Phuket City travel guide

Phuket City Tourism | Phuket City Guide

You're Going to Love Phuket City

This island paradise in Thailand will surprise you with its hidden delights. The varied geography of Phuket allows for beautiful scenery and a wide range of activities. Forested hills, mangroves, and beaches can be freely explored, so there's always a quiet corner to discover away from the tourist centers.

The beaches on the northwest coast are mostly deserted, with deep water and often wild waves. Further down the west coast lie the most popular beach resorts. Bang Tao and Kamala offer a quiet atmosphere with small bars, shops, and restaurants. A little further south is Patong, the busiest resort town on the island. As you head toward the south coast, Karon, Kata, and Rawai have a lively, small town feel; relaxing but still with plenty to do. The east coast offers authentic cuisine in seaside restaurants and stunning mangrove scenery.

From laid-back reggae bars to exquisite dining venues, Phuket has nightlife options to suit everyone. Balmy nights in bustling Patong offer shopping, dining, drinking, and entertainment. In the more quiet areas you'll get to know your friendly bar workers well and enjoy the cozy vibe.

A more reflective atmosphere can be discovered in the many Buddhist temples around the island. Visitors are welcome to wander the grounds and ornate buildings that often house sacred Buddha statues. Special events and festivals held throughout the year offer a glimpse into local culture.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Phuket City

1. Beautiful Beaches

There's a beach to suit everyone in Phuket. From busy beaches with fun water sports to serene idylls, perfect for relaxing in peace.

2. Sample Delicious Food

Try small roadside restaurants for authentic Thai food at low prices. At the other end of the spectrum, high-end restaurants, such as Joe's Downstairs in Patong, offer elegant dining with fantastic views over the sea.

3. Experience Natural Beauty

The hilly regions of Phuket are wonderful for hiking and many have picturesque waterfalls. Bang Pae Waterfall in Thalang is a short walk from the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center.

4. Nightlife

From the bars of Bangla Road to the tongue-in-cheek Simon Cabaret, late-night shopping to a glass of wine in the hotel bar - there are options for an evening out to suit every sensibility.

5. Cultural Sights

There are temples in most areas. The largest is Wat Chalong, which can be visited by everyone. Intricately built, often adorned with dragon designs or statues, and decorated with colorful, shimmering tiles, temples are a wonderful sight to behold.

What to do in Phuket City

1. Patong Beach: Don't Worry, Be Happy Now

Phuket is one of the biggest party capitals in Asia, and tourists from all over the globe come together at Patong Beach. This seaside stretch of sand is the heart of shopping, chilling, and clubbing day and night, with resort amenities galore. Beach umbrellas shade your lazy days in a sea of color, while neon lights after sunset set the tone for endless nights of fun.

2. Phuket Old Town: Around Thalang Road

The Old Town brings a more local Thai experience, with contemporary shopfronts offset by heritage buildings that represent Thai history through the ages. Jui Tui Shrine is a quintessentially Chinese structure, while the Thai Hua Museum and Chyn Pracha House are filled with Victorian antiques of Portuguese influence. High above this constellation of lights and cultures, Rang Hill offers unforgettable views and inland relaxation.

3. Rawai: Southern Tip

This quaint seafront village is the perfect invitation to escape the tourist trail. Rent a scooter to fly through the lush rolling hills between Phuket and Rawai, with views over the Andaman Sea. Stop at Prompthep Cape at sunset for incomparable views in every direction, with islands resting on the waters on either side of the peninsula. Characteristic little boats bear visitors to any one of these islands from Rawai pier, an even more liberating experience.

4. The Big Buddha: Phra Putthamingmongkolekanagagiri

Not only is the Big Buddha sculpture of Phuket Island a sight to behold, it also perches on the hilltop with the most sweeping views of the region. It is a dwarfing yet serene experience to climb the steps up to the massive white marble figure, which can be seen from almost anywhere on the island. Finally reaching the 150-foot Buddha is unforgettable, and one of the greatest photo opportunities around to boot.

