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Do you yearn to relax on a white sandy beach, fringed by palm trees and lapped by turquoise seas? Phuket is the destination of dreams; an idyllic tropical paradise that fulfils every vacation fantasy. A string of golden bays and beaches lines the island’s exquisite west coast, facing the azure Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean beyond. Inland, jungle-clad hills rise steeply from the shore to create a dramatic, undulating landscape with many stunning viewpoints that frame the island’s exquisite beauty. With such a wealth of natural assets, Phuket has become the beating heart of Thailand’s vibrant tourism industry, and many of the island’s towns and villages are now fully geared up to cater for international visitors. These include Patong, the thriving tourist hub that is home to multiple restaurants and bars, shopping outlets and entertainment venues. So whether you’re seeking a relaxing tropical retreat or a buzzing beach break, Phuket has it all. Book now at Best Western’s hotels in Phuket and discover everything this city has to offer.
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Nestled halfway down Phuket's popular west coast, Patong Beach is the epicenter of the island's tourism industry. A beautiful curved bay lapped by clear seas, Patong Beach is a wonderful place to unwind and soak up the tropical sun. A vast selection of shops, spas and other tourist services also make it a pleasant place to stroll during the day, but it is after dark that Patong really gets going. As the undisputed nightlife capital of Phuket, the streets of Patong are lined with lively bars and cool clubs. This grown-up entertainment is combined with an extensive selection of family restaurants, making Patong ideal for all ages.
Phang Nga Bay
Nestled between Phuket and the Thai mainland, and sheltered from the weather and waves of the Indian Ocean, Phang Nga Bay is an exquisite tropical marine park. With its soaring, jungle-capped limestone karsts, hidden lagoons and pristine beaches, this breath-taking bay contains many of Thailand's most iconic attractions. These include several sites made famous by movies, including James Bond Island from "The Man with the Golden Gun" and Phi Phi's Maya Bay from "The Beach". Now protected as Ao Phang Nga National Park, guests can explore this spectacular seascape with a daytime boat trip or sunset cruise, and plenty of snorkelling and swimming opportunities.
Phuket Big Buddha
Guests wanting to explore Phuket's Buddhist culture, or those simply seeking the spectacular views of the island, should visit the Phuket Big Buddha. Perched on top of a hill in the Chalong area of the island, not far from Karon and Kata beaches, Phuket Big Buddha is a huge 45-meter-high statue of a seated Buddha. Built in concrete and adorned with tons of white jade marble, the statue is a major landmark that gazes out across the southern part of the island. Guests can climb to the top for panoramic 360-degree views of Phuket and the Andaman Sea. Entry is free-of-charge.
While most visitors come to Phuket for the sun, sea and sand, the island has a cultural side that is well worth exploring. At the heart of this is Phuket Town, which is packed with historical buildings and traditional temples, providing an excellent insight into the island's past. The oldest part of Phuket Town is famed for its Sino-Portuguese heritage buildings, which reflect the twin influxes of Chinese tin miners and European traders in the 16th to 18th centuries. While many of the old buildings have been converted into shops, hotels and restaurants, Phuket Town is also home to a series of museums that showcase the island's rich history.
Soi Dog Foundation
Established in 2003, the Soi Dog Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that helps street dogs and cats. Located in the north of Phuket, the center has provided shelter and medical treatment to thousands of animals. It also operates spaying and neutering programs to prevent unwanted puppies and kittens being born and enduring a life on the streets. The foundation’s work has attracted the support of major international celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, Laura Carmichael and Ricky Gervais. It was also instrumental in encouraging the Thai government to pass its first animal welfare act in 2014. The foundation can be visited on weekdays and welcomes donations and animal sponsorships.
Market stalls and mega-malls
From street-side stalls to mega-malls, Phuket has a wonderfully diverse selection of shopping opportunities. Guests can discover handicrafts, clothing and other tourist essentials such as sunglasses and sandals in the markets and “mom and pop” shops of Phuket’s main tourist areas, such as Patong and Karon. But for a larger dose of retail therapy, visitors should head to the island’s major shopping centers. These include Central Festival, which is located close to Phuket Town, and Junceylon, Patong’s biggest lifestyle mall, both of which include cinemas, plus King Power’s duty free mega-store and Premium Outlet Phuket. Whatever you’re shopping for, you’re sure to find it in Phuket.
Phuket has become a fantastic destination for golf, with a series of high-quality courses that are suitable for all ability levels. Whether you're a scratch player or a beginner, all golfers will enjoy the warm, tropical climate, manicured courses and spectacular views. Recently revamped, Laguna Golf Phuket is a stunning 18-hole course set among the lagoons close to Bangtao Bay, while Mission Hills Phuket has a spectacular seafront setting. Loch Palm Golf Club is surrounded by lakes and palms, while Red Mountain Golf Club nestled in the island's hills. Whatever you’re seeking from your golf holiday, Phuket’s collection of world-class courses will not disappoint.
Monkey Hill/Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
Guests interested in Phuket's primate populations are able to discover how they live on the island and how they are being protected. In Phuket Town, Monkey Hill (officially named Toh Sae Hill) is home to a large troupe of approximately 400 wild macaques, which survive by feeding off fruit and other food left behind by humans. But while the macaques appear to be thriving, the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project shows another side to the life of primates in Phuket. Located within the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary, this not-for-profit center rescues, rehabilitates and releases gibbons back into the forest. Entry is free but the center relies on donations.
Things to do in Phuket