Are you wondering where to stay in Phuket? This comprehensive guide will tell you which area to pick and why. Whether you are interested in beaches, nightlife or want to have some quiet family time, you will know exactly where to stay in Phuket for your upcoming holiday. Phuket is a popular tourist destination with an array of accommodation choices. Pick the wrong place and you might not enjoy your trip to its full potential. Check the pros and cons we outlined in each area, and find out what area matches what type of traveller.
So, grab a cup of tea and let’s dive into finding you the best solution on where to stay in Phuket.
Table of Contents
Where to stay in Phuket: Patong Beach
Patong is known for Bangla Road which is Phuket’s most concentrated place in bars and clubs. It’s essentially a nightlife heaven. You will a variety of accommodation choices here, including luxurious resort, but also rudimental guest houses for budget travellers. This is brilliant for those interested in having all restaurants nearby. Is there a downside? I would say so! This place is vibrant and colourful, which means you won’t be getting any quiet time if a relaxing holiday is what you are after.
Why stay in Patong Beach
If you are a traveller interested in nightlife and all sort of party bars, then this is the place to be. You will find great accommodation, great restaurants and an array of clubs. Patong is great for shopping too. Patong is essentially great if you love to party, want a budget accommodation and wish to be in a central location with everything at your convenience. Don't forget to check with your hotel and plan your trip to the Elephant Hills, in Khao Sok National Park.
Why avoid Patong Beach
Patong is always busy and its nightlife can be a little extreme and rather overwhelming. This means that you won’t get a quiet moment for yourself. If you are travelling with small kids, perhaps it will be better to keep on reading this guide and find a better place as a base. Since Patong is so nightlife focused, you might not find those traditional Thai places which should be a must during your trip.
Hotels we love in Patong Beach
Where to stay in Phuket: Kata Beach
Are you a surfer? This might be the best beach for you if you visit during May - November. There is also a great reef awaiting to be explored here. The beach is quite long and full of energy which means you can combine some great nightlife with good restaurant and shopping opportunities. It’s definitely calmer than Patong and much better for families with children but in no way secluded. It’s a great place for young travellers and families looking to have a good time but within reason.
Why stay in Kata Beach
This is great for families with children looking to have some fun. It’s fantastic for surfers and diver students. The beach here is great and you will find a good selection of shops, restaurants and activities. There is no hectic nightlife.
Why avoid Kata Beach
If you are a couple with no kids, you might want to perhaps skip this and look for a more secluded and romantic place with fewer families. Although there are sports and activities available, you won’t find much sightseeing in the area. There is quite a long distance between most hotels to the beach.
Hotels we love in Kata Beach
Where to stay in Phuket: Karon
Are you a beach lover? If so, then Karon is one of the best places to stay in Phuket. Karon is the third longest beach on the island and it’s the place where you will find an array of great resorts surrounded by nature and exotic plants. Karon is sometimes referred to as Patong’s little sister. This can only mean one thing: there is a vibrant nightlife going on in Karon.
Why stay in Karon
Karon is a great place to stay if you want some nightlife but not quite in your face. It’s not too busy nor too quiet. It’s a good in-between. For beach lovers, Karon is great. If you love markets, Karon has plenty of fresh produce for shopping lovers. The beach is large and clean and you can find plenty of great souvenirs. The resorts are mainly spacious and well decorated. You’ll have plenty of budget restaurants in the market.
Why avoid Karon
There aren’t that many great restaurants in the area apart from those in the hotels.Although they are budget tailored, not so many are of an amazing quality which truly stands out. You won’t find much to do apart from the beach and any sightseeing or points of interest are located quite far away.
Hotels we love in Karon
Where to stay in Phuket: Rawai
Rawai is relatively quiet and calm and has a local feel to it. This was the first tourist beach of Phuket which retained its local feel with the gipsy village and long tail boats. You can also island hop from here to Coral or Racha islands. This is definitely a calm and quiet place, especially if you are to compare it with Patong. Rawai is great if you are interested in experiencing something local and wish to move away from overcrowded spaces and tourist areas.
Why stay in Rawai
If you love travelling around, then Rawai is great because of the other island-hopping opportunities. It’s also close to Nai Harn and Chalong which makes it great for discovering Phuket’s other attractions such as Promthep Cape and Phuket Big Buddha. It has a great local feel to it, with great seaside restaurants and the sea gipsy fish market.
Why avoid Rawai
If you are in need of shopping opportunities and a variety of nightlife, then this is not the place for you. Expect quiet at night with fewer shops and restaurants. It would suit travellers interested in having a calm holiday, or those who wish to explore the nearby islands.
Hotels we love in Rawai
Where to stay in Phuket: Nai Harn Beach
Snorkelers, I’m looking at you, because I just found the best place for the love of underwater! The beach is beautiful is not overdeveloped and Nai Harn Beach is one of the most popular amongst locals. You won’t find many hotels here which makes it perfect for travellers who want to enjoy the beach, want some options but are not interested in much nightlife. Nai Harn has a steady pace with gorgeous nature around.
Why visit Nai Harn Beach
You should visit if you want to enjoy beach life, a lagoon and fancy some crazy beautiful viewpoints. You can snorkel and you can surf here too. There is a nice vibe to the place with peaceful environment and enough to do to keep you entertained.