5. Phuket FantaSea: Indulge your Fantasies

This Cultural Theme Park is an extravagant and contemporary display of Thai Culture, complete with dinner shows, parades, and surprise events. This mythological experience is worlds away from the city of Phuket and invites visitors to immerse themselves in decor, music and performances based on the local folklore. Open only at nighttime to the flash of dazzling lights, it is an adventure park in every sense. From pyrotechnics to acrobatics to magic shows, the visit will be unforgettable.

6. Mu Ko Similan National Park: The True Tropics

The Mu Ko Similan National Park is part of the protected area that comprises the Similan Islands, located on the shores of the Andaman Sea. The archipelago is full of beautiful fishes and sparkling blue waters as far as the eye can see. The national park is a popular destination for snorkelers, boaters, and divers, who enjoy exploring the more remote waters, full of stunning coral reefs. Those who are venturing out on boats can visit any of the eleven islands that make up this archipelago, each one paradises unto themselves.

7. Ko Phi Phi: Escape to the Sea

Thailand's Phi Phi Islands are the ultimate destination for vacationers to Thailand, and there is nothing quite like taking a speedboat from Krabi Town out to these tiny plots of perfection. Craggy cliffs covered in lush jungle rise mystically from the horizon. The two largest islands boast world-class beaches, and Koh Phi Phi Leh, the smaller of the two, offers even more secluded exploration. Maya Bay is particularly impressive, surrounded by limestone cliffs and inaccessible from the sea.

8. Ao Phang Nga National Park: The James Bond Island

The crystalline waters and mysterious rock formations of Phang Nga Bay are only part of the reason why visitors flock to the Ao Phang Nga National Park. Besides being famous as a location in the James Bond movie The Man With the Golden Gun, this beautiful park features many hiking trails in lush, jungle greenery and along bright blue waters. There are multiple vendors crowding the coastline and multiple tour operators that take travelers around the park's most iconic sights, including a village built entirely on stilts known as Ko Panyi. Park visitors should also take advantage of the weather to head out on an eco-tour using sea canoes, which involve canoeing and camping overnight.

9. Karon Viewpoint: One Perspective of Paradise

It's a postcard-perfect photograph anyone visiting Phuket will want to take: the Andaman Sea, sparkling like turquoise glass, hurling snow-white surf against the dazzling white beaches of Karon, Kata and Kata Noi from the lush, green perspective of the hills surrounding Karon Viewpoint. As spectacular in the early morning as it is romantic at sundown, this hillside perch above Kata Noi is accessed by a mountainous jungle road connecting Kata with Rawai.

1. Patong Beach: Don't Worry, Be Happy Now

Phuket is one of the biggest party capitals in Asia, and tourists from all over the globe come together at Patong Beach. This seaside stretch of sand is the heart of shopping, chilling, and clubbing day and night, with resort amenities galore. Beach umbrellas shade your lazy days in a sea of color, while neon lights after sunset set the tone for endless nights of fun.

2. Phuket Old Town: Around Thalang Road

The Old Town brings a more local Thai experience, with contemporary shopfronts offset by heritage buildings that represent Thai history through the ages. Jui Tui Shrine is a quintessentially Chinese structure, while the Thai Hua Museum and Chyn Pracha House are filled with Victorian antiques of Portuguese influence. High above this constellation of lights and cultures, Rang Hill offers unforgettable views and inland relaxation.

3. Rawai: Southern Tip

This quaint seafront village is the perfect invitation to escape the tourist trail. Rent a scooter to fly through the lush rolling hills between Phuket and Rawai, with views over the Andaman Sea. Stop at Prompthep Cape at sunset for incomparable views in every direction, with islands resting on the waters on either side of the peninsula. Characteristic little boats bear visitors to any one of these islands from Rawai pier, an even more liberating experience.

4. The Big Buddha: Phra Putthamingmongkolekanagagiri

Not only is the Big Buddha sculpture of Phuket Island a sight to behold, it also perches on the hilltop with the most sweeping views of the region. It is a dwarfing yet serene experience to climb the steps up to the massive white marble figure, which can be seen from almost anywhere on the island. Finally reaching the 150-foot Buddha is unforgettable, and one of the greatest photo opportunities around to boot.

