Phuket (pronounced ‘poo-get’) is an island in Southern Thailand on the Andaman Sea and approximately 862 kilometers from Bangkok. It is Thailand’s largest island, measuring about 543 square kilometers. Phuket is connected to the mainland from the southern tip of Phang Nga Province by a bridge, making an uninterrupted road travel to the island possible.
Phuket is Thailand’s most popular beach destination. What makes the island attractive to many is that its beaches are actually a series of white sandy bays. The beauty in this is that there are actual options in terms of choosing a place to go to and enjoying an intimate and private time at the beach rather than sharing one long stretch of uninterrupted sand with many other visitors.
The majority of Phuket’s topography is mountainous, covering almost 70 percent of the island and stretching from north to south. The northern part of the island also consists of two national parks. Khao Phra Thaeo Reserve is 20 square kilometers of protected rainforest and a great place to experience some of the island’s land-based wildlife. The island’s three highest peaks are here as well. Sirinat National Park is on the northwestern coast of the island and protects 90 square kilometers (68 square kilometers of it is marine) of the island’s area. The reefs are home to many species of fish and Nai Yang Beach is where sea turtles lay their eggs from November to February.
The majority of Phuket’s sandy beaches and bays are on the island’s west coast. The beaches on the east coast are mostly murky and muddy. From south to north on Phuket’s western shores, here are some of the island’s bays and beaches:
• Nai Harn Beach – Home to many small caves. It is also a popular place for swimming and yachting during the dry season (December – March). The wet season (May – November) brings high waves to the area. A great place to kayak and explore the waters and coves.
• Kata Noi Beach – A quiet and undeveloped beach with many fish inhabiting the rocks and corals along the southern shoreline. An excellent place for a peaceful diving or snorkeling excursion.
• Patong Beach – This is Phuket’s main commercial area. There are a number of bars, restaurants and shopping venues here. Great for those looking for night life but should be avoided if visitors are looking for peace and tranquility.
• Kamala Beach – This is an intimate beach just north of Patong and a great place to escape all the hustle and bustle of the island’s commercial area.
• Bangtao Beach – A large open bay and home to one of Phuket’s longest beaches. It is also home to some fine swimming during the dry season. The bay’s north end consists of a smaller bay where fine coral and marine life call home.
• Nai Thong Beach – One of the island’s least visited beaches by foreigners but very popular with Thais. A great way to see how Thais enjoy their beach escapes.
There are also numerous islands off the coast of Phuket, all of which are easily accessible by boat.
• Koh Bon – Great spot for snorkeling or scuba diving.
• Koh Hae – Home to splendid reefs and great beaches on its north and south ends.
• Koh Lon – Sleepy, mostly mountainous island where the majority of the inhabitants are Muslim.
• Koh Mai Thon – Home to crystal clear waters, great for swimming and diving.
• Koh Ma Phrao – A great place to visit fishing villages and hike or bike along nature trails.
• Koh Racha Yai & Noi – Twin islands known for crystal clear waters and a haven for divers.
• Koh Sire – A murky island and home to sea gypsies as well as a large Reclining Buddha on a hill.
• Koh Yao Noi & Yai – Two contrasting islands with Noi being somewhat developed and Yai being less development and containing more natural beauty.
Phuket is definitely one of Thailand’s most desirable locations. Its beautiful beaches, clear waters, fine diving destinations and a long list of accommodation options make the island a perfect escape for families or couples. Even though the island was hit hard by the tsunami in 2004, Phuket is striving, with practically no signs of the unfortunate disaster to see today. Whisk away in Phuket for the last three days of Exotissimo’s My Family in Thailand tour. The country has far too much to see and do, so we make sure that you experience the best Thailand has to offer in this unforgettable 12 day trip. See our recommended Thailand hotels page for excellent accommodation options while you are in the country. Feel free to contact us for any questions or advice.
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