The southern island is home to some of the most popular beaches along the Andaman Sea, with a day excursion out to the picturesque Phi Phi island being a highlight not to be missed. It’s also home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the country such as Sri Panwa, Point Yamu by COMO and The Naka Island. Come nightfall, partygoers move to the buzzing Patong beach, known for its neon-lit street line with bars and clubs. Relatively developed and equipped with a convenient access to its own international airport, it’s easy to see why the island continues to be a prime holiday destination for both locals and tourist.
But if you happen to visit during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival (end of September-first week of October), the highlight is the visual spectacle of the street processions, whereby participating local men and women puncture their faces with all sorts of sharp objects as they walk the street in a state of trance, believing that they are the medium of the Chinese gods.
Away from the waters, Thailand’s largest island is also known for its wonderful Sino-Portuguese heritage, clearly illustrated within the streets Phuket Old Town. Take a stroll along the streets of Thalang to Yaowarat, and you’ll be greeted with colourful old shophouses that have been transformed into lively hostels, Kopitiam cafes, small art spaces and bars that have sprung to life in recent years, all of which have embraced and integrated the architectural beauty of the past.
For an authentic taste of southern cuisine, local and international tourist favourite Raya and modern fine-dining spot Tu Kab Khao are not to be missed. Museums such as Phuket Thai Hua Museum, Nitat Peranakan and Pitak Chinpracha Mansion also give us a window into the lives of peasants and nobles on the island 100 years ago.
In recent years, the walls around Phuket Old Town have also been brought back to life with street art inspired by the elements of Peranakan culture by contemporary artists by the likes of Alex Face and Rukkit.
Not a fan of hostels? For those looking for both short-term and long-term stays, The Deck Patong is only 5 minutes away from the world-famous nightlife centrale Patong Beach and comes equipped with a rooftop infinity pool. Lovers of old town charm can opt for a stay at dCondo Mine and The Base Height, located only 15 minutes away from the center of Phuket Old Town, whilst being close to the convenience of Central Phuket Festival Department Store, Tesco Lotus Superstore, Big C Super Center and Homeworks.