Phuket City Guide
From the serenity of its beaches and pristine nature reserves to the thumping beats of its nightclubs and bars, Phuket can mean many different things to different travellers. Every visitor finds it easy to satisfy all s...
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Phuket City Guide
From the serenity of its beaches and pristine nature reserves to the thumping beats of its nightclubs and bars, Phuket can mean many different things to different travellers. Every visitor finds it easy to satisfy all sorts of holiday whim's here, so whether you seek relaxation, culture or indulgence, this sultry, tropical island will not let you down.
Beaches and nightlife
The resort town of Patong is where it's at in Phuket. A combination of long sandy beaches and ceaseless nightlife entertainment make Patong one of the most popular places on the island. During the day, most visitors are on the beach, enjoying a swim, a Thai massage or a tanning nap under the sun. Come nightfall and all the action shifts to Bangla Road, a vibrant nightlife hotspot like no other in Thailand.
Lined with a parade of restaurants, pubs, go-go bars and a smattering of shops and nightclubs, Bangla Road can be both exciting and overwhelming. Another popular party spot, Paradise Complex, is the favourite haunt of the LBTQ community in Patong. Quiet at day, the place is transformed into an entertainment hub after dusk with many bars hosting lively cabaret shows.
Those who find the hustle and bustle of Patong too much to take usually head to the quieter and more laid-back Kamala beach and Emerald Bay, two fishing villages with a relaxed, friendly vibe. Here businesses are fewer, the dining establishments smaller, and the choice of budget holiday rentals and villas is excellent. The less crowded beaches promise more relaxing time out and a chance to watch fishermen pull out their catch from the sea at low tide.
Kamala is also a big draw for divers, as its local diving centre provides trips to diverse diving spots around Phuket. Another hugely popular attraction in the village is Fantasea – an entertainment park where visitors can sample local cuisine, browse for handicrafts and souvenirs, and watch live shows. The fascinating theatrical performances see Thai dancers in rich traditional costumes play out mythological stories under dazzling light effects.
Shopping in Phuket
The numerous shops and open-air markets of Phuket make shopping a fun and informal activity. Haggling is a tradition here and even if prices seem low, vendors are likely to cut it by as much as a half after some friendly bargaining. Fake branded products are quite widespread but their quality is not as high as the originals. Local handcrafted goodies, such as sculptures, traditional pottery, spa products and carved wood decorations, however, boast good quality and make for great souvenirs. Thai silk is something worth checking out while shopping in Phuket because this is one of the highest quality silks in the world and its price is extremely affordable in its country of origin.
Cultural and natural attractions
Beyond its beaches and bars, Phuket provides diverse sightseeing activities to choose from and has something to offer everyone. Historic and cultured Phuket Town appears like a world away from crowded and commercialised Patong. Elegant period buildings with vibrantly colourful façades are occupied by welcoming guesthouses, tempting shops and eateries. The town also draws visitors with its lively markets and different attractions, among which are a zoo, a butterfly farm, a cultural centre and a couple of museums.
Getting closer to nature is a big part of visiting Phuket. The tamest way to do this is by visiting Tiger Kingdom, a park where people are welcome to pet tigers raised in captivity. While the felines here love to play and pose for photos with humans, a far more enriching experience is a visit one of the many natural wonders in and around the island.
Phang Nga Bay is a nature park known for its fantastical limestone cliffs that have been carved out by the sea into shapes that seem to be dripping into the water. The jungle interior of the park hides rich flora, fauna and beautiful waterfalls. A well-known landmark here is the James Bond Island, a towering sea cliff which received its nickname after appearing in one of the films about the legendary spy.
No less impressive are the Phi Phi Islands, a group of six picture-postcard isles with white beaches flanked by palm trees and washed by clear blue waters – a real tropical heaven on earth. Boat tours to all of the natural parks are organised daily and in high season, some of these places even get a tad too busy.
Inland trip offers, on the other hand, include activities such as climbing to the top of the scenic Kathu Waterfalls or strolling the pristine beaches and groves of the Sirinat National Park. Whatever your choice, Phuket's nature will leave a lasting impression. Hide text ...