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Your guide to Phuket
All About Phuket
Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is beloved by travelers for its secluded beaches and towering limestone karsts that rise high into the air from the Andaman Sea. The island’s capital, Phuket Town, is home to restaurants, boutiques, and bars that occupy 19th century buildings, as well as ornate Buddhist temples where worshippers go to pay their respects among the beautiful statues and colorful structures. After dark on weekends the real action picks up in town at the thriving night market. Hundreds of vendors set up their stalls, offering clothing and souvenirs, but the real star of the market is the food. Be sure to try tom yung goong, a spicy and sour prawn soup, or satay — chicken, pork, or beef on a stick served with a creamy, spicy peanut sauce. Finish up your meal with mango sticky rice or a sweet roti pancake.
Get out of the city to see what really draws visitors to Phuket. Lush rainforests line the white-sand beaches and turquoise waters where you can surf, snorkel, or swim against an idyllic backdrop. Phuket is especially well-known for its offshore sea caves built into the limestone formations, which kayakers can spend hours exploring.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Phuket?
Lying close to the equator, Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with stable conditions throughout the year, meaning there’s never a bad time for renting a villa in Phuket. Although characterized by near-constant humidity, temperatures are always hot, making it possible to enjoy the beach year-round. Evenings do cool off somewhat. Monsoon season runs for about half the year, from late spring to the end of fall. During the latter half of summer, rainfall increases substantially, and can reach levels that preclude outdoor activities. Fortunately, downpours tend to happen in bursts and usually clear up relatively quickly.
What are the top things to do in Phuket?
Wat Chalong Temple
This 19th-century Buddhist temple — the largest on the island — is located on a sprawling, gardened estate just outside of Phuket Town. The Wat Chalong Temple features steeply angled red tile roofs, a towering golden spire, and intricately detailed facades with colorful designs and carvings, creating an atmosphere of reverence and tranquility. You are free to enter and explore the grounds but are asked to abide by the modest dress code and remain as quiet as possible during their visit.
Perhaps the most famous street in southern Thailand, Thalang Road cuts through the city's Old Town district and hosts some of the region's most unique architecture and a dizzying array of gastronomy. Vibrant pastel buildings host an endless supply of handmade goods and clothing shops. At the same time, the famous Sunday markets feature hundreds of vendors serving variations on local Thai and Chinese dishes.
Kata Noi beach
Twenty minutes outside of town, along the southern bounds of the island, the Kata Noi Beach is a small, secluded golden strip of sand that rarely sees the foot traffic that accumulates on the beaches closer to Phuket Town. This beach is perfect for sunbathing and lounging, while the waters provide warm, crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkeling. Kata Noi Beach is also one of the few places in Thailand with viable surfing opportunities when conditions are right.