The only realistic way to get to Phuket is by air, however it is very difficult to find direct flight to Phuket. Most flights contain at least one stop elsewhere within Asia; with the large number of carriers now operating this route there are many options of where and how long you want the stop to be. From London I find the best option is an overnight EVA Air flight to Bangkok before a short hop to Phuket. From Phuket you can get to the various surrounding idyllic islands either by public ferry, or your hotel may offer a speedboat transfer service (I’ve tried both and if you’re here to relax then opt for the pricier speed boat!).
If you’re coming to Phuket for sun, sea, sand and relaxation then I would suggest getting off the mainland and visiting one of the lesser known islands – my favourite is Koh Yao Yai (I’ve stayed here both times and loved the peacefulness). For somewhere near to the airport (practically next door!) before an early morning flight or after a late flight look no further than Perennial Resort complete with adorable gardens and a lovely pool!
The best food in Thailand is that found at a night market! In Phuket Town there is a great market every Sunday evening which alongside the yummy street food also has stalls selling handmade souvenirs and areas with live music for you to enjoy. Most of the hotels in Phuket and the surrounding islands have their own restaurants within the resort however it is worth venturing out to try a local place – we wandered along the beach for BBQ-ed seafood and not only was it a quarter of the price but it was delicious. For somewhere more upmarket, Black Ginger (part of The Slate Resort near Phuket Airport), offers yummy Thai food in a very romantic setting.
I have to admit I didn’t find anywhere amazing to kick back and enjoy a cocktail in Phuket. My one tip however would be to visit a local 7-Eleven and stock up on alcohol from there as within your resort the prices are likely to be extortionate; be aware that they are likely to have restricted times during which they can sell alcohol so take note of these.
The main appeal of Phuket has to be the endless beaches to relax on however there are plenty of other places to explore both on and offshore. The initial reason I visited Phuket was to learn to scuba dive, and for those who wish to learn this is a great place to do so (and to come back and dive again once you’re qualified!) For a touch of culture head to Wat Chalong and the Big Buddha (still incomplete) and for an excellent viewpoint I suggest Promthep cape.
A hillside resort set on tranquil Koh Yao Yai, the Santhiya resort offers everything you need for a short paradisiacal break. Enjoy cocktails poolside or a sunset walk along the beach.
A small gated villa in the back of beyond this is a (very well) hidden gem, make sure you take a copy of the map provided! Located only a short drive …
Black Ginger offers guests a romantic gastronomic experience in stunning surroundings. Board the pontoon to the lakeside restaurant and enjoy Thai inspired dishes.