Thailand's South

PHUKET

Global Mark : 11.78

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 5 1 3 1 3 4 5 1 11.56

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
1 100% (1) 0 100% (1) 12 12.00


Description :
The largest and most touristic island of Thailand, connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Comments : Coming or going to other islands, backpackers can easily skip over-developed and expensive Phuket beaches without loosing any sleep. However, Phuket Town is pleasant enough and reasonably priced (B100-150 for a basic room) so it could be worth stopping here and eventually explore some of the beaches and luxury Resorts from there.

What to do ?  Get a free copy of "What's on Phuket" magazine /  Visit the tourist office on Thanon Phuket for a map of the attractions / Spot Sino-Portuguese architecture / Wander around the market / Walk the beach and visit luxury resorts / Meet tourists on holidays / Splash at waterfalls / Develop your general culture in girlie bars (develop something else if money and condom) / 

What you may not like ?  The expensive & over-developed beaches / All the tourists rip-off scams, with taxi drivers, guides, gems sellers, girls,... You name it, they got it !  / The lack of songthaew in the evening /  The jet ski and other noisy activities on some beach / The size of the island / The continual offer of services / The sins maybe ? / 

How long ? A few days maybe to explore. One night on transit otherwise.

When to visit ? The low, cheaper, season last from May to October. Unfortunately, the monsoon occurs from June to September. But things never come to an halt on Phuket...

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money ! >> Hostels

The beaches ?

  • Ao Patong : the most developed, crowded and sexually oriented scene of the island. Count on B300 minimum.
  • Ao Karon & Kata : more relaxing but busy as well. This is where you will find the Club Med and other luxury resorts. A few basic places at around B150-200
  • Ao Kamala, just north of Patong, was recommended as the place to go to meet the islanders. This quiet beach however has no
  • Hat Nai Yang, more in the north, was described as a very beautiful beach where sea anemones and turtles could be spotted. Camping is possible for B10 and you can rent a tent for B60.
  • A lot of other beaches to discover

 << Discover a good reason to skip Phuket

 

Backpacker's Tips : Kelley Turner, USA (April 06)
 
After arriving by boat from Koh Phi Phi we went into Phuket town and arranged for a songthaew to take us to Mai Kao beach on the NW corner. People told us there was a bus that went that way though we never found the bus station. Our songthaew was 200THB, but our driver tried to take us to a closer beach and charge us more money! We insisted on Mai Kao and he dropped us off of Hwy 402 at a sign for the Phuket Campground and from there we walked in ~30 mins to the campground. Run by a fabulous family, the little campground provides a tent (300THB) with bamboo mat, blankets, pillows, hammocks, a restaurant on site and a beach with literally only a few people visible in either direction! When we were
ready to leave the owners gave us a ride out to the highway and flagged down a bus for us!

Backpacker's Tips : Steve Kyne, Australia (Dec 04)
 It has to be said that Phuket is a big island and has many faces - but Ao Patong isn't one of the faces that you'd want to see. It's crowded, smelly
and very expensive. Even the tuk-tuk drivers seem to have formed cartels to discourage bargaining with them. Phuket Town is, although not pretty,
certainly a much more human and "Thai" place that the tourist beaches. Thankfully from Phuket there are plenty of options for exploring smaller islands and mainland beaches.

Backpacker's Tips : Margita, Sweden (June 02)
 Phuket too expensive...Not at all..... I stayed at Bazoom at Karon Beach for 140bath/night. Run my a lovely young family she from Sweden and he from Karon and Alexandra the charming daughter and Lee a wonderful Thai staff. Visited also Suan Mokkh temple for a retreat (near Suratani) which made me a new person. A stay at Bazoom before and after my heavenly stay in Thailand this year.


Local transport ?
Songthaew run to most of the beaches from near the market on Thanon Ranong. Cost vary according to the distance from B15 to B35. Ask the tourist office for the price list. Problem with songthaew is that they may not operate in the evening and may takes time to fill up. Hitching your way around is always an option but renting a motorbike (B200) and exploring freely may be the best bet if you have limited time. 

Next destinations : Khao Sok National Park / Phang Nga / Krabi