Last updated: 03:42 PM ET, Thu September 23 2021
Thailand, Phuket. View point of Kata Noi, Karon Beach and Karon Beach. (Photo via sorincolac / iStock / Getty Images Plus)


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Cloudy day at James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay, Phuket, Thailand (Photo via chrisinthai / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Cloudy day at James Bond Island in Phang Nga Bay, Phuket, Thailand (Photo via chrisinthai / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Phuket, Thailand, the most famous of that country’s many sunny resort islands, has all that you want from a tropical island in the way of stunning sunsets, white-sand beaches, clear waters and fine resorts, but on top of that it also features that dynamic combination of serenity and energy that is Thailand. Diving in the Andaman Sea is some of the best in Asia and several courses offer world class golf. Eco-tourists explore its rain forests, adrenalin seekers ride speedboats to its neighboring islands while more easy going visitors cruise around Phang Nga Bay. All of this and more has attracted some of the world’s best resorts.

Patong Beach is the island’s party scene central and the home of Simon Cabaret, one of Thailand’s top transvestite shows with all the glitz and faux glamour you’d expect. If you’d prefer a free chance for some exotic people watching try Patong’s own Bangla Road which gives LA’s Venice Beach a run for its money. The FantaSea Show at Kamala Beach is a Vegas-style show featuring circus artists, elephants and more. Old Phuket Town is one of the only places in Thailand where ancient traders left a cultural influence. This sleepy old capital still has remnants of Chinese and Portuguese influence.

Saphan Hin Stadium in Phuket City features scheduled matches of Thai boxing. The Big Buddha stands on the top of the Nakkerd Hills towering over Chalong, Kata and Rawai.

Natural Phuket is highlighted by the waterfalls Ton Sai and Bang Pae, both located in Khao Praew Thaew National Park. Don’t miss it during the monsoon season, May to October, when the surrounding jungle is greenest and most vivid. While there check out the nearby Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. With its beautiful sea and several idyllic nearby islands, watersports are very popular in Phuket, especially diving, parasailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking and sailing. Exploring the islets of Phang Nga Bay is the most popular haunt for sailors on Phuket. Islands in Phang Nga Bay include Ko Bon, Ko Hae, Ko Lon, Ko Mai Thon, Ko Maphrao, Ko Racha, Ko Sire and Ko Yao.

Because of its role as an international beach resort, Phuket’s restaurants offer cuisine from around the world as well as a seafood oriented version of Thai. Patong Beach, the island’s party center is also the dining center.

The temperatures in Phuket are tropical and hover in the 80s and 90s throughout the year, so the real issue is dryness. The winter months are Thailand’s dry season. The rainy season runs from May and climaxes in September. Continental, United, Delta and Thai all offer service to Bangkok’s new Suvarbabhumi’s International Airport which offers frequent daily service to the country’s top beach resort. You can also fly directly into Phuket from Europe and Asia.