Phuket lives up to its reputation as a city bursting with international culture, shopping, and culinary possibilities. Its many art venues, local cafés, Chinese temples, Sino-Portuguese architecture, museums, and spas compel millions of tourists a year to visit the area and experience a bevy of different sights, sounds, and tastes. The city’s spectacular beaches and waterfalls, not to mention its legendary nightlife and unique celebrations, like the annual Vegetarian Festival, keep the area consistently abuzz with new people and activities. Join the throng of visitors who indulge in the tropical climate and flock to the amazing beaches, and find peace and quiet in ancient places of worship.
Location: A big city next to the Andaman Sea
Situated on its namesake island in the south-east tip of Thailand, Phuket is surrounded on both sides by the Andaman Sea. The city is the capital of the Phuket Province. Bangkok, the country’s famous capital, lies about 850 km north, and is easily reachable with direct flights from Phuket International Airport.
Business: International entrepreneurship and tourism
Once widely known for its tin mines and rubber tree businesses, Phuket is now a haven for entrepreneurs from countries like China, India, and Portugal. The mix of cultures, services, and products is in part what makes the city such a popular tourist destination. Visitors from across the globe indulge in the city’s varied dining, shopping, and accommodations year-round.
Culture: Endless street and temple art
Chinese temples, Sino-Portuguese architecture, and Buddhist art are just a few of the cultural sights unique to this area. Though numerous Chinese temples grace the city, the Shrine of the Serene Light stands out from the rest with Taoist wall sketches and sublime gardens. The Phuket Thai Hua Museum, a former Chinese language school building, delves into the city’s history and features a mix of Art Deco, and Palladian and Chinese architecture. For even more architectural variation, stop by the Standard Chartered Bank, the THAI office, or the Soi Romanee neighbourhood to behold the beautiful Sino-Portuguese architectural style. The Phuket Philatelic Museum, which was once an old post office, now houses several collections of preserved stamps from around the world. For some art exposure, visit Ranida, a local gallery with hundreds of Buddhist statues and sculptures.
Activities: Boat cruises, massages, and cooking classes
There is no shortage of amusement and excitement in Phuket: enroll in the Suay Cooking School to learn from local chefs, see a fight at the boxing stadium, stroll through the plethora of open-air markets, see a cabaret show, or take a boat cruise. For a gorgeous view of the sea, climb to the top of the Khao Rang summit. For an hour or full day of relaxation, visit one of the many high-end spas that scatter the city—Banyan Tree Spa or Swasana Spa—to experience an authentic Thai massage. If you’re in the city during late September or early October, be sure to participate in the annual Vegetarian Festival and carnival, complete with innovative dishes, cooking shows, and concerts. If all else fails, roam the streets and test out the many restaurants and bars that showcase a variety of delicious international cuisines.