Phuket is a lush island with rich rainforests, vibrant nightlife, many fun attractions, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the entirety of Thailand. If this is your first time here and you’re not quite sure about where to stay in Phuket, then our article might just be the thing that you need.
Where to Stay in Phuket
While Phuket has a lot of great sights, the main reason why people come here is for the beaches. That being said, you probably know all about them. We’ll also give our two cents, but let’s first see what else Phuket has to offer.
For example, Monkey Hill is a fantastic viewpoint over Phuket Town, and you’ll be accompanied by — you guessed it — monkeys on your journey to the top. Then, there’s the Great Buddha of Phuket, located on another one of the tallest hills on the island.
If you’re not one for hiking, the sea-level urban areas house some of the best bars, lounges, and clubs in all of Thailand. If you’re looking to party, Phuket is the best there is. Overall, determining where to stay in Phuket will depend on what you like to do while you’re on vacation.
We cover a lot of areas in our article, and they’re all known for certain attractions. In order to help you decide where to stay, we’ll cover all of the most popular tourist spots, as well as some of the overlooked ones.
The 5 Best Parts of Phuket
The following areas are what we consider to be the best tourist spots on the entire island.
- Phuket City: The capital city has a little bit of something for everyone
- Old Town: The shrine-laden historic district of the city deserves a segment of its own
- South Phuket: Home to the Great Buddha and various interesting attractions
- Pa Tong: The nightlife district is full of the most vibrant bars in Phuket
- Karon Beach: Fine sand, clear water, and plenty of seaside activities
Phuket’s Best Areas and Hotels
Phuket Island is divided into several areas, all of which have their own entertainment venues. All of the areas that we just mentioned are known for different attractions, and we’ll go over all of them in-depth.
For now, all you need to know is that you’ll have fun regardless of where you stay. However, if you’re more interested in the party scene, you’ll definitely want to stay close to Pa Tong. Anyone that’s looking to have some fun in the sun will probably want to book a hotel near Karon Beach.
It’s always convenient when your preferred attractions are close to where you’re staying, so the hotels we mention are all near the attractions that we delve in. There are also three different hotel categories based on the price range, so we’re confident that there’s something for everyone on our list.
1. Phuket City
Phuket City has the most attractions that you’ll find on the island. There are plenty of restaurants where you can grab a bite, bars where you can go out for a drink, and tons of other entertainment venues.
Two such venues are the Phuket Trickeye Museum and the 3D Museum. Both have a large collection of paintings that give off the impression that whatever is drawn on the walls is actually coming toward you.
It’s a simple concept, but there are plenty of different paintings to have fun with, and you can take some really funny pics to commemorate your trip. There’s also a famous hiking trail in the area called Monkey Hill, where you’ll experience some truly breathtaking views and catch a glimpse of the simians that this hill is named after.
However, we’d recommend keeping an eye on your valuables because these little creatures can get grabby, and you wouldn’t be the first tourist that’s lost a wallet to them.
If you want to go somewhere even more scenic, then you can go down to the bay and get on one of the many tour boats that can take you up to Phang Nga Bay. There are around 40 islands in this little archipelago, and while you might not be able to see all of them, you’ll still be able to see some beautiful sights, regardless of where the boat stops.
Having said that, this is the most densely populated area of Phuket, on top of being a pretty popular tourist destination. This means that you’ll likely encounter large crowds during your visit, so it might be a bit tricky to get a restaurant reservation.
Things to Do
- Go on one of the tours that take you out to sea to show you some of the best views on the island.
- Taka a walk up Monkey Hill and check out both the fantastic view of the city from the tallest hill and the little tree-hoppers that call this place their home.
- Visit the Trickeye and 3D Museums and get an interesting picture of yourself in front of the paintings.
Where to Eat
- Super Dim Sum & Noodle is a simple eatery where you can get some traditional Chinese Dim Sum.
- Thai Brasserie Phuket has a great selection of traditional Thai dishes.
- Tu Kab Khao Restaurant Phuket has a great wine and cocktail selection.
Phuket City Budget Hotels
- The Memory at On On Hotel comes with a cable TV and free wifi in every room, as well as a front desk that’s always on-call.
