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For a holiday that offers something for everyone and the very best of everything, look no further than a trip to Phuket. Some of the most stunning aesthetics the world has to offer are matched in quality only by the welcoming and vibrant culture that adorns the streets of arguably the most spectacular jewel in Thailand's crown.
Getting to Phuket, Thailand
Phuket International Airport is the second busiest airport in Thailand in terms of passenger numbers, after Suvarnabhumi Airport, the main gateway to the Bangkok metropolitan area.
Nearly three million people pass through Phuket International's two terminals every year on trips to the popular island resort. The range of international carriers operating flights to Phuket includes Thai Airways, Air Berlin, KLM and Qatar Airways.
Taxis, private minibus and limousine services and public buses are all available to holidaymakers looking for transport to and from the airport. The base also features a duty-free shop, currency exchange desks, a restaurant and other amenities.
Introduction to the Island
Phuket is Thailand's largest island, with a total area of 543 sq km. This makes it approximately the same size as Singapore. Nearly 350,000 people live on the isle, which is situated in the Andaman Sea off the west coast of Thailand and linked to the mainland by two bridges.
The province has developed into a popular hotspot for all sorts of trips, from relaxing breaks on the beach and luxury getaways to hedonistic party holidays. Tourism is now one of the largest contributors to the local economy.
Much of central Phuket is mountainous, meaning the main visitor destinations and resorts are located along the coast.
Patong on the island's western seafront is the most popular location of all for holidaymakers, while less mainstream areas such as Chalong Bay and Cape Panwa in the south-east are also worth exploring.
Top five attractions
A world away from the calm and serenity of Phang Nga Bay is Bangla Road, a busy thoroughfare in Patong that is likely to be the first port of call for young travellers planning to do some partying in Phuket. The road is full of clubs, bars, restaurants and a diverse array of colourful characters.
Another experience worth checking out on the island is FantaSea, which is described as a cultural theme park but does not feature any rides. The highlight of the attraction is a show with Thai dancing, a cast of elephants, light and sound effects and a full-scale replica of a Khmer temple.
In addition to its beaches and man-made attractions, Phuket is home to spiritual sites such as Wat Chalong, a temple that welcomes thousands of visitors every year. The building boasts several striking aspects, including pagodas and hundreds of tiny pieces of glass that glitter and shine in the sunlight.
Travellers interested in learning more about the culture and history of the destination can take a tour of Phuket Town's old quarter, which offers sights including a combination of Chinese and colonial architecture. Visitors can also see shrines and temples, stop off at cafes for a bite to eat, pick up souvenirs from local shops and explore public museums.
Direct Flights travel tip for Phuket
People planning to hit the beach and do some swimming during a trip to Phuket should be aware that there are often strong currents off many of the island's beaches.
Swimmers should make sure they are never alone and remain in designated safe areas. Red flags on beaches mean the water is not safe for swimming.
When to visit
Phuket has a warm and humid climate throughout the year, with March to early May normally the hottest period.
The summer monsoon season runs from May to October, with rain a common occurrence in the evenings, while the months from November to February offer the best chance of cooler conditions.
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Map of Phuket