Phuket wows with its stunning beaches, rich Thai culture and epic villas built over majestic clifftops looking over the Andaman Sea. This Thai island has evolved into one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in Asia, with stunning tropical landscape paired with jaw-dropping luxury and some of the most vibrant nightlife on the planet. Whether you’re after a sneaky getaway in the lap of luxury or a sun kissed holiday with the family, the Pearl of the Andaman is more than ready to oblige.

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Overview

Arguably the most famous of the Thai islands, Phuket has gone through quite the transformation. What was once known as a hard-partying locale favoured by backpackers has in the past decade reinvented itself as the ultimate luxury destination in the tropics. Today, the island’s iconic lime cliffs are frosted with some of the most jaw-dropping luxury real estate in Asia and five-star resorts have lured in Michelin calibre chefs catering to travelling gourmands.

Thanks to its gorgeous white sand beaches and turquoise waters made famous by a little movie called The Beach, Phuket continues to attract beach lovers from all walks of life. The stunning scenery is paired together with rich Thai culture with plenty of cosmopolitan influences and seemingly endless entertainment, ranging from scenic island hopping to out-of-this-world nightlife lighting up infamous Bangla Road.

History & Culture

Phuket is quite the Cinderella story. What started as a quiet island dominated by tin and rubber industries is now visited by over five million tourists every year. The local tourism industry started developing in the 1960s, helped in part by the opening of Sarasin Bridge which connects Phuket to mainland Thailand. During the next decades, the island saw the building of quaint beach bungalows and the arrival of the first hordes of backpackers. The island’s fate was sealed with the release of The Beach in 2000, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. After the movie was released, literally thousands of tourists flooded the island looking for their own slice of unspoiled tropical paradise – and the rest, as they say, is history. During the past decade, Phuket has started shedding its backpacker skin, transforming into one of the premiere luxury destinations in Asia.

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Planning Your Trip to Phuket

Phuket is the ultimate tropical destination offering equal measures of stunning lush landscape, easy living by the beach, vibrant entertainment and unrivalled luxury. Our Phuket travel guide aims to give you the essential information, list the most popular things to do in Phuket, provide more information on locations you want to visit, and finish with some inspiration from our travel writers.

Phuket Weather

Phuket is affected by monsoon rains so to make the most of your beach holiday, it’s important to time your trip wisely. While the weather stays warm all year round, September and October are the wettest months of the year. Even during the rainy season, it’s rare to see several days of bad weather in a row. Weather wise, December through to March is the best time to visit – though the end of the year is also the busiest time on the island. For more information, check out our month by month guide to weather in Phuket.

Phuket Events Calendar

Phuket is a year-round destination attracting visitors throughout the year – though the numbers do take a dip around the rainy season in September – October. Phuket is at its busiest from late December through to early January.

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Things To See & Do in Phuket

Whether you’re looking for a sightseeing tour around the tropics, an endless party to keep you entertained or simply dream of parking yourself by the pool with a cold drink in hand, Phuket is the place to be. From its stunning natural scenery to rich Thai culture and from luxurious clifftop living to laid-back days spent on the beach, Phuket has it all.

Attractions

Phuket is famed for its stunning beaches and paradise islands which dot the coastline. The island is also home to beautiful  Buddhist temples and the imposing Big Buddha statue. For a different take on Phuket away from the beaches, visit Phuket Old Town where streets are lined with colourful old shophouses, shrines and temples.

TEMPLES

Buddhist faith is an integral part of Thai culture and Phuket island is home to some 30 beautiful Buddhist temples. Here are the most photogenic and most visited temples in Phuket:

  • Wat Chalong: More than a century old Wat Chalong features a splinter of Lord Buddha’s bone housed in the Grand Pagoda.
  • Wat Khao Rang: Located in Phuket Town, Wat Khao Rang is characterised by a large gilded statue of the Buddha.
  • Wat Sri Sunthon: This temple is most famed for its 29-metre high statue of the reclining Buddha.
  • Big Buddha: One of the most iconic landmarks in Phuket, the 45-metre Big Buddha sits on a hilltop and offers panoramic views.
ISLANDS

Phuket is neighboured by stunning paradise islands offering a sweet escape right off the coastline. Here are the most popular islands around Phuket:

  • Phi Phi Islands: These two islands were made famous by the movie adaptation of The Beach and attract huge crowds.
  • James Bond Island: This minuscule island juts out from the sea and was made famous by the 007 movie The Man with the Golden Gun.
  • Similan Islands: This cluster of islands offers some of the best snorkelling and diving in Thailand.
  • Racha Islands: These two islands offers an off the beaten path experience with stunning beaches and secluded bays.
  • Coral Island: Located right off Phuket’s coastline, Coral Island offers a variety of water sports and attracts divers and snorkellers.

Relaxation

Phuket is a great place to relax and unwind. Thailand is known for its healing massages and this stunning island ups the ante by offering stunning beaches ideal for beach lovers and sunset seekers alike.

