Last Updated on July 7, 2022 by Helen E. White
Where to Stay in Phuket: If you choose this island as a holiday destination, you should know in advance which are the best areas to stay in Phuket, and those that best suit your profile so that your experience is the best possible.
Phuket is the most popular island in Thailand and the one that attracts the most tourists. It is a relatively large island with very different areas and beaches. Thus, for example, Patong and Surin Beach have nothing to do with each other.
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Obviously, the best place to sleep in Phuket depends a lot on the personal tastes of each one. Some people prefer to be in a lively area with nightlife and shopping, while others prefer a wilder and quieter natural environment away from the masses.
The choice in Phuket is somewhat more complicated than in other islands of Thailand since it is larger, it has many more beaches and as I have already mentioned, these are very different from each other.
In general, the Thai islands with some tourist development usually have one or two somewhat developed areas and the rest of their beaches are usually more or less similar in terms of tourist development and tranquility. Phuket is somewhat different in this respect.
Phuket is a large island about 50 kilometers long and about 20 wide and has such a number and variety of beaches that it is normal that when you start looking for the best place to stay in Phuket during your vacation you have doubts about which area to choose.
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- 1 The Best Areas to Stay in Phuket
- 1.1 1. Mai Khao Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket in a Natural Area Without Mass Tourism
- 1.2 2. Nai Yang Beach, Where to Sleep in Phuket for a Super Quiet Beach Vacation
- 1.3 3. Hat Nai Thon, Is a Typical Tropical Beach With a Jungle Area
- 1.4 4. Bang Tao Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket in a Luxury Resort
- 1.5 5. Surin Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket in an Exclusive Area
- 1.6 6. Kamala Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket as a Family
- 1.7 7. Patong Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket to Party
- 1.8 8. Karon Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket Is a Very Complete Destination
- 1.9 9. Kata Beach, Very Popular With Families and Couples
- 1.10 10. Nai Harn Beach, One of the Best Beaches on the South Coast
- 1.11 11. Phuket Town, Has More Local History, Culture, Shopping and Nightlife
- 1.12 12. Other Fantastic and Lesser-known Beaches to Stay in Phuket
- 2 Hotels in Phuket
- 3 Cheap Accommodation in Phuket
The Best Areas to Stay in Phuket
Let’s go by parts. The best beaches in Phuket are those on the west coast, and some on the south coast. Along the entire stretch of coastline from Mai Khao to Chalong Bay there are beaches for all tastes.
The most popular, with more hotels and more people, are Patong and Karon. From there, there are others with a more moderate development such as Kata or Bang Tao, and other very quiet ones such as Mai Khao or Kamala.
In any case, Phuket has a huge variety of beaches and surely it has the one that is perfect for you whatever you are looking for. It has so many that it is impossible to include them all in a list like this one.
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So here I make a non-exhaustive list of some of the ones that I think are the best places to stay in Phuket, including various profiles of beaches.
1. Mai Khao Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket in a Natural Area Without Mass Tourism
The Sirinat National Park, located in the north of the island, 15 minutes from the airport, covers an area of 68 km of coastline. The exceptional beaches of Mai Khao Beach, Nai Yang Beach, and Hat Nai Thon are part of this park.
Mai Khao Beach with its 17 kilometers long is the longest beach in Phuket. It is one of the least developed tourist areas since, being part of this park, construction is strongly controlled.
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If you put in relation its extension with the hotel supply, there is hardly any possibility of accommodation. It is a completely natural and wild area.
It is one of the beaches where there are fewer people. In fact, outside of weekends and vacation periods, you can walk for miles and barely meet anyone.
That said, you will find the vast majority of hotels in the area closest to the airport. Also, some resorts of all kinds, from super luxury to more modest ones, are scattered along the coast.
2. Nai Yang Beach, Where to Sleep in Phuket for a Super Quiet Beach Vacation
Nai Yang Beach is a pretty beach quite popular among Thais located 5 kilometers south of Mai Khao. It is very quiet and has few hotels and several restaurants and beach bars. Despite this, it has a point more animation than Mai Khao Beach.
Apart from being a good gateway to visit the Sirinath National Park, there is very little to do in Nai Yang other than rest, relax, and sunbathe.
Nai Yang Beach is an ideal place to stay in Phuket for those seeking nature and tranquility.
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Although the accommodation offered is not abundant, it is varied. There are a few luxury resorts, a few mid-range options, and some on offer for backpackers and budget travelers.
3. Hat Nai Thon, Is a Typical Tropical Beach With a Jungle Area
Hat Nai Thon for its part is one of the pearls of Phuket. One of my favorite beaches. It is one of the few beaches that have escaped the appetite of beach resort developers (although, as is the case with the rest of the island, there is more and more construction).
