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.
Where to stay in Phuket (an epic guide with pros and cons) - Contents
Where to stay in Phuket - Patong Beach Area
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 close to 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 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.
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.
Things to do close to Patong Beach
- Bangla Road Nightlife - Patong's liveliest party zone
- Jungceylon - Large shopping mall
- Freedom Beach - Low-key white-sand beach
- Paradise Beach - Small beach with beach party venue
- Surf House Patong - Surf centre
- Kathu Waterfall - Series of waterfalls
Hotels we love close to Patong Beach
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Where to stay in Phuket - Kata Beach Area
Are you a surfer? This might be the best beach for you if you visit during May - November.
There is also a great reef waiting 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 near 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.
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 usually quite a long walk between most hotels and the beach.
Things to do near Kata Beach
- Karon/Kata Viewpoint - Viewpoint with views of the nearby beaches
- Surf House Phuket - Surf centre
- Kata Noi - Quiet beach, 5 mins drive from Kata
- Snorkelling, Diving, Paddle Boarding, Surfing
- Kata Night Market - covered shopping area
Hotels we love in Kata Beach
Where to stay in Phuket - Karon Beach Area
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 close to Karon Beach
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. Although it does get busy during the season, the beach is large and have enough space for everyone.
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.
There aren’t that many great restaurants in the area apart from those in the hotels. Although they are tailored towards budget travellers, 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.
Things to do close to Karon Beach
- Wat Karon - Buddhist Temple
- Siam Niramit Show
- Karon Beach Naga Statue - Golden dragon statue
- Karon Park - Park with a lake
Hotels we love close to 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 would like to explore all parts of Phuket, then Rawai is great because island-hopping is easy from here. 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.
If you are after shopping opportunities and a variety of nightlife, then this is not the place for you. Expect quiet at night with fewer shops and restaurants.
The Rawai area would suit travellers interested in having a calm holiday, or those who wish to explore the nearby islands.
Things to do in Rawai
- Laem Ka Beach - Lovely, East facing beach
- Phuket Orchid Farm - Large orchid nursery
- Phuket Seashell Museum
- Phromthep Cape - Must-see, iconic island
- Wat Sawang Arom - Buddhist Temple
Hotels we love in Rawai
Nai Harn Beach
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, of course, 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.
Expect a long drive from the airport, however. 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.
Things to do near Nai Harn Beach
- Ao Sane Beach - rocky, secret beach
- Elephant Shrine at Promthep Cape - Shrine surrounded by wooden elephant statues
- Kanchanaphisek Lighthouse - Lighthouse & shrine
- Nai Harn Buddhist Monastery
- Windmill Viewpoint - Panoramic views of Ya Nui Beach
Hotels we love near Nai Harn Beach
Mai Khao 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.
In exchange for the beautiful views, Mai Khao Beach is far from the built-up areas, which means there aren't many shopping or nightlife opportunities.
However, if you just want to chill, enjoy the beach and admire the gorgeous views during your honeymoon, this Phuket beach might be the perfect spot for you.
Why stay near 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 a great place for people who just want total quiet, to simply get away from it all. It is convenient for Sirinath National Park which is the only place in Phuket where you can see the Giant Ridley Sea Turtles.
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.
Things to do near Mai Khao Beach
- Sirinath National Park - Giant Ridley Sea Turtles
- Splash Jungle Water Park
- Turtle Village - Retail Park
- Wat Mai Khao - Buddhist Temple
Hotels we love near 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 but also great for backpackers who are searching for epic food.
The bad news is that you are not very close to the beach, so your stay in Phuket town will feel more like a city escapade as opposed to a beach holiday.
Of course, you can always make your way to the beach. Phuket has good transport options to most beaches. You can even take a taxi if you don't want to hire a car for the day.
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.
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 you are after fun nightlife, this might not be the place for you.
Phuket town is mostly quiet during weeknights. Perhaps, a good compromise would be to spend some time in Phuket town, then spend a few days on the beach.
Things to do in Phuket Town
- Phuket Old Town - Historical centre
- Phuket Simon Cabaret Show
- Phuket Walking Street - Market street every Sunday
- Khao Rang - Hill with awesome views
- Phuket Weekend Market - Weekend market
- Thai Hua Museum - Museum about the history of Phuket
- Jui Tui Chinese Temple - Colourful Chinese Temple
Hotels we love in Phuket Town
Where to stay in Phuket - Kamala Beach Area
Kamala is a great beach known for its calmness. This is where you will find the majority of retirees.
Kamala Beach 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.
Why stay near Kamala Beach
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.
The beach is excellent for surfing from May to November.
You will find great and affordable accommodation, some top-notch restaurants with good local feel and delicious food.
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.
If you are young and in search of some great nightlife, this might not be the best place for you. There are few shopping opportunities, Kamala is not very vibrant and it’s 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.
Things to do near Kamala Beach
- Kamala Friday Market - Food market every Friday
- Laem Singh Beach - Small, hidden beach close to Kamala
- Wat Baan Kamala - Buddhist Temple
Hotels we love near Kamala Beach
Where to stay in Phuket - Surin Beach
Surin is so naturally beautiful, that it became a popular place with celebrities. The area is highly exclusive and dotted with large houses and private properties which belong to the super-rich.
Accommodation is available in the nearby 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 near Surin Beach
If you fancy some casual celebrity spotting, then 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.
Things to do near Surin Beach
- Visit a spa and relax
- Surin Beach is great for surfing
- Enjoy a bit of shopping
Hotels we love near Surin Beach
Where to stay in Phuket - Bangtao Beach
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 resorts tailored for the wealthier crowd.
The northern side is quite underdeveloped, although you will find some luxury properties on the hills.
Why stay near Bangtao Beach
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 have access to everything in one place.
You can’t really find any sightseeing in the area and the place is fairly quiet after dark.
Things to do near Bangtao Beach
- Anthem Wake Park - Waterpark
- Laguna Phuket Golf Club
- Horseback Riding in Bangtao