The island paradise of Phuket in Thailand is brimming with a relaxed atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and resort towns filled with shopping and dining. It’s no wonder tourists flock here every year. With a diverse background, including French, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, and British settlers all making their mark, Phuket is a mash-up of influences and tastes.
Thailand’s largest island is known for luxury and championing play over work. The picturesque surroundings make it easy to forget your cares and bask in the sun. Along with the easy-going, relaxed atmosphere, the island knows how to celebrate – there are dozens of festivals held here every year, like the Vegetarian Festival, which is a raucous celebration with parades and firecrackers.
Tourists come for the beautiful landscapes, white sand beaches, and fun in the sun. Ritzy hotels complement fine dining, designer shops, and expensive outings, like deep-sea diving or cruising around the cerulean waters on yachts.
The coast stretches for 49 km (about 30 miles) and doesn’t disappoint, with mountains and rainforests to go along with its lovely shores.
The capital, Phuket Town, is brimming with markets and local shops as well as a plethora of heritage. Here you’ll see a Portuguese influence in the architecture, and the remnants of the tin boom of the last century, when “tin barons” built grand mansions with a combination of Chinese and European architecture. Today, these have been re-imagined into accommodations for travelers who want a unique place to stay.
Another relic leftover from the Chinese immigrants is 19th-century Chinese temples that dot Phuket Town, all of which are interesting in their own right.
Those looking for some nightlife in Phuket will find it in Patong. The largest, busiest city in Phuket also holds lots of bars, nightclubs, and discos, so you can dance or imbibe to your heart’s content. One of the most popular areas for late-night shenanigans is Bangla Road.
To get back to nature, Phuket also has Sirinat National Park, which encompasses a few prized beaches as well as almost 70 square kilometers of the surrounding sea. This is a good spot to watch for sea turtles, as they like to lay their eggs on one of the beaches.
Meanwhile, another great place to escape from civilization is Laem Phromththep, the southernmost point of Phuket that affords gorgeous views of the Andaman Sea.
Don’t forget to check out the island’s evergreen monsoon forest at Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife and Forest Preserve. This swathe of rainforest encompasses 23 square kilometers and boasts wildlife like monkeys, gibbons, flying foxes, cobras, wild boars, and even squirrels.
Phuket International Airport is how most world travelers will reach this island in Thailand. It’s about 30 km (around 19 miles) from Phuket Town. Along with international flights, the airport will get you to the most popular destinations in Thailand and surrounding areas, like Seoul, South Korea and Shanghai, China.
For flights to Phuket, the best time to visit is the dry season, which falls between November and April. Temperatures here are always warm, but can get downright hot at their peak – well above 90 degrees.
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Transportation from the airport to Phuket Town, Patong, and other areas, like Kata or Rawai, is available via rental car, limousine, van, taxi, or airport bus. If you simply want to head into Phuket Town, the airport bus is the most economical option. The next best choice is a taxi, especially if you need to get to one of the towns or cities located further afield.
All passengers transiting from the airport do so near the International Departure Lounge in the first-floor hall.
It should be noted that travel within Phuket used to be notoriously difficult and expensive because of high rates of crime due to the “taxi mafia,” but the military has since cracked down on these operations. As a result, travel is much more affordable within the island.
For your arriving and departing flights to Phuket, Phuket International Airport can make your travel easier with their array of services.
Luggage storage services let you travel lighter while you’re in Phuket, and keeps your luggage safe until you come back for your return flight. Plus, if you haven’t yet determined where you’ll be staying, a dedicated counter for hotel reservations is available to help plan your accommodations. The airport additionally has a sauna and spa, where you can enjoy services like a foot massage or Thai massage.
Dining and shopping opportunities at the airport are a matter of course. Eat traditional Thai food or hang out at a pub. Grab a quick bite, have some fast food, or wake up with a coffee. Various delis and bakeries offer up scrumptious treats like ice cream and donuts.
For shopping, pick up necessities or items you forgot to pack at the duty-free, hit up a souvenir shop or a book shop, pick out something stylish from a clothing boutique, or browse for specialty Thai products. There are even high-end jewelry and gem shops as well as a toy store and flower market.
Phuket is a remarkable landscape with interesting culture and beautiful sights. A trip to Thailand’s largest island is a getaway you won’t soon forget.