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Tips & Tricks

Choosing where to stay in Phuket

Getting to know Phuket

Known for its sprawling nightlife, beaches and massage parlours, this paradise is the largest island of Thailand. Being close in area to Singapore, one can only imagine how much there is to choose from in Phuket.

From scenic island tours to crazy parties, there is something for everyone here. To make the most of your trip, it is always wise to have a basic idea of the aim of your holiday (relaxation, fun or adventure) and the activities you’re interested to indulge in, in order to plan how many nights you want to stay in this remarkable place!

Where to stay in Phuket?

Try looking for hotels and resorts in Phuket, and you’ll be spoilt for choice! I visited Phuket with a girlfriend of mine and remember how confusing it was for us to choose where we wanted to book our resort. Though we didn’t make the best choice, here’s a guide to help you decide where to stay based on your interests.

Patong Beach

Want to go where the crowds go?

Easily the most happening area in Phuket, Patong is sprawling with buzzing nightlife, restaurants, bars, massage parlors and lots of street shopping! Home to the famous (or infamous) Bangla Road, this is the place for you if you’re in Phuket to experience crazy parties, noisy streets and tons of organized chaos!

Having plentiful of options for accommodation, ranging from cheap hostels and lodges to luxury hotels and resorts, head to Patong if you’re on a budget.

Patong is comparatively closer to Phuket airport (though still around 45 mins – 1 hour away), and probably has the cheapest massage parlors, food, beverages and shopping avenues. Needless to say, most of the nightlife is within walking distances. No doubt, you will end up saving a lot of money on taxis and tuk-tuks which can turn out pretty expensive!

As you may have guessed already, Patong is a good pick for travelers visiting with a group of friends, solo travelers looking to have crazy fun or the adventurous couple who enjoy crowds. Heading to Phuket to celebrate a bachelors or bachelorette party? Look nowhere other than Patong!

Having said that, Patong should not be your choice if you’re looking for pristine breaches or a relaxed and quiet family holiday.

 

Kata Beach

Kata is smaller and much more peaceful in comparison to Patong. Though featuring many eateries and bars, Kata attracts lesser crowds and has a relatively quiet nightlife scene. Kata is known for its clean beaches with almost crystal clear waters, soft sand and plenty of sunshine. It is the ideal place for families, for couples looking for solitude or for those on a relaxed island getaway.

However, heading to the airport or to Patong can prove to be an expensive affair from Kata. We ended up shelling out between Thai Bhat 400 and 500 for a one way commute from Kata to Patong. And this in a city where a Thai massage costs you approximately THB 300 and beer around THB 70 – THB 100.

 

Karon Beach

 Now if Patong and Kata have left you confused and you are a group with varied preferences and requirements, head to Karon. Bringing a little of both worlds and located on the way from Patong to Kata, Karon has lovely markets to shop from, upscale restaurants and lounges with a fairly decent hint of nightlife around. Karon beach is a delight and heading to Patong to get a slice of the city is not as expensive as it is from Kata.

Other beaches

Given the size of Phuket, it definitely has many more beaches and areas to stay in. However, they are lesser known and hence less frequented by tourists. Nai Yang is beautiful and only 5-7 minutes away from the airport. Rawai and Nai Harn are also pristine and relatively untouched with lovely sea life on display.

 

Fact File

Here is a quick fact file to help you further:

Getting there:Easy peasy. With more than 50 flights daily from Bangkok, getting to Phuket is a breeze! We flew AirAsia and loved the airline for their hospitality and leniency with check-in timings and luggage allowances. (Yes, we were late and overweight).
Stamps:Visa is on arrival for Indians. However, we always recommend that you call up the Thai embassy in your country and check for any specific visa requirements. In March 2017, we paid THB 1000 per person for visa on arrival.
Money matters:An umpteen number of money exchanges available all over the city. Your best bet is to carry US Dollars and exchange wherever you can steal the best rate.
Nom Nom:Not a fan of Thai food? Not to worry as you’re sure to find eateries serving various cuisines with enough options for vegetarians as well as vegans.
Island Tours:Your trip to Phuket is not complete without going on an island tour! Just like the other activities, you will be spoilt for choice as various tours operate from Phuket taking you to islands such as Phi Phi islands, Krabi, Khai Nai, James Bond island etc. These tours last an entire day, generally include meals and snorkeling gear and can cost between THB 1000 to THB 3000 per person depending on the islands and route chosen. Make sure you bring great bargaining skills and do not book at the first vendor! If you have enough days, do more than one island tour. You are sure to have a wonderful experience and they are worth every penny you’ve paid.
When to go:Due to better weather conditions, peak tourist season is generally in the months between November and early March. However, no matter what time of the year you visit Thailand, you will not be disappointed.
Additional pointers:Our international flight landed in Bangkok and after obtaining our visas, we were scheduled to board a flight to Phuket. We had around 3 hours between the two flights, had to change airports and, boy, you should have seen us sprint across Bangkok airport!
On arrival visa queues can be long, so please keep at least 4 hours if you’re immediately taking onward flights. Also, Bangkok has two airports – Suvarnabhumi Airport and Dong Muang Airport. Find out if you have to change airports. It takes close to an hour from one airport to the other.
Bargain! Everywhere! As with most tourist-centric cities, having good bargaining skills is sure to save you a dime!

At the gorgeous Phi Phi island

So, pack your bags, get those shades out, and head to Phuket this summer!

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Have you visited Phuket already? Where did you stay? When did you go? Let us know in the comments below!

Tags : Air AsiaBangkokBangla roadbargainbeachesclubscrowdsislandisland tourKaronKatamassagenihtlifepartiesPatongPhuketThaiThailandVisa

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