As the largest island in the whole of Thailand and known as the ‘Pearl of the Andaman’, Phuket is a popular holiday destination. Situated in southern Thailand, the island is just 48 km long and 21 km wide and its beaches are home to balmy waters and idyllic white sand. Road bridges connect the large island to Phang Nga Province on the mainland of Thailand where you can reach Khao Lak, Krabi and the many islands of Phang Nga Bay.
Phuket is a place for relaxation, luxury and partying. However, there are areas tucked away that still represent the traditional Thailand. Huge resorts adorn the west coast of the island overlooking the beaches. There are many options available for tourists from beachside luxury and boutique hotels with their own pool, to hotels offering basic and moderate amenities. There are a few guesthouses and beach bungalows on the Island for a down-to-earth, chilled-out stay.
Originally, Phuket was on the major trading route between India and China and today, Phuket still benefits from this. Items to shop for include batik, Thai silk, cultured pearls, nielloware (objects with etched designs) pewterware and dried seafood. The busy beaches are overcome with people selling items from sarongs to bracelets, while the streets are lined with touts wanting you sell you tailor made suits and ball gowns. All kinds of shopping is on offer, from open air night markets to food stalls and western shopping malls.
The island of Phuket is full of cosmopolitan food as a result of the booming tourist trade. Many visitors never returned home after setting foot on the island and have since set up restaurants and cafes catering to the taste-buds of their fellow travelers. Seafood is an obvious favorite on the island. There are many beachside restaurants and bars on the island that serve Thai food and are discovered through word of mouth. They're well worth a try; just ask a local for a good one!
The island is mainly famous for its beautifully serene beaches, huge luxurious yet cheap resorts and, of course, it’s partying. There is however, a lot more to it than that. Buddhist temples are everywhere on the island, as well as secret quiet beaches to explore and relax on. The interior area of Phuket is home to several national parks, one of which has some of the last virginal flora and fauna on the island.
Phuket's biggest draws are its beaches and entertainment scene, but there are still a range of attractions that are well worth exploring when you're on the island. These include temples, museums and natural attractions.
Phuket's west coast overflows with dining options, and between the resorts and back-alley café s visitors are spoiled for choice. The local culinary scene was affected by Portuguese traders in the 16th century, and their influence still resonates today.
Phuket has been a heavyweight contender in Thailand's tourism industry for decades, and it continues to draw tourists with its blend of resort lifestyle, exotic Thai culture and hedonistic nightlife. Add this to its fascinating roots as a Portuguese port and you have a world-class tourist destination.
Phuket's shopping district is bigger than ever, with an even mix of touristy markets, department stores and upscale boutiques. Prices are high, but bargains persist in unexpected places.
Entertainment is Phuket's strong suit, and visitors will find plenty to do at all hours. Between the rambunctious nightlife, kitsch amusement parks, high-octane beach activities and classier lounges, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Phuket is a great starting point for a tour of Thailand. Foreigners are commonplace, so visitors can get a taste of the culture without stepping far out of their own comfort zone. From here it's easy to connect to other parts of the country where tourism is secondary to mainstream living.
Holidays in Phuket have all of Thailand’s trademark attractions on one easy-going island. Book a Phuket hotel for elephant treks through rainforests and rubber plantations, unspoilt beaches and underwater reef gardens.
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