Sunbathers, snorkellers and hikers all give Phuket holidays the thumbs-up, thanks to its stellar crop of beaches, national parks and dive-friendly isles.

The Pearl of the Andaman

Phuket dangles off of Thailand’s south-west arm. This place is so big that it barely looks like an island, but it’s only attached to the mainland by a single stretch of tarmac. Its core’s stuffed with jungles, while the curvy coast’s padded out by suede-soft beaches. And you could pretty much paint by numbers with the islands floating off-shore.

Alphabet of beaches

There are salt-white beaches left, right and centre here. You just need to decide whether you’re after something mellow, like Bang Tao Beach, or a party animal, like Patong Beach. Tri Trang Beach is a compromise, since it’s just around the corner from Patong’s bar-jammed Bangla Road and buzzy beach. On the east side, long-tail boats ferry people over to Phang Nga Bay’s unreal limestone islands.

Welcome to the jungle

If you like your holiday destinations with a bit of greenery, Phuket works like a charm. Here, there’s a palm buffer behind every beach. For a real dose of jungle, you can daytrip to a pair of national parks. There’s tropical Khao Lak in the north-east, as well as Khao Phra Thaeo on the other side, where you can trek to waterfalls and gawp at gibbons.

At a Glance

  • Party in Patong
  • Paddle past leopard sharks in the Similan Islands
  • Flop out on a jungle-backed beach

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