Imagine long, lazy days spent relaxing on stunning, palm-fringed beaches under the golden sun: Phuket is paradise on earth. Thailand's largest and most famous dream destination, the island is as colourful as it is cosmopolitan. You'll find lots to explore, from shimmering temples to colonial mansions. You may even see elephants coming down to play in the waves and cool off. Phuket is the perfect destination for both laid-back and adventure-filled holidays.
Few islands can boast such an abundance of beautiful beaches as Phuket. Winding coastal roads along the west coast are backed by verdant green foliage, offering easy access to a plethora of stunning shores, from remote stretches of palm-fringed sand to the bustling energy of the beaches around Patong. For a get-away-from-it-all feel, head to Mai Khao Beach in the northwest of Phuket, which is tranquil and calm, even during the high season. Surin Beach, also known as Millionaire's Row, appeals to the luxury crowd, offering high-end restaurants and wine bars, and Kata Beach will charm you with its spectacular palm-lined white sands, and calm, clear waters.
Phuket's national museum contains a variety of ancient artifacts including exhibits about the famous Battle of Thalang where the well-known heroines Chan and Mook defended the island against the Burmese in the 18th century. You will also find exhibits about Phuket's tin mining history, the indigenous Sea Gypsy culture and the island's Chinese heritage.
Set within achingly beautiful grounds, Wat Chalong is the most important temple in Phuket. The temple is dedicated to two venerable monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, who helped the injured in the tin miner's rebellion in 1876. It features a few chapels and prayer rooms, but is most famous for holding a splinter of a bone from the Lord Buddha in the Grand Pagoda.
Promthep Cape is perhaps Phuket's most photographed location. Situated at the top of the island's southernmost hill, Promthep Cape offers a 360-degree vista filled with tropical blue waters, verdant, green foliage, and white sand beaches. A lighthouse museum is filled with historical maritime artefacts and offers a viewing balcony from which you can see the Phi Phi Islands, Koh Racha Noi, Koh Racha Yai, and Koh Kiaow with its Buddhist monastery, as well as numerous other isles. There is a small shrine near the peak, featuring a number of wooden elephants. This viewpoint is especially famous for its dramatic sunset.
The chaotic, bustling resort of Patong is an experience in itself. Set next to a curved stretch of sand, the town and beach fuse to make one thriving area that sparks with energy. The beach is bursting with hotels, shopping malls, souvenir shops, neon signs, bars, and restaurants and the steamy streets teem with people experiencing the vibrant nightlife. Muay Thai (Thai boxing) can be seen at the Patong Boxing Stadium on Sai Namyen Road.