Most backpackers traveling around Thailand and exploring the south will inevitably pass through the largest of the islands, Phuket.

The Phuket province is now home to many locals and ex-pats alike. You can expect plenty of creature comforts, beautiful beaches, and a raging nightlife that would please any backpacker on the search for bucket beers.

But there is so much more to Phuket than touristy bars that cater to backpackers. There’s so much to do and some of you may be wondering then “Where is the best place to stay in Phuket?”

This island offers a piece of paradise for everyone, but with over 100 villages to explore, it’s best to have an idea of where to stay in Phuket beforehand. Our guide will breakdown Phuket island and help you sort through various attractions, such as beaches, nightlife, local hangouts, and more.

Let’s have a look at the best areas to stay in Phuket!

Where to Stay in Phuket

Need to know the best places to stay in Phuket quickly? These are our top recommendations for where to stay in Phuket. Make sure to check out our guide to Phuket’s best hostels too!

You should also check out our excellent Phuket Airbnb guide for digs that are a little more private, personal, and homey. For even more homey vibes, why not book into one of Phuket’s best homestays instead?

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    Best Airbnb in Phuket: Sea view one bedroom apartment

    Overlooking the pristine waters at Karon, a top-tier luxury boutique hotel that won’t cripple your savings. This Seaview condo with daily room service and bonus points for a free airport service! Perfect for two guests, the apartment has easy access to the beach and is within walking distance to many restaurants and markets and has an outdoor pool too.

    Best Hostel in Phuket: Lub d Phuket Patong

    Perhaps this hostel isn’t for everyone: it depends on the vibe you’re after. Lub d is in Patong – the absolute best place to stay in Phuket for nightlife and partying and with heaps of nearby beaches too including the famous Patong beach!

    If you’re looking for a chill place, maybe head elsewhere. But for everyone seeking the absolute quintessential Thailand backpacking experience, head here.

    Best Hotel in Phuket: Alpina Phuket Nalina Resort & Spa

    It’s a hotel. It’s a resort. It’s a spa!

    Located close to Kata, this is a wonderful fancy PLACE for people not seeking the backpacker vibes – couples especially. It’s just 10 mins from Patong beach and has an incredible outdoor pool and fitness centre. Looking for a private getaway in one of the most beautiful areas to stay in Phuket? Here you are!

    Phuket Regional Guide

    FIRST TIME IN PHUKET
    Phuket Town, Phuket
    FIRST TIME IN PHUKET

    Phuket Town

    Phuket Town is the capital of Phuket province and the largest city on the island. Made up of narrow streets, Phuket Town is where you’ll find great restaurants, unique shops, and one-of-a-kind attractions.

    ON A BUDGET
    Karon, Phuket
    ON A BUDGET

    Karon

    Karon beach lies on the west coast of the island of Phuket. Home to the second largest of the island’s tourist beaches, Karon is where you’ll find stunning views, shimmering turquoise waters, and white sand beaches that squeak when you walk on them.

    NIGHTLIFE
    Patong, Phuket
    NIGHTLIFE

    Patong

    Patong is the most popular tourist destination in Phuket. This picturesque coastal town has stunning white sand beaches, perfect for relaxing on a chaise, catching some rays, and getting lost in the beauty of the scenery.

    COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
    Kata, Phuket
    COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

    Kata

    Kata Beach is one of the trendiest places to stay in Phuket. Located on the islands west coast, this village is perfect for travellers looking for a great mix of relaxed atmosphere, exciting nightlife, and a variety of great attractions.

    FOR FAMILIES
    Kamala, Phuket
    FOR FAMILIES

    Kamala

    Look no farther than Kamala as the best place to stay in Phuket for families. This small village provides visitors with all the convenience of busy towns like Patong but without the hustle and bustle.

    Phuket is a province in southern Thailand that lies in the Andaman Sea. Comprised of 33 islands, the province covers more than 575 square kilometres. The largest of the islands, Phuket, is home to a variety of places in Phuket to visit, magnificent beaches, and unforgettable experiences among its places.

