Phuket is the biggest island on the west coast of Southern Thailand region. It has a total area of about 543 square kilometers, nearly equal to Singapore in size. Phuket is located approximately 862 kilometers south of Bangkok and 180 km West of Krabi. It is linked to Phang Nga province on the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge. The hot and humid climate of Phuket can be divided into 2 seasons, summer from December to April and rainy from May to November.
Phuket formerly derived its wealth from tin and rubber, and currently from tourism and long-stay residents from Europe and all over the world. The island was one of the major trading routes between India and China and was frequently mentioned in foreign traders’ ship logs. The Portuguese, French, Dutch and English people traded with Phuket in the early days of trading. Phuket has about 340,000 inhabitants. Agriculture remains important to a large number of people, and covers a large part of the island. Principal crops are rubber, coconuts, cashews, and pineapples. Prawn farming has largely taken over the east and south coasts. Pearl farming is also important.
The island has long been favored as top travel destination by European tourists and it offers something for everyone; peaceful beaches and hectic and exciting city life. Phuket is blessed with magnificent coves and bays, and powdery, palm-fringed beaches, sparkling island-dotted seas, sincerely hospitable people, superb accommodation and seafood, delightful turn-of-the-century Sino-Portuguese architecture, numerous sporting and leisure opportunities and a lush tropical landscape — all of which combine to create a delightful ambience for truly memorable holidays.
Phuket has some of the most ideal and breathtaking beaches in the world. The best known includes Patong which has developed a lively night time-scene. There are also more sedate beaches like Kata and Karon, sharing Phuket’s wonderful coastline with the Andaman Sea.
Patong Beach is one of the main tourist resort areas in Phuket’s west coast. It is considered to be the center of Phuket’s nightlife and shopping on the island. The beach became popular with western tourists in the late 1980s. Numerous beach resorts, large hotels and chain hotels are located here. Patong Beach is especially famous for its nightlife, superb dining experiences and the 2-kilometer beach running the entire length of Patong. This is the place to be if you would like to combine beach life with a hectic pulsating night life.
Compared to Patong, Kata beach is more quiet and tranquil. The pleasant bay of Kata beach entices many visitors with its white sands and clear waters. Very popular with families, Kata is an all-round favorite due to its spectacular beach, great restaurants, and lively nightlife not to mention varied accommodation options – all close to the beach.
Featuring an incredibly long stretch of squeaky white sand is less hectic than Patong but it still offers a full range of facilities, dining and activities. While it’s a fast-growing area, Karon is nicely spread out and rarely feels crowded. On the hill between Kata and Karon beach you will find the mini golf course “Dino Park”, well worth a visit.
Kamala beach is situated near the small local village of Kamala. Phuket Fantasea, the magnificent cultural theme park is located here.
Compared to other Phuket destinations, Kamala still remains quiet, tranquil and calm. It is being surrounded by forested hills. The beach at Kamala is one of the most beautiful in Phuket. Despite the rapid development over the last few years, the beach remains unchanged. You’ll find lots of small guest houses, restaurants, shops, cafes and other good spots from where you can watch the sun go down.
Surin beach is very popular among both tourists and locals. It is a picturesque beach with turquoise water and fine white sand. Its coastal village is surrounded by luxury resorts and top-end celebrity houses, as well as fine dining restaurants and wine bars.
Bang Tao beach is not far from Chern Talay town, where many villagers still leave in a traditional way: rubber tapping, farming and fishing. In the north, the beach still remains untouched and quiet. There are luxury resorts and villas in Bangtao, as well as few bars and restaurants.
Nai Harn beach is a great place for swimming during the high season (November to April). There are a few local restaurants where you can relax and enjoy the sunset. Not far towards south there is Ya Nui, a popular destination among divers and snorkelers. Near Nai Harn beach there is Ao Sane, a very small beach which is excellent for snorkeling.
Nai Yang beach is very frequented by locals and just a few minutes’ drive from the airport. The casuarina trees along the beach make it easy for the locals to gather and have picnic, as well as for selling food and souvenirs.
Some areas of the beach are part of Sirinath National Park. There is a reef at the north end of the beach.
Mai Khao beach is an 11 kilometer-long beach located in the northwest coast of Phuket, near Phuket airport. It is still undeveloped and it belongs to Sirinath National Park. JW Marriott is located there.
Mai Khao means “white wood”. As the name indicates, the beach has one of the thickest sand in Phuket. The beach is uninhabited, making it peaceful and relaxing to walk along the bay. There is a sharp drop off into the sea just a few meters out into the water, which makes it dangerous and not advisable to swim during low season, from April to November.
Ao Ma Kam is a great place to enjoy local food and be surrounded by Muslim community. It is located both near the beach, Ao Yon, the mountain, Kho Kad, and Cape Panwa. Restaurants and luxury resorts are available.
Koh Sirey is located in East Phuket. It is a small island that covers only 20 sqkm and appears like it’s one of the Phuket cities that operated many years ago. It is very enjoyable to drive along the eastside coastal road embracing the fresh air swinging the rubber trees that crowds on the plantations.
The island hosts golden Budhas and sea gypsies. Locals feed the monkeys every evening at a park near a mangrove swamp by the main bridge. There is an abalone farm and a restaurant which offers panoramic views to Sapam Bay and the islands in the east coast.
Chalong bay is not famous for swimming but for yacht mooring and boating activities. Waters are muddy. Peak times in this beach are early mornings and late afternoons when diving trip boats are departing and berthing. In 2001, a 720 meter-long and seven meter wide jetty was opened for better operation.
There are shops, restaurants, party, a marine rescue center and even a one-stop customs service to assist the ships.