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Phuket - A Paradise for Beach Lovers

If it’s a luxurious holiday without the luxury price tag you’re looking for, Phuket offers a very satisfying experience. With the largest selection of hotels in the country you’re spoilt for choice, and the famous Thai hospitality creates some wonderful resorts. Many are right on the beach, others have private lagoons but those on a budget can still enjoy the best of Phuket from a humble guesthouse, but whichever beach you choose there will be a host of restaurants, bars and tourist services at your disposal with a stunning nearby beach.

Phuket Travel Guide

Thailand’s ‘Jewel of the Andaman’ invites beach lovers with an exciting mix of stunning coastline, excellent hotels, fantastic diving and day trips to sunny islands. Phuket is Thailand’s favourite destination, perfectly placed within reach of Krabi, the Phi Phi Islands, Pha Nga Bay and Similans.

Activities in Phuket

Phuket thrives off its tourist industry and has plenty to offer its guests, from relaxing spas, live-aboard dive cruises, day trips, tours, activities and services.
While many visitors come to Phuket to simply relax and soak up the sun on its gorgeous beaches, there is plenty more to do whether you prefer a lively night out, or walks in the national parks. By hiring a motorbike or taxi you can explore the island and seek out its quieter beaches and magnificent view points. Further afield are many jewels of the Andaman such as the world famous Phi Phi islands, the stunning karst formations of Phang Nga bay and the breathtaking beauty of Krabi, all within a couple of hours of Phuket.
Diving, sailing, golf and water sports are all popular activities and widely offered. There are several 18 hole courses in gorgeous settings, and Phuket is fast becoming a sailing centre for Asia. But it is diving which is most rewarding and there are numerous reefs, dive spots and courses to choose from. You may choose to learn how to cook Thai food or do Thai massage while you are here.

Daytrips in Phuket

Many of southern Thailand’s most popular destinations are within easy reach of Phuket and offering day trips to the many offshore islands, snorkeling, diving, rock climbing and many other activities.
Koh Phi Phi is one of the most beautiful and well known of the Andaman Islands drawing many visitors to its stunning white sand beaches. The limestone cliffs of Phi Phi are excellent for rock climbing and scuba diving is held in high regard.
Khao Tapoo, in Phang Nga Bay, is also an excellent day tour from Phuket. This small island in the bay is known as ‘James Bond Island’ and was made famous in The Man with the Golden Gun. A perfect limestone pillar projects straight up out of the water right in front of the pristine white sand beach. Phang Nga bay also offers elephant trekking, nature walks and river rafting adventures. It boasts some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the entire region.

Entertainment in Phuket

Phuket has a thriving night life and it’s one of the main attractions of the island. There are plenty of places to party after a day at the beach, including lively Thai style nightclubs with live bands, Western discos thumping with dance music, small beachside bars, sedate pubs and go-go clubs full of friendly ‘company’. In general the nightlife in Phuket is concentrated around the tourist beaches of Patong, Kata/Karon and Rawai, as well as Phuket City.
Phuket bars range from classy themed venues that serve food, to rustic beach side shacks, impromptu roadside drinking tables – Thai style and the go go bars which offer instant company. Many of the bars have pool tables, good music, happy hours and TVs showing sport or music. The bars in Patong and Kata are all within easy walking distance of each other and the major hotels. Other areas of the island, however, are more spread out and transportation can difficult.
Phuket restaurants cater to a wide variety of tastes and budgets, from simple street side noodle carts and grill stalls to five star restaurants with spectacular ocean views. Visitors wishing to experience the ‘real’ Thai lifestyle should definitely sample some of the ubiquitous ‘street food’ on offer. Phuket seafood is among the best in the world and many favourite dishes include shrimp, crab or fresh fish. Other popular Thai dishes are Tom Yum Goong, a spicy and sour shrimp soup, Gaeng Kiew Wan, sweet and spicy green curry, Goong Tord Gratiem Prik Thai, deep fried tiger prawns with garlic and pepper and Goong Makham, fried prawns with Tamarind sauce.

Shopping in Phuket

Phuket lacks the variety and sheer volume of handicrafts and other local goods seen in Northern Thailand and Bangkok, but there are still some bargains to be enjoyed. Shopping in Phuket offers silks and cottons, ready-to-wear and custom made clothing, batiks, leather goods, jewellery, ceramics and antiques, and due to the boom of upscale property developments on the island, there's also a fabulous range of home décor products and furniture.
Phuket City hosts a wide range of shops, from handicraft and antique stores, to the hypermarkets of Big C and Tesco-Lotus. Shopping in Phuket city is surprisingly good and worth the trip away from the beach areas.
Shopping in Patong Beach is a frenzied experience as the bulk of it is done through the bewildering number of street vendors that line all the main roads and also Patong’s night market. Nightfall usually means the sidewalks are full of shoppers browsing the displays of clothes, souvenirs, accessories, paintings, luggage, and leather items. Fake brand name goods and pirated CDs and software are usually on offer, except when there's a periodic crackdown on the practice.

Sightseeing in Phuket

Phuket is regarded as ‘The Pearl of the Andaman’, and it's certainly one of Asia’s loveliest holiday destinations. With it’s stunning west coast beaches, lovely tropical hinterland and excellent tourist infrastructure, Phuket takes prime place in the guide books of Thailand. There are plenty of great natural and man-made attractions to see, both on the island in the adjacent coastal area.
Highlights on the island include Phuket Town, with it’s old traditional Thai character that suggests what the island was like before the tourists arrived. There are also great viewpoints above Kata Bay and at Promthep cape, from which to see the sun set, or consider the soaring chedi at Wat Chalong.
Beyond Phuket are many more great sightseeing opportunities to which tours with a guide run daily, and spending a day on one of these is highly recommended. A trip to the famous Phi Phi Islands southwest of Phuket, or the remarakable karst pillars of Pha Nga Bay should not be missed.

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