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Where To Stay In Phuket? The Ultimate Guide

So you’re heading to Phuket and you need a place to stay.

First let me say, get excited! Phuket is an incredible place, and you can spend an entire year exploring this island and never get bored.

With so many places to see though, it can be a challenge to find the right place to spend your holiday. If you’ve only got a week, where do you go? What do you do?

The thing about Phuket is, you can find everything here. Whether you want backpacking on a shoestring, ridiculous luxury, spas and massages, adventure sports, culture and architecture, surfing, history, hedonism, cuisine, non-stop partying, muay thai training, yoga, or just a regular beach holiday, you can get it all here on this southern Thai island.

That’s what this guide is for. Below I’ve mapped out the main areas of Phuket, so you can see which area will suit you best. Many of the areas are quite different, so it’s important you choose the spot that’s going to give you everything you want. If you want a quiet secluded beach and privacy, Patong is out. You want somewhere like Mai Khao, or maybe Surin or Karon. If you want a more local flavour away from the tourists, you’re looking at Rawai or maybe Phuket Old Town. As you can see – your holiday will be very different depending on where you decide to stay.

By the end of this guide you should have a much better idea of what Phuket has to offer, and which part of the island is going to give you the Phuket adventure you want. Of course if you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments below. I’ll be here!

How to get to your destination

Your first challenge is actually getting to your accommodation in the first palce. You’re most likely going to land at Phuket Airport. From here, there’s a standard shuttle service which will take you to most major hotels on the island. I’m not actually sure that they go to the more southern destinations but they definitely hit most destinations around Patong/Kata. It should cost you between 100-200 baht door-to-door. These shuttle services are easy to find – you’ll see the desk in arrivals. 

You can also take meter taxis – the taxi service has vastly improved since the military crackdown and the taxi mafia syndicate has been cleaned up. Before this happened, taxis were not dangerous but they were stupidly expensive. Think 500 baht just for a short ride to the next town. However, even if the taxi service has improved, unless you’re staying somewhere remote there is no real reason to take a taxi – the shuttle service should suffice.

Lastly, you could ask your hotel what’s the best way to reach them. Many will tell you to use the airport shuttle service, but some will have their own shuttle service, and many of the luxury places may even transport you for free.

Anyway, let’s get to what Phuket has to offer.

Map of Phuket

This is a map of the main places to stay on Phuket. As you can see Phuket is a standalone island, and there are little towns and centres all over. Click on each coloured tear drop to see the name of a place and a screenshot. We’ll go through more details of each of them in the guide below.

Patong

Patong

Patong is where I first stayed when I visited Phuket – it’s easily the most popular tourist area on the island. Patong is the part of Phuket where you’re going to find a lot of massage shops, souvenir stores, tuk-tuks, street sellers, foreigner-friendly restaurants and a lot of tourists. There is also the very popular Patong beach which is nice, but gets extremely crowded during the day. 

Another thing you should know about Patong is that it’s home to the island’s crazy nightlife. That means at night, particularly around Bangla Road, this place becomes a bit like the wild west. Lots of bars, flashy lights, loud music, nightclubs, street food, street performers, that sort of thing. Much of the Phuket sex industry is centred around Bangla Road too, so expect to see a lot of go-go bars, working girls etc. There is nothing dangerous about the place – it’s very busy with many tourists wandering around. Just be sure you know what to expect!

The good thing about Patong is that there are endless accommodation options. With so many visitors, there are places to suit every budget.

You should stay in Patong if you are:

  • A backpacker looking for cheap accommodation.
  • Looking for fun and nightlife.
  • Want to be in the centre of the action.

For the backpacker:

where to stay in phuket

There’s no real need to stay in a backpacker hostel in Patong, as even private rooms in hotels and guesthouses are so cheap. If you do want a hostel experience though, check out the Bed Box Hostel. It has dorms and private rooms and super affordable. Get the best rates here.

