In this guide, I’ll go through the best areas and towns, making choosing where to stay in Phuket easier.
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and has been the most touristy area of Thailand for decades.
Therefore, you can find it all in Phuket.
Whether you want to stay in luxurious hotels by the beach, you’re travelling with children and want to stay in a family-friendly hotel, or you’re a young backpacker looking for like-minded travellers.
Below, I’ll go through the best areas in Phuket and recommend hotels.
Where to stay in Phuket? Let me start with the most famous and infamous area.
- Best places to stay in Phuket
- 1. Patong – best area for nightlife 🥳
- Recommended place to stay in Patong near the Beach (I stayed here)
- 2. Karon – best area for families with children 👨👩👧👦
- Places to stay in Karon
- 3. Kata – best area for a quiet holiday 😌
- Places to stay in Kata
- 4. Koh Yao Yai – incredible island near Phuket 🏝️
- Places to stay on Koh Yao Yai
- 5. Phuket Town – best actual city in Phuket
- 6. Kamala – stay close to Surin Beach (best beach in Phuket?)
- Places to stay in Kamala
- 7. Nai Harn – hidden gem in Phuket ⭐️
- Places to stay in Nai Harn
- 8. Rawai – local charm and easy access to nearby islands
- Places to stay in Rawai
- 9. Bangtao – amazing beach near the airport ✈️
- Places to stay in Bangtao
- What is the most popular area to stay in Phuket?
- Where to stay in Phuket with children?
- What is the best beach in Phuket?
- What time of year is best in Phuket?
- Is it better to stay in Patong or Karon?
Best places to stay in Phuket
Here’s a brief rundown for those who want a quick overview and then get on with finding the best places to stay in Phuket.
Where to stay in Phuket for different travellers:
- Patong – best area for nightlife 🥳
- Karon – best place for families with children 👨👩👧👦
- Kata – best quiet place with good beaches 😌
- Koh Yao Yai – incredible island 20 minutes from Phuket 🏖️
- Phuket Town – stay in an exciting city
- Kamala – great place with luxury hotels near Surin Beach 🏖️
- Nai Harn – a hidden gem in Phuket away from mass tourism ⭐️
- Rawai – best place for local charm & boat trips 🚤
- Bangtao – excellent beach near the airport ✈️
Click on the area name above and go directly to an overview of the best hotels in the given area.
Below, I’ll go into more depth about where to stay in Phuket.
1. Patong – best area for nightlife 🥳
Patong is one of the most popular towns in Phuket and one of the liveliest areas on the entire island.
The famous Patong Beach is the main attraction, with white sand, turquoise blue water, and abundant water sports activities.
In addition, Patong is known for its bustling nightlife, with bars, clubs, and entertainment featuring live music.
In this town, you’ll find Bangla Road, a peculiar mix of regular bars with loud music and red-light district-like bars.
Patong can be a great starting point for those travelling to Phuket who want to stay in a classic tourist area with plenty to do and everything from McDonald’s to Irish pubs.
Before my most recent trip to Thailand, I had been to the country several times but never to Phuket, and I must admit that I looked down on places like Patong as an area.
And in a way, it’s true. Patong is a highly touristy destination, for better or worse.
For example, see how Bangla Road looks in the evening in this video:
I wanted to experience that side of Thailand, so we booked a stay in Patong when we arrived from Denmark.
It was a decent way to “land” after the journey: there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and things to do all over Patong – and the beach may not be Thailand’s most beautiful, but it’s still quite decent.
Once you get away from Bangla Road, there are plenty of cosy side streets with good restaurants and bars, so although Bangla Road is undoubtedly the town’s main attraction, you don’t have to spend all your time there.
I recommend staying in Patong if you want to be close to everything, and if you want to experience the nightlife in Phuket, then Patong is definitely the best area.
Recommended place to stay in Patong near the Beach (I stayed here)
We stayed at NAP Patong, just a few minutes’ walk from the beach, it has a nice pool area and offers neat rooms at affordable prices.
Quite neat rooms with a small terrace – there are also more luxurious rooms at the hotel, but we prioritised staying on a budget here.
A lovely 4-star hotel that can be recommended if you want to stay in pleasant surroundings without breaking the bank. You can walk to the centre of Patong (and Bangla Road) in 10-15 minutes.
As I mentioned, we stayed at this hotel in Patong because we wanted to stay in a “nice enough place” but not spend too much money on our first hotel in Thailand.
If you’re travelling to Thailand with children, looking for a more authentic Thailand, or want to stay in beautiful surroundings in peace and quiet, there are many better areas in Phuket.
For example, we’ll take a closer look at Karon now.
