Phuket, Thailand: what to see, where to stay and much more

Where to go in Phuket. What area of Phuket to choose for a holiday

July 2016 (updated: 28.09.2021) 98

Even last year, being on the island, we were faced with the question – where to go to Phuket? What area to choose? Where to stay so that the surroundings were exactly what we needed. What is the best neighborhood in Phuket? After 7 months of living on the island, we’ve been able to explore Phuket’s main neighborhoods and will now take a brief look at the most popular ones to find out which neighborhood would be best for you.

Phuket Neighborhoods

To decide where to go in Phuket, read the description of each area, look at photos of beaches, compare the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. Let’s start with the most popular destinations among our tourists. We ourselves when we first arrived and were still inexperienced, we thought we would live on Karon or Kata.

Karon – a huge beach and Russian tourists

Karon area is almost always filled with tourists, because many people love this place. It is crowded, developed and not boring. There are many restaurants and bars on the right and left side. There are stores, drugstores, stalls with excursions and everything else a tourist might need on his vacation.

There are 2 markets, one of which is in the temple area. The nightlife is not as well developed as in Patong, the most party district of Phuket, but you will not be bored here, because in the area rings Karon there are always a couple of places to go in the evening.

Karon Beach Karon City

Karon has a diverse crowd. All decent, inadequate noticed. A lot of Russians, a lot of European pensioners, but also a lot of young people and even tourists with children. Although the waves in the vicinity of Karon are not children’s. For more information on beach holidays, read the article – Karon Beach.

Patong – the noise and crowds of tourists of all nationalities.

No less popular than Karon, to be exact, Patong is the most hyped place on the island. Here the crowds of tourists and this is where you can meet all nationalities of the world.

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Patong area is the most developed. Here and the waterfront, and a large shopping center Jangceylon, and a huge number of cafes with rows of shops.

Patong from above

View of Patong

There is a lot of action even at night. After all, Patong is the famous Bangla Road – an analogue of Walking Street in Pattaya. It is bustling, crowded, and there is always somewhere to go. The nightlife is open until dawn. We advise all those looking for youth incendiary rest with discos and the clock motion – choose Patong, it’s just for you.

Bangla Road

Holidays with children we would advise this area on the contrary, as too noisy and the sea can be not very clean. By the way, the best place to swim in Patong is the right side of the beach, the water is always cleaner, even in low season. We swam in Patong and it is ok in general. For more information about the beach, see the article – Patong Beach.

Photos of Patong beach in high season (January) Patong in low season (May)

Kata – another Russian area.

This is where most Russian people are, especially those who came to Phuket on a package tour. So, don’t be surprised that Russian signs will be flashed before your eyes from time to time. The area is developed, many bars and restaurants, there is a small supermarket Makro and a few Tesco Express, a few markets. Kata and Karon areas are almost identical and do not differ much, unless you compare the beaches.

Kata Beach Street on Kata

Family holidays here prefer a considerable number of people, despite the fact that on Kata, as well as on Karon, not the calm sea, especially for young children. The neighboring beaches, Kata Noy and Karon, can be reached on foot. If you stay on the right side of Kata, the beach will have to walk along a very smelly river. The sea on the right stinks because the river flows into it at the end of the beach. So the left part of Kata is preferable. For more information about the beach, see the article – Kata Beach.

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Photo of Kata Beach

Kamala – a relaxing vacation on a beautiful beach

Kamala is a very nice and quiet area. Less developed than the previous. Fewer tourists at times. There are virtually no Russians. But still there is one big supermarket Big C and an average Tesco Lotus Express, a marketplace working twice a week, stores and clothing tents. The Kamala area is an excellent option for those who don’t want to spend their vacation in the epicenter of noise and traffic, but at the same time want to be in civilization. The beach is one of the best that we consistently recommend for young and old alike. Read more about the beach here – Kamala Beach.

Photo of Kamala Beach View of Kamala Main Road in Kamala

Bang Tao is a quiet resort, ideal for vacations with children

Bang Tao area is very different from everyone else. Here everything is like in the village. Roosters and chickens walk the streets, cows graze in the meadows, small one-story houses. In Bangtao live mostly Muslims. The local people are friendly and welcoming. It is very quiet and peaceful. Like Bang Tao area for those who want only silence, singing birds and roosters in the morning. Well, of course, who enough just a few small stores in the area. The beach is also excellent, as in Kamala. For children there is no more ideal beach, as the sea is always calm, the waves are small, a lot of natural shade. Read more in the article – Bang Tao Beach.

Bang Tao Beach Photo Central Street at Bang Tao Beach Street Bang Tao Village

Surin – considered a VIP area

It is considered an elite area, and prices for tickets here just off the scale. This is because there is a good beach with clear water and a lot of expensive hotels on the nearby hills. Despite the fact that the beach is cool, the sea in the area is often turbulent, high waves almost all year round. The infrastructure is not too well developed. There is no big choice of cafes and restaurants, as well as no market. The contingent of holidaymakers is mainly Europeans. I would recommend Surin area to young couples. Read more about the beach in the article – Surin Beach.

