Phuket & Khao Lak OLD DO NOT USE, Thailand

As you approach Phuket by plane, you spy jungle-clad hills twisting across the island like green contorted dragons. Rapidly developing around – and even up – the mountains, Phuket has speedily got back to business after the dramatic horror show of the 2004 tsunami. Upon arrival, spend your time soaking up the sun, the sea and the sand in exquisite spa resorts or rented villas, then drift down to Phuket Town and its one-of-a-kind Sino-Portuguese colonial architecture.

When to go

Phuket is most alive from November to March. The endless sunshine sees crowds everywhere. Be prepared to pay significantly higher prices for rooms in this period, and make that dinner reservation early. When the lull hits during the monsoon season, expect slower service and more irregular opening hours at shops and eateries.

  • Best-price guarantee

    Found your stay cheaper elsewhere? We’ll match the price and give you a $75 voucher.

  • Smith Extra on arrival

    Enjoy extras such as a picnic lunch, champagne or spa treatments, on the house

Getting there

  • Planes

    Phuket International Airport is Thailand’s second busiest (www.phuketairportonline.com). Charter flights connect to dozens of long-haul destinations but fewer scheduled airlines make it here. However | connecting flights from Bangkok and plenty of other domestic (Thai Airways | Bangkok Airways | Thai Air Asia | OneTwoGo) and regional (Malaysian Airlines | Korean Air | Air Asia | SilkAir | Tiger Airways) carriers arrive and depart with relentless regularity.
  • Trains

    There’s no rail service to Phuket. Buses travel from the Southern Bus Terminal in Thonburi, Bangkok, but the journey is a back-straining 14 hours. There are more costly and comfortable VIP buses, but it makes far more sense to hop on a one-hour no-frills flight.
  • Automobiles

    Navigating around Phuket by car is manageable with the help of a decent map. Roads can be treacherous so don’t scrimp on insurance. Take the Thep Kasatri Road from the airport and follow the signs to Phuket town. Motorbike rental is a possibility – if you can stomach the 10 | 000 accidents a year statistic.
  • Taxis

    Flagging down cabs in Phuket is relatively hassle-free. Fares start at THB50 Three-wheeled tuk tuks are everywhere in Patong and Phuket Town, but are becoming ever more expensive. Feel free to negotiate for a round-trip rate if you’d like the tuk tuk to wait for you while you do some quick shopping/visiting tourist sites. Be prepared to pay upwards of THB150 an hour.