The 9 Best
Phuket is one of the most popular regions in Thailand for tourists to visit, home to miles of beautiful coastline and numerous lively towns and villages. With such a huge variety of different areas to stay, choosing which part of Phuket to base yourself can be difficult, which is where this guide comes in.
Factors such as your budget, holiday party and interests will all affect which area of this Thai destination you’ll be best suited to. From the wild, noisy streets of Patong to the untouched beauty of Mai Khao Beach, there’s a brilliant range of scenery and experiences on offer in Phuket.
We’ve outlined some of the best areas to stay in Phuket for all kinds of traveller, whether you’re a fan of the beach, on holiday with your family or looking to book a honeymoon.
Best Area to Stay for Families
The best area to stay in Phuket for families is definitely the town of Kamala, which is close to the busy party town of Patong on the western coast of the region. Despite its proximity to the region’s party town, Kamala is actually known for its peace and tranquillity, which is what makes it such a great place to bring children.
Kamala was once a sleepy fishing village, but has now become a tourist hotspot that still maintains an authentic Thai atmosphere. There are plenty of high-quality and luxury accommodation options here such as self-catering villas perfect for families, and you won’t often find backpackers or young people staying in this part of Phuket.
The beach in Kamala is the main attraction for travellers, and it’s a lovely and safe place to spend a morning or afternoon with your children. The town itself has a good range of restaurants and cafes, and there is a real sense of community and openness that makes it a safe place for families to stay.
Another safe area of Phuket that is best suited to families is Nai Yang, which is close by to the region’s airport. This quiet beach location is known for being very relaxed, and you won’t get bothered by riotous crowds on the beach or street sellers trying to hand you their products every five minutes.
Accommodation options aren’t vast here, but there are several resorts and hotels that are well geared up to families and worth spending a little more money on for the facilities.
Snorkelling is one of Nai Yang’s most popular activities, which is another reason why the area is so good for children. There are several diving schools that run excursions, or you can head out for yourself with the kids and explore the exciting underwater world of the nearby reef.
Best Area to Stay for Couples
Kata beach is actually part of Karon, the second most popular area to stay in Phuket, but is a destination in its own right. The small beach town combines peace and quiet with a lovely mix of little restaurants, bars and cafes, offering an ideal location for couples on holiday.
Found on the west coast of Phuket Island, Kata Beach is a beautiful white sand bay lined with palm trees and favoured by families and couples for its chilled atmosphere and variety of amenities. The beach is the highlight of the area and is perfect for sunset strolls or hours of sunbathing, but the town itself is very lively in the evening and has a nice amount going on if you fancy mixing with the locals.
There are several resorts on the half of Kata Beach that is further away from Karon, so if you’re looking for an all-inclusive holiday with your partner, there are plenty of options here. The area is also home to a number of spas and wellness centres if you’re after a really relaxing break together.
Another romantic area in Phuket which is ideal for couples looking to enjoy some tranquillity together is Rawai, which was one of the first tourist beaches in the area. Tourism has now moved onto other parts of Phuket, but Rawai maintains an authentic atmosphere whilst still being well-equipped to host visitors from around the world.
The best thing to do in Rawai is to enjoy the beach, which is a classic Thai white sand bay lined with little shops, restaurants and bars. There are great hotels and resorts in the area which are perfect for a couple’s holiday, with both luxurious and more budget-friendly options making it a part of Phuket that is accessible for all.
This isn’t the place to come if you’re after wild nightlife and plenty of shopping and eating opportunities. However, if you just want to enjoy the coastal scenery and bask in the beauty of the ocean with the one you love, there’s nowhere better.
Best Area to Stay for Honeymoon
If your idea of a perfect honeymoon is miles of empty beach and heaps of luxury, then Bangtao is the best area for you to stay in Phuket. Bangtao Beach is the longest in the whole region, and also one of the most deserted which makes it a brilliant place for those who want to just focus on spending time with their new spouse.
The central part of Bangtao is geared up for glamour and favoured by wealthier travellers, so if you’re splashing out on your honeymoon then there’s no better place to enjoy yourselves. In recent years more affordable accommodation has sprung up along the beach however, so this is still a part of Phuket that is suitable for all travellers.