- Montree Phuket Hotel provides all of the guests with an a la carte breakfast in the morning, as well as a flat-screen TV and an AC unit in every room.
Phuket City Mid-Range Hotels
- EcoLoft Hotel has an outside swimming pool with a lounge area, free parking, and wifi for all of the guests, and there’s also a shuttle service that will take you to and from the airport.
- Ibis Styles Phuket City comes with a coffee maker, a flat-screen satellite TV and free wifi in every room, an in-house restaurant with a decent menu, and a business center with printing and fax facilities.
Phuket City Luxury Hotels
- The Blanket Hotel Phuket Town offers a continental breakfast for guests every morning, there’s an in-house bar where you can grab a drink, and all of the rooms come with a flat-screen TV and an AC unit.
- Pearl Hotel has a pretty decently sized outdoor swimming pool, a front desk that’s always available for anything that you might need, free wifi throughout the property, and even a nightclub inside the hotel.
2. Old Town
Old Town is part of Phuket City, but it definitely deserves a section of its own. You can expect to Sino-Portuguese townhouses along Thalang road, many Chinese and Buddhist temples, and plenty of other interesting sights.
One such location is the Thai Hua Museum. Here you’ll be able to check out artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the Chinese immigrants that moved here back in the day.
Another famous location would be the Jui Tui Shrine. This is the most famous temple on the island, though it’s only old by name; it was originally located in Soi Romanee in Phuket’s Old Town area before it was taken down and reconstructed a few years ago.
Another draw of Old Town is its traditional Old Town Festival, which takes place along the Thalang, Krabi, and Phuket roads — all of which get turned into a pedestrian-only zone.
If you manage to catch the festival, you can expect to see live music, vibrant street parades, strange costumes, and just a really unique atmosphere that blends the old and the new.
The Shrine of Serene Light is another temple in the area, only this one is slightly bigger and was constructed more than 150 years ago, making it significantly older than Jui Tui Shrine. And finally, if you’re tired of going to shrines and visiting old buildings, this area also has quite a few bars that you can check out.
Since Old Town is part of Phuket city, it’s only natural that it shares its problems as well. There’s almost always going to be a crowd during tourist season, so we’d recommend booking your hotel ahead of time.
Things to Do
- Visit Jui Tui Shrine or The Shrine of Serene Light to see the intricate etchings on the walls and the beauty of these places of worship.
- Go to the Thai Hua Museum and learn a bit more about the history of the Chinese people that immigrated here a long time ago.
- Take a walk through Old Town and check out all of the shrines and historic buildings that are still standing.
Where to Eat
- Day & Night Of Phuket is an old-school restaurant with a new-age approach to its dishes.
- Raya Restaurant is a great place to grab a bite in the morning.
- One Chun Cafe & Restaurant is small, quaint, and a great place to grab a coffee with your friends.
Old Town Budget Hotels
- Blu Monkey Bed & Breakfast Phuket comes with free wifi throughout the property, an AC unit in every room, and free parking for all of the guests.
- Casa Blanca Boutique Hotel has an outside swimming pool and an a la carte breakfast every morning, while all of the rooms come with an AC unit, free wifi, and a minibar.
Old Town Mid-Range Hotels
- Blu Monkey Hub and Hotel Phuket serves continental breakfast every morning, has a flat-screen cable TV and an AC unit in every room, and the business center comes with fax and photocopying facilities.
- Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town provides all of the guests with a fully-equipped fitness center where they can work out, rooms that come with a satellite TV and an AC unit, and an in-house restaurant with a selection of traditional Thai dishes.
Old Town Luxury Hotels
- Island Escape by Burasari comes with either an American or an a la carte breakfast every morning, an outdoor swimming pool with a lounge area, and an in-house restaurant and bar.
- Novotel Phuket City Phokeethra allows you to select either an a la carte or a buffet breakfast every morning, has an in-house restaurant and bar, and comes with a fully-equipped fitness center, a full-service spa, and a wellness center.
3. South Phuket
Nai Harn Beach is a pretty, small village on the south coast of Phuket. It’s home to plenty of small shops that sell all sorts of wares that range from souvenirs to hand-crafted items. There are also quite a few restaurants where you can try plenty of different traditional Thai dishes.
