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Boats in the sea in Phuket

If you look closely enough on this lush Thai island, you might find a peaceful spot to call your own, but Phuket is mostly about beach fun, bustling night markets, fun-filled bars, restaurants, parties and high-adrenalin activities. Hotels in Phuket, meanwhile, range from the busy, high-rise hotels in mega resorts such as Patong to quiet places of reflection and luxury in the more upmarket resorts.

The soft white sands and turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea draw holidaymakers looking to escape the crowds of Thai capital Bangkok to the paradise island of Phuket. Located off the west coast of Thailand, it is easy to reach and is popular with families, backpackers, honeymooners and groups alike.

Phuket hotels are mainly located on the developed west coast of the island, where resorts such as Patong, Hat Surin, Karon Beach, Bang Tao, Kata Noi, and Siray Bay fight for your attention. Hotels in Phuket

Party central Patong is the most heavily developed tourist area, and also the place you are most likely to snap up a cut-price hotel deal.

However, you'll find budget hotels with basic facilities, mid-range accommodation (sometimes with pools and bars) and a fantastic range of luxury hotels offering spa treatments, opulent surroundings and great service in every resort. What's more, as your money will go far in Thailand, you might well be able to upgrade from your usual star rating.

Well-known brands found on Phuket include Swissotel, Le Meridien, Ibis, Ramada, Novotel, Double Tree, Mercure, Moevenpick, Dusit Thani, Holiday Inn, Hilton and Best Western.

Just remember that if you bag a bargain during the May to October monsoon season, when many hotels in Phuket drop their prices to attract visitors, you must be prepared for some stormy afternoons.

Top five attractions

Khao Lak Lam Ru

This is a large national park encompassing the natural coastal beauty of Hat Khao Lak.

Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Park

This stunning wilderness park features walks where you are surrounded by jungle and sheltered from the heat by the forest canopy. The Nam Tok Ton Sai waterfall is a highlight, while sharp-eyed walkers can spot bears, boars, deer and other wildlife.

Wat Phra Thong

This hugely spiritual temple is symbolised by a half buried, golden Buddha.

Thalang National Museum

A 9th-century, eight-foot statue of the god Vishnu guards this absorbing museum, which details the history of Phuket.

Promthep Cape

This idyllic outcrop has become one of Phuket's most photographed sights. This windswept spot gets packed with visitors when the sun begins to set over the sea.

Events


Songkran; April: Prepare to be soaked through during this fun and friendly annual event to celebrate Thai New Year. Grab a bucket or a water gun and join in the action.

Vegetarian Festival; September/October: Phuket is a melting pot of cultures; this event centres on the island's Chinese community and features vegetarian food and daring acts of bravery, such as hot-coal walking.

King's Cup Regatta; December: The sea is peppered with yachts during these annual races off Kata Beach.