Where To Stay In Phuket? The Ultimate Guide

published by Bren

Last updated: March 20, 2024

So you’re heading to Phuket?

Get excited!

I most recently visited Phuket in early 2023, and it was just as spectacular as I remembered it the first time, before I even started this travel blog. It’s 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 place.

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.

In this guide:

Map of Phuket – The main areas of Phuket
Patong – Very touristy, lots of nightlife.
Kata – Beautiful beaches, lots of restaurants and hotels.
Karon – Quieter, great for families and couples.
Kalim – For surfers!
Bang Tao – All inclusive luxury resorts.
Surin – Nice beach, quiet, upper end hotels.
Kamala – Very relaxed area, great for those wanting to avoid crowds.
Mai Khao – Very secluded, several luxury resorts.
Rawai – Opposite end of the island, more local, popular with long term stayers.
Phuket Old Town – Main town centre of Phuket, very local area, not popular with tourists.

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 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! If you’re here to party, this is the best part of Phuket to stay, as you’ll find many others here doing the same.

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

Points of interest around Patong:

  • Bangla Road – The centre of Phuket’s tourist nightlife.
  • Patong Beach – One of the busier stretches of beach in Phuket, although Freedom Beach and Paradise Beach are also in the area.
  • Jungceylon Mall – Huge shopping complex where you’ll find everything you need.
  • Surf House Patong – Fun place by Patong Beach where you can learn to surf on a wave machine.
  • Patong Boxing Stadium – Regularly holds Muay Thai fights – a must see!
  • Patong Go Kart Speedway – Awesome for the family and a day away from the beach.

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.

Where to stay in Patong:

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, 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-around great place to stay, especially for Phuket first-timers.

In my opinion, this is the best location to stay in Phuket if you want to be close to the action, but not right in the centre of it all!

Points of interest in Kata: 

  • Karon Viewpoint – Despite the name, it’s actually located right above Kata Noi beach and gives a great view of the island
  • Dino Park Minigolf – Great activity for families and couples
  • Surf House Phuket – The original wave machine house, this place is always fun, even if you don’t want to ride!
  • Kata Noi – A small bay just a few minutes from Kata Beach
  • Kata Night Market – Large market with food court and souvenir stalls, mostly aimed at tourists.
  • Kata Temple – Large well-maintained temple of Patak Road (known in Thai as Wat Kittisankaram).

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.

Where to stay in Kata:

For the backpacker:

Stay at OK Phuket. 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! Super budget friendly too, so perfect if you’re on a vagabond budget. 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 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. Also the best area to stay in Phuket for families – no go-go bars or crazy backpackers at 2 a.m. – just people enjoying a good old-fashioned beach holiday!

Points of interest in Karon:

  • Wat Karon – Karon Temple is over 100 years old located in Karon Centre, which also hosts the Karon Market.
  • Phuket Beach Volleyball Club – The club has public volleyball nets up every day on Karon Beach.
  • ATV Karon – Right by the Best Western hotel, you can pick up an ATV and go off-roading in the forest paths behind Karon.
  • Karon Dragon Statue – Large statue of a golden dragon, right by Woraburi Resort.
  • Karon Park – Fitness oriented park with running trail, outdoor gym and a large lake.
  • Karon Tattoo Studios – Many popular tattoo studios are in Karon and welcome tourists.

You should stay in Karon if you are:

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

Where to stay in Karon:

For the backpacker:

You can’t go wrong with the Fishtail Hostel. Has dorms, private rooms, all for dirt cheap prices. Great quality beds and just 400m from Karon Beach. Can’t go wrong if you’re on a backpacker budget! 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.


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

You should stay in Kalim if you are:

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

Points of interest in Kalim:

  • Zorbing – Phuket zorbing is located on the hills behind Kalim Beach.
  • Surf – this is arguably the best surf spot in Phuket and has hosted surfing competitions in the past.
  • Fine dining – Several upper end restaurants are located here, including Lim’s, Acqua and Home Kitchen Bar and Bed.

