The 3rd largest island in Thailand, beautiful and tropical but keep in mind the prices are higher due to popularity. You are fairly close to other islands, making day tours possible. Fly from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport to Phuket airport, it takes an hour. I stayed for 3 weeks at the Beach Heights Resort in Kata Beach. Locals are friendly and will do everything to ensure you are going in the right direction, the term 'ferang' is a common phrase that means 'foreigner'. The Island is full of fun surprises, I can understand why it's so popular among tourists.
Things to do
Big Buddha- biggest Buddha statue on the island, it overlooks the area where you can see the neighboring towns. You can walk around and get a full 360 view! I suggest taking a tuk tuk up the mountain to save you the hassle of dodging traffic as it's a popular attraction.
Promthep Cape- the best sunset spot that doesn’t disappoint. Leading up to the cliff there are elephant sculptures that are picture worthy, and a flight of stairs to walk through. The cliff overlooks the ocean and you can take a short hike down to the bit of land that is outstretched to the sea. There are also restaurants and a small market for those who would like to eat dinner.
Wat Chalong Temple- the grounds have the main temple with a chedi, two smaller temples and a cabin that Is open for public viewing. It’s one of the nicest temples on the island, I highly recommend if you are in the area.
Kata Beach- one of the southernmost beaches on the island, it’s a small quiet area for family vacations.
Patong beach- the beach is a nice cross between local and touristy, where you can find a younger crowd.
Patong- if you are looking for a great nightlife and shopping, Patong is perfect. There is always something to do and their Jungceylon shopping mall is an adventure in its own.
Bangla RD- a trip to Patong wouldn’t be complete without going to Bangla RD, the wildest night I’ve ever had, and their clubs do not disappoint. Bars are notorious for providing entertainment such as dancers, live DJ’s, music and endless street food. If you want a night where all your morals go out the window, this is the place.
Kho Phi Phi- the Island is 3 hours from Phuket by ferry, I absolutely enjoyed my time and wished I had stayed longer. The turquoise waters were my favorite part, it felt like I was in a dream. At night their famous fire shows take place along the beach with bars at every direction. The gorgeous island is close to Phuket, it would be a shame to miss.
Other popular islands surrounding Phuket:
James Bond Island
Koh Yao Yai
Koh Yao Noi
Blacno Boat Party- This booze cruise offers island hopping to Monkey Beach, Viking Cave, Maya bay (you won’t step foot), Pileh Lagoon and Loh Samah Bay. I paid 1,000BHT ($30 USD) which included island tours, unlimited booze, music and a lunch buffet. I recommend this cruise to those who want to experience the beautiful islands and meet some interesting people along the way.
Tours can be booked almost everywhere in Phuket, once you get to your hotel walk around the area and I 100% guarantee you’ll see advertisements. Some hotels/hostels offer their own tours with transportation.
Tip: To get the most for your baht, go for tours that offer transportation, English tour guides or lunch.