Occupying the western shores of southern Thailand, Phuket is perhaps the country's most popular beach holiday hub to date. Welcoming visitors from around the world, Phuket's fame among the travelling masses is not only due to its stunning beaches but also the natural wonders and heritage hubs occupying its confines. From exploring the island's best beaches to touring lesser-known highlights, here's how to spend 7 days in picturesque Phuket.
While it may seem counterintuitive, your first day in Phuket should be spent exploring the confines of Phuket Town and its historic neighbourhood, Old Town. Renowned for its fusion of architectural elements that combine Chinese and Portuguese building styles, the historic landmarks located in Phuket Town are largely concentrated around Thalang Road. Although Phuket Old Town is a busy city centre on most days, simply walking around and shopping for local food items at small boutiques is a great way to get acquainted with island life. The rest of the day can be spent taking in the views from Khao Rang or the Khao Khad observation point where one can see as far as Chalong Bay. Drop by the Phuket Aquarium in the evening to marvel at the groupers and sea turtles swimming around its massive tanks before calling it a night.
The second day of your trip can be devoted to exploring Phuket's Buddhist heritage and the many temples and shrines that are part of the island. Head down to Chalong where the Big Buddha of Kitti Sangkharam Temple is found atop Nakkerd Hill. After taking in the views, head over to nearby Wat Chalong, which is also the island's largest temple. Renting a boat from Chalong Pier, you can then make your way to the Promthep Cape and Rawai where some of the best local restaurants are found. Tour the Rawai Seafood Market before venturing over to Nai Harn Beach at the end of the day and enjoy a swim.
The third day of your trip should be dedicated to exploring Kata Beach and Karon, Phuket's longest beach. Those based at Jono X Phuket Karon or any of the other Karon beach hotels will find that the area is also a hub for water sports lovers and water-bound activities. From surfing to parasailing, there are more than enough water-based activities to keep one occupied. Lined with beach bars and seafood restaurants, the after-dark hours can also be spent dancing the night away in Karon's discos.
Designate the 4th day of your week in Phuket for a deep dive into Patong, a vibrant area of Phuket where stunning beaches and entertainment hotspots are accessible. In addition to swimming and enjoying the various water sports activities available on Patong Beach, spending time at Freedom Beach is another must for first-timers. Bangla Road is where Patong's best bars, restaurants, cabaret shows and Muay Thai fights can be found so visitors should venture over to Soi Bangla come nighttime.
Cherngtalay may not be as popular as Patong, but its numerous natural attractions and outstanding dining options make it an ideal location to spend your fifth day in Phuket. Apart from splashing around on Surin Beach and Pansea Beach, those who are lucky enough to hang around Cherngtalay can also go for a swim in Layan Beach or play beach volleyball at Bangtao Beach.
Paklok is where the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary is found and it is the ideal location to spend a few meaningful hours on the day before you leave Phuket. Nature enthusiasts will find the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and other rescue centres to be worthwhile destinations. Additionally, a tour of the village Baan Bangrong in the area is a great way to experience its authentic charm, unaffected by mass tourism.
Mai Khao Beach ought to be your last beach stop for the trip as a tour of the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation and the Tha Chatchai Mangrove Forest are all that's possible before it's time to head to the airport.