    Less than 400,000 people call the province of Phuket home. Each year thousands flock to Phuket to enjoy the regions pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters and indulge in the area’s infamous nightlife. Some of the best beaches to check out are Mai Khao Beach, Surin Beach, Rai Harn Beach and Rawai Beach to name just a few!

    The province of Phuket is divided into three districts and 17 subdistricts. Within these districts and subdistricts, there are more than 100 unique villages to see and explore. To make the most of your travel itinerary in Phuket, we recommend each trip include visits to at least three or four villages.

    Boats to traverse through Phuket's areas to stay

    Starting at the centre of Phuket’s west coast you have the village of Kamala. Ideal for young couples or families with children, Kamala is where you’ll find gorgeous luxury resorts and peaceful beaches, beach clubs, and paradise year-round. We’ll cover why Kamala is one of the best places to stay in Phuket below.

    South of Kamala is Patong, the most popular tourist destination in Phuket. Home to Thailand’s (and Asia’s) most famous party scene, here you’ll find a good selection of bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants. It’s the top choice for where to stay in Phuket for the backpacker nightlife. You’ll find more mid-range hotels here and you’re close to the most popular tourist beach in town.

    Continuing south along the coast you’ll pass through the villages of Karon and Kata. They are less hectic than Patong, both of these small communities boast spectacular beaches, delicious restaurants, unbeatable views and maybe even a private beach!

    Finally, heading towards the northeast from Karon you have Phuket Town. The largest town in the province, Phuket Old Town is home to a number of attractions, great shopping, and appetising restaurants.

    Still not sure where to stay in Phuket? Not to worry. Read on as we break down the top five areas in Phuket and what to do during your stay.

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    5 Best Areas to Stay in Phuket

    The largest of Thailand’s islands, Phuket covers 539 square kilometres. Public transportation is very limited, with taxis and tuk-tuks being the only practical options.

    The vast majority of tuk-tuks and taxis don’t have meters, so we recommend that you negotiate and agree to a price before starting your journey.

    Although getting around Phuket can be a bit of a challenge, it’s definitely worth it. Each village offers visitors something different.

    Do you want to experience Thailand’s famous nightlife or hit the beach clubs? Are you more interested in exploring the local historical and cultural sights? Maybe you want to find a quiet beach and soak up the sun or explore the nearby islands. Or you’re looking for luxury hotels with a private pool and a fitness centre? All of these things are possible if you’re in the right place.

    Below we cover the five best towns in Phuket broken down by interest.

    1. Phuket Town – Where to Stay in Phuket for the First Time

    Phuket Town is the capital of Phuket province and the largest city on the island. Made up of narrow streets, Phuket Town is where you’ll find great restaurants, unique shops, and one-of-a-kind attractions. Enjoy a real local atmosphere and charming attractions in this urban environment.

    Phuket Town - Where to Stay in Phuket on a first-time visit
    Convenient and central, Phuket Town is a great area in Phuket for your first time

    Phuket Town is also ideal for travellers interested in history and culture. Home to Old Phuket Town, this city is where you’ll find a myriad of colourful heritage sites. From temples and shrines to museums and markets, visit Phuket Town for an authentic slice of Thai life.

    It’s an excellent jumping-off point before you set out to explore all the other best areas to stay in Phuket! However, it’s not the spot for beach lovers looking for luxury hotels!

    Best Airbnb in Phuket Town: One private bed and bathroom in guest house

    Guests can experience the cool vibe raw nuances of style loft Airbnb in Thailand. Fully equipped with modern amenities. With a size of 27 square meters, to feel comfortable, relaxed, personal needs, as well as guests are couples, friends or families who are visiting Phuket for the first time.