Nai Thon is a typical small tropical beach located in a very jungle area. Few hotels, few restaurants, and few services, but an ideal option to stay in Phuket and relax for a few days away from the tourist masses.
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4. Bang Tao Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket in a Luxury Resort
Bang Tao with its almost 8 kilometers of beach is one that deserves to be on any list of the best beaches in Phuket. It’s a very long beach of white sand and turquoise waters and is home to some of the best resorts on the island and also some of the largest.
This beach is associated with the spectacular Laguna Phuket, one of the largest hotel complexes in all of Asia.
It is the area that most resembles the beaches of the Dominican Republic or the Riviera Maya with its gigantic luxury resorts. Although this type of accommodation is what dominates, there is also a part of the beach where the cheap and average accommodation options are concentrated.
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Bang Tao is ideal for spending a relaxing vacation enjoying a good resort and an excellent beach.
5. Surin Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket in an Exclusive Area
Surin Beach, neighboring Bang Tao Beach, is a small beach that is among the most beautiful and also among most exclusive in Phuket.
Here, high-end resorts and luxury villas dominate. In fact, some of the best resorts on the island are on Surin Beach. There are few options for tight budgets.
It is quite quiet and with a very pleasant atmosphere that has nothing to do with what is in Patong Beach. It attracts both foreigners and Thais.
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If you are looking for a bit of class and refinement for your beach vacation and you can afford it, Surin is an excellent choice for a stay in Phuket.
6. Kamala Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket as a Family
Kamala is one of my favorites. Located north of Patong Beach, it is in a small bay surrounded by jungle hills that make it one of the most beautiful places in Phuket. Its beach is excellent and its turquoise blue waters, in emerald green areas, are perfect for bathing.
It is a very quiet beach but at night it has some places to go out and have a few drinks in a quit plan. Sometimes there is a party on the beach.
It attracts a mix of families, young couples, long-term travelers, Phuket repeaters, young people and many backpackers.
It is ideal to relax on its beach, enjoy the restaurants and bars that are on the beach, rent a motorcycle to explore the surrounding beaches and get closer to Patong, which is not far away to go out.
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The accommodation is mostly aimed at low and medium budgets. Unlike other more popular beaches, there are few super-luxury resorts.
7. Patong Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket to Party
Patong Beach is the most touristic area. It is the typical city that has grown around a magnificent beach becoming a city with tall buildings and a lot of concrete that attracts hordes of tourists. In Spain, we have innumerable similar examples.
Patong is certainly not the typical Thai beach that you imagine of white sand with a tropical jungle in the background. Even so, it has a good beach located in a beautiful bay where the sides are still very green. The beach is long and wide, and its waters are clean.
In it, you will find everything you could want such as umbrellas, hammocks, street vendors, restaurants and bars, and a thousand and one possibilities to practice water activities.
The size of the beach means that you never feel overwhelmed by the crowds. There are nowhere near as many people as in some of the busiest in Spain.
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Patong Beach is the liveliest place and the one that offers the most leisure possibilities on the whole island. There is always something to do. Spas, shopping malls, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, etc. abound.
It is famous for its hectic nightlife which is concentrated on Bangla Road. Along with the normal bars and nightclubs, entertainment venues for adults line the street. There are dozens of huge venues with girls and ladyboys dancing in the bars.
The atmosphere is a bit seedy but if you’re in Phuket it’s worth stopping by for a night to see it.
Patong is very popular with families (although it is a very busy place) and tourists who travel with tourist packages, there are many Asians (they look for places with leisure and shopping), and many young people and gentlemen who stopped being young a long time ago looking for alcohol and sex.
One of its strong points is the enormous variety of prices and ranges that it has in its hotels. Although Phuket is one of the most expensive destinations in Thailand, Patong has plenty of cheap and decent accommodation possibilities and mid-range hotels to spare.
It also has some of the most luxurious and exclusive resorts on the island. The latter are located in quieter areas of the beach and away from its central area where Bangla Road is.
8. Karon Beach, Where to Stay in Phuket Is a Very Complete Destination
Karon located 5 km from Patong is the second most tourist beach in Phuket. It is a beach that, despite being touristy, has a much lower degree of development than its neighbor Patong. It’s a nice place that has everything without going to the extremes and hassles of Patong.
It is a very complete destination that, in addition to having everything, its beach is very good. It is a 2.5 km long beach, clean and excellent for swimming. It is a very good beach but for my taste, there are other much nicer ones in Phuket, such as its neighbor Kata Beach.
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Karon, like Kata, is one of the beaches that are often marketed in package tours.
It is visited by many families, couples on honeymoon, and in general people looking for a beach that is good and has a little of everything, including entertainment and lively nightlife but without reaching the gap that is Patong Beach.
It doesn’t seem like a bad destination to me, but I don’t see the added value of traveling to Thailand just to stay on a beach like Karon. For someone looking for a balance between a good beach and a place that has a little of everything, I would rather choose Kata Beach. Kata is somewhat similar but much calmer and more charming.
