Phuket might spell 'party' to many in the large crowd winging their way to its three good-time beaches of Kata, Karong and Patong. But Thailand’s biggest island has such a dizzying blend of exotic landscapes, stunning beaches and curious cultures that you can pretty much spell Phuket anyway you want.

But a gem is most certainly what Phuket is – though maybe emerald would be the stone of choice. This almost fifty-kilometre long island is surrounded by seas that shimmer between azure, turquoise and emerald-green, and is crowned by a verdant green canopy of forested mountains. The best place to start your Phuket experience is at one of its beautiful beaches – though surprisingly many are not as crowded as you might think.

Family-friendly is written in the sands of Kamala Beach, tucked behind a hill south of Surin, and which boasts a safe, clean and quiet beach. Just north of it is the little hide-away cove of Laem Singh Beach. Once a secret haven below the cliffs, it is now immensely popular, but still holds onto its jungle-clad beauty. Take a long drive south of Patong, and you'll find the low-profile, well-ordered paradise that is Kata Noi Beach. Sun-worshippers, thrill-seekers and taste-questers are served in equal measure by its beach, buzz and great restaurants.

Drive as far down as you can, and you'll reach the iconic beauty of Promthep Cape, a dramatic rock splinter at the very southern tip of Phuket. Here, even the local Thai people crowd on the cliff-top at sunset, to capture its wide open ocean views. One of the often-missed gems of Phuket's beach scene lies nearby – Nai Harn Beach. It's another peaceful stretch of white sand that begs to be snorkelled, surfed or maybe just admired. And looking over all these neglected south-side beaches is the towering white splendour of the Big Buddha. Only erected in the last few years, this massive 46-metre high statue stares meditatively from the heights of the Nakkerd hills.

But rather than its beaches, the island of Phuket is becoming better known for the myriad of island beauties scattered around its coast. The Ao Phang Nga National Park is a staggering collection of these limestone shards, thrusting out of a calm sea. Home to some amazing marine wildlife and astonishing sea-caves, it also hosts a celebrity island. Khao Phing Kan is better known as James Bond Island, thanks to its connection to the film The Man with the Golden Gun.

And talking of celebrities, the most famous of all Phuket's island treasures are the Phi Phi Islands, 32 kilometres west, whose superlative scenery earned them the starring role in The Beach. So Phuket does do 'party', and it does do 'fun' – but it also does 'spectacle' like few other places on Earth.

Known for

Beaches, Shopping and Romantic

Explore map

Where to stay in Phuket

Old Phuket Town
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Old Phuket Town

Cafés, Museums, Friendly People

Stroll through the quaint town center and capture photos of the exceptional Sino-Portuguese design of the majestic shop houses and museums in this historic district.

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Top hotels in Phuket

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa
Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa
5 out of 5
88 Moo 7, Prunai, Ko Yao, Phang Nga
NZ$111/night
19 Sep. - 20 Sep.
4.5/5Wonderful! (1,986 reviews)

Nestled on the beach, this Ko Yao resort is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Loh Paret Beach.

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,986 reviews)

"Very unique and nice hotel. But a bit noisy, wifi is not always working. For a short vacation definitely great, more than 1 week will be boring. Restaurants all have same dishes in different location. Outside the resort is not really much to explore. So overall nice, but for the price will be definitely ..."…"

Reviewed on 21 Aug. 2019

Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa
Image for Zenseana Resort & Spa
Zenseana Resort & Spa
4 out of 5
147 Prabaramee Road, Patong Beach, Kathu, Patong, Phuket
NZ$82/night
20 Sep. - 21 Sep.
4.8/5Exceptional! (14 reviews)

Situated in Patong, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kalim Beach, Patong Beach, and Bangla Road. Jungceylon Shopping Center is 1.1 mi (1.7 km) away.