    Best Homestay in Phuket Town: Cosy Fan Room in Phuket Town

    If you’re looking for a cheap homestay in Phuket, look no further than this fan room in the Old Town. It’s in a unique Chino-Portuguese building, so you’re actually staying in a little piece of Phuket history! Being in the Old Town is an excellent place from which to explore Phuket, whether you want to head out to beaches, jungle, or simply just enjoy the street food and shopping of Phuket Town. The Downtown Market is just a stone’s throw away! Whichever you decide, fuel up in the morning with your complimentary breakfast!

    Best Hostel in Phuket Town: In PHUKET House in Phuket Town

    Conveniently located near Old Town Phuket, this hostel is surrounded by shops, attractions, restaurants, and bars. It provides guests with a comfortable and clean environment and a range of amenities, including cable TV, free Internet, and air conditioning units. Enjoy the best of Phuket’s downtown at this hostel!

    Best Hotel in Phuket Town: Casa Blanca Boutique Hotel

    Nestled in the heart of Phuket Town, this hotel is perfectly located to explore the city’s offerings. Recently refurbished, this boutique hotel features modern amenities, elegant décor, and comfortable surroundings.

    Enjoy free wifi, an outdoor pool, and an on-site restaurant at this charming hotel in Old Phuket Town. One night here and you’ll quickly see why this is one of the best places to stay in Phuket Town.

    Things to See and Do in Phuket Town

    Phuket Old Town at night

    – Climb Khao Rang for a magnificent bird’s eye view of the city and the southern part of the island. On a clear day, you can even catch a glimpse of some of the offshore islands.

    – Explore the rich history of Old Phuket Town, a charming section of the city where you’ll find temples, preserved shophouses, restaurants, and cafes.

    – Visit the colourful Shrine of the Serene Light and see the Taoist etchings on the walls.

    – Hike up Monkey Hill and see dozens of monkeys in their natural habitat.

    – Enjoy excellent street food as you browse Lard Yai, the Sunday Walking Street Market.

    – Take in the breathtaking views at Windmill Viewpoint.

    – Dive deep into Phuket’s past at Phuket Culture Museum, where the history is told through pictures and still scenes.

    – Visit the largest temple in Phuket, Chalong Temple.

    – Enjoy a typical Thai lunch and cultural show at Thai Village and Orchid Farm. Make sure you pop into the dining hall to see the more than 20,000 varieties of orchids that decorate the walls.

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    2. Karon – Where to Stay in Phuket on a Budget

    Karon beach lies on the west coast of the island of Phuket. Home to the second largest of the island’s tourist beaches, Karon is where you’ll find stunning views, shimmering turquoise waters, and those serene squeaky-white-sand beaches Thailand is famed for.

    With a number of cool restaurants and relaxed bars, you’ll have no trouble finding ways to pass the time in Karon. It’s the perfect spot for beach lovers for sure!

    Karon - for cheap places to stay in Phuket
    Karon has lower prices and is our recommendation if you are looking for cheaper accommodation in Phuket.
    Photo: Avery ng (Flickr)

    Karon is more than just a stunning location. It’s one of the best areas to stay in Phuket if you’re travelling on a budget. You’re guaranteed to find somewhere to stay that fits your style and your budget with a myriad of accommodation options.

    Best Airbnb in Karon: Sea view one bedroom apartment

    The perfect place for luxury on a budget. This Seaview condo with daily room service. Perfect for two guests, the apartment has easy access to the beach, it’s within walking distance to many restaurants and markets. There’s even an outdoor pool and fitness centre!

    Best Hostel in Karon: Doolay Beachfront Hostel

    This hostel is perfectly situated to explore Karon. Located on the beachfront, Doolay Hostel is within walking distance of restaurants, bars, local markets and shopping areas.

    It boasts a small bar and on-site restaurant as well as a comfortable and welcoming common area. Enjoy clean beds with personal reading lamps and shelves at this inexpensive and centrally located hostel.

    Best Hotel in Karon: OneLoft Hotel

    OneLoft Hotel is the perfect place to make your home away from home in Karon. These comfortable and contemporary lofts offer kettles in the rooms, free wifi, and an outdoor pool. This hotel boasts amazing views and 5-star luxury at a fraction of the price and is conveniently located too.

