Phuket Thailand Travel Guide for Families

Phuket, the ‘Pearl of the South’, is Thailand’s largest island (48 km in length, 21 km wide) lying in the Andaman Sea off the country’s southwestern coast and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. The city of Phuket is located to the southeast of the island, the international airport to the north and the most famous seaside resort on the west coast. Buy Facebook likes for more acknowledgment and followings on Facebook. 

Phuket is one of the most premier beach resorts in Asia and still has its own culture, led by Chinese and Portuguese influences. The island offers visitors a warm tropical climate, beautiful white sandy beaches with warm and crystal-clear waters, pristine forests, luxury shops or traditional markets, numerous bars and restaurants, fascinating nightlife and wonderful people.

By the Fortune Magazine, Phuket has also been named for one of the 5 best retirement destinations in the world.

Travel to Phuket

Phuket International Airport (HKT) is located in the north of the island 32kms from Phuket town and is Thailand’s second largest airport. (Compare cheap flights to Phuket from London)

Taxi from the Airport to Phuket Town will cost 400+ baht. Airport to Kata, Karon and Patong beaches will cost 500-600 baht.

Phuket Map, Thailand

Mini-bus from Airport to Phuket Town will cost 100 baht per person. Airport to Kata, Karon and Patong beaches will cost 150-200 baht per person

Train – There is no train service to Phuket. The closest railway station is at Surat Thani (Phun Phin station) which takes 5 hours by bus to Phuket. The train from Bangkok to Surat Thani takes 12-13 hours and there is a sleeper train at night.

The coach journey from Bangkok to Phuket takes 12-13 hours. Most services to Phuket leave from Bangkok’s Southern (Sai Tai Mai) Bus Terminal. (Bangkok points of interest)

The ferry service to the city of Phuket (Rassada Port) to the island of Phi Phi takes 90 minutes twice a day and 350 Baht for the one-way trip. The ferry leaves twice a day to Krabi (on the mainland). The trip takes 90 minutes and costs 350 baht one-way.


English is spoken by people in the tourism business. Many staff at hotels, shops, restaurants, and museums will speak English.

Phuket Transport

Phuket is a large island and visitors need transport to get around. Taxis are inexpensive and around the same price as a tuk-tuk but safer and airconditioned. Taxis must use the meter, so make sure the driver has turned it on before you move off or you will pay more.

Songtaews are small pickup truck taxis with two plank seats in the back. Signal the driver to stop and negotiate the fare to your destination. Press the buzzer when you want to stop. Generally good for short trips, more convenient than a bus and cheaper than a taxi as you will be sharing with others.

Tuk-tuks are little three-wheeled vehicles (a motorbike at the front with a padded seat in a semi-open cabin at the rear). The fare is generally negotiable but they are no cheaper than a metered taxi and there is no air-conditioning.

The tuk-tuk drivers have a reputation for trying to swindle tourists by taking you to shops on the way and pressuring you to buy something, informing you an attraction is closed today (when it’s open) and generally trying to get money out of you in one way or another.

Motorbike taxis are inexpensive and an exciting ride through the traffic. Negotiate the fare as there is no meter. Passengers must wear a helmet which the driver will supply.

Grab in Phuket

Grab is a good option as there is no uber in Phuket. GrabTaxi is a free mobile application which you can use to book a taxi, the pickup point, destination, and estimated travel costs. Another suggestion from my experience, when you booked the taxi, call the driver and ask any local to talk to the driver and tell them the exact pick-up point, as many Grab drivers speak only Thai.

Car & Motorbike Hire is popular in Phuket. Driving is on the left in Thailand. Be careful, there are many accidents every year in Phuket. More than 10,000 people are injured in traffic accidents in Phuket every year and more than 250 people are killed.

Popular Attractions & Things to Do in Phuket

There is no shortage of impressive attractions and things to do in this beautiful region of the world.