BEACHES

Phuket is famed for its beaches, characterised by white sand, turquoise water and stunning lime stone cliff formations. Phuket’s most visited beaches include:

  • Patong: The busiest beach in Phuket, framed by the main nightlife and entertainment district.
  • Kata: Beautiful beach with white sand and clear waters, offering laid-back ambiance and dining options and doesn’t get too crowded.
  • Surin: Upmarket Surin beach was transformed when beach bars were banned in 2016, but it’s still a beautiful stretch of white sand with clear waters.
  • Kamala: Located up the coast from busy Patong, Kamala offers a more relaxed setting and is favoured by long time visitors to Phuket.
  • Bang Tao: One of the longest beaches in Phuket, with an ample choice of resorts and restaurants.
  • Karon: One of the longest and most popular beaches in Phuket with enough sand to not feel too crowded.
  • Natai: Located short drive from Phuket on the mainland, Natai is a gorgeous 10km stretch of sand void of mass development.

Tours & Activities

Phuket is a tropical paradise simply waiting to be explored. Island hopping is a must, with famous locales like the Phi Phi Islands, James Bond Island and more waiting just beyond the horizon. Closer to home, you can enjoy easy living by the sea, whether that means lounging on a sun bed or getting your heart pumping with a variety of water sports. Travelling inland, you can visit majestic cultural landmarks and waterfalls and get a feel of the local way of life in Phuket Town. The island really is your oyster!

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Phuket Neighbourhoods

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, spanning in total 539 km², with east to west 21 km (13 mi) wide and spans 48 km (30 mi) north to south. We have written detailed travel guides for the most beautiful areas of the island, which are highlighted on the map and grouped by region below.

Ministry

Phuket Villas

There are over 100 Ministry Approved villas in Phuket. Phuket villas range from around USD $300 per night for one-bedroom villa resorts to over USD $7,000 per night for a 10-bedroom luxury villa. Most of our villas have dedicated staff including: butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, drivers and many other services you won’t find in a hotel.

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    Baan Bon Khao Pool with Sunset Views | Surin, PhuketBaan Bon Khao Bathtub with Sunset Views | Surin, Phuket

    BAAN BON KHAO

    Surin, Phuket – 4 Bedrooms

    Baan Bon Khao overlooks Surin Beach, an A-list favourite, and features a pool and Jacuzzi overlooking the Andaman Sea in Phuket.

    From US $871 US $696 /night
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    Villa Phukhao Outdoors | Phuket, ThailandVilla Phukhao Outdoor View | Phuket, Thailand

    VILLA PHUKHAO

    Bang Tao, Phuket – 7 Bedrooms

    Villa Phukhao is a sprawling luxury villa built over multiple levels on Phuket’s lush hills, boasting a unique pool, rooftop terrace and epic views.

    From US $1,200 /night
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    VILLA FAH SAI

    Kamala, Phuket – 5 Bedrooms

    Villa Fah Sai's epic ocean views and gorgeous infinity pool landed this villa on The New York Times’ “Great Homes of the World” list.

    From US $3,000 US $2,800 /night
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    Villa Amanzi Swimming Pool with Ocean Views | Kamala, PhuketVilla Amanzi Family Area | Kamala, Phuket

    VILLA AMANZI

    Kamala, Phuket – 6 Bedrooms

    Villa Amanzi: industrial chic stripped to its utilitarian perfection, an awe-inspiring fusion of natural rock, steel and glass infused by the Andaman breeze.

    From US $2,001 US $1,800 /night
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    Naam Sawan Indoor Living Area | Cape Yamu, PhuketNaam Sawan Swimming Pool | Cape Yamu, Phuket

    NAAM SAWAN

    Cape Yamu, Phuket – 4 Bedrooms

    Naam Sawan is a jaw-dropping Thai villa with a 30-metre pool, swim up bar and beach access in luxuriously private Cape Yamu.

    From US $1,083 US $974 /night
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    Baan Paa Talee Twin Bedroom with Sea View | Kamala, PhuketBaan Paa Talee Swimming Pool | Kamala, Phuket

    BAAN PAA TALEE

    Kamala, Phuket – 9 Bedrooms

    Baan Paa Talee is one of the most epic villas in Phuket with 9 bedrooms, 25m pool, Jacuzzi, media room, karaoke and endless views of the Andaman Sea.

    From US $2,460 US $2,214 /night
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    Villa Solaris Sunsets | Kamala, PhuketVilla Solaris Bathtub | Kamala, Phuket

    VILLA SOLARIS

    Kamala, Phuket – 4 Bedrooms

    Villa Solaris is an unrivalled luxury villa with three pools, luxe bedroom suites and sweeping ocean vistas.

    From US $770 US $654 /night
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    Waterfall Bay Building Area | Kamala, PhuketWaterfall Bay Billiard Table | Kamala, Phuket

    WATERFALL BAY

    Kamala, Phuket – 6 Bedrooms

    The 6-bedroom Waterfall Bay is a lavish villa with world class facilities like a pool, spa, cinema, billiard table and table tennis.

    From US $1,295 US $1,035 /night
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    Villa Napalai Pool Side | Surin, PhuketVilla Napalai Sun Beds | Surin, Phuket

    VILLA NAPALAI

    Surin, Phuket – 4 Bedrooms

    Villa Napalai is a fantastic modern villa with a private gym and kids’ playroom, located within a 2-minute walk from the white sands of Surin Beach.