    Things to See and Do in Karon

    Karon Beach - beautiful and a top place to visit in Phuket
    Things to do in Karon – the beach! Mainly the beach.

    – Enjoy 3 kilometres of powdery white sand at Karon Beach, a relatively uncrowded beach featuring facilities, dining, and outdoor recreation options.

    – Visit the colourful and stunning Wat Suwan Khiri Khet temple.

    – Hike up to Karon View Point and enjoy great views of the surrounding forests, beaches and sea.

    – Sample delicious, unique, and exotic foods, including crocodiles and insects, at the Karon Temple Market.

    – Play a round of golf at Dino Park Mini Golf.

    – Relax and take a break from the sun at Khlong Bangla Park.

    – Grab a snorkel and explore what lies beneath the waves at Karon Beach. Currents can be strong in this area so always seek local information before heading out.

    – Rest, relax and rejuvenate at Mantra Herbal Steam Sauna and Spa.

    – Grab a pint and watch the game at Walkabout Sports Bar.

    – Enjoy cheap and delicious local fare at the Pad Thai Shop.

    3. Patong – Where to Stay in Phuket for Nightlife

    Patong is the most popular tourist destination in Phuket. This picturesque coastal town has stunning white sand beaches, perfect for relaxing, catching some rays, and getting lost in the beauty of the scenery.

    Although beautiful, Patong is best known as Asia’s premier party destination. Bangla Road lies at the heart of the nightlife scene and the famous Patong beach can get a bit hectic!

    Patong - Where to stay in Phuket for nightlife
    Patong is for the parties.
    Photo: Karelj (WikiCommons)

    With the densest concentration of bars and clubs anywhere in Phuket, this hotspot is where you’ll find world-famous bars, clubs, and entertainment complexes that cater to every taste and orientation. It’s no wonder Patong is the best place to stay in Phuket for singles.

    Best Airbnb in Patong: Beachfront studio for two

    This beachfront boutique accommodation with a rooftop sea-view pool, beachside ground floor plunge pool, stylish wood furnishings, a chic interior featuring sleek amenities, a fitness centre, and restaurant/room service in an ideal location near all the most legendary attractions, including Patong beach.

    Best Homestay in Patong: Cosy Room near Patong Beach

    For those hoping to dance the night away in Phuket, then Patong is a great shout! Another cheap homestay in Phuket, this room in a condo gives you a lot of bang for your buck! As well as your own private room, there’s a small balcony with a jungle view and an outdoor pool where you can cool off the day after a night out. That’ll certainly help your hangover! In the room, toiletries are provided at no extra cost, so you can easily wash off the UV paint from a full moon party and get ready to hit Patong beach!

    Best Hostel in Patong: Lub d Phuket Patong

    It’s big, it’s popular, and it’s built for Patong’s nightlife. Close to the beach, Lub d has everything you need for the quintessential Patong experience: booze, pool, a Muy Thai gym… This is Thailand hostel vibes through and through!

    Hell, it’s even got a workspace for the digital nomads who like to fit in a little business on the side of their debauchery. Rejoice!

    Best Hotel in Patong: Baipho Lifestyle Residence

    This charming hotel is a peaceful oasis in the midst of Patong’s chaotic centre. It’s located within walking distance of Patong’s famous bars, restaurants, trendy nightclubs, and relaxed pubs.

    Enjoy comfortable and spacious rooms and modern amenities, including complimentary Wi-Fi and air conditioning. You won’t find a better hotel in the centre of Patong.

    Things to See and Do in Patong

    Things to See and Do in Patong

    – Explore Bangla Road, Patong’s central attraction and home to bars, pubs, nightclubs, exotic and erotic shows, and Thai restaurants.

    – Drive to Paradise Beach to experience one of the most stunning beaches in all of Thailand.

    – Visit Paradise Beach Club to drink and dance under the stars at Phuket’s biggest and first daily beach party.