4.8/5Exceptional! (14 reviews)

"Love how modern the hotel looked, staffs were all so nice and helpful. They are always cheerful and welcoming, K was one of the staffs that helped us with accommodations and directions when needed."…"

Reviewed on 17 Aug. 2019

Zenseana Resort & Spa
Image for Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort
Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort
5 out of 5
Laguna Phuket, 323 Moo 2, Srisoonthorn Road, Choeng Thale, Phuket
NZ$122/night
17 Sep. - 18 Sep.
4.6/5Wonderful! (1,137 reviews)

Nestled on the beach, this Choeng Thale hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Boat Avenue Mall Phuket, Bang Tao Beach, and Laguna Phuket Golf Club. Bang-Tao Night Market ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (1,137 reviews)

"Hotel kids friendly with pool slide. Relaxing stay with options of Thai restaurants nearby the hotel."…"

Reviewed on 18 Aug. 2019

Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort

Popular activities in Phuket

Bangla Road
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Bangla Road

Head to this street when the sun goes down to experience the buzzing atmosphere created by busy bars, nightclubs with music pumping and crowds of people looking to party. 

Phuket Fantasea
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Phuket Fantasea

Experience Thai theater, enjoy a buffet dinner and see a colorful show featuring a magical elephant at this cultural theme park. 

Big Buddha
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Big Buddha

Sitting on a lotus leaf on one of the highest points in Phuket, the Big Buddha is a dramatic statement that appears to survey the stunning panorama.

Promthep Cape
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Promthep Cape

The cliff-top palms of Promthep Cape are a Phuket icon, a symbol of a viewing-point that stretches across three points of the compass.

Kamala Beach
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Kamala Beach

A family-friendly beach that turns down the volume and turns up the relaxation – with yoga, massages, warm calm seas and uncluttered friendly beaches.

Kata Noi Beach
Image for Kata Noi Beach

Kata Noi Beach

This stunning beach manages that difficult hat-trick – of looking drop-dead gorgeous, keeping the punters happy, while avoiding pulling in the big crowds.

Top activities in Phuket

Amazing Phuket Island Guided Tour with optional Big Buddha
Image for Amazing Phuket Island Guided Tour with optional Big Buddha

Amazing Phuket Island Guided Tour with optional Big Buddha

NZ$19

This tour has only recently been designed and put on sale and is already getting fabulous feedback. It is actually an extended version of the Phuket Island Guided Tour, as this tour is including a stop at the Big Buddha (if chosen) and has a duration from 4 - 5 1/2 hours.

Phuket Island Introduction Tour Half Day
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Phuket Island Introduction Tour Half Day

NZ$20

Discover the cultural landmarks and iconic beaches of stunning Phuket on this half-day introduction to the sights and sounds of Thailand's largest island. Get your bearing as you zip between sun-soaked beaches and striking temples, and keep your camera handy for visits to spectacular lookout points.

John Gray's Hong by Starlight with Sea Kayaking & Loy Krathong Floating
Image for John Gray's Hong by Starlight with Sea Kayaking & Loy Krathong Floating

John Gray's Hong by Starlight with Sea Kayaking & Loy Krathong Floating

NZ$199

Enjoy an afternoon kayaking in sea caves in Phang Nga Bay with an experienced guide, including limestone caves and hidden lagoons discovered by John Gray in 1989. Eat a delicious seafood buffet and cap off the evening by floating a handmade flower Kratong in a natural light show.

Full-Day Tour of 6 Islands to Phi Phi with Lunch & Barbecue
Image for Full-Day Tour of 6 Islands to Phi Phi with Lunch & Barbecue

Full-Day Tour of 6 Islands to Phi Phi with Lunch & Barbecue

NZ$199

Escape the crowds from Phuket and explore stunning snorkeling spots, lagoons and islets framed by tall limestone cliffs. The full-day tour is operated on a speed boat with up to 35 passengers and brings you to 6 unique islands including lunch and BBQ skewers at the pier in the evening.

Phi Phi & Khai Nai Islands Deluxe Full-Day Tour by Speedboat
Image for Phi Phi & Khai Nai Islands Deluxe Full-Day Tour by Speedboat

Phi Phi & Khai Nai Islands Deluxe Full-Day Tour by Speedboat

NZ$134

Enjoy a day of sightseeing in the Phi Phi Islands, a hotspot in Southern Thailand made famous by the movie The Beach. Admire stunning views and the crystal-clear waters of the Maya Bay, enjoy lunch, spot limestone cliffs, and get a chance to go snorkeling.

Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island & Sea Caves Kayaking Tour
Image for Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island & Sea Caves Kayaking Tour

Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island & Sea Caves Kayaking Tour

NZ$146

The journey starts in the morning with a ride aboard an air-conditioned tour bus to Ao Por Pier, where you will be briefed on the safety aspects of the tour.

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