    From US $813 US $731 /night
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    Baan Hen Phuket Swimming Pool | Kata, PhuketBaan Hen Phuket Sun loungers | Kata, Phuket

    BAAN HEN PHUKET

    Kata, Phuket – 5 Bedrooms

    Baan Hen Phuket is a striking Thai villa with a turquoise infinity pool serving epic ocean views, 3 minutes from Kata Beach.

    From US $950 /night
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    Villa Summer Estate Lounge | Natai, Phang NgaVilla Summer Estate Bedroom with Ocean View | Natai, Phang Nga

    VILLA SUMMER ESTATE

    Natai, Phang Nga – 4 Bedrooms

    Villa Summer Estate is a sleek white beach house directly facing the golden sands of exclusive Natai Beach.

    From US $1,235 /night
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    Ananda at Jivana Pool | Natai, Phang NgaAnanda at Jivana Pool Table | Natai, Phang Nga

    VILLA ANANDA JIVANA

    Natai, Phang Nga – 7 Bedrooms

    Villa Ananda Jivana is a beachfront villa that’s ideal for families with interconnecting rooms, bunk beds and a huge pool facing the beach.

    From US $1,377 US $1,240 /night
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    Makata Villas One Living and Dining Area | Phuket, ThailandMakata Villas Open Plan Dining Area | Phuket, Thailand

    MAKATA VILLAS

    Kata, Phuket – 3,6 Bedrooms

    Makata Villas is a lovely pair of tropical Thai villas offering great value five minutes from beautiful Kata Beach.

    From US $345 US $293 /night
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    The Aquila Outdoor Seating | Phuket, ThailandThe Aquila Pool Side | Phuket, Thailand

    THE AQUILA

    Kamala, Phuket – 7 Bedrooms

    The Aquila is an epic villa that resembles a private resort with a 30m infinity pool, huge entertainment room, private gym and natural waterfall.

    From US $1,824 US $1,732 /night
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    Villa Leelavadee Swimming Pool | Phuket, ThailandVilla Leelavadee Pool Side | Phuket, Thailand

    VILLA LEELAVADEE

    Kamala, Phuket – 5 Bedrooms

    Villa Leelavadee combines Thai grandeur with sleek modern design, with an infinity pool and open-air Jacuzzi overlooking the Andaman Sea.

    From US $1,800 US $1,620 /night
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    Iniala Beach House Villa Bianca Living Room | Natai, Phang NgaIniala Beach House Villa Bianca Gardens and Pool | Natai, Phang Nga

    VILLA BIANCA

    Natai, Phang Nga – 3 Bedrooms

    Villa Bianca a unique beachfront villa with décor inspired by seashells and Matryoshka dolls, located at a luxury estate on a private beach.

    From US $2,995 US $2,500 /night
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    Villa Nandana Sun Deck | Phuket, ThailandVilla Nandana Master Bedroom|Phuket, Thailand

    VILLA NANDANA

    Natai, Phang Nga – 4 Bedrooms

    Villa Nandana is a sophisticate beachfront haven with Thai influences, hugging the sands of Natai Beach.

    From US $1,530 US $1,147 /night
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    Villa Thousand Hills Building Area | Phuket, ThailandVilla Thousand Hills Bar | Phuket, Thailand

    VILLA THOUSAND HILLS

    Nai Harn, Phuket – 9 Bedrooms

    Villa Thousand Hills is a spectacular modern villa with 9 bedrooms and 3 pools, offering luxurious seclusion 50 metres from the beach.

    From US $1,690 US $1,436 /night
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    Villa Enjoy Billiard | Patong, PhuketVilla Enjoy Swimming Pool Area | Patong, Phuket

    VILLA ENJOY

    Patong, Phuket – 5 Bedrooms

    Villa Enjoy is a grand modern villa offering panoramic views and funky décor in Phuket’s vibrant Patong.

    From US $1,400 /night
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    Villa Haleana Indoor Living Area with Sea View | Naithon, PhuketVilla Haleana Reclining Sun Loungers | Naithon, Phuket

    VILLA HALEANA

    Naithon, Phuket – 5 Bedrooms

    Villa Haleana comes with stunning ocean views from an 18-metre infinity pool along with 2 living rooms, spa room, sauna, Jacuzzi, gym and chef.

    From US $1,354 /night

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is absolutely essential for every traveller. A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for a traveller’s main concerns, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Most policies are built to be comprehensive to protect travellers from a variety of events that may cause financial loss before or during their trip. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’ which can include scuba diving, renting a local motorcycle and even trekking.

WORLD NOMADS

Worldwide travel insurance is available at World Nomads and you can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.

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Phuket Stories

Phuket is a tropical playground simply waiting to be explored by the global travellati. From world-class restaurants to jaw-dropping villas and hidden paradise beaches, our team can’t seem to get enough of this Thai island. Check out our latest Phuket blog posts written by experienced Ministry of Villas travel writers.