Phuket is one of the largest tourist destinations in southern Thailand. Phuket, is a lush forested island in the Andaman Sea, and has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches. The island is home to many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants. Phuket City, the capital, has old shophouses and busy markets. Patong, is the main bustling resort town. It has many clubs and bars. This city in Thailand is definitely the most foreigner based and is more touristy. You definitely don’t get to experience the authentic culture and country as much as in other places. I also don’t think the beaches here are as nice as most other places in southern Thailand and are way more crowded. If you are only in Thailand a short trip and are deciding locations to visit I would not recommend this city to be your Thailand experience. Phuket and Patong were not our cup of tea. That being said, there is a lot to do in the city and I have written about some of the top things to do. Phuket is known for its beaches, Big Buddha statue, Patong walking street, peninsula sunset overlooks and colorful Sino-Portuguese architecture and street art found in the charming Old Town. There are so many boutiques and artisan markets to shop in for linens, pottery, jewelry, baskets, purses, shoes, home decor stores and many other souvenir items. Old Town has all of the funky coffee shops, restaurants and cocktail bars. This area is fun to visit for a day trip when in Phuket to do something besides the beach as well. Freedom Beach is a beautiful jungle hike to a more remote beach in a cove south of Patong Beach away from the crowds. Karon Beach is another beautiful area that is not as wild and busy as Patong.
Things to do
Beach hop @ Freedom Beach
This is one of the most fun jungle beach hikes to get to a remote cove beach away from the crowds and main beach strip in Patong. The hike in is not too long about 20 minutes, but has the best views of the water and cove. This is a great spot to come for a few hours or so and enjoy the beach. This beach has relaxed waves in the cove great for swimming and lots of sand to lay out and enjoy the beach. There are only a few hotels that have access to this beach instead of going to one of the open public beach.
How to get there:
Here is the map of where the beach is. You will be dropped off by any songtao or motor bike taxi on a dirt road that they can’t keep going up. Your walk starts then on a gravel and dirt road uphill and then heads into the jungle for around 15-20 minutes walk in beautiful shaded greenery. You have views of the beach coastline and hike down a cement staircase to the beach.
Explore Old Town
Old Town is a great spot to walk around for the day amongst the colorful Sino-Portuguese buildings of shops and restaurants and cafes that line the streets. This is the best spot for local artisan shopping as well as cafe hopping in the city. Old Town has all the top restaurants for the foodies and is a good escape from the beach. There is lots of street art to hunt for on different side street walls. Some local cafes and coffee shops to check out are, Bookhemian, Campus Coffee Roaster, and Ryn a teahouse and coffee spot. Tantitium is a wildly themed and fun cocktail bar. Chinpracha House is a local Thai museum that has cooking classes as well.
Eat at Rustic Eatery and Bar Restaurant
This was our favorite restaurant and spot on beach street with a cozy and ambient patio to eat outside with the breeze. The restaurant is open daily 8am-11pm and you can see the menu here. They call themselves an international comfort restaurant and patisserie. They have lots of different wagyu beef main plates and my favorite dish was a beef wagyu salad that was delicious. The environment is so fun on the beach in the lit patio.
Watch the sunset at Promthep Cape
Promthep Cape is the southern tip of Phuket that has several beautiful viewpoints to see the beach coast at any time of day. There is Karon viewpoint to see the western coastline of Phuket. There is windmill viewpoint that overlooks a beautiful cove, and Promthep cape the narrow peninsula that you can walk out on. There is a nice and remote beach with big rocks and a beautiful blue cove called Ao Sane beach which is definitely a remote spot away from the crowds. This is where Nana Bowls is, a popular smoothie bowl spot for a great snack or breakfast. Also Macaw cafe & bar is a great restaurant for lunch or dinner when doing an afternoon in Promthep Cape.
There are endless beautiful temples in Thailand to see as well as big Buddha statues. If Phuket is your first Thailand experience then you can visit the one here with a view overlooking the ocean and city. Otherwise, this could probably be skipped in your time here. The entry fees for the temple and Buddha are way more expensive here because it is a tourist area and its a good 35 minute drive outside the city.
Bangla road is filled with restaurants, shops and bars. There are many food carts and stalls as well during the day to experience some Thailand street food. The road is right off the main beach road and is central in Patong area. This is where all of the nightlife is as well. If this is not what you are looking for be sure to not choose a hotel near this area because this whole area of town at night is crazy. This street is great for shopping if you have left anything at home or want to look for clothes or swimsuits.
Where to stay
This is a trendy new boutique hotel central downtown Patong near Bangla road where we stayed. This hotel has a sky roof pool overlooking the city and ocean and is a 5 minutes walk to the main road and beach. The hotel had a convenient taxi desk outside the hotel to help arrange your transportation for your day trips and outings. The staff were very friendly and helpful.
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Surrounded by a natural, hillside landscape, our Bird’s Nest Pool Villa’s special stone bathtub and mosaic shower floor features make for a most dream-like bath time experience. Credit @umutkiziltan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #keemala #beyondenchanting #phuket #naturelovers #beyondenchanting #beautifuldestination #travelgram #adventureawaits #getlost #welltravelled #travelingtheworld #travelawesome #lifewelltravelled #wanderlust #travelingram #thailandluxe #instatravel #luxuryworldtraveler #travelstoke #wonderful_places #travelawesome #SLH #travelgood #sustainabletravel #responsibletravel #travelauthentic #travelbetter @smallluxuryhotels
Keemala is a luxury remote jungle resort that starts at $500USD/night for a basic room up to $1000/night for their bird’s nest private infinity pool bungalow with a view. Keemala is an eco bohemian community of clay houses and jungle tents and some of which is luxury glamping. If you are looking to splurge this is a beautiful location that I have found in my research. Find details about rooms and booking here.
Tri Trang Beach Resort
If you are looking for a more budget option this hotel is a 3 star hotel for only $35USD/night that is on the quiet far end cove of Patong beach area. It is very close to the beautiful small and private freedom beach. This location is nice because it is also on its own beach stretch as well as being closer to other beaches in a quiet area while still being central. They have a pool overlooking the ocean with rooms with sea views and balconies. Find information about rooms and booking here.