2. Karon – best area for families with children 👨👩👧👦
Just south of Patong, in the next bay on Phuket’s west coast, we find Karon Beach, the perfect area for families with children to stay in Phuket.
Karon Beach is a beautiful sandy beach that is less crowded than Patong but still lively enough to attract tourists.
The beach is about 3 km long and is known for its clear water and fantastic sea views. There are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling, swimming, and other water sports activities here.
Karon Beach is a fantastic place to stay in Phuket for families with children.
Children and adults can enjoy many activities, such as boat trips, diving centres, and several child-friendly attractions like Dino Park Mini Golf, a dinosaur-themed amusement park.
Get an impression of Karon Beach here:
Furthermore, many hotels and resorts in Karon Beach are particularly child-friendly, with facilities such as children’s pools and play areas.
So if you’re looking for a place to stay in Phuket where you and your children will have fun and enjoy a cosy atmosphere, Karon Beach is a great choice.
Places to stay in Karon
Karon has a range of great hotels, with everything from budget hotels offering basic rooms to gigantic luxury resorts with multiple swimming pools.
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel with great reviews, I would look closer at Mandarava Resort and Spa Karon Beach.
If you are a family with children looking for a good base in Karon, Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket is particularly well-suited for families.
As the image above shows, you can travel from the beach to the pool in just a few seconds, ensuring everyone in the family is happy 😀
3. Kata – best area for a quiet holiday 😌
Kata Beach is a beautiful sandy beach in Phuket, known for its clear, turquoise-blue water and white sand.
The beach’s tranquillity and relatively calm surroundings make it a popular spot for travellers seeking a more relaxing and peaceful holiday.
Kata Beach is known as one of the best beaches in Phuket.
If you want to stay somewhere less crowded than Karon and Patong’s tourist areas, Kata Beach is a great choice.
The area is known for having a slightly more peaceful and quiet atmosphere, and there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy Phuket.
You are still relatively close to Karon and Patong, so if you want to visit Patong, it’s just a little over 10 km away, which takes 20-30 minutes by taxi.
If you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxed place to stay in Phuket, Kata Beach is an excellent choice.
Please note that there are both Kata Beach and Kata Noi Beach – Kata Noi is the most beautiful but also the area with the least nightlife (which is excellent if you’re looking for a relaxing place to stay in Phuket).
Places to stay in Kata
Regarding the best hotels in Kata, there is one place, in particular, you should start your search: Katathani Phuket Beach Resort is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Kata and perhaps even Phuket.
A slightly more budget-friendly option that is also very suitable for families is Chanalai Flora Resort, where you can find family rooms with space for 2 adults and 2 children.
4. Koh Yao Yai – incredible island near Phuket 🏝️
Initially, I planned to focus solely on cities and holiday areas in Phuket in this guide, but I must mention Koh Yao Yai.
The island is accessible via a short boat ride from Phuket and represents a more untouched side of Thailand than the “mainland.”
I had dreamt for years about visiting the island (and one particular hotel, which I’ll discuss below), so I was pretty excited when I got on the speedboat and, in just 20 minutes, arrived from Phuket’s eastern part to Koh Yao Yai in Phang Nga Bay.
The island did not disappoint!
Accommodation ranges from simple budget huts to luxury resorts that offer a unique blend of comfort and traditional Thai charm.
What stands out most about Koh Yao Yai is its authenticity. As tourism less affects the island, you can get a more authentic taste of Thai culture and lifestyle.
The island’s beaches are less crowded and offer a fantastic opportunity to relax and enjoy the sea breeze. There are also a variety of local restaurants where you can sample authentic Thai cuisine.
One of the best ways to explore the island is to rent a scooter.
It allows you to explore the island’s hidden treasures, from its lush forests and waterfalls to the tranquil mangrove forests.
The weather is tropical year-round, but you should visit from November to April for the best climate.
Places to stay on Koh Yao Yai
One of the reasons we even ended up visiting Koh Yao Yai was our hotel.
For several years, I had dreamt about staying at a hotel I had seen in various travel videos on YouTube – and it did not disappoint!
We’re talking about the 5-star hotel Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa.
It’s one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at. I highly recommend it to anyone travelling to Thailand who wishes to experience luxurious surroundings.
By the way, I met several Danes (I’m from Denmark myself) at the hotel – including one of the country’s most famous comedians and a very well-known former Danish national football player 😀
Santhiya is a vast resort featuring a small private beach, several restaurants, a wide range of room types, bungalows, and complete apartments. Several room types come with a swimming pool with a sea view.
I “settled” for booking a luxurious room with a large bathtub on the balcony with a sea view, and it was indeed an outstanding experience.
