Introduction to Phuket
Phuket is up there with the best of them. A hedonistic playground to rival that of Spain's Ibiza and America's Las Vegas. Like Bangkok on water, the bustling island is no stranger to a bit of chaos, crowds and wild nights. But for all its notorious legends, the island's biggest drawcard is, of course, its beaches, stretching along the western shoreline and bathed in balmy Andaman Sea beauty. Unsurprisingly, it is these sandy shores that keep tourists coming back for more and make Phuket not only the largest island, but the wealthiest province in Thailand.
Patong Beach is the touristic hub of the island province with white sand and warm waters vying with beachside sellers, touts and watersports vendors for attention. Across the street from the beach, ice-cold towels and beers await to refresh beachgoers and an array of shops, cafes and fast food outlets assault the senses. Take a tuk-tuk south and the coastline becomes more sparse with the beaches of Kata and Karon a welcome relief from the cacophony of Patong. Come night though, the bright lights and boisterous street show of Patong is where you'll want to be again.
As an in-demand destination, the island and wider province continues to grow into its own. A cosmopolitan destination attracting everyone from partying heiresses to retirees who finally booked that holiday package. And while the crowd is diverse, there's an unifying commonality easily broken down to ‘swim, eat, drink, repeat'. A good time vibe wafts in the humid air among the smell of potent Thai spices and chargrilled barbecued seafood. Tourists band together to exchange the best surf and snorkelling spots, while at night, strangers become friends over a few tropical cocktails.
Yes, Phuket is up there with the best of them, made even better with its appealing price tag and proximity to Australia and Southeast Asia.