Phuket Fantasea Show is a stunning 140-acre cultural theme park that is the ultimate in night-time entertainment on Kamala Beach, 4 km from Patong. Fantasea takes you on a fantastic adventure in the myth, mystery, and magic of Thailand.

Phuket Fantasea

There is a 3000-seat theater with Las Vegas-style productions with magical illusions, acrobatics, acrobatics, fireworks, elephant shows, and a spectacular song and dance show that tells stories about Phuket’s history and mythology.

There is a shopping street in the carnival village and the Golden Kinnaree buffet restaurant, which serves the world’s largest buffet of Thai and international cuisine. Open daily, except Thursday, 5.30pm to 11.30pm, show & buffet adult THB2200, kids THB2200.

From Khao Rang Hill you have a beautiful view of the city of Phuket, the southern part of the island of Phuket and some of the islands on the coast. There are several restaurants with spectacular views of the city and a park with a bronze statue of Phraya Ratsada Nupradit, governor of Phuket during the reign of King Rama V.

Phuket Zoo is on situated on the way to Chalong Bay. The zoo includes a collection of Asian and African mammals and birds.  Crocodile and Elephant shows are held daily (open every day from 8.30 am to 6.00 pm, entry 500/= Baht for adults and 300/= Baht for children).

Phuket Zoo, Thailand

Phuket Cultural Center is located near the Phuket Rajabhat University on Thepkrasattri Road. The Phuket Cultural Center was designed to represent local history, as well as art and popular cultures of the region. Entry is free from 8.30am – 4.30pm every day, except public holidays.

The butterfly farm of Phuket is 3 km from the city of Phuket Yaowarat Road and at the intersection of Sam Kong. There is a great collection of tropical animals such as butterflies, marine life and insects. Opening time from 9 am to 5 pm Daily, for adults entry fee is 300 baht and 150 baht for children.

Phuket Cultural Center is located near the Phuket Rajabhat University on Thepkrasattri Road. The Phuket Cultural Center was designed to represent local history, as well as art and popular cultures of the region. Entry is free from 8.30am – 4.30pm every day, except public holidays.

Thai Village and Orchid Farm located on Thepkasattri Road 3 km from Phuket town. Following lunch, there is a spectacular cultural show featuring Thai dances, Thai classical and folk music, Thai boxing and elephants show. From 9 am to 9 pm open daily, cultural shows performed daily at 1 pm and 5.30pm, Adults 650/= baht, children 330/= baht.

Golf is popular as there are 8 international standard golf courses on Phuket Island each featuring scenic views of Phuket’s mountains and coastline.

Phuket Aquarium is located in Cape Phanwa, an extraordinary underwater world with more than 150 different species of marine and aquatic habitats, most of which come from the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Thailand. [Open daily from 9:00 to 16:30, adults 100 / = baht, children 50 / = baht]. Take a local bus (songthaew) from Phuket Town.

Simon Cabaret, Attend a dance and music show, extravagant costumes, Ladyboy dancers and lots of light and sparkle at Simon Cabaret. Phuket’s most famous Ladyboy show, which has been going on for almost three decades, is a fun evening for both adults and children. Located on the hill just outside Patong, shows at 7.30pm and 9.30pm, admission is 600/= baht.

Elephant Trekking is a wonderful experience in Thailand and a way to support the last domestic elephants in Thailand and their mahouts. (trainer). Elephants are friendly and well-trained and take visitors to interesting treks in the jungle.

Thai Massage & Spa has evolved into a major business in Thailand. A traditional Thai massage starts around 250 baht in one of many massage shops in Phuket. There are many places to enjoy a Thai massage, 5-star hotels/resorts offer a wide range of spa treatments to their visitors.

Dinos Park Mini Golf is an ideal attraction for families, adults, and children. Located on Karon Beach, next to the Marina Phuket complex.  open every day 10 am–12 pm, admission, 240 Baht for adults and 180/= Baht for children.

