Phuket, Thailand is known as the “Pearl of the Andaman Sea” for a reason. This tropical paradise shines with the harmonious vibe of pristine beaches, verdant hills and vibrant culture. It entices travelers from around the globe. As Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is located in the southern province surrounded by a constellation of 32 smaller islands. The Sarasin Bridge connects the island to the mainland making this tranquil destination Southeast Asia’s premier tourist spot. Crystal-clear turquoise waters invite snorkelers and world-class divers to explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. The idyllic shores provide a serene retreat for anyone chasing a sunny vacation. Ancient temples, lively markets and a vibrant culinary scene showcase the best of Thai culture, community and cuisine. 

  • Best time to travel: November to February (peak season), March to May and September to October (shoulder season), June to August (off-season)
  • Time zone: Indochina Time (ICT)
  • Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
  • Noteworthy: Phuket Old Town Festival (February), Songkran Thai Water Festival (April), Phuket Vegetarian Festival (September-October), King’s Cup Regatta (December)
  • Best for: Beach Lovers, Budget Travelers, Nature Enthusiasts, Religion & Culture Seekers, Wellness Retreats, Relaxation Getaways

Play: Things to do in Phuket, Thailand

Phuket Thai Cooking Class

In this cooking class, guests will learn the art of crafting authentic Thai curry in a relaxed environment. The morning tour is a great way to start the day with a traditional excursion into a local market. Travelers will explore vivid colors and exotic aromas as the host handpicks fresh ingredients for every dish. The expert local instructor teaches the participants how to use the traditional mortar and pestle, along with Thai culinary secrets that have been passed down through generations. They can accommodate dietary restrictions for small groups. They also offer complimentary hotel pickup and drop-off in the morning and afternoon. 

ATV And Zipline Experience in Phuket Paradise

The ATV and Zipline Experience in Phuket Paradise takes place in the rugged terrain and lush jungle of Southern Phuket. The adventure is an adrenaline rush for any traveler looking for breathtaking views. The zipline gives guests a heart-pounding aerial journey through the treetops. With round-trip transfers, safety equipment and a knowledgeable tour guide, this tour is perfect for a small group and perfect for an unforgettable action-packed escapade amidst one of Southeast Asia’s naturally enchanting playgrounds. 

Phuket Old Town Food Tour for 8 Exclusive Guests

If traveling to Phuket with a group, the Phuket Old Town Food Tour may be the perfect way to experience the most authentic local cuisine. This tour allows visitors to sample multiple dishes in a true gastronomic adventure. With an eight-person party limit, guests can receive personalized attention from their knowledgeable guide. For a deep dive into Phuket’s diverse culinary spectrum, this is a must-do for both first-time visitors and passionate foodies.

A Morning with the Elephants at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

This activity is a special experience that travelers won’t be able to experience anywhere else. Witness the glorious elephants living their final years in peace, as they freely roam with every provision. The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary provides guests with a majestic encounter unlike any other.

Nestled amidst 30 acres of stunning tropical landscapes, this sanctuary borders the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park. After guests connect with these gentle giants, they are served a mouthwatering Thai vegetarian lunch buffet. With boots, socks, umbrellas, raincoats and mosquito spray provided, the sanctuary leaves no stone unturned and ensures guests enjoy this wildlife experience of a lifetime.

Luxury Boat to James Bond Islands with Lunch and Sunset Dinner

This excursion is the ultimate luxury boat experience with an exclusive tour aboard a magnificent catamaran. Travelers have the chance to emulate the sophistication of Bond himself with a refreshing drink and a savory buffet lunch that includes pasta and fresh seasonal fruits. The turquoise waters off Lawa Island glisten with the promise of an exhilarating kayaking expedition through the captivating Hongs of Phang Nga. After kayaking, travelers can explore the island by longboat before unwinding with a picturesque sunset dinner on the return journey. With an onboard DJ, free Wi-Fi and fun water activities, this remarkable water tour makes for an unforgettable moment.

