If you’re looking for recommendations or ideas of what to do in Phuket, you’re in the right place! In this blog I’ve tried to outline our time in Phuket so that you can get the most out of your trip.
Phuket was one of the last places I visited when I was in Thailand, and it was somewhere I would visit again for a beach holiday. It’s the best of both worlds with easy access to beautiful beaches, and lots of cultural sights to see.
Haven’t got time to read the whole post? Skip to:
- Trip highlights
- Where to stay in Phuket
- Restaurants in Phuket
- Phuket nightlife
- Phuket sightseeing
- Beaches in Phuket
Not got time to read the whole post? Watch my trip highlights to see what we got up to in Phuket…
Phuket is easily accessible from Bangkok airport, so if you’re coming from the UK you can fly directly to Bangkok and get a transfer to Phuket. The airport is around an hours drive away from the Patong Beach.
When we visited we were coming from the Phi Phi Islands as this was the route we took. To get there from Phi Phi we used 12go.asia which is an all inclusive service where you buy your tickets from one city to another. Our booking encompassed a ferry from Phi Phi to Phuket Pier and then a taxi to any hotel in Patong Beach. This cost us 900THB (£23) each and took around 3 hours.
Where to stay in Phuket
Phuket is a tourist hotspot with the main area being Patong Beach – which is where we stayed. If you’re looking to be close to the centre but want to stay away from the tourist madness, I’d recommend Karon Beach which is a 5-10 minute drive from Patong Beach.
As we were travelling on a budget we stayed in a hostel – Hip Hostel. It was in a great location and it cost just £13 for two people for 3 nights… that’s right, £2 per night!
It was a 6 bed mixed dorm, but it had an en-suite which was handy. The hostel was extremely clean, and there was even free coffee facilities in the reception area.
The staff here were amazing too, and helped us with anything we needed, including helping us book our transfers to the airport for our final day.
Highly recommend this hostel to anyone who is travelling through Phuket!
Restaurants in Phuket
Patong Beach was the most commercialised place we visited in Thailand so it was full of your standard chain restaurants, for example, McDonald’s, Starbucks, KFC… we did resort to chips one day after a busy day of sightseeing – not very cultural.
We struggled to find places to eat in Patong Beach as we weren’t comfortable eating halal, and all of the restaurants opposite the Bangla Walking Street were exactly that. If you’re not bothered about halal, you’ll find a tonne of Indian restaurants down this street.
We also had a walk down to the beach front where there was a few restaurants that looked good for seafood and meat, but as I was travelling with a vegetarian, we decided to eat elsewhere!
We resorted to eating in a restaurant that was inside the Junceylon/Central Patong Shopping Centre, called Mezzo Italian. It was quite expensive compared to the other places we had visited, but this was expected as it was a proper restaurant (with aircon) and was inside a shopping centre!
After we had finished our dinner we went for a walk around the shopping centre and found After You, a dessert parlour. This was so yummy and definitely worth a visit if you’re fancying something sweet.
Patong Beach is well known for its nightlife, and after travelling there I can understand why.
It reminds me of when I went to Zante or Magaluf but it’s on another level. This 400m street is lined with pubs, bars and nightclubs, all competing for your custom.
We chose Funk Bar for shots and dance music, and then we headed to Monsoon Bar on the way back for live music which was really good. I was also recommended to visit Tiger Disco, but didn’t get round to it…
On our last night in Phuket we also went to the famous Simon Cabaret Show which was a lot of fun. It’s a cheesy take on Asian drag, and despite the acts not being amazing, it was a very good night. Some of the performers were better than others at lip syncing, but the outfits, make-up and set design was incredible. Tickets cost 1000THB (£25) each, and can be bought online in advance.
Sightseeing in Phuket
From Patong Beach some of the sights are quite far away so we weren’t sure how we were going to get there (affordably).
Luckily, we were speaking to a lady who worked in a coffee shop and she mentioned we should ask a taxi driver to take us around the main sights for a fixed fee for the day. We managed to track down a taxi driver (with an air conned car) who took us wherever we wanted to go all day for 1500THB which is only around £20 each for a day of exploring.
We visited the Big Buddha, Wat Chalong Temple and the Old Town. All of the sights were beautiful, and our taxi driver gave us as much time as we needed at each destination, meeting us at our pick up location ready to take us to the next spot.
My only gripe with tourism in Phuket is that most of the “top attractions” involve exploiting animals. In the taxi there was a laminated piece of paper outlining all of the best things to see in Phuket, some of them being:
- Tiger Kingdom
- Elephant riding
- Crocodile farm
- Snake charming
It just seemed bizarre that with such wonderful sights to see such as the Big Buddha and the temples, that people still enjoyed exploiting animals in such ways.
If you are interested in seeing the elephants, you can do this at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Phuket, which is a much more ethical way to see these gentle giants. We visited their sister site in Chiang Mai for 2 days and it was incredible.
Beaches in Phuket
On our first day in Phuket we visited the main beach in Patong, which wasn’t that nice. It was quite run down and full of tourists because of it’s location, and didn’t give you the chilled vibes that we got on other beaches around Thailand.
On our final day in Phuket we wanted a chilled day and wanted to explore other beaches. After doing some research we were torn between Paradise Beach and Karon Beach, but decided on Karon as it was closer and easier to get to.
Karon Beach is lovely compared to Patong Beach – and we were actually recommended to go there from another traveller who was in the same dorm room as us.
The beach was a lot less touristy, more spacious and was cheaper! It was only 200THB for two sunbeds and an umbrella all day. The sea was quite choppy when we were there but the area is very good for snorkelling. The weather was incredibly hot when we went so we only lasted until 1pm and then I needed to get out of the sun and into the aircon!
Watch our trip highlights of Adventures in Phuket with our video below! Got any other recommendations for Phuket? Let me know in the comments!