Sitting out there in the evening watching the sunset was truly priceless.
The hotel also has two swimming pools—one large one by the beach and an infinity pool on the hilltop, with a restaurant.
The resort’s own shuttle vans drive you around, so even if, for example, you’re staying up by the infinity pool, it only takes a couple of minutes to get down to the beach.
You can book a speedboat transfer to the hotel’s ferry terminal, so you can arrive directly from Phuket to the hotel’s reception in just 20 minutes.
Overall, the stay was exceptional, and I highly recommend it.
There is a tiny town about a 5-minute walk down the beach, with a few restaurants and small shops, but primarily, you stay at Santhiya to enjoy the hotel.
We rented a scooter and explored the island, which I strongly recommend, as you don’t have to go more than a few hundred meters from the “town” to see a completely different side of Thailand.
Let me highlight a couple of other good hotels on Koh Yao Yai that might be what you’re looking for if you’re considering a trip to this fabulous holiday island.
Elixir Koh Yao Yai looks awesome.
It’s in a fantastic location on the same part of the island (close to Phuket), making it easy to get to and from.
One of the hotel’s big pluses is the variation in room types – you can even get a suite with your own pool!
This allows you to tailor your experience to your budget and desires.
With direct beach access and high review scores, Elixir Koh Yao Yai is worth checking out if you plan a trip to the area.
The following hotel is Koh Yao Yai Village. This place offers a unique experience with its location on the island’s east coast, right by the beach.
One of the hotel’s most striking features is the breathtaking view of the sea cliffs, making the stay here truly special.
The hotel has received high review scores and is known for offering a peaceful and idyllic atmosphere.
If you book a stay here, you can expect a relaxing experience surrounded by natural beauty.
And now, back to Phuket itself!
5. Phuket Town – best actual city in Phuket
Phuket Town is the largest city in Phuket and the capital of Phuket Province. The city is known for its history, architecture, and culture.
Although there isn’t direct access to fantastic beaches in Phuket Town, there’s still plenty to experience and explore. Hence, it deserves a spot in this guide.
Phuket Town differs from all the other areas and cities mentioned in this guide.
However, it’s worth noting, as there is plenty to see, and if you have time to stay in multiple places in Phuket, you might consider spending a few days in Phuket Town.
One of the most notable features of Phuket Town is its beautiful mix of Chinese and Portuguese architecture.
Everywhere, especially in Phuket Old Town, you can see many restored buildings from the colonial era, now housing galleries, cafes, shops, and numerous temples and palaces.
Phuket Town is also known for its annual festival, “Phuket Old Town Festival,” held annually in February.
You can experience authentic Thai culture here, listen to traditional music, and watch colourful parades and performances.
I experienced this myself when I was in Phuket recently, and it was a genuinely lovely experience.
Perhaps not the most apparent area on Phuket, but consider spending a few nights here and experiencing a different side of the island. Or make sure to fit in a visit to the town in your Phuket itinerary.
6. Kamala – stay close to Surin Beach (best beach in Phuket?)
Kamala is a famous town and resort area on the west coast of Phuket, known for its beautiful long sandy beach and clear blue sea.
The town offers a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, attracting families and couples.
Kamala Beach is wide and long, and you can easily find a place to settle down, even during the high season.
Kamala Beach is beautiful, but one of the advantages of staying in Kamala is its convenient location close to Surin Beach, which is 2-3 km away.
Surin Beach is one of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches, with crystal clear water and plenty of water sports and snorkelling opportunities.
By staying in Kamala, you are near a beautiful beach and have many shops and restaurants nearby.
At the same time, you can quickly get to Surin Beach, which is one of the best in Phuket.
Kamala has a good mix of luxury resorts, boutique hotels, and budget-friendly accommodation options, so there is something to suit every style and budget.
Places to stay in Kamala
If you want to stay at one of the better hotels in Kamala but don’t need absolute luxury, Novotel Phuket Kamala is a good choice.
As the photo above shows, the hotel is located in the ‘last’ part of Kamala Beach, so you’ll stay right next to the beach in the most undisturbed area.
If you are a family travelling to Phuket and want to stay in Kamala, you should look at the popular family hotel Sunwing Kamala Beach.
Nai Harn is a secret and often overlooked area on the southern tip of Phuket.
It is one of the most secluded places on the island, but there are still many things to see and do if you choose to stay here.
Nai Harn is located in the southern part of the island, only 7-8 km from the Kata area mentioned above.
The beach in Nai Harn consists of white sand and the clearest turquoise blue water.
It is quieter than other famous beaches in Phuket, making it ideal for an authentic and peaceful holiday experience.