5. Phuket FantaSea: Indulge your Fantasies

This Cultural Theme Park is an extravagant and contemporary display of Thai Culture, complete with dinner shows, parades, and surprise events. This mythological experience is worlds away from the city of Phuket and invites visitors to immerse themselves in decor, music and performances based on the local folklore. Open only at nighttime to the flash of dazzling lights, it is an adventure park in every sense. From pyrotechnics to acrobatics to magic shows, the visit will be unforgettable.

6. Mu Ko Similan National Park: The True Tropics

The Mu Ko Similan National Park is part of the protected area that comprises the Similan Islands, located on the shores of the Andaman Sea. The archipelago is full of beautiful fishes and sparkling blue waters as far as the eye can see. The national park is a popular destination for snorkelers, boaters, and divers, who enjoy exploring the more remote waters, full of stunning coral reefs. Those who are venturing out on boats can visit any of the eleven islands that make up this archipelago, each one paradises unto themselves.

7. Ko Phi Phi: Escape to the Sea

Thailand's Phi Phi Islands are the ultimate destination for vacationers to Thailand, and there is nothing quite like taking a speedboat from Krabi Town out to these tiny plots of perfection. Craggy cliffs covered in lush jungle rise mystically from the horizon. The two largest islands boast world-class beaches, and Koh Phi Phi Leh, the smaller of the two, offers even more secluded exploration. Maya Bay is particularly impressive, surrounded by limestone cliffs and inaccessible from the sea.

8. Ao Phang Nga National Park: The James Bond Island

The crystalline waters and mysterious rock formations of Phang Nga Bay are only part of the reason why visitors flock to the Ao Phang Nga National Park. Besides being famous as a location in the James Bond movie The Man With the Golden Gun, this beautiful park features many hiking trails in lush, jungle greenery and along bright blue waters. There are multiple vendors crowding the coastline and multiple tour operators that take travelers around the park's most iconic sights, including a village built entirely on stilts known as Ko Panyi. Park visitors should also take advantage of the weather to head out on an eco-tour using sea canoes, which involve canoeing and camping overnight.

9. Karon Viewpoint: One Perspective of Paradise

It's a postcard-perfect photograph anyone visiting Phuket will want to take: the Andaman Sea, sparkling like turquoise glass, hurling snow-white surf against the dazzling white beaches of Karon, Kata and Kata Noi from the lush, green perspective of the hills surrounding Karon Viewpoint. As spectacular in the early morning as it is romantic at sundown, this hillside perch above Kata Noi is accessed by a mountainous jungle road connecting Kata with Rawai.

Where to Eat in Phuket City

For Thai food, it is generally best to eat where the locals do, for the most authentic flavors and varied menus; head to small restaurants inland from the west coast beaches and seafood restaurants along the east coast to dine on sumptuous local fare. In standard hotels and tourist-focused restaurants, the flavors tend to be toned down to appeal to as many visitors as possible. In high-end hotels and the main beach resorts, there are excellent eateries serving global cuisine from Indian to Italian and everything in between. La Gritta at Amari Phuket and Mom Tri's Kitchen at Villa Royale are among the most popular. Prices vary widely from ฿30 to over ฿3,000.

When to visit Phuket City

Phuket City in April
Estimated hotel price
S$ 54
1 night at 3-star hotel
Phuket City in April
Estimated hotel price
S$ 54
1 night at 3-star hotel

Weather-wise the best time to visit Phuket is between November and April - this is generally the dry season. The Christmas and New Year period is the busiest time of year. May to October is monsoon - or rainy - season, with the heaviest rain between July and September.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Phuket City

Plane

Phuket International Airport (HKT) is located at the northern end of the island, and most hotels are in the center (20 miles away) and south (up to 30 miles away). Taxi is the best option for traveling from the airport, and prices range from ฿500 to over ฿1,000, depending on the destination.

Train

Trains do not run to Phuket. The nearest station is over three hours away in Surat Thani. However, transfer tickets are available to travel the remaining distance by bus. Ticket prices from Bangkok are approximately ฿1,000 for second class and ฿1,600 for first class.

