Is Phuket Thailand Worth Visiting? Pros, Cons & What to Know

Is Phuket Thailand Worth Visiting

​Is Phuket Thailand worth visiting? That’s a question you might be asking yourself as you plan your own trip to Southeast Asia. The island has become a popular destination for its beaches, nightlife, and wide range of accommodations options. In this article, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of Phuket so you can decide if it’s worth seeing for yourself!

What is Phuket Thailand Best Know For?

If you didn’t know, Phuket is actually the largest Island in Thailand! Over 14 million tourists visit Phuket per year, with international visitors representing representing about 70% of that. Travelers come from all over the world to experience the beautiful beach towns and Thai culture that the island offers. 

While Phuket may be best known for its beaches and nightlife, the vibrant old town and its night market can’t be missed. Cruise ships regularly pull into Patong Beach during high season, and Bangla Road is the party epicenter for people looking to let loose. There is even an abundance of outdoor activities like ATV jungle rides, snorkeling & boat tours, and water sports to enjoy.

Thailand is a budget backpacking destination overall, and Phuket is no different. However, the amount of luxury resorts and endless options for places to stay make it an enticing destination for all types of travelers. 

Phuket Thailand

How to Get to Phuket Thailand 

One great thing about Phuket is that it’s very accessible to get to. There are multiple flights daily from Bangkok and other major cities in Southeast Asia. Direct flights are also available from Europe, the Middle East, and countries like Australia. 

Wondering how we find all our flight deals? We recently paid under $300 USD to get from Europe to Southeast Asia! Check out all our tips here to save you money. 

We should mention that Phuket International Airport is located in the north of the island. As you’ll see below, many of the best beaches and places to stay are an hours away in the south.

This means it’s best to set up a car transfer before with your hotel. Note that the popular app Grab Taxi actually isn’t allowed to pick up customers from the airport.

With so many great international flight options we often prefer to start our time in Southern Thailand by going to Phuket. That way we don’t have to deal with the craziness of Bangkok and can get straight to the beaches, white sand, and crystal clear Andaman sea.

If you’re planning to take the bus to get around then we recommend using 12Go. We started using this website almost 3 years ago and it’s been super helpful to book trains, buses, ferries, and transfers.

→ How to Get from Bangkok to Phuket Thailand (Read This First!)

How to Get to Phuket Thailand

Where to Stay in Phuket Thailand

As we mentioned, there are so many great places to stay around Phuket Thailand! There is something for every type of traveler, whether you’re on a tight budget or looking for a luxury hotel.

Our absolute favorite area of Phuket to stay in is the south where the nicest beaches are located. Some of the best spots to stay include Kata Beach, Kata Noi, Karon Beach, and Nai Harn. There is even the fun town of Rawai which is popular with digital nomads like us.

If we were to draw up a Phuket one week itinerary, we would spend a few days in the south and then go to old town on the weeekend for the night market. Of course, if you’re looking to party (instead of a more relaxed vibe) you’ll want to stay in Patong Beach. Below are our best hotel recommendations for the south and Phuket town.

→ 15 Best Beaches on Phuket Thailand For Your Next Vacation

Phuket Thailand Travel Guide

Southern Phuket Thailand Hotels

Ultra Luxury – The Nai Harn – Nai Harn Beach – Known as one of the nicest hotels in not just Phuket, but all of Thailand! Amazing beach and sea views from luxury rooms. If you ever want to leave you will be literally steps from the famous Nai Harn Beach.

Royal Experience – Mom Tri’s Villa Royale – Kata Noi – Once a home of the Royal family of Thailand, this converted residence is one of the most unique places to stay on Phuket.

Unique Stay – Roost Glamping – Rawai – Yes, you can go glamping in Phuket Thailand! These upscale tents are set around a gorgeous pool and the cafe serves up healthy tropical dishes. 

Hostel Life: – Sino Hostel @ Kata – Kata Beach – Hostels are very popular in Phuket and Sino is in a great location. Choose from dorms and private rooms as you use it as a base to see Kata Beach from. 

Is Phuket Worth Visiting

Phuket Town Hotels

Fun Vacation – The Memory at On On Hotel – Stay at Phuket’s first hotel! Built in 1927, the On On Hotel was constructed in the signature Sino-Portuguese style and retains its historical charm. It was even featured in the 2002 blockbuster “The Beach” with Leanardo DiCaprio.