Where to stay in Kalim:

Stay at Oceanfront! It’s a lavish resort a short walk from Kalim Beach. You will want for nothing here as it has absolutely everything! Pools, restaurants, gym, squash court, sea views, and more. Not cheap, but for something flashy and just a little distance from Patong for some extra peace and quiet, this is the spot. 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 😉

Points of interest in Bang Tao:

  • Layan Beach – Small and uninhabited beach in the north of Bang Tao. A good spot for sea kayaking in and around the lagoons.
  • Anthem Wake Park – Massive wakeboarding park, suitable for all levels.
  • Phuket Adventure Mini Golf – Great activity for the evenings, near Bangtao Village Resort.
  • Laguna Golf Club – For those looking to hit the fairway on holiday.
  • Phuket International Riding Club – Will arrange horse riding lessons and beach rides, located at the entrance of Laguna.

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.

Where to stay in Bang Tao:

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:

Look no further than Amin Resort. This is a boutique resort about a 5 minute walk to Bang Tao Beach. All rooms are air conditioned with all standard amenities like kitchenette and minibar. It’s a bargain for the price. 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. 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 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 were 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.

Where to stay in Surin:

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 – Twin Palms! 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 and they have restaurants on site to cater for you 24/7. Surin is a great place for luxury, and Twin Palms does it better than most. Get the best rate here.


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.

Points of interest around Kamala:

  • Kamala Friday Market – Very local style market, open on Fridays.
  • Phuket Fantasea – Phuket’s biggest performing arts show, with dancers, animals, circus tricks and everything else. Very popular.
  • Wat Baan – Village style Buddhist temple, visitors welcome!

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.

Where to stay in Kamala:

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 budget traveller

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 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, however, it is getting more popular and you will definitely see tourists around.

You’ll also find a lot of people who have decided to stay in Phuket long term are based in Rawai, and a large Russian community here.

Rawai has a more local flavour and you’ll probably notice the distinction quite quickly if you’re coming from the areas around Patong. It’s quieter and the crowd is older – there aren’t many backpackers around. 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.

On my last visit to Phuket, I actually stayed in Chalong which is a short drive from Rawai on the same coast. That visit was meant to be a productive one, spent mostly of running, working, going to the gym and reading. It was the perfect area for that, and to get to elsewhere on the island was a short Grab ride away.

Points of interest around Rawai:

  • Phuket Orchid Farm – Family run orchid growers, customers can buy freshly cut orchids, locally grown and packed for travel.
  • Phuket Seashell Museum – Collections of rare seashells, mostly from Thai waters.
  • Promthep Cape – Extremely popular photo spot on the island.
  • Rawai Park Kids Club Phuket – Largest kid’s club on the island, great place to get the kids off your hands. Part of Rawai VIP Suites but open to non-guests too.
  • Wat Sawang Arom – Small community Buddhist temple.

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.

Where to stay in Rawai:

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.

Points of interest in Phuket Old Town:

  • Phuket Weekend Market – Just outside town, this is a big local market where you will find everything from pirated movies to second hand collectibles.
  • Phuket Trick Art Museum – 3D art museum, great for couples of families.
  • Phuket Walking Street – Every Sunday on Thalang Road this turns into a shopping street – highly recommended.
  • Hanuman World – Tree ziplining course, great activity for families.
  • Monkey Hill – Viewing point, the highest in the Old Town.
  • Perankan Museum – Popular history museum in the Thalang area.

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!

Where to stay in Phuket Old Town:

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:

Hotel Verdigris your spot! This is a fancy old-fashioned classical hotel in Phuket Town. It’s a 5-minute walk from the Thai Hua Museum, and has an outdoor pool, bar, hot tubs and mini bars in rooms, and a range of breakfast choices. The attention to detail is stunning and it has all the makings of a five-star hotel. 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 safely 🙂


Photo credits: 1 ,2, 3, 4

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