Gourmet: Best Restaurants in Phuket, Thailand

Black Ginger Restaurant 

Located in the heart of Phuket, Thailand at The Slate Resort, the Black Ginger Restaurant’s executive sous chef combines gourmet with gastronomy in avant-garde Thai dishes. Executive Sous Chef Anongrat Meklai, also known as Chef Piak, crafted a menu for guests that features authentic som tam, tom yum, phanaeng curry and crispy prawns wrapped in battered cha-plu leaves with sweet chili sauce.

Black Ginger’s traditional Thai mansion overlooks a beautiful shimmering lagoon with great ambiance. This contemporary culinary masterpiece was awarded a prestigious Michelin Guide certification from 2019 to 2022.

SUAY Restaurant

Led by renowned Celebrity Iron Chef Tammasak (Noi) Chootong, SUAY Restaurant was awarded the Michelin Plate for four consecutive years. Travelers can enjoy live music events in the garden on Thursday and Saturday nights and savor the freshest seafood in the Andaman Sea.

From crispy fried chicken spring rolls with roasted chili dip to braised beef cheek in Massamam curry, every dish promises an explosion of Thai flavors. The meals pair greatly with cocktails, like the Tom Yum Rum Coke. After finishing your main meal, there’s a unique ‘Bomb Alaska’ flambéed with Bailey’s ice cream sandwich and a berry compote that’ll finish the evening with a bang. The SUAY Restaurant offers foodie travelers a memorable dining experience in one of the most beautiful spots in Phuket.

Acqua Ristorante

Acqua Ristorante is led by the award-winning Chef Alessandro and embraces his authentic Sardinian heritage with a contemporary twist. Acqua Ristorante is recognized as one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Thailand. Chef Alessandro received a prestigious title as one of the “Best 20 Chefs in Asia,” upon opening in 2015.

Guests will enjoy unique recipes, like pan-fried scallops with foie gras and chili jam, tantalizing Tajima Wagyu beef carpaccio and freshly made Tagliatelle pasta with wild boar ragout. End the night on a sweet note with desserts like cinnamon-flavored panna cotta and Babá Napoletano soaked in dark rum. This gastronomic journey harmonizes tradition, innovation and impeccable flavors for every guest in Phuket.

Surf and Turf by Soul Kitchen

This chic yet cozy eatery won the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand award from 2019 to 2023. The Surf and Turf by Soul Kitchen has a creative menu that changes every month. The well-curated chef’s specials include homemade ravioli and the region’s signature sea bass.

Every dish includes a diverse selection of well-sourced, quality ingredients. Owner and Executive Chef Tom’s masterful execution of flavors, temperatures, textures and exquisite plating enhances the dining experience.

Jampa Restaurant 

Jampa Restaurant’s dining experience goes beyond delicious food. The restaurant embodies a commitment to real food and sustainability. It has a farm-to-fork concept that changes daily. Their live fire cooking techniques and locally sourced ingredients result in sophisticated and nutritious dishes. They also adhere to a zero-waste food preparation philosophy to ensure a minimal impact on the environment.

Jampa Restaurant breaks down waste with a zero carbon footprint and utilizes organic compost on their property farm. Jampa’s dishes include wood-fired baby corn, sea bass with Hua Hin caviar and a farm mulberry yogurt for a lighter finish.

Stay: Best Places to Stay in Phuket, Thailand

The views at this studio At Surin Beach are beyond words. The tranquil vibe and peaceful environment is the perfect retreat for couples and solo travelers. With a 10 minute walk to two stunning beaches, the Surin and the BangTao, this spot is great for tourists, remote workers and honeymooners.

Beautiful Well Designed Studio At Surin Beach

The convenient location is close to restaurants, bars and convenience stores. The apartment has modern amenities like high-speed WiFi, a fully equipped kitchen and a range of high-quality electric appliances. The space features a comfortable king-size bed, a cozy sofa and a separate balcony with a breathtaking mountain view.  