Nai Harn Lake is a popular paddle-boating spot, and the surrounding paths are great for a jog early in the morning. However, if you’re more into lounging or swimming, the beach that this area is named for is as good as any other that you’ll find in Phuket.
Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is another popular tourist destination in the area, especially for anyone that wants to try their famous white rum. You’ll naturally be able to sit down at the end of the tour and drink a few glasses of the product, but the more interesting part is what you’ll be able to learn about the distilling process during the tour itself.
This area of Phuket is also home to the 150-foot tall Buddha statue. For obvious reasons, this is a rather popular tourist hotspot, and people come from all over Phuket to see the massive monument for themselves.
The south of Phuket has a lot of fun attractions, but they’re pretty spaced out. You’ll need to do a lot of driving if you want to get from Nai Harn Beach to the Buddha statue, which can be a real pain for anyone that wants to see as many attractions as possible.
Things to Do
- Go to the famous Phuket Buddha Statue and see if the real thing is really as big as the brochures say.
- Visit the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery and check out all of the different aspects of the alcohol distilling process.
- Go to the Na Harn area and either spend a day on the beach or rent out a paddle boat and go around the lake.
Where to Eat
- Le Celtique Phuket is a small restaurant with a comfortable atmosphere.
- Crepes Factory is the best place to go if you’re craving something sweet.
- Macaw Cafe & Restaurant Phuket is a great place to grab a coffee or a cocktail with your friends.
South Phuket Budget Hotels
- Naiharn Beach Resort has rooms that come with a flat-screen cable TV and a coffee maker, and the hotel has free wifi throughout.
- Baan Krating Phuket Resort comes with a satellite TV and an AC unit in every room, as well as an in-house restaurant and bar.
South Phuket Mid-Range Hotels
- Babylon Pool Villas provides all of the guests with an outdoor swimming pool with a lounge area, a sauna with a spa bath, and free wifi in every room.
- The Gallery Hotel Nai Harn has three outdoor swimming pools that guests can use, a fully-equipped fitness center that’s always open, and all of the rooms come with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels.
South Phuket Luxury Hotels
- Wyndham Grand Nai Harn Beach Phuket comes with a selection of a buffet or an American breakfast in the morning, rooms that come with a flat-screen TV and free wifi, and a sizeable swimming pool.
- Sunsuri Phuket provides all of the guests with a full-service spa with plenty of wellness treatments to pick from, a cable TV and wifi in every room, and an in-house bar where you can grab a drink in the evening.
4. Pa Tong
Pa Tong is a resort town in the north of Phuket. It has great hotels and fantastic beaches, but it’s most notable for its vibrant nightlife. This is without a doubt the best place in Phuket for anyone that’s looking to bar crawl and spend their nights clubbing.
While the area might be small, that actually makes things a lot easier for visitors. All of the bars and nightclubs will be a dozen or so steps from your hotel room. This means that it’s easy to check out everything and find where the party is.
There are live bands performing every night, and every spot has its own music and drinks selection, so things won’t get stale even if you spend several days in Pa Tong. If you head a bit to the north, you’ll also find the famous Elephant Sanctuary.
Here, you’ll be able to observe these majestic beasts up close and learn a bit more about them. If you head a bit to the northeast, you’ll also find the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, and animal lovers will probably get a real blast out of watching the small apes jumping about.
Pa Tong is an exclusive resort area with plenty of hotels and nightclubs. The bright side is that you can have some fun and drink until dawn with your friends. The downside, however, is that most of the hotels and the bars will charge you an arm and a leg, so you’ll need deep pockets to stay in this area.
Things to Do
- Visit The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary and get a closer look at some of the most massive animals that have ever walked this earth.
- Go to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center and see where these creatures are kept before they become healthy enough to be released back into the wild.
- Check out all of the bars that you can find in the area and enjoy a night out on the town with your friends.
Where to Eat
- Kantok Restaurant Patong has a fantastic all-you-can-eat Thai tapas menu.
- Sala Bua Restaurant has a great selection of both international cuisine and Thai dishes.
- Tantra Patong Indian Restaurant has a romantic atmosphere and plenty of comfort food that you can try.
