Here's a few things you might want to know if you have never visited Phuket before. We have written the following based on our own experience of living in Phuket for a number of years.
Phuket has two seasons - wet and dry. The dry season is from November to March when there is typically very little rainfall and temperatures are in the range 30-32 degrees C daytime and 24-28 degrees C at night. Sunshine hours are high with relatively few overcast days. This is the most pleasant season to visit Phuket and this is reflected in slightly higher holiday accommodation prices in what is known as the "high season". Swimming, diving and snorkelling conditions are at their best during this time of year.
The wet season is from April to October. Daytime temperature is in the range 28-34 degrees C, night time 26-30. Rainfall during this period is highly variable. There can be long spells of several weeks when there is little or no rain and, especially in September-October, it can rain regularly. Typically rain is confined to a one or more heavy showers during the day or at night. Sunshine hours are lower during the wet season.
Things To Do
Here are a few suggestions that we have tried and enjoyed:
- Beaches - Phuket is spoilt with numerous, golden, sandy beaches, each with its own atmosphere and characteristic. Some are crowded with beach umbrellas and loungers if this is what you are looking for, others are quieter with fewer facilities. Beaches at the northern end of the island (north of the airport) are much less crowded and developed compared to those south of the airport. One of our favourites is Bang Tao beach where you can choose a developed or undeveloped stretch (especially at the northern end) of beach to relax and enjoy your day.
- Big Buddha - At the top of a hill between Kata and Chalong is one of Phuket's most visited attractions - a recently constructed statue of Buddha standing 65 m tall. You will get a 360 degree view around the island from the top.
- Boat Trip to Phang Nga Bay - This bay is a national marine park and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the region. Trips can include canoe excursions to visit a number of islands. Definitely a "must do" whilst you are here.
- Cable Ski - If you have never tried water skiing before, here's your chance to learn. In Kathu there is a lake with a cable ski. Great fun and very exhilarating.
- Expo Market - If you're looking for fashionable clothes, bags, accessories and shoes at bargain prices, this is the place to go to. It is a large, indoor covered market located in Delok Uthit 2 Road in Phuket Town.
- Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre - Visit this unique sanctuary off the 4027 road at the Bang Pae waterfall and learn about efforts to re-introduce gibbons back to their natural jungle habitat. Entrance to the centre is free (donations are welcome) but there is an entry charge to the park (make sure to ask for your ticket when you pay). Combine this with lunch in the pavilion style Thai restaurant which is located near the entrance to the park (before you enter the pay booth at the park).
- Night Life - You'll never have to stray far from your accommodation to find somewhere to relax and take take some refreshment in the evening. For those who are looking for a fun packed evening out, Soi Bangla in Patong is worth a visit. This area is packed with bars, eateries, discos and night clubs. For those wishing to experience how the Thais enjoy their evening, then venture into Phuket Town and try one of the many bars there, especially in the vicinity of the roundabout leading off Chancharoen and Ong Simphai Roads. Or try The Timber Hut on Yaowarad Road.
- Phuket Fantasea - For a memorable evening out, try this Thai themed entertainment park with a spectacular show featuring elephants, Thai dancers, magicians and much more.
- Thai cooking classes - There are a number of Thai cookery schools in Phuket where you can prepare your own dishes in class and apply your newly learned skills back home when you return. One suggestion for a class is the Blue Elephant Restaurant in Phuket Town.
- Weekend Market - Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 4 pm to late. Everything under the sun available here from clothes to DVD's. And the food section has a good selection of local Thai food to eat on the premises or take away. It is located on Virat Hongyok Road. From Central Festival only 5 minutes drive.
Where To Eat
Phuket is spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. For the best Thai food, you normally have to travel away from the more popular tourist destinations such as Patong, Kata and Karon and head south west to Phuket Town or Chalong. Here are some of our suggestions for the best Thai food in Phuket.
- Pan Yaah - Located in Kalim bay on the outskirts of Patong with a view over the bay. One of the most popular Thai restaurants in Phuket for Thai food.
- Baan Suan Layan - Located near Layan Beach at the northern end of Bang Tao bay. An extensive and reasonably priced menu.
- Blue Elephant - Located on Krabi Road in Phuket Town. The restaurant is in a beautifully restored Sino Portuguese style mansion house, more than 100 years old. A fine dining experience in a unique ambience.
- Bonsai Restaurant - Located on Chaofa West Road. A wonderfully decorated restaurant complete with a white Rolls Royce at the entrance. Some very different Thai dishes worth trying plus a small European menu too. Something for everyone. Ask for "Miang Pla Sumlee", a whole fish fried with Thai herbs (it's not on the menu - you have to ask - you won't be disappointed).
- Table Spoon - Located in HomePro or Villa market in Chalong. A very extensive selection of Thai and Western dishes at reasonable prices.
- Lotus Restaurant - Located on Bang Tao beach, with a good selection of fresh sea food. A lovely beach side location for a romantic evening and good food.
- Mom Tri's kitchen- Located in Kata. For a special, fine dining experience right next to the ocean.
- Natural Restaurant - Located at the southern of Phuthon Road in Phuket Town. Great local traditional food in an eccentric and quirky tree house setting decorated with old memorabilia and orchids. Highly recommended.
- Paknam Seafood - Located on Rasadanuson Road, on the north eastern outskirts of Phuket Town. Very popular with Thai people as it is probably the best Thai restaurant on Phuket
- Palai Seafood - Located east off Chaofa East Road (the road to Phuket Zoo), by the sea overlooking Chalong bay. Great and tasty selection of Thai seafood, Thai prices.
- Seafood restaurants on Rawai beach - A popular place for Thais for weekend lunch. This 200m strip of road has many simple seafood restaurants. Eat under the shade of the trees beside the water.
- Sunset Restaurant - Located in Cherngtalay. The menu is not extensive (includes Western food too) but the quality is first class and the prices are good. And they serve the biggest, best and cheapest fruit shakes on the island!
- Raya - Located in Phuket Town, on Dibuk Road. One of the best Thai food in town.
- Da Sando - Located in Kathu, on Vichit Songkram Rd. One of the best Italian restaurants in Phuket. Reasonable price and very friendly staff!