Car

There are two roads from Bangkok and Koh Samui that head towards Phuket, and a short bridge links the island to the mainland. For long journeys, taxis can be booked; the price must be agreed upon in advance.

Bus

Bus is a great option for traveling long-distance on a budget. There is a good network of public buses from Bangkok and there are private buses from many companies, such as Sri Trang Tour. There are various classes of bus available, some will stop at several locations while others will only stop at Phuket Town. There is an airport bus, which only travels to a few stops around the island.

Airports near Phuket City

Airlines serving Phuket City

United Airlines
Good (2,857 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,391 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,189 reviews)
KLM
Good (355 reviews)
Air France
Good (406 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,059 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,339 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,442 reviews)
SWISS
Good (458 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,225 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (975 reviews)
Iberia
Good (927 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,462 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (284 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (316 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (337 reviews)
Finnair
Good (703 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,302 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (145 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (52 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Phuket City

Southwest Coast - this is the most popular region, with Patong, Kata, and Karon offering various beaches, shopping, dining, and nightlife choices. Patong is busy all year round, while Kata and Karon are more relaxed.

Popular Neighborhoods in Phuket

Phuket Town - the capital of the island, filled with busy streets, temples, and small stores. It's popular with backpackers due to the lower prices and reduced number of tourists than other areas.

Northwest Coast - high-end hotels and villas with deserted beaches and exclusive shopping venues abound here, as do peaceful and luxurious resorts surrounded by nature, with forested hill backdrops and extensive rubber tree plantations.

Most popular hotel in Phuket City by neighbourhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Phuket City

Most booked hotels in Phuket City

Holiday Inn Resort Phuket
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
S$ 167+
Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach (Sha Plus+)
Excellent (8.8, Excellent reviews)
S$ 270+
Avista Grande Phuket Karon - MGallery (Sha Plus+)
Excellent (8.8, Excellent reviews)
S$ 236+
Kalima Resort And Spa
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
S$ 136+
Katathani Phuket Beach Resort (SHA Extra Plus)
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
S$ 260+
Grand Mercure Phuket Patong (Sha Plus+)
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
S$ 141+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Phuket City

Public Transportation

Local buses run throughout Phuket, blue or pink in color, sometimes with open sides and made from wood. They have a few set routes but there is not great coverage. The slow-moving buses, often referred to as Baht buses, can be flagged down and stopped anywhere along the route. Fares are usually around ฿30.

Taxi

There are a huge amount of taxis and tuk-tuks (small, bustling open vans) in Phuket. Prices start from around ฿300 and must be agreed on before getting in.

Car

Major car rental companies are located at the airport and smaller, local companies are found in most tourist areas, including Nina's Cars and Pure Car Rent. Prices start from around ฿1,500 per day. This is a cost-effective method if you are traveling around the island often. However, driving can be precarious due to the large amount of motorbikes and irregular enforcement of road rules. Parking spaces are mostly on the side of the road, in short supply, but usually free of charge.

Car hire agencies in Phuket City

Avis

Avis
Find car hire in Phuket City

The Cost of Living in Phuket City

Shopping Streets

Patong is the shopping capital with a large mall, Jungceylon, and hundreds of small stores and market stalls. Prices can be negotiated at stalls, but check out the mall prices first to avoid being overcharged. The weekend night market in Phuket Town has the best bargains for clothes and gifts. Shopping prices in Phuket range from ฿100 for knick-knacks into the thousands for genuine designer gear.

Groceries and Other

Supermarkets include Big C, Tesco Lotus, Tops, and Villa Market, and prices are equivalent to the US. There are also smaller grocery stores that stock all the essentials, and in most areas there is an abundance of 7/11 stores for snacks and drinks. Local markets are held either daily or weekly and sell the freshest produce at lower prices, around ฿20-50.

Cheap meal
S$ 2.32
A pair of jeans
S$ 83.51
Single public transport ticket
S$ 1.17
Cappuccino
S$ 3.22