Pa Tong Budget Hotels
- Nipa Resort, Patong Beach has an in-house bar and restaurant where you can grab a drink and a bite to eat, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a pretty big outside swimming pool with a poolside bar.
- The Royal Paradise Hotel & Spa has two separate swimming pools, free wifi throughout the property, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a full-service spa and wellness center.
Pa Tong Mid-Range Hotels
- Oceanfront Beach Resort gives the guests a choice between a buffet and an American breakfast every morning, there’s an outdoor swimming pool with a lounge area, and all of the rooms come with a flat-screen TV.
- Phuket Graceland Resort and Spa offers a free buffet breakfast every morning, two outdoor pools, a full-service spa, and even a bowling alley.
Pa Tong Luxury Hotels
- Amari Phuket provides all of the guests with a range of different beauty treatments that they can try in the on-site spa, an in-house Italian restaurant with quite a large menu, and rooms that come with free wifi and a flat-screen TV.
- Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa has a fitness center that’s always open, two whirlpools that guests can use whenever they want, an in-house bar and restaurant where they can grab a bite and a drink, and three swimming pools.
5. Karon Beach
Karon Beach can be found on the western shore of the island, and it’s the most notable destination for anyone looking to spend their vacation just chilling on the beach and enjoying the sun.
This is a resort area that has some of the best hotels in Phuket, as well as the sort of attractions you might expect to see in a spot that’s focused on beach-side fun. There are kayaks, jet skis, and even volleyball courts where you can play a few matches.
Close to the beach, you’ll be able to find plenty of beach-side bars where you can grab a drink with your friends if you’re trying to beat the heat. Foodies will be glad to know that there are plenty of seafood restaurants that serve some of the best fresh produce on the island.
If you want to try something other than lounging on the beach, then there’s a nearby Buddhist temple called Wat Karon that you can check out. Here, you’ll be able to see what the local places of worship look like and the sort of offerings that are left there.
Karon Beach is a great spot for anyone that likes to stay as close to the beach as they can while on vacation, but there really isn’t much else to do in this area other than swim and sit under the umbrella with a drink.
Things to Do
- Visit the Wat Karon Buddhist shrine and check out what the inside of an authentic Thai temple looks like.
- Rent a kayak and paddle out to sea if you want to get a better view of Karon Beach and the surrounding mountains.
- Grab an umbrella, grab a good book, get a drink from the bar, and spend all day on the beach just doing nothing.
Where to Eat
- CUT Grill & Lounge is where you go if you want to try some BBQ.
- L’Arôme by the sea has a great menu and an equally great view of the coast that you can enjoy while eating.
- PINTO KARON is a small restaurant where you can grab some breakfast in the morning.
Karon Beach Budget Hotels
- Secret Cliff Resort & Restaurant comes with three swimming pools, a fully-equipped fitness center, and free wifi throughout the property.
- Phuket Island View has rooms that come with a satellite TV and a fridge, and the hotel also has three outdoor swimming pools, a full-service spa, and an in-house restaurant.
Karon Beach Mid-Range Hotels
- Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa provides its guests with access to five swimming pools, an on-site beauty salon, a fully-equipped fitness center that’s always open, and even a two-tiered water slide.
- Mandarava Resort and Spa, Karon Beach comes with a swimming pool, a fitness center, an in-house restaurant and bar, and rooms with free wifi.
Karon Beach Luxury Hotels
- Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket has a games room where guests can have some fun, a fitness center where they can work out, four swimming pools where they can do a few laps, and several tennis courts where they can play a few matches.
- Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort comes with a 37-inch flat-screen TV in every room, a fully-equipped fitness center, tennis courts, and three outdoor swimming pools with lounge areas.
So, Where Should You Stay in Phuket?
Pa Tong is the nightlife district of the province and definitely the place that you want to stay if you want to hit up as many bars as you can while on your vacation. Karon Beach has great beaches, plenty of beachside cafes and bars, and there are tons of different activities that you can try while you’re here.
Phuket City is where you’ll find most of the entertainment venues, museums, shrines, and other interesting locations and attractions that you might want to check out. However, there are many other interesting places to stay that will make your time one for the books. Happy travels!