Cheap flights to Phuket are available from Sydney flying directly into Phuket International Airport on Jetstar. AirAsia operates a number of flights connecting in Kuala Lumpur. Departures from Perth, the Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne can take advantage of these cheap flights. Darwin departures typically include a transfer in Singapore. Cheap flights are available from Brisbane stopping in Bangkok on Thai Airways, or Singapore when travelling with Singapore Airlines. Flights exiting Melbourne may also include a connecting flight in Singapore on services operated by Jetstar Airways. The airport is approximately a 30 minute drive from downtown Phuket. A public bus into town operate every hour, however these do not service the tourist beach areas. Inside the terminal, several counters offer tickets for a limousine service which is essentially, a prepaid voucher for a taxi. Outside the terminal, there is a taxi rank and a metered taxi is the most cost-effective way to arrive at your accommodation.
Getting around Phuket is both easy and an experience. Many attractions, shops and beaches are within walking distance of each other. Tuk tuks (Phuket’s version of a Tuk tuk is an open-aired mini bus) are a great option for very short distances. Hail a blue bus and hop off anywhere along the route. Taxis are reasonably priced, but for longer distances not serviced by a tour operator, hire a private car with a driver. Your travel insurance may not provide cover when engaging in dangerous activities such as riding scooters or motorbikes, so use the local knowledge of a private driver to enrich your sightseeing.
Visit Buddhist temple Wat Chalong, the Big Buddha and Wat Phra Nang Sang. Historians take a peek at Thailand’s archaeology and art at Thalang National Museum, the meticulous detail of the Kathu Mining Museum and the odd collections at the Thavorn Museum. Thrill seekers zipline through the green canopy of the Cable Jungle Adventure or Flying Hanuman. Stay cool at Splash Jungle Waterpark or as you roll down a hill in a giant ball at Rollerball. Watch the sun set at Promthep Cape or act as quality control sampling the fine products of the Methee Cashew Nut Factory. The Phuket Butterfly Garden & Insect World and Phuket Zoo are worth the visit but be sure to include the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. Sea kayak through the caves (Hongs) or Phang Nga Bay, snorkel Phi Phi Island or just relax on Kamal and Nai Thong beaches. For the best Phuket experience, climb aboard a majestic host at Kok Chang Elephant Safari and explore the tropical landscape.
Mall shopping is best at Jungceylon Shopping Centre, Central Festival Phuket or the slower pace of Patong Promenade. Experience the Phuket Town Night Market, indoor Banzaan Market and Kamala Beach Market before appreciating the shift in dynamics at the Phuket Indy Market. For a romantic dinner head to KanEang at the Pier or dine on pecan crusted snapper at Joe Downstairs. 360 Degrees has an unbelievable backdrop and the charm of Mom Tri’s Kitchen tasting menu is hard to ignore. The Royal Kitchen has Chinese cuisines twenty-something storeys up or stay grounded with cheap local favourites Krua La Poon and Brake Taek. Party hard at Banana Disco or Seduction Club. For a more relaxed atmosphere, head to Black Cat, Sharky Bar or Molly Malone’s. Drink cocktails Phuket-style at the sophisticated Sofa Bar or at Baan Rim Pa right between the water and elegant piano.