For the budget traveller:

where to stay in phuket

I’d stay at the Memory Boutique. It’s a charming little guesthouse, away from the noise but still within walking distance of everything you’d want to see. Beautiful rooms. Check the latest rates here.

For the luxurious type:

where to stay in phuket

Look no further than La Flora. It’s right on Patong Beach, just beside Soi Bangla and smack bang in the centre of the action. It’s also gorgeous, with a stunning pool and beautiful suites. And to be honest, it’s not even that expensive. If you want to do Patong in style, this is the place. Check out the latest rates here.


Kata

Kata, Phuket sunset

In my opinion, Kata beach is the best beach in Phuket. 

It’s not far from the centre of Patong, just a short drive, and it’s a long lovely stretch of white sand. It gets crowded sometimes (but not ridiculously so) and the water has just enough swell that it’s fun to swim in. Do note that when the sea is rougher it’s not really great for kids to swim at, but otherwise it’s a great place for the family too.

The main area of Kata also has a good selection of restaurants and bars to stay nourished, there’s even a Starbucks there if I remember correctly. It’s really just an all-round great place to stay, especially for Phuket first timers.

You should stay in Kata if:

  • You want a beautiful beach!
  • You want a good selection of places to eat and drink, without the big crowds.
  • You want to be near Patong, but don’t want to be staying there.

For the backpacker:

where to stay in phuket

Stay at Kata Beach Backpackers. It’s a short walk from the beach and not far from Kata Village. Great place to meet a few partners in crime to enjoy some surf and sun! Get the latest rates here.

For the budget traveller:

where to stay in phuket

I’d take a room at the Two Chefs Inn. It’s got sea views and is just a few steps from the beach. It’s quite a small guesthouse which gives it that cozy feel and, as the name might suggest, the food there is exceptional. Rates are amazingly cheap for what you get. Check the latest rates here.

For the luxury seeker:

where to stay in phuket

You want luxury, you’ll get it at the Impiana Private Villas. It’s not cheap, but the place is absolutely lavish. It’s right on the water and nothing is unaccounted for – bar, pool, spa, gym, food – you’ll never need to leave. And you probably won’t want to. This is Thai island luxury at its best. Get the best rate here.


Karon

image

Karon is right beside Kata and is just a short drive from Patong. Even though it’s not that popular it actually has a lot of decent dining and accommodation options – it almost blends in with Kata as they’re so close. There is also a little nightlife, a few nice cafes – really it has most things Patong has, just on a smaller scale.

Karon beach is also pretty nice. It’s a really long white sand beach and far, far less crowded than the sand at Patong. As you can imagine, there’s a different sort of crowd at Karon – often a lot of couples and some families. As a result there are a lot of great resorts here to choose from. If it’s your first time in Phuket and you’re not the party type, Karon’s a pretty good spot. 

You should stay in Karon if you are:

  • Wanting a nice beach that isn’t too crowded.
  • If you like a bit of peace and quiet but don’t want to feel isolated.
  • If you want to be near Patong, but don’t want to stay there.

For the backpacker:

where to stay in phuket

You can’t go wrong with the Living Room Hotel. Has dorms, private rooms, all for dirt cheap prices. Location isn’t perfect but isn’t terrible either. Can’t go wrong for this price though! Check the latest rates here.

For the budget traveller:

where to stay in phuket

Stay at Allstar! Allstar Guesthouse is a place of legend around Karon. It’s right on the beach and everything you need is nearby. Not to mention, the hosts are amazing and guests just keep coming back. It’s one of those places that everybody knows, and it’s a lot of fun. Check out the latest rates.

For the luxury seeker:

where to stay in phuket

You’ll be more than taken care of at Le Meridien. Their Karon resort is special – ten restaurants, private beach, spa, two huge pools – pretty much everything you’d expect in an extravagant resort. If you’re after luxury in Karon you won’t find many spots more impressive than this. Best rates here.


