Phuket Province

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Phang Nga Bay, Phuket

Phang Nga Bay, Phuket

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Phuket is an island province of Thailand, and one of its most popular tourist attractions. The provincial capital is Phuket City, which is also where the main bus station is found, providing short and long route buses to all main dastination of Thailand. The Phuket International Airport is about 30 kilometres from Phuket Town, 40 kilometres from Patong, and 50 kilometres from Rawai, the southern part of Phuket.




Phuket is the biggest island in Thailand, located in the Andaman Sea of southern Thailand. The island is mostly mountainous with a mountain range in the west of the island from the north to the south. The mountains of Phuket form the southern end of the Phuket mountain range, which ranges for 440 kilometres from the Kra Isthmus. Although some recent geographical works refer to the sections of the Tenasserim Hills in the isthmus as the "Phuket Range", these names are not found, however, in classical geographic sources. In addition, the name Phuket is relatively recent having previously been named Jung Ceylon and Thalang. The highest elevation of the island is usually regarded as Khao Mai Thao Sip Song (Twelve Canes), at 529 metres above sea level. However it has been reported by barometric pressure readings that there is an even higher elevation (with no apparent name), of 542 metres above sea level, in the Kamala hills behind Kathu waterfall.




Sights and Activities

Patong Beach

Patong (Banana Forest) Beach has a host of activities which can be done by people of all ages and all tastes. Swimming, rides on the Banana boat, or more adventurous activities such as para-gliding, para-sailing and jet skiing are all on offer. You can even bungee jump. The area around the corniche is a place full of energy. It has a night bazaar along the beach, where you can buy everything from Thai crafted tables and wooden souvenirs to shirts, women’s bags, shoes and watches. But don't fool yourself: nearly everything is a fake.

In the spring (normally around April) it is not uncommon that whalesharks visit the bay off Patong. The whaleshark is the biggest fish in the world and huge with a maximum length up to 15 metres. However, it is completely harmless since it is 100% vegetarian. To get away from the beach, try renting a bike for a day to visit Phuket City.

Karon Beach

Karon Beach is quite long and restaurants and lodging are concentrated near the roundabout on the road to Patong Beach to the North and again along the road leading back to the beach to the south. There is also a beach road and along this is scattered restaurants, primarily Thai which are upper-scale priced but it can be a treat to pay some extra money for your dinner here since the food is normally good and in addition to this you have a nice sea-view and sea-breeze. Karon Beach also has a Hilton 5-star hotel for those who can afford that.

Kata Beach

Going further south and you will find Kata Centre which also has accomodation and restaurants of different kinds and nationalities as well as tailors and other shops with goods. Kata Beach is actually divided into Kata Yai (Big Kata) and Kata Noi (small Kata) Beach. Continuing to Kata Yai Beach you will find that this is actually more relaxed than Patong Beach. Off the coast of Kata Beach is a coral reef which can be quite nice to snorkel at. Snorkelling equipment can be rented cheap on the beach. It is also possible to get a massage in the shade. Follow the beach road and you will find more restaurants, hotels, bungalows and lodges as well as bars and different shops. About 1 kilometre South of Kata Yai Beach you will reach Kata Noi Beach which is actually fairly small in size.

Scuba diving

The scuba diving industry is very developed in Phuket, and more than 60 tour operators can be found in Patong, Karon and Kata Beaches. It is possible to do all scuba diving courses from introduction dives and beginners level certificates to professional levels of almost all scuba diving organizations. If you do hold a certificate already you should consider the day trips offered by the diving schools since the scuba diving off Phuket offers some nice spots. The destinations are some distance from Phuket Island but it is worth the travelling distance. The different diving companies run trips to the same destinations but on different week-days. The price of a one-day diving trip including equipment, lunch and transportation are fixed on Phuket Island so don't expect to find it cheaper than in the first diving-company that you enter. However, it can be a good idea to ask about the boat that the company is using for the day trips: Big or small, slow or fast, many or few passengers, freshwater shower or not and so on. Since the prices are fixed you might as well choose the operator that uses the vessel you find coolest or most comfortable according to what you prefer.

Similan Islands

Similan Islands offers the most spectacular scuba diving in Thailand and is actually a world-class diving destination. It offers several diving spots with high visibility and an abundance of life. Whalesharks are very common and some tour operators actually give a whaleshark guarantee on their trips. Similan Islands can be reached from Phuket (Patong Beach and further north) with speedboats but many diving companies offers live-aboard trips to Similan Islands as well and it is probably worth it to spend the extra money and time on this diving destination.



