ao Nang in Krabi by private boat that will take less than 2 hours across breathtaking scenery. Khao Lak is another emerging coastal resort town within 2 hours drive from Phuket, connecting to tropical paradises of Similan Islands and Surin Islands.
Best time in Phuket
The best time to visit Phuket is between November and early May. Phuket weather is usually beautiful to enjoy the beach, eco-adventures, private boat tours, and all the extra fun you must have planned on your vacation. The snorkeling season in Phuket falls into January-April. During this period, the waters are incredibly calm, and visibility is just excellent for snorkeling and diving. Luckily, other famous islands within easy reach from Phuket follow the same snorkeling seasonality, including spectacular Phi Phi Islands, Racha Islands, Similan Islands, and remote Surin Islands.
Rainy season in Phuket
Rainy season in Phuket starts from mid-May and ends around October. During the monsoon period, Phuket experiences a high rainfall followed by treacherous waters, stronger winds, and hence limited activity options. Nevertheless, it rarely rains nonstop for days, while the tropical heat remains. In July and August, many tourists start to move away from Phuket island, which gives it a unique and more relaxed vibe, despite generally unstable weather.
Phuket or Krabi
You will inevitably find a broader range of sea activities in Phuket than in Krabi. While Phuket brings all the beach experiences, Krabi spices things up with mountains and limestone cliffs, promising a myriad of exotic eco-adventures.
From Krabi, you can easily explore a striking Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple), Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, and Emerald Pool. A dramatic Railay Beach and Phra Nang Beach are within easy reach from Ao Nang in Krabi. The Krabi coastline features many fascinating islands, but they are not as impressive as islands near Phuket.
Nevertheless, Phi Phi islands are within the same distance from Phuket as Krabi. If you can’t decide why not enjoy most of both tourist hubs? Islander private boat tours are available in between Phuket and Krabi, allowing you to experience the best islands from either location within a day.
Phuket or Pattaya
Pattaya might be easier to get to from Bangkok. Still, it has nowhere near the beaches and pristine island hopping destinations, which you get in Phuket. Likewise, closeness to Bangkok makes Pattaya a bit more crowded than Phuket. And it can weigh so much on your experience.
If you only have a week in Thailand but still want a taste of the beaches and city and nightlife, Pattaya is a good bet (with below-average quality beaches). But if you’re ever caught between choosing the two – Phuket should be the clear winner!
Phuket or Koh Samui
Both locations have great beaches, fantastic tourist attractions, impressive natural sights, and world-class snorkeling and diving spots within a boat day trip. Yet still, Koh Samui strikes with a tropical island charm that is not the same in the island-city of Phuket. While the social and cultural life in Phuket is much more vibrant, Koh Samui claws back with a relaxed location for a serene holiday.
Ultimately, the choice depends on your lifestyle, taste, and personal preference. For an abundance of active sports, shopping, glamour, and nightlife, the superior choice is Phuket. But for an intimate, romantic getaway – Koh Samui is the ideal choice.