    – Take in a Muay Thai style boxing match at Bangla Boxing Stadium.

    – Enjoy a moment of peace and tranquillity at the beautiful Suwan Khiri Wong Temple.

    – Browse the stalls and enjoy cheap and tasty food at the Malin Plaza Patong market.

    – Spend a day sunbathing on the radiant Patong Beach.

    – Party from dusk until dawn at Seduction Complex, the largest nightclub in Patong Beach.

    – Eat authentic Thai food and a great atmosphere at the Halfway Inn Restaurant.

    – Grab a beer and enjoy a few games at Aussie Bar.

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    4. Kata – One of the Coolest Places to Stay in Phuket

    Kata Beach is one of the trendiest places to stay in Phuket. Located on the island’s west coast, this village is perfect for travellers looking for a great mix of relaxed atmosphere, exciting nightlife, and a variety of great attractions.

    More than just cool, Kata is also our pick for where to stay in Phuket for couples. Kata is home to a golden sand beach, world-class spas and wellness centres, and a number of top-notch restaurants. Gone are the days Phuket was just a backpacker hang out as Phuket has rebuilt its tourism to cater to more luxurious guests too.

    Kata - the coolest area to stay in Phuket province
    Relaxing but not boring – Kata is the coolest area to stay in Phuket.

    The area is also a popular destination for snorkelers and divers thanks to Kata Beach House Reef. Home to parrotfish, seahorses, and the occasional turtle and octopus, Kata is a fun and interesting place for anyone looking to explore beneath the waves.

    Best Airbnb in Kata: One bedroom beach bungalow

    Ideal for those seeking quiet and those who want to experience the atmosphere of the sea and magnificent beach views above the treetops. The bungalows are just about 50 meters from Kata Beach and some of the most beautiful beach restaurants in the area with fresh seafood and delicious plates which you can enjoy being literally on the sand.

    Best Hostel in Kata: Southern Fried Rice

    This popular guesthouse and hostel is located within walking distance of Kata Beach. It’s close to great restaurants offering Thai and international cuisines, fun bars, and many of the area’s top attractions.

    With its clean, comfortable and spacious rooms, modern amenities and even Thai language lessons, you won’t find a better hostel in Kata.

    Best Hotel in Kata: Alpina Phuket Nalina Resort & Spa

    A short drive from Kata Beach is the luxurious and relaxing Alpina Phuket Nalina Resort & Spa.

    Featuring an outdoor swimming pool, private beach, and day spa, this four-star hotel is a great value for your stay in Kata. Enjoy modern accommodation, spacious rooms and private balconies a short distance from the area’s main attractions.

    Things to See and Do in Kata

    Things to See and Do in Kata

    – Shop with the locals at the Thursday market where you can buy fish, spices, and other authentic Thai foods.

    – Swim and play in the calm blue waters of Kata beach.

    – Trek out to the sauna in the jungle where you can enjoy a relaxing steam, natural plunge pool, and a serene café surrounded by nature.

    – Enjoy good drinks and a great show at Ska Bar, a funky reggae and ska music bar.

    – Swim, dive, and snorkel around the Kata Beach House Reef to see colourful fish, sea horses and other sea creatures.

    – Catch a few waves at Kata Beach, which offers decent surfing from April through November.

    – Visit Big Buddha, a massive, white marble Buddha statue that sits at the top of Naka Kerd Mountain and offers great views over Phuket’s east coast.

    – Devour cheap and delicious Thai fare at the Red Chair Café.

    5. Kamala – Where to Stay in Phuket for Families

    Look no farther than Kamala as the best place to stay in Phuket for families. This small village provides visitors with all the convenience of busy towns like Patong but without hustle, bustle, and chaos. Enjoy a quiet and relaxing atmosphere with an abundance of wellness centres, hotels, and delightful restaurants.

    Kamala - where to stay in Phuket for families
    Gorgeous and more chill beaches make Kamala great for families.