Boutique Hotel – Casa Blanca Hotel – Located in the heart of Phuket town, Casa Blanca mixes elegance with vibrant decor. Swim in the pool after a day of exploring, all while being close to many great restaurants. 

Budget But Nice! – Baan Sutra Guesthouse – Basic but clean rooms that are great if you’re on a budget. Set one street over from the famous Thalang Road and walking distance to everything in Old Town. 

Hostel Life – Aekkeko Hostel – Fun hostel in Phuket Old Town.  There is an onsite bar to meet other travelers and you can have your pick from both dorm beds or private rooms.

Is Phuket Town Worth Visiting

Best Time of Year to Visit Phuket Thailand

You should know that Phuket is tropical island and year-round destination. However, there are definitely better months to visit than others. 

August to October is considered monsoon season and the time of year we would avoid. This is when you’ll see the most rain, although the tropical showers do seem to pass quickly. One benefit to visiting during these months is the prices will often be cheaper in low season. 

As soon as November rolls around, the tourists start to flow in for high season. This is when you’ll see the cost of hotels go up, but will have the most pleasant Phuket weather. 

From March to May is still a great time to go. Yet, the later it gets into the peak season, the hotter the temperatures become. 

For this reason, our favorite time to visit Phuket Thailand has been December and January. This gives us the best beach weather and it isn’t as crowded as the months towards the middle of the year.

→ When’s the Best Time to Visit Thailand For Perfect Weather?

Phuket Thailand Guide

Is Phuket Just a Party Island?

There’s no doubt about it… Phuket has gained a global reputation as one of the best places to party. However, you should know it has so much more to offer than just cheap cocktails and night clubs!

The party really pops off in Patong Beach on the infamous Bangla Road. This is where the loud music goes all night long until the sun comes up. If you’ve ever been to Khaosan Road in Bangkok, it’s even more wild than that!

Interestingly enough, our very first visit to Phuket we actually didn’t enjoy it at all. This was because we only had a couple of days and didn’t make it to anywhere outside of Patong Beach. Just know that once you get outside of Patong, there are so many different towns to explore.

You’ll still find plenty of places to grab a drink everywhere. However, it’s more of a relaxed beach bar vibe than an all night party. Phuket is also known to have some of the best sunsets in all of Thailand!

In addition to the calmer beaches of southern Phuket, we love Old Town. This is the heartbeat of the island where you can experience local life, the Sunday Night Market, and some of the very best restaurants in Phuket.

You can even rent a motorbike to discover the nature, visit the Elephant Sanctuary, and Big Buddha statue which sits high above. 

→ 22 Fun Things to Do On Phuket Island For Your First Visit

Is Phuket Just a Party Island

Is Phuket Thailand Worth Visiting? 5 Pros & Cons

Now that you know a little bit about Phuket we should get into the nitty gritty. While there is so much to do and see, it may not be the island for everyone in Thailand. There are so many smaller and rustic places to visit if you’re looking for a different experience in this country. 

Some of our favorites are Koh LantaKoh Lipe, and Koh Tao. There is also plenty to see on the mainland in cities like Chiang Mai and the capital of Bangkok. Also, don’t miss out on coastal towns like Khao Lak and Railay Beach, or an adventure to Khao Sok National Park!

You can probably tell by now that we’ve spent a ton of time traveling around Thailand. This includes several months over the years on this amazing island. So is Phuket Thailand worth visiting? Take a look at our list of pros and cons and decide if it’s right for you!

Is Phuket Worth Visiting Pros and Cons

Pros of Phuket Thailand 

1. Phuket is Massive: There’s so much to see and do on Thailand’s largest island! Really, you could spend months traveling around the stunning beach towns and soaking in the sun. Even if you’re using one spot as your home base, it’s easy enough to rent a motorbike bike for day trips or utilize the public shuttle to get around. 

2. Great For Families: It may have a bad reputation as a party island, but Phuket is great place to visit for families. There are so many amazing resorts that cater to kids with swimming pools and other activities. As long as you stay outside of Patong Beach, Phuket can be a great option. 

3. Easy to Get To: Phuket is the most accessible island in all of Thailand. With both domestic and daily international flights, you’ll have no problem finding a route to here from around the world. You can also book a cheap ticket (we’ve paid as low as $5) and jump on one of the high-speed ferries from other islands if you’re planning a longer itinerary.