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Photo of Surin Beach The descent to Surin Beach on the right side of Surin Street Condominium in Surin

Nai Harn – the southernmost beach for a relaxing holiday

Like Surin, Nai Harn Beach has been awarded the title of not only an expensive resort, but also the most beautiful beach in all of Phuket. Assigned not by us, but we partly agree with this opinion and believe that the beach Nai Harn worthy of attention. Here a peculiar cove. A lot of moms with children, a lot of those families who have settled here for a long time. The area is poorly developed. There are no shopping centers, not very many cafes and stores. Near the beach is a Russian restaurant, periodically glimpsed posters with the inscription “KVAS”. Not a bad neighborhood and suitable for those who value above all silence and relaxation, rather than the nightly noise under the windows. Read more at the link – Nai Harn Beach.

Nai Harn Beach Beach Street Nai Harn Village Lake and condos in Nai Harn

Yanui is a tiny beach among the mountains

District Yanui can be called with a stretch, because the beach itself is kind of a continuation of Nai Harn, or the western part of Rawai. Janui is buried in verdure, with small mountains on both sides. There are only a few hotels. Only one hotel is on the beach, the others are either on the hills or closer to Rawai beach. The sea at Yanui Beach in the season is ideally clean. Many come especially for snorkeling. You can swim with children, as the sea is calm. But the infrastructure is almost zero. To eat only in the hotel and there is nowhere to go. We will have to go to Nai Harn area, which is very close and convenient, or even closer to Rawai area. Read more – Janui Beach.

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Photo of Janui Beach in high season Beach Street Lots of greenery

Ravai is not a swimmable beach.

There’s plenty of life in the Ravai area, though it’s not exactly hectic and colorful. There’s a good seafood market, stores, and simple cafes. It takes 10 minutes to get around the places that have life. When it gets dark, everyone goes to bed, except for a couple of bars, and there will be no fun here. And most importantly, there is no beach! Or rather, you can’t swim, it’s shallow and dirty, a lot of fishing boats. For more information on the beach, more photos and videos, see the article – Rawai Beach.

Photo of Rawai Beach Beach Street

Chalong – bad beach, boat dock

The Chalong area has a beach that is essentially nonexistent. Chalong has a pier where boats and boats depart from to the islands near Phuket. Therefore, settling in this area, do not count on swimming, as the beach is very dirty. Also here is shallow, during the low tide water goes away, exposing the muddy bottom. But don’t forget that there will be a shopping center, cafes with low prices and tents with excursions. If you are more or less an independent traveler with a personal auto-motor transport, this area is acceptable. But you should not consider it as a variant for rest. Read more in the article – Chalong Beach.

Chalong Cove Chalong Ring – traffic circle road junction to Karon, Kata, Ravai beaches and Chalong pier

Katu – No Sea

District Katu popular among the winterers and other “long-timers” in Phuket. It is far from the sea, in the heart of the island, the nearest beach from this area is Patong. The advantages of the area is that in Katu in any season low prices for housing, there’s normal Thai prices in the markets and cafes without the tourist nakrutok. Many locals do not speak English. A 10-minute drive will take you to Macro, Big C, Tesco and Central Festival shopping centers with a large selection of food and clothing. The Catu area is not suitable for vacations or vacation rentals, as it is more likely to be rented by the month. In our experience, this is the most unsuitable area for a vacation. Only if you have your own transportation.

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Phuket Town – No Sea, No Tourist Life

The central area where all local life is concentrated. Aside from the old town center, Phuket Town is not a tourist area. There is an excellent public catering, lots of cafes, macashnikas, stores and markets for locals, well-developed public transport in the form of pink buses. There are several condominiums in the town, where you can rent an apartment at a good price in any season. The main shopping malls are also in Phuket Town.

View of Phuket Town

But in the Town there is not a single beach, so this area, if you are a tourist, will suit you only if you do not embarrass every time to get to the beaches of Phuket not on foot, but by transport. If the public, it is not the most pleasant occupation. So, without your own transport is also better not to consider.


Evening traffic jams in the town.

A brief summary of Phuket’s neighborhoods

While you’re pondering the question “Where to go in Phuket,” I’ll summarize and summarize the main point for each area of the island.

  • The most bustling, partying, and developed area is Patong.
  • The most touristy area with lots of restaurants and cafes – Patong, Kata and Karon
  • The most family-oriented neighborhoods are Bang Tao and Kamala.
  • The area with expensive hotels – Surin
  • The most quiet and undeveloped area – Yanui
  • Areas with a lot of Russians – Nai Harn, Karon, Kata.
  • The most undeveloped areas are Phuket Town, Katu, Chalong, and Talang.

Which beach to choose for a vacation in Phuket?

Which beach do you want to use? It all depends on how you want to rest.

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