In Phuket, the beach areas are absolutely the most desirable areas to stay at. Phuket Town, with its old town and local markets to explore, is also popular. For tourists, especially first-time visitors, it may be hard to choose the best area to stay at in Phuket among so many places. Read on to find some inspiration.
- Hotel booking requirement under COVID-19: You need to book an SHA Extra Plus hotel for your first few days (the number of days varies according to different entry policies), then you can change to other hotels.
- For families and couples, Kata and Karon beaches are the best places to stay in Phuket.
- For nightlife and entertainment, Patong with its lively atmosphere, is the best place to stay,
- For quietness, you can consider Bang Tao, Surin, Khao Lak, and Kamala
- For culture and history, Phuket Town is among the best places to stay in Phuket.
- For luxury travelers, Bang Tao, Surin, and Mai Khao beaches with exclusive resort service and facilities are the most suitable.
- Accommodation prices in Phuket vary according to the season. Low season is from May to October and high season is from November to April.
1. Kata Beach — Most Recommended
Kata Beach is 1 hour 20 minutes’ drive south from Phuket Airport.
Kata Beach has achieved the best balance between beach quality, restaurants, activities, and nightlife. You can have a great experience without being disturbed by noisy crowds.
The fine white sand and clean water offer a great tropical beach experience. It also provides many food and leisure activity choices. It is recommended for couples and families.
- All-inclusive resort: Club Med Phuket (best for families)
- 5-star: Katathani Phuket Beach Resort (best for couples; SHA Extra Plus), Novotel Phuket Kata Avista Resort and Spa (SHA Plus)
- 4-star: Chanalai Romantica Resort (adult only; best for honeymoons; SHA Plus), Centara Kata Resort Phuket (best for families; SHA Plus)
2. Karon Beach — Vibrant but Quiet
Karon Beach is next to Kata Beach, 10 minutes’ walk away. For people who want a peaceful environment but plenty of activities, Kata and Karon are the two choices. Kata is quieter and more leisurely. Karon is a bit like Patong Beach — vibrant activities and nightlife, but not that noisy, but it has better resorts, especially those on the mountainside.
- 5-star: Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa (SHA Plus), Mandarava Resort and Spa (SHA Extra Plus)
- 4-star: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa (SHA Extra Plus)
- 3-star: Best Western Phuket Ocean Resort (SHA Plus; best for families)
3. Patong — Central, the Busiest Area
Patong Beach has the most choices of hotel from high-end to guesthouses. It is very easy and convenient to eat, shop, and find entertainment there. It is also the center of Phuket’s nightlife. The most famous bar street — Bangla Road and the biggest shopping mall are located there. But the quality of Patong Beach is slightly lower than that of the Karon and Kata beaches.
Thus, Patong Beach is the first choice for most Phuket first-timers. It is also popular among young people and single travelers. If you are looking for an affordable hotel, Patong Beach is a good choice.
- 5-star: Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach (SHA Extra Plus; best for families), Burasari Resort (SHA Extra Plus, best for families with elders)
- 4-star: Patong Merlin Hotel (SHA Plus), Holiday Inn Express Phuket Patong Beach Central (SHA Plus)
- 3-star: Lokal Phuket (SHA Extra Plus)
4. Bang Tao Beach — Luxury Beach Hotel
Bang Tao Beach is a 40-minute drive from Phuket Airport.
There are very few real beach hotels as Phuket has a big coastal road, and most hotels are on the left side and the beach is on the right. But you can find some real beach hotels at Bang Tao Beach.
Bang Tao Beach is a stunning 8-kilometer (5-mile) stretch of white sand. The famous Laguna Phuket, one of the largest resort complexes in Asia, is the classiest choice for a vacation in Phuket. Everything you could want in a private resort is there: beach, bar, gym, pool, golf course. It is not cheap, but many say it’s worth it.