    The beach in Kamala is also particularly attractive to families with young children. Less frenetic than beaches in neighbouring Kata and Patong, Kamala Beach is made of powdery white sand perfect for sunbathing, playing, and building sandcastles. The turquoise waters at the north end of the beach are nice and calm, making the conditions perfect for swimmers and splashers of all ages.

    Overall, I rate Kamala as the best area to stay in Phuket for families.

    Best Airbnb in Kamala: 2 bedroom penthouse 600 meters from the beach

    The penthouse has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, perfect for two couples or a family with children. On the first floor, there is a spacious hall, kitchen, closed bedroom, and a bathroom. The kitchen is equipped with everything necessary for cooking.

    The stairs lead to the second floor equipped with railings and are safe. The second bedroom on the second floor has a panoramic view. If you like open space, then this layout will not disappoint.

    Best Hostel in Kamala: Ban Kamala Fantasea Hotel

    This hotel has multiple types of accommodations, including dorms, private rooms and luxury facilities. Comfortable, clean and with a great atmosphere, this hotel is located in the heart of the village.

    Five minutes to the beach and ten minutes from Patong, this hotel is perfectly situated near restaurants, bars, and attractions. Enjoy your stay in paradise at this Kamala hotel.

    Best Hotel in Kamala: The Umbrella House

    Located just minutes from Kamala Beach, this hotel is one of the best places to stay in Phuket for families. Each room is outfitted with air conditioning units, refrigerators, and tea and coffee supplies.

    It has an outdoor swimming pool as well as a kid’s pool where your little ones can laugh, splash and play. Close to restaurants, attractions and more, this is the best hotel in Kamala. It’s also just 1.7 miles from Surin beach.

    Things to See and Do in Kamala

    Things to See and Do in Kamala

    – Sample local snacks, treats, and delicacies at the Kamala Friday Market

    – Enjoy cheap and cheerful authentic Thai food at PP&P. This legendary haunt can be a bit hard to find, but the tasty food makes the search worthwhile.

    – Visit Laem Sing Beach for a relaxing day in paradise or head to the beautiful Surin beach.

    – Dig your toes in the sand and walk along a stunning stretch of Kamala Beach.

    – View charming works of art at the Kamala Beach Gallery.

    – Visit Wat Baan Kamala, a classic Buddhist temple located on the beachfront and enjoy a peaceful moment of zen.

    – Learn to surf in the clear blue waters of Kamala Beach.

    – Enjoy delicious food and generous portions at Grill Bill, a family-friendly restaurant.

    – Catch a colourful, exciting and enchanting Vegas-style show at the Phuket FantaSea Theme Park.

    FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Phuket

    Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Phuket and where to stay.

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    Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Phuket

    Famed for its legendary parties and beaches, Phuket has been on the tourist radar for quite some time. Thailand’s largest island hosts an array of things to see and do, but its size and limited public transportation mean you are better off basing yourself in the one or two areas that interest you most. What’s more, is that Phuket is very safe to travel.

    Not sure where to stay in Phuket? That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve broken down the 5 best areas to stay in Phuket.

    Should you only have a couple of days, check out this weekender guide on Phuket.

    To recap, our top-rated hostel in Phuket is Lub d in Patong. Simply put, this is one of the best backpacker options in Phuket, and it’s conveniently located too!

    For something more luxurious, I recommend Alpina Phuket Nalina Resort & Spa, a comfortable and contemporary hotel in Phuket with a pool and fitness centre. Or, check out the Airbnb in Karon!

    If want to learn more about security in Thailand, check out our separate safety guide for insider tips and stories.

    Otherwise, that’s it for Phuket!

    Phuket offers some of the most spectacular glory in Thailand. From the beaches to the weirdly shaped rocks, to the echos of the birdsong at morning’s first light, it’s hard to not feel a touch of awe there. Now that you know where to stay in Phuket, you can go have a spectacular time!

    Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments!

    A Buddha statue looking serene in Phuket

    Do you own or run a kick ass hostel? Want to be featured in this list? Get in touch at [email protected]


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