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With its beautiful beaches, clear turquoise waters and impossibly green rainforest, Phuket is the image of a far-flung vacation. Add to this incredible cuisine, and a relaxed, friendly pace of life, and it’s easy to see why over 5 million people year flock to this island just off the coast of mainland Thailand. Phuket has a tropical climate, which means warm, dry winters and hot, humid summers when the monsoons arrive. The best months to visit are November to May, although you’ll find the number of tourists starts to drop from late February onwards. Flights from the USA will involve a stopover along the way - and you can sometimes extend for a night or two to explore an additional destination on your way out or back.
As the location for Danny Boyle’s iconic movie The Beach, Phuket and its surrounding islands have long had a reputation for incredible beaches. And while that means plenty of tourists in high season, with over 30 beaches on the island, no matter if you want to find a lively beach scene or a secluded spot, there are plenty of options.
Our favorite place for a day party is Nikki Beach on the otherwise quiet Layan Beach, where the glitterati drinks champagne and dances around daybeds all day long (or until the small hours of the morning). The view is spectacular and the food is excellent - the menu features dishes inspired by the different Nikki Beach locations around the world.
Popular with families, Kata Beach offers lovely white sand fringed with palm trees. There are plenty of restaurants and a lively nightlife, but it’s much more approachable than the hedonistic backpacker zone of Patong Beach.
Despite Phuket’s popularity, it is still possible to find beaches off the beaten track, but they require some work to get to. For a stretch of sand worthy of quiet contemplation, make the trek to Banana beach in the north-west of the island, just a few bends past the Andaman Resort. The water here is incredibly clear and great for swimming.
The islands around Phuket are ideal for exploring by boat. The most popular are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh, a 2-hour ferry ride away from Rassada. If you love snorkeling or diving, you absolutely must venture out to the Similan Islands, one of the best places in Thailand to explore marine life. Manta rays, sharks, colorful coral gardens and submerged boulders are just a few of the delights you can expect to see on a dive. Phuket proper also offers great dives, with boat trips setting out daily. your Luxury Retreats concierge can organize diving courses, equipment hire and boat charters for you.
Movie buffs should take a detour to the picturesque Phang Nga Bay, which James Bond fans will remember from The Man with the Golden Gun. The island’s calm waters make it perfect for kayaking, canoeing or if you’re trying to channel your inner 007, yachting.
Phuket has one of the largest Chinese communities in Thailand and combined with the volume of western visitors and expats this makes for a unique blend of Thai, Chinese and western celebrations on the island.
In late February Phuket combines Chinese New Year festivities with its Old Town Festival - when the historical center of the Old Town is transformed into a pedestrian zone filled with bustling market stalls and street food vendors. The New Year is marked in the traditional way - with firecrackers, acrobatics, colorful lanterns and, of course, dragon dances.
Another festival with Chinese roots, Por Tor, or the Hungry Ghost Festival, held in the 7th lunar month (August), has been celebrated for hundreds of years. Legend has it that the Buddhist monk Mulian, sought to release his mother from the hell by giving offerings of food and gifts. Nowadays, the festival is a chance to honor ancestors with food, flowers, and candles at Chinese temples, especially the Seng Tek Bel Shrine (Por Tor Kong Shrine). Look out for the red, turtle-shaped cakes that are given as offerings during the festival – unique to Phuket, the sweet treat symbolizes strength, luck, and longevity.
For sailing fans, a more modern celebration of all things nautical comes in the form of the annual King’s Cup Regatta. Launched in 1987 to celebrate the king’s 60th birthday, it’s Asia’s largest sailing event, featuring keelboats and ocean-going catamarans. Held in December, the event attracts sailors from across the world, from Asia, Australia and even the UK and Canada to compete in the various races. And Of course, no regatta would be complete without a good beach party – at the King’s Cup, there’s one almost every night.
Our properties in Phuket are designed to make you feel right at home. Start your vacation with a relaxing massage in the comfort of your villa, then take your days at your own pace. Explore the food markets and beautiful temples or chill out on your terrace with a good book.
The island of Phuket is home to some of Thailand’s best beaches - and many of our homes here make the most of that fact. Our Phuket beachside villas feature boast panoramic beach and ocean views, which you can contemplate from the calm of your private infinity pool. Add to this your own private chef ready to take you on a journey through Thai cuisine, and you have all the makings of a spectacular getaway.
If you’re looking for luxury accommodation in the heart of Phuket, then Kamala is the place for you. Just north of buzzy Patong Beach and all its bars and restaurants, but far enough away to ensure you can still enjoy peace and quiet. Designed for indoor/outdoor living, our Kamala vacation rentals offer private pools, ocean views, and comfortable beds. Many of our homes in the area offer a full staff, so you will be extremely well looked after during your stay.
On mainland Thailand, separated from Phuket by a narrow channel, our Phang Nga homes are ideal for travelers who want to be able to dip in and out of the delights of Phuket while being able to explore further afield. Quieter and less crowded than the island, you’ll find plenty of opportunity for rest and relaxation too. With open plan designs, pools and beautiful decor, you’ll start to unwind the moment you walk in the door.