- 5-star: Movenpick Resort Bangtao Beach Phuket (SHA Extra Plus; best for families)
- 4-star: Arinara Bangtao Beach Resort (SHA Extra Plus; best for families and elders), Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort (SHA Plus; best for families)
- 3-star: Pai Tan Villas (SHA Plus; best for families)
5. Phuket Old Town — for Culture and Local Vibe
If you are interested in experiencing local life in Phuket, Phuket Old Town is the best place to stay. Hotels in its Old Town are cheaper than those by the beach.
There is plenty of colorful Chinese-Portuguese architecture, which has been converted into cafés, shops, restaurants, hotels, museums, markets...
Phuket Old Town is a bit of a distance from Phuket’s beaches: half an hour’s driving from Patong.
- 5-star: Ramada Plaza Chao Fah Phuket (SHA Extra Plus), Royal Phuket City Hotel (SHA Extra Plus)
- 4-star: The Blanket Hotel Phuket Town (SHA Plus), Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town (SHA Extra Plus)
- 3-star: The Memory at On On Hotel (SHA Extra Plus)
6. Khao Lak — Secluded and Natural
The location of Khao Lak Beach is more remote than other beaches in Phuket. But that makes it secluded and more natural. It is a great place to unwind and escape the stress of life. Release yourself to a leisurely time in the sunshine by the beach. A trip to the Similan Islands, one of world’s best diving destinations, is popular. They are closed from May 1 to October 15.
To enjoy a holiday with your kids, Khao Lak Laguna Resort in front of Khao Lak Beach is a good choice, which offers a children’s playground, swimming pools, and a jacuzzi.
- 5-star: Mai Khao Lak Beach Resort & Spa (SHA Plus)
- 4-star: The Waters Khao Lak by Katathani Resort (SHA Extra Plus; best for families and honeymoons), Khaolak Laguna Resort (SHA Plus; best for families)
7. Cape Yamu Beach — Base for Island Hopping
Cape Yamu Beach is on the east coast of Phuket. It is great for island-hopping trips. It is easy to explore Koh Yao Noi from there, a secluded and unspoiled island best for honeymoons, and Ao Phang Nga with its iconic James-Bond-movie scenery.
Clean, sandy, and beautiful private beaches can be found within the many luxury villa resorts.
- 5-star: COMO Point Yamu (SHA Plus; best for families and honeymoons)
8. Kamala Beach — Lazy Vibe
The feel of Kamala Beach is of a lazy beach life: enjoy pleasant spa treatments, laze around on the beach, have a romantic dinner at beach restaurants...
Kamala Beach is not very lively. If you are fond of colorful nightlife and entertainments, Kamala may not suitable for you. But if you’re seeking a vacation with a relaxed pace, Kamala is a very nice place to stay.
- 5-star: Andara Resort and Villas (SHA Plus; best for honeymoons and romantic vacations)
- 4-star: Andara Resort and Villas (SHA Extra Plus), Kamala Beach Resort (SHA Plus)
9. Surin Beach — Celebrity’s Favorite
Because of the gorgeous Andaman Sea views seen from its cliffs, it is loved by celebrities. There is a vast selection of huge millionaire villas and five-star resorts. There are not many attractions around the beach. Relaxing by the beach and in the resort is the top option.
- 5-star: Twinpalms Phuket (SHA Plus; best for families and honeymoons)
- 4-star: Surintra Boutique Resort (SHA; best for families and honeymoons), Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort (SHA Extra Plus)
- 3-star: Pen Villa Hotel (SHA Extra Plus)
10. Mai Khao Beach — Remote but Romantic
Mai Khao Beach is close to Phuket Airport, about 16 minutes’ driving away. It is the longest beach in Phuket.
Mai Khao is also a quiet beach. There are not many shopping and nightlife opportunities.
It is a best place to stay for honeymoons due to the romantic and quiet vibe, stunning views, and luxury resorts.
There are many other attractions near the beach like Sirinat National Park, Splash Jungle Water Park, Turtle Village, and Wat Mai Khao (a Buddhist temple).
- 5-star: Sala Phuket Mai Khao Beach Resort (SHA Plus; best for families, honeymoons, and romantic vacations), JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa (SHA Extra Plus)
- 4-star: Coriacea Boutique Resort (SHA Plus)
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