Overall, Nai Harn can provide a different holiday experience than what you usually find on the west coast of Phuket – the perfect destination for travellers seeking peaceful village surroundings mixed with good food and shopping opportunities.
A slightly hidden gem in Phuket, with a completely different atmosphere than in the most well-known holiday towns.
Places to stay in Nai Harn
As mentioned, the area is quite non-touristy, but some outstanding hotels in Nai Harn still exist.
Undoubtedly, one of the most spectacular places to stay in this area is The Nai Harn, where you have an outstanding beach view from the restaurant and pool area.
8. Rawai – local charm and easy access to nearby islands
Very close to Nai Harn and with a similar atmosphere, we find Rawai Beach.
It is located in the southeastern part of the island.
It is known for its harbour, which allows tourists to explore the islands south of Phuket using speedboats or long-tail boats (perhaps a trip to Phi Phi Islands?).
The beach is narrow with chalk-white sand and the crystal-clear Andaman Sea in the background, making it the perfect destination for those looking for a quieter stay.
Rawai is very similar to Nai Harn – both places have a peaceful atmosphere and affordable hotel prices.
However, compared to Nai Harn, Rawai has more facilities; there are many resorts with swimming pools, beachfront restaurants, shops, and markets with freshly cut fruit and local products.
Rawai is also popular with expats, digital nomads, and people volunteering in Phuket.
Places to stay in Rawai
Rawai invites you to relax in hotels where you can enjoy a drink by the pool and unwind. A hotel like Navatara Phuket could be an excellent choice.
9. Bangtao – amazing beach near the airport ✈️
Bangtao is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket and one of the best places to stay on the island.
Bangtao is located in the northwestern part of Phuket, just a 15-minute drive from the airport.
The beach is over 6 km long and has plenty of white sand and turquoise blue water, making it ideal for those who want to relax by the beach and stroll up and down the beautiful coastline.
An ideal place to stay in Phuket for those who want to be near a very long and beautiful beach while also staying close to Phuket Airport.
It is easy to continue inland if you travel from Phuket to popular destinations such as Khao Lak, Khao Sok, or the Krabi region with its famous Ao Nang and Railay beaches.
Places to stay in Bangtao
One of the most beautiful hotels in Bangtao is the 5-star SAii Laguna Phuket, right next to the beautiful sandy beach.
You should book there if you want to stay at one of Phuket’s best hotels.
If you want to stay a bit cheaper, consider a hotel like Best Western Premier Bangtao Beach Resort & Spa, which also has a beautiful swimming pool on the beach.
I hope you found this extensive guide to the best areas and places to stay in Phuket helpful. Please comment below if you have any questions about Phuket or travelling to Thailand.
Read more Thailand travel guides here.
Frequently asked questions:
What is the most popular area to stay in Phuket?
The most popular place to stay in Phuket is Patong Beach. This lively holiday area is located on the island’s west side and offers a wide range of activities such as shopping, restaurants, beach, nightclubs, and much more.
Patong Beach is an excellent place for sunshine and lively entertainment. It is a place where there is always something going on, so I would not recommend families with children to stay in Patong.
Where to stay in Phuket with children?
If you are travelling to Phuket with children, Kata Beach is a good choice. This popular area is located south of Patong and has a relaxing environment and beautiful natural landscapes.
What is the best beach in Phuket?
It depends on the type of beach you are looking for. However, there is general agreement that Surin Beach, Freedom Beach, Kata Noi, and Bangtao Beach are among Phuket’s best beaches.
What time of year is best in Phuket?
The best time to visit Phuket is between November and April, when the weather is most pleasant. During this time, you will enjoy plenty of sunshine with temperatures around 28-30 degrees Celsius.
The rainy season between May and October will be more prone to thunderstorms, flooding, and a higher humidity level in the air. December, January, and February are perfect for a holiday in Phuket, as this is the time when the temperature is not too extreme.
Is it better to stay in Patong or Karon?
When it comes to choosing between Patong and Karon, it really boils down to what kind of experience you’re after.
If you’re a fan of lively vibes, bustling nightlife, and tons of shopping and dining options, Patong might be the place for you. It’s got a busy atmosphere, with lots to see and do, making it great for party animals and social butterflies. Just be prepared for the crowds, as it’s a popular spot for tourists.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more laid-back and relaxed experience, Karon might be a better fit. It’s quieter than Patong, offering a more peaceful and family-friendly atmosphere. The beach is gorgeous, and there are still plenty of restaurants and shops to enjoy, just without the constant buzz of activity you’d find in Patong.
So, in a nutshell, if you want excitement and energy, head to Patong. If you prefer a more chilled-out vibe, Karon’s your best bet.