Phuket’s name has become a household term when it comes to tourism not only in Thailand but in the world. The biggest island located in the south of Thailand that’s sits on the Andaman Sea, its Chinese influence is quite obvious where you can see a plethora of Chinese restaurants and shrines. In fact, the island province celebrates the Chinese Vegetarian Festival every year, which is one of the biggest festivals on the island.
Phuket is primarily known for its stunning beaches with immaculately white sand, crystal clear waters, and a diverse variety of marine animals. Because it experiences an exceptionally warm and sunny weather all-year round, it’s the perfect destination for a lot of fun and adventure for people from all walks of life.
For this article, we will discuss the experiences and offerings of Phuket by category. We’ll put together the best beaches, nightlife spots, markets, and the best Thai food to try in the city.
Phuket has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches that tourists from all over the world come to visit. Here are some of the best that you shouldn’t miss seeing.
Be mesmerised by Kata Beach’s unique curved shape that’s kissed by lush hillsides at either end. It is characterised by palms and casuarinas with a broad beach and soft white sand. The beach is perfect for snorkelling, and it has beachfront stalls and restaurants on the beach where you can dine if you go hungry.
Patong Beach is Phuket’s longest beach. Back in the day, it was also the most beautiful. But development comes with a price. Ever since tourists started flocking to the place, Patong Beach became more of a bustling hub of activity rather than a respite from the busy world. So, if your idea of going to the beach is the crowds, parties, and shopping, then this is the place to be. Today, you can barely find a quiet spot on the beach, but there’s definitely a lot of sight to enjoy, if you know what we mean.
If you’re looking for a more mellow and peaceful kind of beach, then Karon Beach waits for you. Since it’s less developed than Patong, you can enjoy walking barefoot on its 3.5-kilometre long beach of golden sand. You can sit on the beach and enjoy the feeling of the powdery white sand touching your toes while you get your tan. During sunny days, you can definitely enjoy a good swim, but you’ll have to be more careful when the winds are strong. Of course, there are resorts and restaurants nearby that are situated along the busy road.
If there’s one very alive thing in Phuket, it would have to be its nightlife.
Ask any Phuket local where to go to experience their nightlife, and they’ll say it’s Bangla Road. It’s the perfect place to find incredible things such as international-standard nightclubs, beer bars, go-go bars, vendors, lounge bars, games, street performance, live music, and a lot more.
What do you expect? It’s an island! And when you’re in Phuket, there’s no shortage of hotspots on the beach. You’ll enjoy the mix of modern restaurants and bars that are made from natural elements located as close to the beach and sand possible. There are occasional parties hosted by internationally-renowned DJs and artists with capable barmen who can concoct your favourite cocktails. Of course, you can also have a wide array of classy snacks and delicious tapas to choose from. So whether you’re out to party or enjoy a quiet dinner, there is always a good choice for you.
Yep, you read that right—it’s a cabaret! The Simon Cabaret is a Phuket institution, which started out in a single shophouse that has grown exponentially over the years. Today, it’s the country’s leading transvestite/transgender show. You’ll be entertained by performers in an outstanding show with dance and song routines.
Thailand is famous for its adult entertainment highlight. So do make sure to visit one of their many go-go bars in Patong. These are mostly found along Soi Seadragon and off Bangla Road and feature expensive drinks and comfortable furnishings. Its atmosphere is friendly, a fresh breather from the usual raunchy circuses that they’re often associated with.
Coming to the markets in Phuket lets you feel festive, especially as these are often accompanied by music and street performance.
Enjoy the trendy night market of Chillva Market that exudes a bohemian vibe. Add to that its great selection of food souvenir and fashion items. It’s easy to spot the market as it is located at the side of the Yaowarat Road with some colourful shipping containers as its shopfronts.
The Phuket Weekend Market is the island’s largest night market with a fascinating collection of souvenir, curios, second-hand goods, and tons of food. If you’re looking for something authentic or original, that might take awhile and a little bit of perseverance. However, there’s more than enough array and diversity of offerings in the midst of the crowded and oftentimes stuffy market.
This place occupies a good part of Phuket Old Town and is both a night market and a cultural attraction. Aside from the delectable array of street food, you can also admire the old Sino-Portuguese houses that line the 350-metre-long street, especially when they’re lit up in vibrant colours. You can also find modern fashion and jewelry, handicrafts, and souvenirs sold in the spaces between these buildings. As you enjoy your food, be entertained by the buskers and performers nearby.
And the best part of exploring a new place? It’s the food, of course! Here are some of the must-try Thai food in Phuket!
In case you didn’t know, this is Thailand’s national dish. The dish is made with jumbo shrimps or goong and mushrooms, blended together in a sauce with chili and fish sauce. Add to that the generous amounts of lime leaves, lemongrass, shallots, and galangal for aroma. Its delicious mix of sour and spicy hot makes it a perfect meal with rice.
Pad Thai is internationally-known and has been remade and remixed in almost every country. But nothing really beats the authentic Pad Thai in Phuket. It consists mainly of bean sprouts, tofu, onion, and finely ground peanuts.
This noodle soup is a staple of Thai cuisine. Interestingly, there is no straight up, perfect kuay tiew because it can be cooked up several ways depending on the seller. For example, in a street market where ten vendors are selling it, you can have a different variation of the noodle soup in ten different ways. So, if you want to really indulge, try all different variations of kuay tiew.
Som Tam is a spicy papaya salad from northeast Thailand. There is a slight variation in the sweet-and-sour scale of the salad in every region serving it. It’s usually eaten with sticky rice and barbecued chicken.
This food is otherwise called chicken in coconut soup. The chicken is cooked with coconut soup, lemongrass, and galangal. Of course, it’s best eaten with sticky rice.
There you go! There’s never going to be a dull moment or day when you know where to go in Phuket. You just have to budget your time and make sure to enjoy everything as much as you can.