However, Karon can be a good option if you take it as a base camp from which to make excursions (eg Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay), explore other beaches in Phuket, and go to Patong Beach one night.
9. Kata Beach, Very Popular With Families and Couples
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Kata is one of the most recommended beaches to stay in Phuket for those looking to combine quiet beach days with nights in which to go out to dinner, have a drink, and enjoy a less crazy nightlife than Patong Beach or Karon.
The area is very nice. It is located in a bay south of Karon Beach, very close to it. Its beach of golden sands, crystal clear waters, and bordered by palm trees is divided into two: Kata Yai, the largest, and Kata Noi, smaller and quieter.
Kata is very popular with families and couples, many of them on their honeymoon.
Many people tend to doubt Karon and Kata, because they look a bit similar and because many travel agencies sell them.
If you hesitate between the two, my advice is to stay with Kata. It has much more charm and you are close to both Karon and Patong if you ever want more action than there is in Kata any night.
Kata has a good selection of accommodation for all budgets,the vast majority on the seafront or very close. To highlight some resorts that are on the hill that separates the two beaches and from which you have good views.
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10. Nai Harn Beach, One of the Best Beaches on the South Coast
The beaches on the south coast are not one of my favorites. Like the east coast t, they are not as good at swimming as those on the west coast. The beaches of the south coast, although they are beautiful, are not much to my liking (although I understand that other person like that type of beach).
The most famous are Nai Harn (which is the one I like the most in the south), Rawai, the Chalong Bay area, Panwa Cape and Panwa Beach.
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South coast beaches are generally not as good as west coast beaches for swimming (they usually don’t have that perfect sandy seabed).
However, Nai Harn Beach and neighboring Rawai are two exceptions, and the only ones that I would 100% recommend to stay in Phuket in the southern area.
Nai Harn Beach is one of, if not the best, beaches on the South Coast. There are few hotels and it is a beautiful and quiet beach that is highly recommended.
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11. Phuket Town, Has More Local History, Culture, Shopping and Nightlife
Phuket Town is the largest city on the island. It is its political and administrative center. It stands out for its colonial architecture of Portuguese influence and to a lesser extent Chinese, a legacy of its commercial past. It is good to come one afternoon to go shopping.
It is also very good to go out to dinner and enjoy its nightlife with more local and much more decent air than Patong or Karon. There are places with live music with a very good atmosphere.
Few first-time Thailand vacationers stay in Phuket Town. The normal thing is that you visit the island to enjoy its beaches. For this, Phuket Town is not the best option since it is a bit far from the best beaches. You will need at least half an hour to reach some of them.
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It is a good option for those who travel for work or for those who are looking for cheap accommodation. Phuket Town is where you find the cheapest accommodation on the island.
12. Other Fantastic and Lesser-known Beaches to Stay in Phuket
Phuket is huge and has a number of fantastic beaches that are impossible to include in a list. These are some of the best beaches in Phuket and where it is easy to find accommodation and services.
There are other beaches that I have not included but they are also very popular and an excellent option to stay in Phuket. There are also smaller and lesser-known ones, but they are really wonderful.
Some of these lesser-known beaches are ideal for those who want peace and quiet or for you to spend the day and return to your base camp in the evening since they usually have almost nothing to do once the sun goes down.
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Algunas de Estas playas son: Banana Rock, Freedom Beach, Ao Yon Beach, Nui Beach, Laem Singh, Paradise Beach, Ao Sane Beach, Pansea Beach y Kalim Beach.
Between these and the previous list, you already have a good selection of beaches to find the most suitable place to stay in Phuket according to your tastes.
Hotels in Phuket
Phuket has a well-established tourist tradition that goes back many decades. Its tourism model is highly developed and offers a large quantity and variety, the highest in the country, of hotels and resorts.
It is not the cheapest destination in Thailand but whatever your budget you will find a good number of hotels to suit you. In addition to its enormous hotel offer, Phuket stands out for being the place where the largest and most luxurious beach resorts in the country are located.
In practically all the more or less touristic islands of Thailand you will find some luxury resorts but in none the enormous number of exclusive resorts with their level of service and luxury, nor the number of Caribbean-type mega-resorts that Phuket has.
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Cheap Accommodation in Phuket
There is also a huge supply of cheap accommodation in Phuket. You will have no problem finding something cheap in Phuket Town or in the more touristy beaches like Patong, Karon Beach, or Kata. Nor on the beaches on the south coast, such as Rawai, which tend to be less popular.
On the other beaches, it will depend a bit on your profile and the season. There are somewhere the majority of their accommodation is mid-range or upper-middle-range, while others, especially the smaller and prettier ones, have a limited supply that fills up quickly in high season.