The largest town on the island of Phuket is Phuket Town, with a population of 63,000 people. It is located in the southern part of the island, on the east coast.
The vastness of the city and the fact that is it the economic hub of the island brings tourists here and many stay thanks to the reasonable prices of both hotels and restaurants.
To help you understand what to expect from Phuket Town, here is a helpful guide –
Phuket International Airport
Chances are that you’ve arrived on Phuket Island by airplane and flown into Phuket International Airport. It is about 30 kilometres north of Phuket Town. To get into town taxis are readily available and cost about 800 baht. A taxi ride takes about 30 to 45 minutes.
As well as taking a taxi, another option to get to Phuket Town is by minibus. This costs about 600 baht for 2 people and travel time is about 1 hour 20 minutes.
There are also local buses that you can take for only 200 baht. Buses usually leave every hour or hour and a half from the airport, depending on travel. It takes up to 1 hour 30 minutes to travel to Phuket Town by bus.
Getting around the city
While Phuket Town is definitely not a city, it is still large enough that most people opt to travel around by other means than foot. While there aren’t any tuktuks to take you around there are motorcycle taxis and car taxis. If you do take a taxi, try to negotiate your price ahead of time because they can turn out to be very expensive.
Phuket Town Attractions
The older part of Phuket Town reflects the Chinese influence on the island. During the 19th century, a boom in the production of tin led to the building of many offices and houses. The architectural style of this time is referred to as Sino-Portuguese and has a strong Mediterranean influence. You can find many narrow buildings on Dibuk Road that have large wooden doors with Chinese carvings on them.
Jui Tui and Put Jaw Temples
At the corner of Thanon Ranong and Soi Phuthon, you can find these large Chinese Taoist temples. They were built over 200 years ago in tribute to the Goddess of Mercy. Many people come here to have their life questions answered. To do, ask the questions on your mind while throwing two red mango-shaped pieces towards the altar.
Legend has it that if the two tiles land the same side up then the answer is no. If the two tiles land on different sides then the answer is yes.
If you want a breathtaking view of Phuket Town and the southern part of the island, then climb to the top of Khao Rang hill. Atop the hill are restaurants where you can catch your breath and take in the view. There is also a park for exercise enthusiasts as well as a grassy place that is great for picnics.
Phuket Cultural Center
Located near the Phuket Rajabhat University, this cultural centre allows you to explore the history of Phuket from ancient times to present day. There is a cast library with books on Phuket’s history and culture. Open daily from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, the cultural center is free to enter.
Things to do in Phuket Town
Get a massage
Thai massage is famous for a reason, and if you are in Thailand, then you really must experience one. There are many spas in Phuket Town that offer a wide range of services. Whether it is for 20 minutes or 90 minutes, a facial treatment of back massage, each spa will have something to suit you. Spas are located all around the city.
There are many golf courses in Phuket Town, many in the western region. These courses are carved out of the jungle and offer stunning landscapes to play amongst.
Phuket Town has a nice mix of malls, department stores and local markets to shop at. In Chinatown you can find Thanon Thalang which offers a wide selection of boutiques that sell traditional handicrafts and antiques from the island.
If you are looking to experience a night market, check out Phuket Town Night Bazaar where you can sample delicious street food while browsing for local goods.
The largest local market is Ranong Market that features a maze of stalls that sells just about anything. It may be hot and sweaty, but is a great experience. [Also read – The Top 15 Things to Do in Phuket, Thailand in 2016]
Beaches in Phuket Town
While most people that want to experience the island’s beaches stay elsewhere, Phuket Town does have some very beautiful beaches to explore. The city center is more inland, so depending on where you are staying, the beach might be too far to walk and you will need to take a taxi to get there.
Once you get to the coast, however, you’ll be rewarded with white sand beaches and swaying trees that will make you forget the hustle and bustle of Phuket Town.
Food in Phuket Town
There are many places to eat in Phuket Town. Most places feature traditional Thai dishes with a number of local dishes on the menu. Fish is very popular as Phuket has a number of fishing villages that provide fresh, daily catches.
Accommodation in Phuket Town
Phuket Town caters to everyone when it comes to accommodation, whether you are a budget backpacker, a family on vacation or wanting a luxury resort. There are many hostels that offer a range of large dorm rooms to private rooms to choose from. Most places now include free Wifi. Cost for hostels range from 500 to 800 baht per night.
If you have more money to spend, or are with your family, there are a number of hotels to choose from. Prices range from 1200 baht to 3000 baht per night depending on location and type of room.
Phuket Town should not be overlooked if you are considering a trip to Thailand. Instead, try to stay a few days and explore the city. The cultural heritage mixed with the relaxing beaches will make you glad you did.