Choosing where to stay in Phuket is tricky, its a large island , with at least six very developed tourist beaches, and plenty of less well-known beaches to chose from. Alternatively you can stay inland in Phuket City or semi-rural areas such as Chalong. So there is no real one answer fits all answer to this question. Instead find your own answer by considering:
- what do you want from your trip to Thailand? Do you want to spend the entire time in an up-market resort or do you want to explore the local culture?
- is your vacation all about the beach? Or do you want to get out and see some other sites, take some day trips.
- how long do you have for your vacation? Are you going to move hotels in that time?
- do you have children or people with accessibility issues?
- how much does driving or hiring a taxi bother you
- how important is nightlife to you?
Backpackers Don’t Care About Hotels – Package Holiday Makers Do
Cheap Places to Stay in Phuket Town
- On On Guest House – well pretty rough around the edges – but forever famous for staring the locally filmed The Beach (no Leonardo diCaprio did NOT stay here!)
- Old Town Hostel
- Phuket Town Backpackers
Cheap Places to Stay in Patong
Cheap Places to Stay in Kata Beach
- Fantasy Hill Bungalow
- Little Mermaid
Cheap Places to Stay in Karon Beach
- Little Mermaid (yes another one)
- Pineapple Guest House
- Bukit Karon Beach
Best Places to Stay in Phuket For Airport Access
Phuket International Airport is at least 50 minutes by taxi from the main beach resorts of Patong, Kata, Karon and even further from Cape Panwa. Although there are a couple of dismal and over-priced hotels 5 minutes from the airport – if you can handle a 10 minute drive you have the option of staying at Nai Thong beach or the even closer Nai Yang beach, both of which are slightly south of the hotel. Now this is not the place to stay if you want to party until the small hours – but the beaches here are clean, sheltered, and there is range of hotels (middle to upper price levels). You can also get cheap rooms – but you will have to arrive and find these on the ground. There is a great range of restaurants, and although you will be able to buy necessities (sun tan lotion, beer) you may struggle to find an ATM or money exchange.
North of the Airport is Phuket’s longest beach : Mai Khao, which even though the Holiday Inn has just opened there, is still basically a deserted beach with a few expensive hotels on it. If you can afford it and want comfort a stunningly beautiful beach with easy access to not just the airport but all roads north to Khao Lak and Phan-Nga Bay – this would be my pick.
Best Places to Stay in Phuket For Nightlife
Well who can spell Patong – yeah everything you’ve heard about it is true: loud, tacky, over-the-top. Subtle Patong is not. But if bar girls and loud music is your thing than really Patong is the only place to stay. If you want some nightlife – or want to inspect Patong from a safe distance than Kata or Karon beaches are pretty close, have their own (less intense) nightlife, and you can visit Patong easily enough.
Best Places to Stay in Phuket For Shopping
If you want to experience a real Thai night market – then head out on a weekend to Phuket Town. There are shops everywhere in the main beach areas.
If you are looking for larger air-con malls then Patong‘s Jungceylon is a flashy big one. On the outskirts of Phuket Town is Central Festival which has a large food court, several food markets plus the usual range of stores. Many of the songathews routes to the west coast beaches pass by Central Festival, or coming from the south or the north is a quick taxi or tuk tuk trip. Often your hotel will also run a regular share-taxi service there.
So yes shopping pretty much anywhere except for the quieter northern beaches and Cape Panwa in the south.
So if you are looking for the best place to stay in Phuket – the answer is: it depends. Depends on sort of beach you like, whether the quiet life or night life is your thing, how long you have and what your transport options are.