Essential information for Phuket
- Direct flights to Bangkok depart daily with EVA Air or Thai Airways. Onward flights to regional airport are operated by Thai Airways or Bangkok Airways.
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During mid-Autumn candles, cakes and incense feature more frequently than usual to celebrate the Moon Festival whilst November promises Krathong where waterways become covered in decoratively adorned floats in respect of the water spirits.
Phuket holiday highlights – you’re never too old for a gap-year adventure in Thailand
Think holidays to Thailand and one destination immediately springs to mind – Phuket. Holidays to Phuket have been popular with backpackers and gap-year travellers for decades, but this most exotic of student destinations is now getting a bit of a reputation for delivering some seriously swanky all-inclusive and luxury getaways as well.
It’s a mad, mad mix of traditional Thai lifestyle and tourist-focused treats, smart hotels, clubs, pubs, restaurants and, if there’s anything left in your wallet, some top-drawer shopping experiences too. From trips into the jungle to navigating your way around the markets, lazing on sun-kissed beaches and partying until the sun rises, holidays to Phuket have to be on your bucket list at least once.
Yes, Phuket is a relatively small island, but it never feels crowded, and the beaches have more than enough space for everyone. And let’s be honest, the beaches are the main attraction on any Phuket holiday. Head to the west coast and you’ve got wide, sweeping sand and crystal-clear water, perfect for diving. If you’ve never flapped your flippers before then there are plenty of PADI-approved diving schools and instructors to help you find Nemo and Dory on an underwater adventure. Most of the hotels offering package holidays to Phuket have access to their own private beach, where you can try out water sports or just laze the day away on a sun lounger.
Freediving is hugely popular and Thailand has become the heart of the sport, with plenty of training on offer for anyone who wants to explore the underwater world unencumbered by a scuba tank. If you’ve never freedived before, look for schools offering lessons from AIDA-trained professionals.
Phuket holiday packages are the best way to make your holiday money go further. Packed full of great little extras like kids clubs, private beaches and wedding venues, these are our favourite hotels for you to check out:
- Patong Merlin Hotel – if you’re looking for a package that’ll give you everything you want from your Phuket holidays but without busting the bank, the Patong Merlin Hotel is a good choice. It’s relaxed, and it’s just minutes from the markets and happy-go-lucky nightlife of Patong. Great for groups or couples alike.
- Novotel Phuket Vintage Park – this resort has just about everything you could wish for, all wrapped up in a neat bundle. Its contemporary décor is smart and well executed, and no detail has been spared. It’s a hop, skip and a jump from the beach and close to all the main attractions. If you insist on keeping up with your workout on holiday, they’ve got one of the best hotel gyms on the island.
- Six Senses Yao Noi – now we’re talking! This exclusive resort sits on its very own island retreat in the Phang Nga Bay. This is all-inclusive holidaying at its best. You’re surrounded by natural Thai jungle (although it’s been tamed a bit), and stay in super-contemporary and ultra-chic beachfront guest villas. The attention to detail is flawless. If you’re looking for premium Phuket all-inclusive holidays, this has to be your first choice.
There was a time when Phuket holidays were reserved for over-18s. It’s a long trip, and for years facilities were geared more towards adult visitors rather than children. However, that’s all changed now, and little adventurers are just as welcome to Phuket as the grown-ups. Hotels go out of their way to cater for the kids, with clubs, activities, and even kid-friendly menus in the restaurants.
- Cape Panwa Hotel – Family holidays to Phuket should be about spending time with your loved ones and the Cape Panwa pulls out all the stops to make sure everyone’s happy. With a games room for teenagers, children’s pool for the little ones, and loads of water sports (as well as a private beach), it’s got everything you need. There’s a spa on tap too, so you can really de-stress.
- Centara Kata Resort Phuket – If you’re looking for family holidays to Phuket on a budget, this is the one to pick. The Centara Kata Resort has a ton of family-friendly treats including aqua slides for the little ones to spend all day on and a swim-up bar for mum and dad, it’s a chilled-out, happy little spot that will leave you with plenty of spending money in your wallet.
Thai food has become one of the most popular cuisines in Europe over the last few years. There’s no place better to taste the real McCoy than in Phuket, which has a reputation for offering some great cooking schools so you can learn just how much lemongrass you really do need to spice up a green curry.
If you’re a hopeless cook even with the help of an expert, leave the cooking to someone else and try some of the local delicacies. Phuket is famous for its fish dishes, and there are plenty of trendy restaurants in town where you can try anything from shrimp to snapper. Look out for noodle dishes, usually fried or boiled. They’re even eaten for breakfast – have a go at khanom jin, which is spicy and delicious, but maybe not quite what you’d want with your morning coffee. If you’re feeling really adventurous, why not try some fried delicacies at the Phuket Weekend market? Mmmm, crunchy!
- If you can tear yourself away from the beach, check out some of the island’s cultural attractions, such as the Golden Buddha at Wat Khao Rang, or the historic twisting streets of old Phuket town.
- Explore the sea caves of Phang Nga Bay, including secret lagoons and unique caves. It’s a great tour for kids as well as adults, and lets you explore the natural beauty of the island.
- Take the kids to Phuket Aquarium in Cape Panwa and get up close and personal with the local aquatic life.
- Explore Phra Thaeo National Park, and learn more about the local flora and fauna.
- The most popular thing to do in Phuket is to go island hopping. You can go on tours of James Bond Island (so named because of it was the location for several Bond films), and the pretty little islands of Phi-Phi or Racha, or the charming Coral Island.
Don’t worry, you won’t need to pack a woolly jumper, no matter when you take your holidays to Phuket. It’s hot all year round, with the average daily temperatures rarely falling below 31°C.
- November – February – regarded by the locals as the ‘cool’ season, with average day temperatures of around 30°C and night-time temperatures of around 24°C. This is the ideal time to travel if you fancy a bit of winter sunshine.
- March – July – consistently warm at around 32°C, with a higher chance of showers in the evening (although even the showers are warm).
- August – October – not much change on the temperature front at around 31°C.
- By Songthaew – pick up and drop off on these converted trucks is by request (there are no real ‘stops’ as such). It’s the most common method of transport in town, and used by locals and tourists alike. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, and it totally makes you feel like a local.
- By Tuk-tuk – don’t think you’re getting a super-fit local peddling you around – modern tuk-tuks are small minivans with four wheels (not three). The drivers have a ‘flexible’ approach to fares, so agree the cost before you get in.
- By Taxi – metered taxis are plentiful and actually cheaper than tuk-tuks. It’s best to ask your hotel concierge to order one for you, and again, agree the price before you set off.
Are you ready for your Phuket adventure? Have we tickled your fancy with all this talk of gorgeous beaches, fabulous food, and Far-Eastern adventures? Take a look at our selection of Phuket hotels and book your dream holiday today.