Pristine white beaches, deep turquois sea, and top-notch accommodation at great value. It’s hard to beat Phuket when it comes to a beach vacation.
Also serving provinces beyond the island, Phuket airport is located far from the beaches. During tourist seasons, there are direct Airport Bus to Patong and nearby beaches charging around 6 USD per person. A taxi typically charges between 20-25 USD per car.
As transport on the island can be a snag, renting a car or a motorbike is the best way for beach-hopping and accessing more secluded locations. Away from the beaches, roads are hilly and often wind through patches of forests. If you haven’t been on a motorbike for some time, rent a car. There are several car-rentals at the airport, as well as at the main beaches where motorbikes can also be rented. Be careful to go with a reliable shop, as you will likely have to leave your passport (in which case, carry a copy on you).
The center of actions is Patong Beach where plenty of hotels, restaurants, and shops line the two-miles-long beach. Gay tourists and locals tend to gather around the section between KUDO Beach Club and La Flora Resort. (Look for rainbow flag and volleyball net.) Further south, Karon and Kata beaches are also popular and somewhat quieter. Due to rip tides at some places, only swim between the yellow-red flags, and never around the all-red flags.
Phuket Pride which has become a semi-regular event takes place around the end of April, but did not take place in 2020.
Much of the do’s and don’t in Phuket are the same as – or a tad more relaxed than – the rest of the country. Please read the Bangkok section for reference.
As to be expected, beachfront hotels are more expensive but offer great value by international standards. More budget-conscious visitors can also find smaller hotels and economical guesthouses often at walking distance from the beach. There are also several LGBTQ-run/friendly guesthouses around Paradise Complex – the gay heart of Phuket.
Phuket’s gay epicenter is the Paradise Complex on Rat-u-thit Road near Patong beach, with several go-go and host bars, clubs, a few saunas and massage places. Phuket Simon Cabaret is the biggest regular show in town, but some gay bars also offer smaller productions. There used to be a lesbian bar in Phuket several years ago, but we are not aware of one at the moment.
You never have to worry about your health while on vacation in Phuket which offers healthcare services rivaling Bangkok. You can also stock up on your PreP and get tested at PULSE Clinic in Patong area.