Phuket is a tropical island paradise located in southern Thailand. One of Asia’s top tourist destinations, Phuket is surrounded by the Andaman Sea and blessed with warm temperatures, inviting beaches and a relaxing environment. Because of this Phuket has a thriving tourist industry and the millions of international visitors that come here each year are treated to the best in service and hospitality.
The western side of Phuket is the predominant tourist area with many resorts, spas and international hotels. Phuket City, the capital of the province and principle city of the island is found on the much quieter and less developed south-eastern shore. While the nightlife is a draw for international tourists, the city is also known for its historic 19th century homes and buildings as well as several ancient Buddhist temples. The interior of the island is covered in dense forests and dotted with small villages and not usually visited by many tourists.
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The island of Phuket is divided into three districts which are used mainly for governmental and administrative purposes. For visitors to the island, the main area of interest is along the western shore. The international airport is located on the north-western side and only a short drive to the mainland. Towards the southern end, Patong is one of most famous beach development areas with Kata and Karon beaches nearby also big on the list of holiday attractions.
Patong’s many hotels, restaurants and nightclubs makes this Phuket’s busiest tourist destination. Patong is particularly popular with international backpackers and students because of its party atmosphere and nightlife along Bangla Road. The area attracts tourists of all ages however due to its wonderful selections of restaurants and luxury hotels all situated near Patong’s famous beach.
Karon has many resort and hotel developments that are located across the street from the beach, making this a quieter, less crowded alternative to Patong. This long stretch of white sandy beach is known for its inviting cove and is the perfect place to relax under a beach umbrella. There are many attractive resorts with intimate lounges and restaurants and beautiful swimming pools set among inviting natural settings.
Phuket City is the main urban area on the island and seat of government for the province. As the main commercial centre there are several shopping malls and markets around the city. China Town and Old Town are distinctive areas that are fun to explore and offer a unique cultural and historical perspective of the town.
Phuket features many fantastic island activities and not surprisingly many are geared towards beach activities and the water. From snorkelling and scuba diving to speedboat tours and kayaking, exploring Phuket on or in the water is a great way to experience the island’s unique environment and its eco-system. A favourite adventure with many tourists is a tour by kayak or boat around the unique rock formations that can be found just off the Phuket coast. Huge, jagged, moss covered rocks jut out of the water creating a stunningly exotic visual backdrop for photography.
From China Town to Old Town there are several interesting neighbourhoods to explore. Old Town has a wonderful collection of 19th century buildings of southern European influence and its main street is lined with colourful old buildings from the city’s past. Many restaurants, quaint cafes and little shops line this attractive road making for an enjoyable stroll.
The quintessential Phuket scene could be of Phang Nga Bay with its impressive limestone rock formations that jut out of the water. These jagged rocks and caves are popular to explore by kayak or boat and offer excellent photo opportunities. Many species of interesting bird life can also be found here. Phang Nga Bay is located on the east side of Phuket Island.
Hop on a ferry or speed boat from Phuket City to the secluded getaway of Phi Phi Island. Here visitors will find an oasis of white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters that remain virtually untouched. Jagged cliff tops and lush green jungle turn this into a tropical fantasy begging to be explored.
There are many historic and ornate temples to explore in Phuket. The oldest Chinese temple is Put Jaw Temple in Phuket City. Over 200 years old, this temple was dedicated to Kuan Yin, the goddess of Mercy. The more ornately designed Jui Tui shrine with its intricately carved doors is nearby. The largest and most visited temple is Wat Chalong. This beautiful temple is said to have been the place of many miracles.
The main industry on Phuket is tourism and therefore a wide range of options are available when it comes to accommodation. From the busy, tourist filled beach areas of Patong to private off shore huts or a room off the beaten-track outside Phuket City, all price ranges and tastes can be met here.
There are many beach side resorts, spas and hotels up and down the coast of Phuket, from Patong to the more secluded and quiet areas north and south. Every price range is available, from budget to luxury and several internationally known brands have a presence on the island.
Phuket is warm throughout the whole year, hottest from April to May and from September to October. Cool breezes and blue skies with low humidity weather occurs from December to March, making it the best time to visit Phuket. Heavy rainfalls are seen in September to early October. Visit Best Time to Visit Phuket page for details.
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