Search all properties in Phuket:

 


Kalim

There’s probably only one reason you’d stay in Kalim, and that’s if you’re surfer. 

During low season (April-November) Kalim is probably the best surf beach in Phuket. Good 2-3 metre swell is not uncommon, and it’s even home to some international surf competitions.

There’s not much else to do around here besides surfing. Even outside of surf season, the beach isn’t very swimmer-friendly. There are some nice restaurants around the place, and some nice hotels too, so it can be a nice place if you’re just after some isolation and peace and quiet. It’s not far from the centre of Patong.

  • On a low budget – there are some good options.
  • Are a surfer!
  • Want something quiet but not too far from Patong.

Where to stay:

where to stay in kalim

Not too many choices in Kalim – you could actually just stay in Patong as it’s really close. However if you do want to stay in Kalim I’d check out the Barefoot Hotel. It’s a chic, stylish hotel right by the beach, close to everything and really affordable. If you’re a surfie I’m sure you’ll like it 😉 Get the best rates here.


Bang Tao

Bang Tao is home to Laguna Phuket, probably the largest resort complex on the island. Interestingly, it’s actually built on an old mining site that was abandoned once the land became worthless. Nowadays it’s been spruced up into a little tourist haven. Guests of the resorts at Laguna can use any of the guest amenities in the complex – restaurants, pools, spas etc. 

The beach itself is also quite impressive and generally not too busy, especially further to the north. Good for sunbathing with friends and throwing a ball around.

Do be aware that other than the Laguna complex and the beach, there really isn’t anything else to do around here. That could be good or bad, depending on the type of holiday you’re after 😉

You should stay in Bang Tao if:

  • You want an “all in one” type holiday where you can just relax and don’t have to think!
  • You want a nice beach.
  • You enjoy resort living.

For the backpacker:

where to stay in phuket

Bang Tao isn’t really a backpacker place but if you’re a hostel person, Chillhub Hostel is your spot. Good dorms, wifi, shared kitchen, right on the beach. Can’t go wrong. Check the latest rates here.

For the budget traveller:

where to stay in phuket

Look no further than Baan Armeen Cottage. It’s a flawless guesthouse in a great location – right near the beach and some good eating choices around. For the prices they offer it’s an absolute steal. Best rates here.

For the luxury seeker:

where to stay in phuket

Bang Tao is a great place for luxury and if you’re looking to splurge I’ve got the place for you. Doublepool Villas by Banyan Tree is fit for royalty and you will certainly feel that way once you step inside your villa. Everything you could want is here – gym, private pool, golf course, private housekeeper. The rooms are mini palaces and you will certainly want for nothing. It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking to impress it will definitely be worth it. Best rates here.


Surin

Surin has changed since I was last there.

It used to the ultimate place for cocktails on the beach, mixing and mingling, bobbing your head to the random DJ a few spots down and basically having a great social day on the sand. It was (and still is, really) a place for celebrities and millionaires to come stay in their mansions or high-end resorts and soak up a few days of Phuket sun.

It’s a lot less lively now (I read there was a few plans to change it up to something more mellow) but there are still some beach chairs out where you can lay out and enjoy a day by the water. It definitely still is one of the nicest beaches in Phuket, with powdery white sand and clear turquoise waters, just like you see on the postcards!

You should stay in Surin if you are

  • A fan of high-end dining and drinks.
  • A traveller with a taste for luxury.
  • Want a great beach to lay out and relax.

For the backpacker:

places to stay in phuket

Surin isn’t really backpacker territory but a good budget hotel in the area is the Similan Hotel. It’s got everything you’d want for basic accommodation and is super well run. Should run you $25-$30 per night, depending on season. Check the latest rates here.

For the budget traveller:

places to stay in phuket

A great choice is the Surin Park Apartments. They’re fully serviced, beautiful, a short walk from the beach and very affordable. Check the latest rates here.