Marvellous Designer Villa With Private Pool

This modern villa is everything a relaxing private getaway should be. The villa has internet, a fully equipped kitchen and breathtaking mountain views with easy beach access. It also has a dedicated workspace for digital nomads and a hot tub to enjoy after those long work days abroad. A crib is provided upon request for any families traveling with a baby.

Villa Royale 

The Villa Royale will make any guest feel like they’ve stepped into their own tropical jungle oasis. This luxury boutique resort in Phuket, Thailand overlooks the Andaman Sea and Kata Noi’s white sand beaches. The 42 suites provide guests with the highest standard of privacy, luxury and comfort. The blend of authentic Thai antiques, chic modern comforts and panoramic sea views create a tranquil atmosphere.

The resort also has a saltwater swimming pool nestled into rocks, two freshwater pools and a private path leading to the beach. For the ultimate relaxation amenities, Mom Tri’s Spa Royale gives perspective to what natural luxury means when traveling. Talented massage therapists use ancient Thai remedies to restore balance and serenity in the body. The spacious and beautifully decorated rooms include private steam baths and soak tubs. It’s the perfect setting for those rejuvenating treatments with natural ingredients and unique blends of Thai essential oils.

The Slate

Embrace the island’s rich heritage with this otherworldly haven that’s a short drive from the Phuket International Airport. The Slate is a strikingly original manifestation of the island’s soul. It blends bold design and inspiring innovation with Thailand’s island cultural traditions. Situated on Nai Yang Beach, guests enjoy the crystal-clear turquoise waters and pristine coral sands while being surrounded by lush green shades of protected national parkland. It’s easy to explore the local areas with the resort’s proximity to the historical Phuket Town. The fully equipped luxury amenities include the Coqoon Spa, Ondigo Gym and Kru Precision Wellness Centre for a holistically rejuvenating experience.

Get Away: Getting To and Around Phuket, Thailand

By Air 

The Phuket International Airport (HKT) is the main gateway as it is Phuket, Thailand’s only international airport. Domestic flights by airlines like Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways and AirAsia connect major cities to Phuket. Taxis and private transfers are available for a 45-minute to 1-hour ride to popular areas like Patong, Karon, or Kata. For a hassle-free experience, pre-book airport transfers through an online platform or chosen hotel.

Consider the tourist seasons when balancing a travel budget and marking preferences. The peak season from November to February offers pleasant weather, but higher prices. The slower season from May to October has cheaper fares, but more rainfall. Stay mindful of the seasonal weather conditions and pack accordingly.

By Car

Planning to rent a car from Phuket International Airport or local agencies gives travelers the best options for flexibility. GPS navigation or apps, like Google Maps and Citymapper can help visitors get around. Be aware that some areas off the beaten path may not be mapped accurately. Expect heavy traffic, especially in tourist areas and during peak hours, and try to find designated parking areas and accommodations. Consider using motorbike taxis for short distances or congested areas. Be mindful of local traffic rules and explore nearby islands with ferries or speedboats. 

By Public Transit

Public transit is used through Songthaews and tuk-tuks. Songthaews are shared pickup trucks that operate as public transportation and are readily available throughout the island. They follow specific routes and are flagged down along the roadside. Tuk-tuks are small three-wheeled vehicles for private use or shared with others. Negotiating the fare is common, so it’s advisable to agree on a price before starting the trip. While Phuket doesn’t have an extensive public bus network, these options should suffice for most local travel needs.

Explore Phuket, Thailand on Foot

Travelers can fully immerse themselves by walking around local towns and experiencing the local culture of the island. Patong Beach and Old Phuket Town are popular areas with main attractions, shops and restaurants within walking distance. There are plenty of hidden gems to find, locals and fellow travelers to meet and stunning scenic beauty to experience. Remember to stay hydrated and wear comfortable weather-appropriate footwear.