It's Thailand's biggest island, boasting long stretches of white sand beaches, scores of bars and restaurants and a happening nightlife, so it's no wonder thousands of tourists choose to holiday in Phuket. The capital Phuket Town is busy and bustling and well worth a visit to see Big Buddha, which looms over the city. Popular Patong is home to the largest beach and is the party capital of Thailand, while the quieter beaches of Kamala and Nai Thon are perfect for escaping from the crowds. Head to Chalong Bay to explore Phuket's islands such as Phi Phi.
Although there are direct flights to Thailand from the UK, there are no direct flights to Phuket so you'll need to take an indirect service. Airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Thai Airways offer indirect flights to Phuket from most major airports in the UK including Manchester, Edinburgh and London.
All flights originating in the UK arrive at Phuket International Airport which is located in the north of the island around 16 kilometres from both Patong and Phuket Town. Catching a bus, shared minibus or getting in a taxi are your best ways of reaching your Phuket hotel. The local bus will obviously work out the cheapest but will only take you to Phuket, where you can get a connecting bus to the beach resorts. Shared minibuses are surprisingly comfythe air-conditioned coaches regularly depart from outside the Arrivals exit once they are full and go straight to Patong. Yellow taxis are also readily available from outside the small terminal building, just make sure the driver uses the meter to ensure you pay the correct fare.
It's easy to findcheap hotels in Thailand and Phuket is no exception. Offering everything from budget dorms to high-end, five star luxury resorts there's accommodation in Phuket to suit everyone's budget. The best way to find a cheap Phuket hotel is to book in advance and shop around online for the best deal. In popular areas such as Patong don't expect beachside hotels if you're on a budget, however if you head to the smaller, less frequented areas your money will go a lot further.
You'll find colourful street markets all over Phuket and they are a great place to get cheap eats. Fill up on tasty noodles and Nam Phrik Kung Siap (dried chili and smoked shrimps), the food is authentic and very affordable. At the big beach resorts you'll find restaurants serving every possible type of cuisine and many Western fast food joints. Food in these establishments will be a lot more expensive than at the smaller, local eateries which offer real Thai food.
If you fancy taking one of the many tours on offer during your holiday in Phuket, shop around. There are literally hundreds of operators offer everything from snorkelling trips to island visits and prices vary dramatically. Don't be afraid to say no and look elsewhere if you feel the price being offered is too high. You're bound to find it cheaper with another company!
Updated 22nd May 2013
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