4. Jump off to More Islands: Speaking of boats, Phuket is a great place to start your Thailand island hopping trip! There are ferries between all of the popular islands in Thailand so it’s easy to fly in and grab a boat to your next destination. In fact, it’s only a 1 hour fast ferry ride from Phuket to Kho Phi Phi. One of our favorite Thai experiences was our 10 day trip through Phuket, Khao Lak, and Khao Sok National Park.

5. Most Beautiful Beaches in SE Asia: We’ve been all over Asia, from the Cambodian Islands to Myanmar, and beyond! So you’ll have to trust us when we say Phuket has some of the best beaches around. There are so many incredible beaches all around the Thai Islands. However, there is nowhere that has as many options in such a close proximity like Phuket does. 

→ Nui Beach Phuket: How to Get There, Fun Photos & Beach Guide

Phuket Thailand Should You Visit

Phuket Thailand Cons

1. Very Touristy: Obviously, Phuket is not a secret to the travel community! Due to its popularity, it may seem overcrowded at times so it might not be for every traveler. The beaches can especially be crowded during peak season and Old Town can sometimes feel overwhelming. If you’re looking for something more off the beaten path then Phuket probably isn’t for you.

2. Phuket Can Be Expensive: One thing that surprised us about Phuket is that it’s not that cheap! When you compare it to mainland and other islands the prices can sometimes be double or triple for accommodations. So why is Phuket so expensive? Well, you have to remember it’s the most popular tourist destination in Thailand. With that, comes competition and higher prices. Yet, just know you can score deals on hotels in off-season and local food is always cheap.

3. The Party Scene: We’ve covered this a good amount in our is Phuket worth visiting article already. Still, you should know to avoid certain areas if you’re not looking to party. Patong Beach certainly lives up to its reputation and then some! 

4. Phuket Thailand Traffic: We always rent a motorbike to get around and explore this humongous island. Nevertheless, this doesn’t come without its warnings. Traffic can be wild in the popular areas of Phuket and to be honest quite dangerous. Cars drive with reckless abandon and tourists have been known to hop on their scooters after a few too many Chang Beers. This is something to definitely take note of before your trip.

5. Sea Lice & Other Creatures: Don’t get us wrong, the beaches in Phuket are fantastic! Yet, depending on the time of year, you may encounter the dreaded sea lice which sting as you swim. You also might want to practice shuffling your feet going in and out of the sea to avoid sting rays. If you’re swimming during monsoon season be aware of riptides as well. 

Phuket Thailand Cons

Bali Indonesia vs Phuket Thailand

The only island in Southeast Asia that is more famous than Phuket is probably Bali in Indonesia. While they are both popular tourist and digital nomad destinations, they actually could’t be less alike! 

After spending a lot of time in Phuket and Bali we have to say we grew much fonder of Thailand. For us, Phuket offers similar amenities and accommodations but with nicer beaches and better food! 

Now we maybe slightly biased as we’ve gotten food poisoning multiple times in Bali. We’ve also witnessed more pollution than we could have ever imagined there.

​When deciding “is Phuket Thailand worth visiting” it will depend on your own travel style and itinerary. Just know that Phuket might be worth considering over Bali if you’re trying to decide between the two.

→ Is Bali Worth Visiting? Pros and Cons of Indonesia’s Famous Island

Phuket vs Bali

Is Phuket Thailand Worth Visiting??

Yes, it definitely is! We’ve already made five visits to Phuket Thailand and always look forward to returning when traveling to Asia. 

With that said, you really need to make sure that you pick the right zone for yourself to stay in. After our first trip to Patong Beach we almost wrote off the island forever. Thankfully, we gave it another chance.

There is just so much to do on this island and it never ceases to amaze us. From the colorful streets of old town to the stunning beaches and delicious Thai food, Phuket is so worth the trip!

Is Phuket Thailand Worth It

​Have any questions on is Phuket Thailand worth visiting or want to share your own tips and advice? Leave us a comment below.

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

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Phuket Thailand

Thailand Travel Planning

 Transportation: While traveling through Thailand 12Go is where we find all our ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! You can find everything from island hopping speed boats to the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over Phuket! You can find everything from a James Bond island luxury sunset cruise, to Phuket Old Town 15-taster food adventure, and 5-hour island tour

 Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we found flights from Bangkok to Phuket for $12 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Thailand Travel Guide
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