Events and Festivals

Phuket Old Town Festival

Phuket Old Town is something rather special to visit. Any time that you are visiting Phuket it is a place that you should choose to wander about. The Phuket Old Town Festival is a celebration of the history of Phuket and of all the different influences that have affected Phuket. The History of Phuket is not always clear but there if you have an opportunity to visit the Phuket Thai Hua Museum in Phuket it would be of help. The Phuket Old Town Festival tries to embrace the history of Phuket by having a number of stalls selling old style foods – most notably in front of the Tai Hua Museum.

The festival begins with a procession of H.M the King and the local people will be dressed in their fine clothes and will proudly parade through Phuket Town. The Baba Group is a group that is prominent in Phuket who are trying to preserve Phuket’s Heritage and support this Festival. There is a stage erected in the Queen Sirikit Park where for the three days there will be a number of performaces to celebrate the art and culture of Phuket Town. During this period is also the Chinese New Year and subsequently there is an opportunity to watch some Chinese Dragon Dancing. The other stalls are set up along the normally busy roads throughout Phuket Town. During the period of the Phuket Old Town Festival many of the roads (Rasada, Phang-Nga and Thalang) are closed to motorised traffic. This does mean that it is easy to wander up and down the streets and look at all of the items that are being sold by the local people. Obviously the focus is on the foods because Thai people do like to have a bite but the food is not restricted to Thai food but predominantly it is Thai food. The ceremony continued with candles lit for H.M the King’s birthday and then a ceremony in front of the Giant Sea Dragon

Phuket Vegetarian Festival

The Vegetarian Festival has been celebrated in Phuket since 1825 when members of a Chinese travelling opera group, visiting the town’s miners, were all taken sick. However they recovered swiftly when their diet was changed to a vegetarian one to honour the two Chinese Emperor Gods. This was taken by the Chinese community in Phuket as a sign and for once a year the community will try to abide by a set of rules out of respect to their Chinese gods. The rule that is most adhered to is not to eat meat - there are a plethora of Vegetarian dishes available in Phuket Town and other towns. But what we commonly see is the mutilation of peoples bodies - this includes piercing their bodies with sharp implements (specifically through their faces), carefully placed pins over their bodies, scraping their tongues with a sharp implement - the list is endless. Then others will be 'possessed' by the Chinese spirits and then dance in the processions through Phuket - usually from Chinese Shrine to Chinese Shrine. Then others will dance in firecrackers which are thrown into the processions. People will carry a small Chinese shrine through the towns and onlookers will also thrown firecrackers at them. Others will be 'possessed' by the Chinese spirits and distribute small gifts to the people watching. This event will last a week and will also involve running over hot coals, running up bladed ladders, pouring hot oil on themselves and more. The finale is the last night where the similar processions walk through Phuket Town in a mass of people who throw even more firecrackers at them - this parade finishes in Sapan Hin where there are hundreds of people waiting with candles to witness the burning of Chinese paper and the spirits will leave the possessed.

Por Tor Festival

The local Chinese in Phuket refer the Por Tor Festival as the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’. It takes place on the 27, 28 & 29 of August. The streets of Phuket Town are adorned with flags, markets are set up and there are cakes of different sizes that are bright red. Sounds a little different? The Chinese, (I understand to be Taoist) believe that every year the spirits of your ancestors will return to the Earth and will visit their homes. The red turtles - which are made from wheat mixed with lots of sugar are prepared for every home for the spirits to eat when they visit. Understandably the spirits do not eat the cakes but they are cut up and shared between the families and visitors to the village. The Thai people will happily share the cake with anybody who asks.

Why big red turtles? In Chinese popular culture the turtle symbolises longevity and a healthy life and the red means wealth – so a big red turtle is an apt choice. There is also a legend to go with the turtle symbolising longevity. There was a Chinese Monk (Pra Tang Sam Jung) travelling the seas to spread the words of the Sacred Buddhist Script when the junk in which he was travelling ran into a fierce storm. He feverishly prayed to be saved from the storm so that he could spread the words of the Sacred Buddhist Script. A giant turtle swam close to the sinking vessel on which Pra Tang Sam Jung climbed upon and he was subsequently saved!

The Por Tor Festival maybe based on legends and stories but the Festival is like all festivals in Thailand – great fun. There is always a plethora of market stalls selling a great number of dishes and a lot of people wandering the streets.

