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Phuket – party and shop till you drop

 
576

km²

 
222

sq mi

 

Phuket is above all an interesting island, as being the biggest island of Thailand and probably one of the most touristic ones.

There are three districts: Phuket (northern half), Kathu (middle left) and Thalang (east & south).

In the same way that tourism is thriving, also a lot of non-Thai chose Phuket to be their hometown, about 22% of the population is foreign.
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How to get to Phuket

Phuket airport

Phuket has an international airport at about 32 km / 20 miles from the city. Basically, the best way to get from the airport to your hotel is by private taxi or shared minivan.

Private taxi from Phuket airport

Of course, you can also get a private taxi. This option is more expensive, but will transfer you right away. To illustrate, a private taxi will cost you about 850 Baht for 3-4 persons (approx. € 22,50 / US$ 26,20). Another option is a bigger taxi for 4-6 persons, this will approximately be 1000 Baht (approx. € 27 / US$ 31).

Shared minivan from Phuket airport

Evidently, a shared minivan from Phuket to your hotel is the cheaper option. The minivan is 180 Baht per person (approx. €4,75 / US$ 5,60). Every now and then you will need to wait before the minivan is fully booked. At the airport you can buy your ticket for the minivan. When you buy it, they will inform you where to sit down and relax, they keep track of the passengers. As soon as the minivan is fully booked, the driver will come to get you. Accordingly, the driver will drop you off at your hotel. We experienced they make one stop to sell some stuff, but you will be fine if you don’t want to buy anything 😊

Travel to Phuket from inside Thailand

There is no train service to Phuket. If you are already in Thailand you can take the bus to Phuket. From Bangkok to Phuket it is 15 hours by night bus for a maximum of € 27 / US$ 32 per person. I advise informing at your hotel or visit 12go.asia to book your bus.
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What to do in Phuket

Phuket is the place to party

Patong Beach is thé spot when you are looking for party! Above all, there is wild nightlife going on. Especially at the Bangla Road or Bangla Walking Street. All in all, be prepared to be approached – a lot – with promotions at Bangla Road. The offers range from drinks to girls (or boys), they have it all. In case you are not a die-hard party person, it is just kind of fun to walk through this street. When you visit just around sunset, you get the vibe of what most people are visiting Phuket for.

Shopping at Phuket

In the same way people party at Phuket, they go shopping. There is a huge shopping mall close to Patong Beach: Jungceylon Shopping Center. There they sell all you need! For example, from jewellery (Swarovksi <3) to electric gadgets. For instance, from grocery’s (Big C) to clothes and bags, make sure to take a look! To sum up, it’s a good place to shop, have a coffee and enjoy the atmosphere there.

Next to this, at the island is also another shopping mall: Central Festival Phuket. In the same fashion you will find more ‘Central Festival’ shopping malls throughout Thailand, always worth visiting if you like shopping.

Must see: Big Buddha & Wat Chalong

The Big Buddha at Phuket is unquestionably a must see, this one is so impressive and so big! Surely, a must see for yourself. In the first place, the Big Buddha with the impressive stairs is the main attraction. But also make sure to take a good look around. Because of the top-of-the-mountain location, you have an amazing view! You will see the island Phuket in a different perspective.

Also, the Wat Chalong, the biggest Buddhistic temple at Phuket, is very impressive. When visiting Buddhas or temples always make sure to dress respectfully (shoulders and knees covered).

Beaches at Phuket

When in Phuket, you should go to the beach. Surely, Patong Beach is the most popular, with enough restaurants and bars alongside the coastline. Then again, Karon Beach is also a great one to check out. Karon Beach it is the third-longest beach on Phuket and close to Patong. Another one, Kata beach, has more of a family vibe to it. In like fashion, Kamala beach is quieter and more relaxed. To conclude, the more undiscovered beaches are Ya Nui Beach, Naithon Beach and Freedom Beach.

Promthep View Point

When you like beautiful beachy scenery, Promthep View Point undeniably has to be on your list. Although it’s rather touristy, I still recommend visiting it. Because from here you have such an amazing view, one that you will never forget. Also, at the viewpoint itself are the prettiest sculptures of elephants, from big golden ones to cute little ones.

Where and what to eat in Phuket

Diner at sunset

Plenty of restaurants near the beachside! You can find a restaurant to your taste on Tripadvisor or Google Maps. To point out, we ate once near the beachside and the food wasn’t that good. The restaurants seem to be of ‘touristy’ quality. But hey, get yourself a cocktail or a nice beer and enjoy the sun going down into the sea.

Thai food

When in Thailand you need to experience local Thai food, of course! The most famous dish is still the Pad Thai, a noodle dish. But also, curries are great to try. Make sure to have rice and some drink with your curry in case it is too spicy! I would recommend Thai Smile for good Thai food. Also, make sure to drink a fresh coconut! I love it. Oh, I miss it already. I also love street food; the best eateries are not on Tripadvisor or Maps but just right in front of you. Do like the locals do, if you see locals eating at a street food cart, the food is good.

Gems to share

I want to highlight two restaurants that you otherwise might skip. On this occasion, Non-Thai food!

Salsamexicana Patong

Salsamexicana Patong is a Mexican restaurant, great to take a break from the Asian food once in a while. While seated at the restaurant, you really have a great view! Ánd great – did I mention Mexican <3 – food! You surely should check this one out. It’s so good, and, did I mention the view? 😉 Keep some space for dessert.

Royale Nam Tok – a special night out

Royale Nam Tok is one fancy restaurant! By all means, it is more expensive, but you will remember this one for the rest of your life. The restaurant is owned by two, especially kind, Belgium men that had a well-known restaurant in Antwerp. In time, they moved to Phuket to follow their dreams and consequently started their restaurant at Phuket. Without doubt, the men are so nice and the food is really good. The menu is mainly French inspired but cooked with Thai ingredients. To illustrate, imagine you have dinner in Paris in a villa around 20 or 30 years ago. Make sure to picture the beautiful decoration, lovely plates, wine, and relaxing background music. Can’t wait to get back!

Get around in Phuket

Walking will do if you stay at e.g. Patong Beach.

If you want to see more of the island, you can get around by taxi or rent a motorbike. Renting a motorbike is cheaper, because taxis are quite expensive in these touristic areas. For renting a motorbike I would recommend “Motorbike Rental Phuket Trading as Cheap as Chips”. For one thing, always make sure to wear your helmet and you have an international drivers’ licence. Always check the rules of the government before renting and driving in another country!

Another way to explore is to book a tour. Ask at the reception of your hotel where to book the tour, or let them arrange it for you. There are numerous tour operators and they will definitely have the tour that suits your needs. Surely do some 'window shopping' and compare a couple of tour operators, to find the one that suits you best.

The traffic in Phuket

Phuket is not the way to go if you want spotless traffic examples, but compared to the rest of Thailand, Phuket is not that bad. By all means, the main roads along the island are of good quality and there are construction works going on to improve the flow of traffic. Be that as it may, in the busy area’s with shops, hotels and restaurants, the roads are quite okay but can get busy. Most roads in the centres do have sidewalks of medium quality (small, broken, occupied), but well, you have your pedestrian space 😊
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