For the luxury seeker:

places to stay in phuket

Easy choice – Ayara Hilltops. This is a lush resort nestled in tropical gardens, built in traditional Thai architecture, and most suites have a view overlooking Surin beach. It has a gym, a spa, and is just a short walk to the beach. As expected, the rooms are stunning. Surin is a great place for luxury, and Ayara does it better than most. Get the best rate here.


Kamala

Most people find themselves in Kamala to visit the famous Phuket Fantasea Park, which hosts a circus of sorts. It’s a tourist favourite, and you’ll find many Instagram pics and selfies from the place popping up from there by Thailand holiday goers.

However, Kamala actually has quite a lot more to offer. The beach is nice and there are plenty of dining options to keep your stomach happy during the day. There’s also a lot of shops, a daily market and even a little nightlife for those who fancy a drink. It’s a nice, relaxed part of Phuket that has everything you’ll need to be comfortable – a good spot for those who just want to eat some good food, lounge on the beach and head back to the resort for a good night’s rest or the odd drink.

You should stay in Kamala if

  • You want all the tourist comforts without the bustle.
  • You’re travelling with younger kids.
  • You want somewhere quiet but not too isolated.

For the backpacker:

where to stay in phuket

Stay at the Baan Kamala Backpackers. It’s a pretty standard backpackers, but the building is reasonably new and everything is well kept. Kamala attracts a different crowd to Patong so you may meet some interesting people here too. Prices are great for the shoestring traveller – check the latest rates here.

For the budget traveller:

where to stay in phuket

I’d go for Chabana Kamala. It’s quite a big hotel and offers luxury hotel amenities for a budget hotel price. There’s a gym, pool, restaurants, bar, tour desk, even babysitting services. The place itself is also quite impressive – modern design and very stylish. For the price it’s great value. Check the latest rates here.

For the luxury seeker:

where to stay in phuket

There’s no better place around here than Andara Villas. This resort is stunning, built on the concepts of elegance, minimalism and style. The rooms are flawless – private pools, luxury furnishings and open views over Kamala. It’s set in a wild garden like atmosphere, an abundance of palm trees and greenery. Restaurant open 24 hours with gourmet food. Shuttle service gets you anywhere you need to go. If you want luxury, it doesn’t get much better than this. Check the latest rates here.


Mai Khao

Mai Khao is quite a unique part of Phuket. This is home to the island’s longest beach and also the most secluded. It’s part of a national park and quite often you might not even see another person here during your visit.

That makes it the ideal space for fancy resorts, of which a few have popped up over the years. The beach itself has remained largely untarnished, which makes it a great place for couples looking for a bit of privacy and quiet.

You should stay in Mai Khao if you are:

  • Looking for quiet luxury resorts.
  • A couple looking for peace and quiet.

For the backpacker:

where to stay in phuket

You should feel right at home at Maikhao Boutique Hostel. This is a clean and well-run hostel and one of the few in the area. The location is a little isolated but the hostel offers free bikes which is a cool way to explore this part of the island. Plus you’re bound to meet some good company here to head down and laze at the beach with. Get the latest rates here.

where to stay in phuket

Coriacea is a boutique resort with all the trimmings of a five-star joint. It’s not cheap cheap but for what you get here it’s certainly good value for money. Poolside bar, restaurant, coffee shop, room service, not to mention it’s beautifully designed and decorated. Rooms are beautiful too. Best rates here!

For the luxury seeker:

where to stay in phuket

If you’ve got some money to spend, stay at the Maikhao Dream Villas. This is the ultimate peace-and-quiet slice of luxury: private beach, private villas, private pools, gym, sauna, watersports, golf course, poolside restaurants and bars – it’s all here. Family friendly too. You want lavish, this is it. Easily one of the top resorts in the area. Get the best rates here.


Rawai

Rawai is on the other side of the island, just by the southern tip. There are a lot less tourists here than in the previous-mentioned places. In fact, you’ll find a lot of people who have decided to stay in Phuket long term are based in Rawai.

