How to Plan a Trip to Phuket

How to Plan a Trip to Phuket

By Chris QuanUpdated Oct. 19, 2021

Phuket enjoys the reputation of being the “Pearl of the Andaman Sea”. It is the largest island in Thailand and one of the most popular beach destinations in the world, with fine beaches, glittering seas, white sands, nodding palm trees, lively towns, and high-end seaside resorts.

Phuket Phuket

How Long to Stay in Phuket: At Least 3 Days

A visit to Phuket usually takes 3 to 7 days, and you can plan a trip of suitable length according to your preferences.

It takes at least 3 days to explore Phuket, and spending 4 days there is the most popular choice.

Covering an area of about 540 sq km (200 sq mi), Phuket and its surrounding regions offer a variety of activities for families, groups of friends, and couples.

  • Day 1: explore beaches freely
  • Day 2: take a trip to Phi Phi Island
  • Day 3: visit Phuket’s Big Buddha and Wat Chalong
  • Day 4: discover Phuket town

 

If you have a flexible schedule and enjoy your stay in Phuket, you can extend your stay from 5 to 7 days.

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The Best Things to Do in Phuket

Phuket Phuket

Indulge in Leisurely Beach Time

Most beaches in Phuket lie along the western coast. Surin Beach, Kata Beach, and Karon Beach are recommended for their quiet, non-touristy vibe and are more suitable for a leisurely holiday.

Explore Phuket’s Big Buddha and Wat Chalong

These two sacred Buddhist sites are very close to each other. Located on a hill, the glistening white Big Buddha is 45 m (140 feet) tall and can be spotted from Karon Beach. Wat Chalong is the biggest Buddhist temple in Phuket and is known for its unique building style.

Take a Trip to Phi Phi Island

Phi Phi stands out among more than 30 outlying islands around Phuket for its soft white sands, crystal-clear waters, natural rock caves, and the untainted tropical scenery, making it one of the most popular beach destinations in recent years.

Wander about in Phuket Town

Many visitors head straight to the beaches, so Phuket town is often forgotten. You can walk around the Old Town, which is rich in history and culture. 

Explore the historical buildings and mansions built in the colonial style, wander into a temple or museum, visit the weekend market, and relax in a quaint cafe when tired.

Go Island Hopping

There are more than 30 islands around Phuket. The most popular contenders for island hopping are Phi Phi Island, the Similan Islands, Racha Yai Island, and Coral Island.

Take the Phang Nga Bay Cruise

Phang Nga Bay is considered to be the most beautiful location in Phuket and its surrounding areas. You can cruise through the dramatic limestone islands and occasionally stop to enjoy the quiet beaches.

Join a Thai Cooking Class

This is a great choice for those who love the exotic flavors of authentic Thai food and want to learn its secrets. A market tour to choose fresh and natural ingredients is included.

Savor Phuket’s Night Markets

Night markets in Phuket are always fun, intense, colorful, surprising, and fascinating, with a variety of local merchandise available at a bargain as well as mouth-watering local delicacies. Naka Market, Lard Yai, and Chillva Market are recommended.

The Best Time to Visit Phuket

Phuket Phuket

November to April is the best time to visit Phuket. This period is the dry season in Phuket and the weather is very pleasant. You can sunbathe in the warm sunshine and enjoy various water sports in the sea. This period is also the high season. If you plan to travel during this time, please avoid popular spots such as Patong Beach.

May to October is the rainy season and also the off-season for travel. If you plan to travel in this period, you may miss water sports such as scuba diving due to the rain. However, it is a good time to take advantage of quiet beaches and cost-effective rooms.

Learn more about Weather in Phuket on our website.

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How to Get to Phuket

Phuket has an airport, Phuket International Airport (HKT). The best way to get to Phuket is taking a flight.

Sydney, Melbourne, Doha, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Siem Reap, Beijing, Moscow, and Seoul have direct flights to Phuket.

In Thailand, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Koh Samui have direct flights to Phuket.

Phuket airport lies in the north of Phuket. From the airport, it takes about 30 minutes to Surin Beach, 50 minutes to Patong Beach, one hour to Karon Beach, and 40 minutes to Phuket town by road.

Learn more on How to Get to and around Phuket.

Where to Stay in Phuket

Phuket Phuket

Tourism in Phuket is well developed, and you can expect accommodation of a good standard. From economy hotels to luxury villas, located in beach areas to the town, you can easily find one to suit your requirements.

Most hotels are clustered around Patong Beach, Karon Beach, and Kata Beach.

If you enjoy partying and are looking for a lively vibe, you can consider booking a hotel in the Patong Beach area. Patong Beach is the heart of Phuket and offers a colorful nightlife and a variety of bars, restaurants, and shopping options.  

If you prefer a quiet vibe, you may like to choose a hotel on Karon Beach or Surin Beach.

Here are our recommended hotels on these beaches for your reference:

  • Arinara Bangtao Beach Resort (Bangtao Beach)
  • Twinpalms Phuket Resort (Surin Beach)
  • Katathani Phuket Beach Resort (Karon Beach)
  • Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach (Patong Beach)
  • Burasari Resort (Patong Beach)
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Meals in Phuket

Thai dishes feature sour, sweet, salty, and spicy flavor profiles. Different regions of Thailand have slightly different preferences. Phuket is located in the south of Thailand. The dishes there are slightly spicier than in other regions.

Phuket is rich in lobster, oysters, squid, and other seafood. Seafood dishes cooked in the Thai style tend to have a unique taste profile. The most popular seafood restaurants and stalls can be found in Patong Beach. Karon Beach also has a seafood street that attracts visitors all around.

Another feature of Phuket’s dishes is that they are cooked with coconut milk. Mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, chicken, and galangal are cooked in coconut milk, offering a special flavor.

Besides restaurants, night markets are the best place to explore local delicacies and immerse yourself in the local community.

Don’t worry if you can’t get used to the Thai style. You will find more international cuisine there — Western, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Turkish, Chinese, etc.

Need a Visa or No Need to Get a Visa

Passport holders from 57 countries are exempt from obtaining a visa to visit Thailand.

If you hold a passport from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, or 46 other countries, you can visit Phuket without applying for a visa.

If you are still not sure whether you need a visa or not, please check our How to Apply for a Thai Visa.

Explore Phuket with Us

We welcome the chance to help you design your perfect trip to Thailand. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in selecting destinations, accommodation, and activities that best suit your requirements.  

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