Thailand's largest island offers endless beaches, a wealth of watersports and fabulous dive schools, not to mention a clutch of seriously luxurious beach resorts to enjoy them from. They're backed by lush rainforest which is still surprisingly pristine; and the west-facing coastline enjoys some of Thailand's finest sunsets. Another natural highlight is sea turtle hatching, which you can observe between March and April.
Phuket Town has a bit of a seedy reputation, but its exotic blend of architecture and the handicraft shops are well worth a day trip, as are the temples. But it's the jumping off point for some of the loveliest islands and karst coastline in Thailand - the bays of Phang Nga.
Phuket’s west coast is lined with heavenly beaches. We love casuarina-fringed Surin beach (pictured), with its masseuses, bars, cafes and sunbeds: it’s great for swimming in high season (December to March), paddling in low season, and exploring rock pools at any time. Another favourite is Layan beach, nestled among pine trees in Sirinat National Park.
For quieter stretches, head to the far northwest in search of Hat Mai Khao, Hat Nai Yang or Hat Kamala.
Regarded by most as the most beautiful spot on Phuket. Promthep Cape juts into the Andaman Sea at the southernmost tip of the island, and on a clear day you can see right across to Phi Phi Island.
Diving is why so many guests come to Phuket it's possible to see a multitude of bright coral, and unusual sea life including octopus, stingray, lion fish, even whale sharks. Fun dives include excursions to Phi Phi (of The Beach fame), Shark Point or Hin Deang. There are numerous PADI schools on the island.
Home to the infamous James Bond Island, many tour operators will offer a day trip to the beautiful area of Phang Nga Bay. it’s a tourist haven, but worth it to feel at one with 007...
A unique blend of colonial and Chinese architecture, Old Town Phuket’s shophouses are home to restaurants, art galleries, coffee shops and private houses. Jui Tui and Put Jaw Temples are well worth a look and my visitors also head a few km south of town to see Wat Chalong.
Spend an afternoon wandering historic Thalang road and the surrounding colourful balconied streets in Phuket Town, then head to the night market, where sizzling food stalls serve up everything from dumplings and deep-fried crickets to sushi and noodles.
The hatching of endangered sea turtles can be seen on 3 of Phuket's beaches (all protected national parks). Female turtles return to the beach on which they were born to lay their eggs - often hundreds of km away. They lay 90 eggs at each sitting (4 sittings), and these hatch approximately 60 days afterwards.