Why not visit Nai Harn Beach
Expect a long drive from the airport. If this bothers you, you might want to consider an alternative location. You can’t find much fine dining opportunities and you can’t find any nightlife or shopping in the area. But you can always rent a car and explore the island at your own accord.
Hotels we love in Nai Harn Beach
Where to stay in Phuket: Mai Khao Beach
Don’t worry honeymooners, I didn’t forget about you. If you are in need of some romance in your life and you picked Phuket as your destination, then stay in Mai Khao Beach. This is the longest beach in Phuket. We’re talking 11 km of incredible beach, which is not only long but deserted. Imagine walking hand in hand with your loved ones, whilst admiring sand fringed with pines and tropical trees. Is there a downside to this paradise place? I’m afraid so. Mai Khao Beach is far from everything, which means you won’t have much shopping or nightlife opportunities. However, during your honeymoon, you very luckily just want to chill on the beach and admire what gorgeous Phuket has to offer.
Why stay in Mai Khao Beach
This is the place for beach lovers, no question about it. You might want to consider it for your honeymoon or if you are a luxury traveller who can afford a luxury resort. This is great for people who just want total quiet, to simply get away from it all. It is convenient for Sirinath National Park where is the only place in Phuket where you can see the Giant Ridley Sea Turtles.
Why avoid Mai Khao Beach
If you are a budget traveller interested in a cultural adventure or nightlife in Phuket, then this is not the place for you. Apart from being on the beach and indulging in natural beauty, you won’t find much to do.
Hotels we love in Mai Khao Beach
Where to stay in Phuket: Phuket Town
Phuket town is the capital of the island and a great place with lots of restaurants, shops and attractions. The good news is that Phuket town is excellent for people interested in history and culture or backpackers who are searching for epic food. The bad news is that you are not on the beach, so your Phuket holiday will be more like a city escapade as opposed to a beach trip.
Why stay in Phuket Town
The Old Town is so beautiful and here is where you will find a real local atmosphere in Phuket. You can enjoy markets, attractions and super charming accommodation options. If you love food, you should absolutely use Phuket Town as your base. Prices are well tailored to any budget and you can find plenty of fresh ingredients at the local market so you can craft your own dishes if you are on a budget.
Why avoid Phuket Town
Although you have so many cool things to do, you are far away from the best beaches. You will experience some intense traffic and if nightlife is on your list, you won’t really find it here. It’s mainly quiet during weeknights. Perhaps, a good compromise would be to spend some time in Phuket Town, then spend a few days on the beach.
Hotels we love in Phuket Town
Where to stay in Phuket: Kamala
Kamala is a great beach known for its calmness. This is where you will find the majority of retirees. It has a quiet atmosphere and a relaxed pace, unlike Patong for example. Do you want a holiday full of spa treatments, a quiet beach and a nice happy afternoon for lazing around? Then Kamala is for you. There is no nightlife here really.
Why stay in Kamala
You should stay in Kamala if you want to laze around on the beach and enjoy some quiet time away from the crazy Thai rush. You will find great and affordable accommodation, some top-notch restaurants with a good local feel. The beach is excellent for surfing from May to November. Kamala has a nice community village feel and it’s suitable for budget travellers and families alike who don’t wish to pursue any type of crazy nightlife, beyond having a drink in a bar or eating good food. This is also one of the few places in Phuket which has restaurants on the beach.
Why avoid Kamala
If you are young and in search of some great nightlife, this is not the place for you. There are few shopping opportunities, Kamala is not very vibrant and it’s basically pretty quiet at night time. You don't have many sightseeing attractions around. This is definitely a quiet place for those in need of a relaxing holiday away.
Hotels we love in Kamala
Where to stay in Phuket: Surin
Oh hello there, exclusive Surin! Surin is so naturally beautiful, that it became a popular place with celebrities. During is highly exclusive dotted with large houses and private properties which belong to the super-rich. You can still stay in the small town which has a variety of high-end shops and boutiques. You won’t find many attractions here, but it’s definitely private and relaxing.
Why stay in Surin
If you fancy some casual celebrity spotting, then probably Surin is the place for you. Jokes aside, Surin has a lot of trendy shopping opportunities and it’s fantastic for snorkelling. The beach is gorgeous and if you can afford the place, then you will enjoy total relaxation here. It is quiet at night and you will be surrounded by many wealthy travellers.
If you are a budget traveller then it goes without saying that this is not the place for you. There are very few attractions in the area, apart from lounging on the beach and eating in the many restaurants your super luxurious hotel offers.
Hotels we love in Surin
Where to stay in Phuket: Bangtao
Bangtao is a very interesting place in Phuket. It is the second longest beach, a relatively quiet destination with some beach clubs and excellent restaurants. The interesting thing about Bangtao is the placement of the hotels. You have the Southern part of the beach which has various budget accommodation options. The central area has luxury complex resorts and the northern side is quite underdeveloped, although you will find some luxury properties on the hills.
Why stay in Bangtao
Even though there is some budget accommodation available, Bangtao is the place for wealthy travellers in search of luxury escapades. You will find first-class restaurants and you will be able to enjoy some of the best beach clubs. The beach is long and beautiful and you can have everything in one place.
Why avoid Bangtao
You can’t really find any sightseeing in the area. It is quite quiet after dark so don’t expect a lot of nightlife. Overall, it’s a destination tailored for luxury travellers interested in all in one place.