Few destinations around the globe offer as much variety for holidays as Phuket. Within a few minutes’ drive you can move between isolated beaches to bustling nightlife, and from local markets to modern shopping malls.
Phuket Airport is the hub in Southern Thailand offering easy access and a wide range of both domestic and international flights, making it a very accessible holiday destination.
Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand, located in the Andaman Sea by Southern Thailand. Phuket is mostly mountainous with a mountain range in the west of the island which stretches from the north to the south. It is estimated that Phuket has a total area of approximately 570 square kilometres. Phuket’s total length, from north to south, is about at 50 kilometres and it is approximately 20 kilometres wide.
Forest, rubber and palm oil plantations cover 60% of Phuket. The western coast has several long, sandy beaches such as Karon Beach and Kata Beach. Near the southernmost point is Cape Promthep, which is a popular sunset viewing point worth visiting.
Phuket, its nearby islands and its National Parks offer world class golf, a variety of activities and many different excursions. Here are some of the main things we wanted to mention exclusively for those heading to Phuket Island for the first time -
The west coast beaches offer the nicest sand and clearest waters. Rawai Beach is the southernmost followed by Naihan Beach just a little further to the north. Kata Noi, Kata Beach and Karon Beach lie one after another as you continue to head northwards. Kata Beach is the most child friendly beach of the three, but both Kata Beach and Karon Beach offer a number of water activities and food and beverage options.
The next largest beach is Patong Beach which attracts many sun-seekers and is full of life. Northwards from Patong Beach you have Kamala Beach, Surin Beach, Bang Tao Beach, Layan Beach, Naithon Beach and all the way up at the northernmost tip of Phuket Island you will find Nai Yang Beach and Maikhao Beach. There are also a number of small, rather isolated beaches we haven’t mentioned here, and some of them can only be reached by boat; Ya Nui Beach, Jungle Beach, Freedom Beach, Paradise Beach, Laem Singh Beach to mention a few.
There are many small islands to the southeast of Phuket, including Bond Island, which is just a short boat trip away from Rawai Beach. Other islands that lie further away but still well worth a visit are the Phi Phi Islands, Coral Island, the Koh Yao Islands, Raya Island and last but by no means least the Similian Islands.
Shopping in Phuket
There are two big shopping centres on the Island;
Central Festival is located in the centre of Phuket and offers a wide range of stores as well as its own department store. In Central Festival you will find Zara, Lacoste, Levis, The Body Shop, Super Sport and many more international and local brands.
There is a generous selection of restaurants such as Fuji, Zen, Black Canyon, Sizzlers, Pizza Company, Starbucks, Subway, MK and many more.
Top´s international supermarket with imported food from all over the world and SFX cinema complex are located at Central Festival as well. The cinema shows movies in English or with English subtitles.
Jungceylon is the newest and biggest shopping centre in Phuket and is located in Patong on the west coast. It hosts plenty of stores, shops, restaurants and stalls. In the centre they have a giant fountain with water shows in the evenings. There is also a night club and hotel located in the complex. In the basement you will find “That´s Siam”, an indoor market with lots souvenirs, art & crafts and a food court with food from all parts of Thailand.
On the third floor there is a cinema complex and amusement outlets such as bowling, a karaoke hall and an indoor shooting range. Carrefour, the big international supermarket, is also located at Jungceylon.
Big C and Tesco Lotus are two superstores/supermarkets in the centre of Phuket. You will find a wide variety of items in both of these stores, ranging from groceries to sport shoes and much more.
The big weekend market is in Phuket Town every Saturday and Sunday from 16.00 – 22.00. Many locals do their shopping here and everything from pets to second hand shoes are for sale. You will find the same things as you would in the tourist areas but at better prices and in wider varieties. (It is outdoor so prepare yourself by wearing comfortable shoes!)
All beach areas have their own day of the week for its local market. You will have the opportunity to try some local food, do some good bargaining and get a taste of the true local Thai atmosphere!
Premium outlet is a new complex located on bypass road not far from Phuket town. You will find many international brands for reduced prices here.