Rawai has a much more local flavour and you’ll probably notice the distinction quite quickly if you’re coming from the areas around Patong. The food is much more local, as are the crowds. It’s also home to the famous seafood market, and a great place to try the best seafood Phuket has to offer.

It’s also a popular launching point for many island hopping tours off Phuket. 

One thing you should know is there isn’t much of a nightlife scene or many tourist-oriented things at all. There are hotels, but not a huge selection like the west coast. You won’t have any problem finding good food though – there are endless good places to eat.

You should stay in Rawai if:

  • You want a more local experience.
  • You want to get away from the “package holiday” crowd.
  • You’re comfortable in less touristy areas.

For the backpacker:

where to stay in rawai

Not too many backpacker spots out here but Happy Home should keep you happy (ha ha). It’s a small family-run place, a classic Thailand guesthouse, five rooms, with all the simple comforts you’ll need to keep you sane. Probably the best value place in Rawai. Check the latest rates here.

For the budget traveller:

where to stay in phuket

You can’t go wrong with the Cascades Resort. This place embodies value for money, and offers great rooms in a tranquil garden setting, a pool, bar, restaurant, all for a budget hotel price. In low season you may even get a room for as little as $20. Awesome value. Check out the latest rates here.

For the luxury seeker:

where to stay in rawai

If you want luxury in Rawai you need to be staying at Casabay. These styley and modern villas have private infinity pools and a gorgeous view over Rawai Bay. The villas are self contained and beautifully decorated, and they have a shuttle service to get you where you need to go. You’ll feel like a millionaire here. Perfect place for a worthy splurge – check the latest rates here.


Phuket Old Town

Phuket Old Town is the main centre of Phuket and, weirdly, is also the least visited. Most tourists stick to the beach towns that cater for tourists with massage shops, English-menu restaurants and souvenir shopping.

A lot of people will recommend that you don’t stay in Phuket Old Town, as it’s not the easiest place to navigate for a foreigner, and they’re probably right if you’re a first time visitor to Phuket or Thailand. However, if you’ve visited the island before and are looking for something a little different, I’d say this is a great place to stay.

Phuket Old Town is very local. It’s where the residents of Phuket stay and congregate and will be a lot closer to the “real” Thailand than any of the aforementioned places will. There is a lot of interesting architecture here, and walking the streets will bring you a lot of unique experiences too. 

You should stay in Phuket Old Town if you are:

  • An experienced Thailand traveller and want to stay in a local environment.
  • Want to get far away from the tourist crowd.
  • A budget traveller looking for something simple and local.
  • Don’t mind not having a beach, because there isn’t one around here!

For the backpacker:

best place to stay in phuket town

Eco Hostel gets my vote. It’s a perfectly located hostel, right near the bus terminal, and pretty funky and new-age too, like the name suggests. Has dorms and private rooms, all really well kept. Generally brings in a fun crowd too. For the price – it’s perfect. Get the latest rates here.

For the budget traveller:

best place to stay in phuket town

Stay at Rommanee! I’d say this is one of the best places to stay in Phuket Town, period. It’s set in an old, classic style building with very dated but styley decor and the rooms are great. The best part about it though is the location. It’s situated in the heart of Phuket Town – perfect for anyone looking to explore and wander central Phuket. You’ll love it. Not to mention the rates are an absolute steal. Get the latest rates here.

For the luxury seeker:

best place to stay in phuket town

Duplex Height Phuket is your spot! This is a fancy condotel in Phuket Town with a rooftop pool and everything you’d expect in your own city apartment. It’s within walking distance of some great food and sightseeing options, and the price is actually pretty reasonable. Good way to see Phuket Town in style. Best rates here.


There it is! Your ultimate Phuket accommodation guide. Hopefully this has given you all the options you need to find a place to stay during your Phuket adventure. Any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Otherwise, have fun and travel safe 🙂

Bren

Photo credits: Yosomono@Flickr,2, 3, 4

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