Dino Park Mini Golf Phuket Thailand

Thai Cooking – Some hotels have their own Thai restaurant, which offers cooking classes for visitors. The cooking class will teach basic skills sufficient to prepare a Thai meal in your own home or even training to professional standards.

Old Phuket (self-walking tour) During the tin-mining boom in the 19th century many fine mansions and shops were constructed in the Sino-Portuguese architectural style.

These buildings have been preserved and can be viewed by taking a walking tour of the area, especially on Thalang road, Dibuk, Phang-nga, Yaowarat, and Krabi roads. There are also old European-style buildings such as the Phuket Courthouse and Siam City Bank.

Phuket Outdoor Activities

Phuket offers visitors the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor activities such as diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, paragliding, sailing, jet skiing, fishing and deep-sea fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Horse riding, hiking, and mountain biking.

Best Beaches in Phuket

The most popular beaches, with amenities and entertainment options, are on the south-western side of the island.

Patong Beach is the largest and most popular resort in Phuket. It is known for its lively nightlife and entertainment. Kamala Beach is a quieter beach 15 minutes north of Patong. Bang Tao Beach is a long, quiet beach on the west coast just north of Kamala beach and about 20 mins north of Patong.

Best Beaches In Phuket, Thailand

Most of the beach is occupied by the Laguna complex, a massive five-star-hotel development with a golf course. Immediately south of Patong is the beautiful Karon Beach, the most up-scale of Phuket’s beaches, and further south is Kata Yai, the best beach in Phuket for families and very popular with tourists for surfing and the quieter sister Kata Noi Beach. Nai Han Beach is a lovely beach on the southern coast near Phrom Thep Cape, the most southerly part of Phuket.

While swimming on Phuket’s beaches it is important to take notice of warning flags on the beaches especially warning of dangerous currents during the monsoon season from May to October.

Phuket Nightlife and Entertainment

Patong is the center of the island’s famous nightlife and entertainment scene. Beer Bars, Night Clubs, and Go-Go Bars are found all over Patong. These establishments are hosted by ‘bar girls’ who welcome all customers for a drink but are really ‘working girls’ who want the customer to pay money to the bar so that the girl can leave with the customer.

Kata Beach, Karon Beach, and Phuket Town also have some lively nightlife. Many of the major hotels and resorts offer quality international restaurants and bars, featuring cabaret shows and live music.

Phuket Dining

There are numerous restaurants and bars. Karon Beach, Kata Beach, and Phuket Town also have great dining options. Many of the major hotels and resorts offer quality international restaurants and cafes.

Food Courts are located in most of Phuket’s shopping malls and offer visitors good value meals. Phuket has most of the usual American fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King. Coffee shops such as Starbucks and Gloria Jeans have become common in malls and commercial centers.

Street food vendors are common and can usually be found in places with a high amount of pedestrian traffic.

Beyond Phuket

Phi Phi Island is a beautiful island set amongst dramatic limestone cliffs in the Andaman Sea and has perfect white sand beaches, crystal clear water, great, and secluded resorts. It can be reached by fast ferry services from Phuket Town (Rassada Port) twice a day, taking 90 minutes and costing 350 baht one-way.

James Bond Island is an uninhabited island made famous by the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. Many tour operators take tourists here on day trips.

Phang Nga Bay Phuket James Bond Island

Krabi is a delightful southern Thailand coastal town and can be reached by fast ferry services from Phuket Town (stops at Phi Phi Island) twice a day, taking 3 hours and costing 700 baht one-way.

Khao Lak is a coastal area located 80kms north of Phuket Island with beautiful beaches and resort hotels. It is ideal for access to the world-class reefs of the Similan Islands.

Khao Sok National Park located 2 hours’ drive north of Phuket is popular for trekking in the rainforest. There are many rainforest eco-tourism style resorts in the area.

There are many memorable things to do in Phuket for travelers. All you have to do is take a look at the main attractions of Phuket to plan your tour. (10 best places to visit in Thailand)

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