The beach at Bangtoa is its main selling point, with over 6km of beautiful white sand and gorgeous views out over the water. There are restaurants and bars scattered all along the coast, numerous resorts containing every amenity you can think of, and Sirinath National Park is nearby if you’re looking for a day trip idea.
Best Area to Stay for Island Hopping
Island hopping is a very popular activity for those who are visiting Thailand, and Phuket Town is a great area to base yourself if you are just arriving in the country or stopping over for a couple of days. It’s the largest city on Phuket Island and the capital of the Phuket province.
Phuket Town isn’t very near to the beach, so if you’re wanting to get a boat to another island you’ll have to travel to the coast. What makes this the best area for island-hopping is the fact that there are excellent transport links to lots of other places, and the fact that it is very cheap to stay in the centre of town.
Whilst you’re stopping over, the main attraction here is Phuket Old Town, which is full of beautiful, colourful 19th-century buildings that are a nice contrast to the plentiful beach scenery you find around Phuket. If you’ve got an interest in history and culture, it’s the best part of the region to visit.
Best Area to Stay for Nightlife
The main tourist spot in Phuket is Patong, which is what makes it the best area for partying and nightlife. It’s a beautiful, busy town found on the coast of Thailand and has a reputation for some of the wildest nights out in all of Asia.
During the day Patong is a busy but tranquil part of Phuket, with tourists filling the beaches and wandering around all of the markets that are found along the promenade and in the centre of town. There is a wide range of accommodation options from budget hostels to more boutique hotels, so you can expect to find all kinds of people converging in the town at all times of the day.
The most famous street in Patong is Bangla Road, which is known as being the hub for nightlife. Here you will find nightclubs, bars and adult entertainment venues, so if you’re looking for an unforgettable evening, you’ll want to come here. If you‘re not a fan of loud, drunken crowds, you might want to give this area of Phuket a miss.
Best Area to Stay for the First Time
If it’s your first time visiting Phuket, then one of the best areas to stay in is the beach town of Karon. This location is often referred to as ‘Patong’s Little Sister’ and offers a less frantic experience than the central tourist town that first-timers will find a lot more relaxing.
There are 3km of beach in Karon, lined with brilliant restaurants, bars and attractions that have more than enough to keep you busy during your break. It’s a great location for those who are travelling to Phuket on a budget as well, with a great range of budget accommodation options as well as more luxurious resorts.
The highlight of Karon has got to be the beach however, which is exactly the kind of paradise scene that you picture when you think of Thailand. With pure white sand stretching out into the distance and bright blue water lapping on the shore, you can easily spend your entire holiday just enjoying being beside the sea.
Best Area to Stay for Beaches
Mai Khao Beach
One of the lesser-known, and therefore emptiest, beaches in Phuket is Mai Khao Beach, which stretches out over 11km. It’s one of the more remote and under-developed beach areas in the region, but if you’re after totally unspoilt scenery and no other tourists in sight, it’s the perfect place for you.
For those who aren’t too bothered about nightlight, shopping or sightseeing, Mai Khao Beach is the ideal area to totally relax and unwind as you enjoy your beautiful surroundings. There aren’t very many accommodation options, but if you travel a bit further out you’ll find more places to stay.
Mai Khao Beach is in a good location if you want to visit Sirinath National Park, which is home to a great variety of wildlife and hiking routes. Otherwise, this is an area perfect for simply switching off and enjoying the company of those you have travelled with.
Which beach is best to stay in Phuket?
The best beach for you to stay in Phuket will very much depend on what other activities you’re planning on enjoying during your trip to the area, and what kind of atmosphere you are after. If you want to enjoy a remote beach that will be very empty and quiet, Mai Khao Beach or Nai Yang Beach will be best, whereas those who don’t mind sharing the sand will enjoy the beaches at Kata and Karon.
Is Phuket safe at night?
Phuket is not a particularly unsafe place for tourists, but it is smart to follow the same safety advice you would when at home if you’re out and about at night. Try and stay in a group, don’t go anywhere you aren’t familiar with, and try not to end up on any unlit streets or alleyways. Women in particular should also keep a close eye on their drinks when they are out in the evenings, in case someone tries to spike them.