Where To Stay In Phuket, Thailand

The island of Phuket is precisely 543 square kilometers. While this is not really a large land area, it is teeming with a lot of beautiful things to see and many interesting things to do that will leave even the fussiest visitor spoilt for choice. It does not stop at that, the entire island is dotted with wonderful accommodation options.

Phuket, Thailandflickr/Earth-Bound Misfit, I

Many people visit the island having pretty good idea what activities they want to engage in. For such visitors, where to stay in Phuket, Thailand depend a lot on personal preferences and proximity to the attractions that top their travel and tour itineraries. Here is a guide highlighting available locations both close to the center of Patong’s nightlife and shopping as well as the calm suburbs. This guide also highlights both the ups and downsides of all the featured locations.

Places To Stay In Phuket

1. Inner and Outer Patong

Patong Beachflickr/Tomoaki INABA

Inner Patong

Inner Patong is a stone throw away from both Patong Beach and Bangla Road. Hotels in this location therefore lie right in the middle of Patong's nightlife. This location is also close to the key shopping areas as well as Patong Beach which is Phuket’s main beach. There are many hotels in this location ranging from medium-priced facilities to popular and modern resorts. The hotels have access to both the beach and the island's vibrant nightlife. They also provide easy access to Patong's leading attractions, have luxurious accommodation at very competitive rates and have received high reviews from past guests. If you are planning on having a party Phuket style or shopping till you drop then this is a perfect location. Most hotels here are however very close to the party spots as such have to contend with the noise and Patong’s heavy traffic.

Outer Patong

Just a short taxi ride out of the city center is a location that hosts most Patong hotels including big shots like the Holiday Inn Resort. Outer Patong is attractive because there is way less noise as compared to Inner Patong and the surroundings are very luxurious. If you are looking for the widest possible variety of Phuket's upmarket resorts then Outer Patong is your best bet. There is a good number of hotels in this location that are close enough to the beach. You however will have to grab a taxi if you want to dash downtown and enjoy some of Phuket’s vibrant party life. Better still; most hotels have shuttle services to many places of interest downtown. It however is wise to find out well in advance if such services do exist especially if you plan on using them.

2. Bang Tao Bay

Laguna Resortsflickr/mykaul

The secluded Bang Tao Bay is located north of Patong about an hour's drive from the city center. It hosts the largest number of Phuket's luxury hotels that provide self-contained tropical vacations. People, who while on holiday, prefer to have all their whims catered for within a hotel complex will find Bang Tao a paradise of sorts. This ideal location is home to the renowned Laguna Resorts, high end establishments built on a 1000 acre property surrounding a collection of small lakes. Some of the establishments that make up Phuket's Laguna Resorts include Sheraton Grande and Banyan Tree. Bang Tao is also home to Laguna Phuket Golf Club, an innovative facility that works with certain resorts to offer all inclusive packages that afford golf lovers a time of their lives.

3. Karon and Kata

Karon and Kataflickr/Walter Lim

These small quiet townships are located within 30 minutes' ride of Patong. They are perfect for travelers who prefer to have the best of both worlds; the tranquil serenity that comes with the countryside as well as an occasional immersion into the noisy but cheerful excitement of Patong. These townships have decent bars and restaurants, small shopping areas and beautiful beaches that are considerably less crowded. For visitors looking to evade the clamor and busy lifestyle that Patong thrives on, Karon and Kata are the best alternative; plus, the townships serve some of the best steaks in the whole of Thailand. These two offer quality resorts in terrific locations so visitors looking for Where to stay in Phuket, Thailand can enjoy a bit of the beach, extensive landscaped grounds and quality accommodation all at very fair prices.

4. Rawai and Nai Harn Beach

Nai Harn Beachflickr/wales_gibbons

Rawai is a little tourist village pleasantly tucked on the southern end of Phuket. Like the townships of Karon and Kata, Rawai too has a laid back atmosphere. It however has some very elegant restaurants that are famous for their seaside dining options. Rawai Beach is however unsuitable for swimming but Nai Harn Beach, located just 10 minutes away, offers super swimming grounds as well as a good number of bars, restaurants and shops worth paying a visit. Traditional long tail Thai boats also use Rawai as the departure point when they are headed out for island trips so it is an important location to mark when planning your itinerary.

5. Kamala

Fantasea Theme Parkflickr/Walter Lim

Kamala is a fair sized town north of Patong that wins travelers hearts' on two counts; you have to pass through some of Thailand's best sceneries to get there and it located right next to the beautiful Kamala Bay. Granted, the town itself isn't as attractive but it has a vibrant population of retirees and long-term foreign residents so visitors won't necessarily stick out. It is great for people looking to shake off the tourist crowds plus it has some very great resorts that boast of exquisite seaside views. Its nightlife isn't anything to write home about but on the plus side, it has Fantasea Theme Park, a carnival village that every visitor to Thailand should experience.

6. The Larger Phuket

Chedi Hotelflickr/Gary Denham

There are numerous resorts and hotels spread all over the island. Many of these are located in very secluded locations offering some of the most spectacular views as well as the most unique access to many smaller beaches that don't get much human traffic. The delightful Chedi Hotel is one such resort. There are many other charming locations and facilities dotting the entire landscape of Phuket Island. Phuket Town however is disappointingly boring and should be avoided. It is the administrative and business capital of the island and as such is rigid and hardly attractive from a tourist's point of view.