Sapan Hin Local Food Fair

At the Local Food Fair in Sapan Hin there is a plethora of different foods that you can have a taste of and all of them are produced locally. There is a scheme introduced by the government that is called the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) scheme and I believe that this has been organised with this in mind.

The OTOP scheme was introduced to support unique and locally made products; including - clothing, fashion items, household items, foods etc. There were a number of different groups of people ready - the small children dressed with little antennae, the girls dressed in traditional Thai costume and the men elaborately made up in Thai costume. These children then played traditional Thai games whilst the entertainment continued. Then the entertainment changed - the singers were ‘ladyboys’ and they were miming to Western music, quite risqué actually. They left with cheers and clapped and dancers returned dancing to danced to Thai pop music. Then a clearly enhanced ladyboy arrived amid cheers and whistles to entertain us evens more. Not just a Local Food Fair.




Like much of Thailand, the weather here is of the tropical variety, meaning hot and humid conditions year-round. Temperatures hover around 32 °C during the day and 25 °C at night, with just a few degrees difference between the warmest and coolest months. Humidity is mostly around 80% or more, so be sure to drink enough fluids! November to February in general is the driest time of the year, with just some regular showers (later afternoon) and a mix of clouds and sun. Rain increases from March onwards, reaching a peak in August and September before preparing again for the somewhat drier and cooler season.

Avg Max32.4 °C33.3 °C33.8 °C33.7 °C32.5 °C32.1 °C31.7 °C31.7 °C31.2 °C31.4 °C31.3 °C31.5 °C
Avg Min23.9 °C24.3 °C24.9 °C25.3 °C25.1 °C25 °C24.6 °C24.8 °C24.2 °C24.1 °C24.3 °C24 °C
Rainfall23.3 mm25.8 mm59 mm137.8 mm269.8 mm236.9 mm284.1 mm282.8 mm386.5 mm295.9 mm173.7 mm61.9 mm
Rain Days4.235.811.419.819.219.719.122.822.116.18.3



Getting There

By Plane

Phuket International Airport (HKT) is located about 30 kilometres from Phuket City and has a wide range of international flights. International destinations include Kuala Lumpur, Berlin, Munich, Beijing, Seoul, Milan, Rome, Taipei, Guangzhou, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Penang, Sydney, Shanghai, Singapore, Perth, Moscow, Kaohsiung, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Domestic services are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Pattaya.

By Bus

Buses leave for Bangkok quite regularly and there is no problem in finding seats, even at the last minute.



Getting Around

There are a lot of islands around Phuket, the most famous being the Phi Phi Islands, and one can easily get a tour from the ubiquitous travel agents around the area. A good tactic for getting cheaper rates is to get one agent against the other and thus get a good deal. Although of course this is not really appreciated by them and surely is not a great way to treat the persons who want to make a living.

By Public Transport

If you are coming to Phuket by bus, you will arrive at the main city bus terminus. You could be hustled into getting an expensive taxi for the Patong beach or wherever you want to go and there are people who have their private cars which double up as taxis, but these options are at best left alone and one just needs to find the open air taxis. The open air taxis are a treat to travel in (and cheap) but they have designated times.

By Bike

Motor bikes are easily available and can be rented fairly cheap. Just be sure to wear your helmet (this should be included in the rental fee) as the drivers don't necessarily look out for you.




The places around the small inns on Patong Street offer good value for money. The food at Dubai restaurant is irresistible and deserves mention. Other than that one can always get a boiled corn from the street vendors. There are other vendors who sell Thai food, but hygiene can be an issue. The banana pancakes are a treat: they are crispy and great with honey.







There is little in the way of cheap accommodation around Kata and Karon, so Patong Beach is the best option if you're on a budget. Patong Beach has a host of accommodation which ranges from the Holiday Inn to small Inns, most of which are on Patong Street. As you get closer to the beach, prices tend to become more expensive.


View our map of accommodation in Phuket

Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 7.87713
  • Longitude: 98.38456

Accommodation in Phuket Province

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Phuket Province searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Phuket Province and areas nearby.


as well as Pipin (12%), Peter (2%), sulemaniya (2%), lemorris (1%), sundreamer (1%)

Phuket Province Travel Helpers

  • timinphuket

    I have lived in Phuket for the previous 10 years and I write about my experiences - where to eat, what to do, and my own personal blogs. I feel that these blogs will be of most interest to your readers.

    Ask timinphuket a question about Phuket Province

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