Where to stay in Phuket: best areas guide

written by Joanne Owen

updated 16.01.2024

Planning a trip to Thailand? Read on to discover where to stay in Phuket, with detail on the best areas for every kind of traveller — from 24-hour party people and seclusion seekers, to families and luxury-lovers. As a bonus, here we also share travel tips and itinerary ideas that might make your trip all the more rewarding.

Which area is the best to stay in Phuket?

Wondering where’s the best place to stay in Phuket? That depends entirely on what kind of experience you’re looking for and your budget.

For example, if nightlife is top of your travel priorities, and you want to be able to choose from a range of accommodation options (hotels, luxury resorts and cheaper spots), consider staying around bustling Patong Beach.

If, on the other hand, you’re seeking a quieter break, Kata Beach comes recommended. Related, Mai Khao is a cool place to stay for a more secluded experience.

Travelling with kids? Karon Beach is a great place for family trips, while Bang Tao is one of the best places for wellness experiences, like Thai massages and spa treatments.

At the more luxurious end of the scale, try Kamala Beach, while Old Town Phuket is the best area for culture vultures. 

Thinking of taking a trip to Thailand? Browse our customisable Thailand itineraries to take the hassle out of planning and booking.

Top tip: our comprehensive Best of Thailand itinerary includes Phuket.

Tropial sunset with boats in Nai Yang Beach, Phuket, Thailand © Shutterstock

Nai Yang Beach, Phuket, Thailand © Shutterstock

Types of accommodation in Phuket

Whether you’re in the market for a hotel, luxurious resort, private villa or budget-friendly place to bed down, you’ll find pretty much every type of accommodation in Phuket, across different areas. 

Read on for a run-down of the options. 


As is usually the case, hotels are a good option if you’re looking for convenience and reliable facilities. We’re talking restaurants, bars and pools, with staff on hand to help you book the likes of taxis and excursions.

In Phuket, you can take your pick from basic options (more on budget hotels later), or places than run the gamut from bed-only, to all-inclusives.

Luxury resorts

Luxury lovers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to high-end resorts in Phuket. 

They usually feature lush, beautifully landscaped gardens, luxuriously appointed rooms, swimming pools (private pools are often also available) and spa facilities.

In addition, some offer golf courses, and you can expect five-star dining experiences on-site.

Banyan Tree Veya Phuket © Amy Hopkins

Banyan Tree Veya Phuket © Amy Hopkins

Beach huts and bungalows

Staying right on — or just a few steps from — the beach fulfils many traveller’s notion of a quintessential paradise experience. Sound like you? Look into booking a beach hut or bungalow in Phuket.

While some options are of the pricier boutique variety, it’s also possible to bag yourself a beach hut bargain.

Wellness retreats

While parts of Phuket are known for their boisterous nightlife, it also offers an array of world-class wellness retreats that feel a million miles away from, for example, Patong Beach. In addition, you’ll most likely be left feeling like a million dollars, and 100% rejuvenated. 

As for what to expect from wellness retreats in Phuket, we’re talking places that offer relaxing, restorative spa experiences, and personalised wellness programmes, from daily massage, to dietary plans. And all this in sublime surroundings. 


If you prefer more privacy and space than that offered by a hotel or resort, consider booking a villa in Phuket. They’re also a good option if you’re planning to stay longer, and if you’re travelling as a family or in a large group.

That said, you can take your pick from single studio and apartment style villas, right up to multi-bedroomed buildings. 

Most villas also come with a pool, modern cooking, dining and lounging facilities, and hi-speed internet connections.

At the pricier end of the scale, you could enlist the services of a cleaner, cook and chauffeur.

 Veya Pool Villa © Banyan Tree Veya Phuket

Wondering where to stay in Phuket? Villas are a good option for longer stays and groups. Veya Pool Villa © Banyan Tree Veya 

Guesthouses and budget hotels

In good news for travellers who are visiting Phuket on a tighter budget, you don’t have to break the bank to bag yourself a decent place to stay.

Beyond the sprawl of big resorts and luxury options, Phuket offers plenty of clean, convenient budget hotels and welcoming guesthouses. 

While these won’t have the wow-factor of their fancier siblings, some are located on or near the beach, and many have pools.

Just bear in mind some rooms won’t have A/C, so check in advance if that’s a priority for you.


At the cheapest end of the scale, Phuket also has a host of hostels to choose from.

In general, Karon Beach, Kamala Beach and Rawai Beach host a greater number of cheaper accommodation options, including hostels. The same is true of Phuket Town, but be aware you’ll have to travel to get to the beach.

Budget on your mind? Find out the answer to that all-important question: is Thailand expensive?

Yao Noi, Phuket © Shutterstock

Yao Noi, Phuket © Shutterstock

Patong Beach: best place for a vibrant nightlife

Phuket’s most popular beach resort town, Patong Beach is brash and busy, with a beautiful long stretch of soft sand fronted by the Andaman Sea. 

Famous (or notorious, depending on your preferences) for its wild nightlife, Patong is not the place to come for peaceful island idyl, or a taste of authentic Thai culture. 

Rather, it buzzes with bars and clubs (some of which are pretty sleazy, it has to be said), with action centred on Bangla Road.

Back on the beach, operators offer stacks of activities, among them jet skiing and parasailing.

For a break from Patong's pandemonium, take a boat to nearby Freedom Beach.

Not sure when to travel? Read up on when to visit Thailand, and find out about the weather in Phuket in December — one of the best months to visit. 

Wat Doi Thep Nimit Monastery on the top of Patong hill in Phuket, Thailand © Shutterstock

Beyond the beach  — Wat Doi Thep Nimit atop Patong hill, Phuket © Shutterstock

Karon Beach: where to stay in Phuket for families

For a less manic, more family-friendly experience in Phuket, consider staying near Karon Beach.

Known as Patong’s “little sister”, the beach here is almost as big, and just back from the golden sand, there are playgrounds for kids to use up energy on.

Though much less crowded and rowdy than Patong, it’s still a lively, with lots of nightlife, bars and markets, but the vibe is more child-friendly.

Travelling as a family? Find out everything you need to know about family tours of Thailand, and check out our Family Time in Thailand trip. 

Kata Beach: best area for a quiet beach stay

Taking down the bustle a few more notches, west coast Kata Beach has a reputation for being one of the best beaches in Phuket.

With a wide stretch of sand gently sloping to the Andaman Sea, the beach is sheltered, and exudes a much more secluded vibe than Pantang and Karon.

In addition, Kata Noi Beach, just south of Kata Beach, is on hand for a yet quieter experience.

At the same time, Kata boasts a pleasantly lively town centre, with markets and local restaurants. And,  should you want to mix things up, you’re just a 20-minute drive from the full-on action of Patong. 

Love beaches? Discover the best beaches in Thailand.

Nai Yang beach in Phuket Thailand © Shutterstock

Peaceful Phuket © Shutterstock

Bang Tao: best place for massages and spa

Sitting pretty on a peaceful crescent-shaped bay, Bang Tao is a top spot for enjoying Thailand’s wellness offerings. 

With accommodation here generally in the mid-to-high range (head to the southern end of the beach for less pricey options), Bang Tao’s sublimely serene setting is ideal for rest and rejuvenation.

Many resorts and hotels boast on-site spas offering the likes of massages, facial treatments and manicures, with independent spas offering similar.

Want a wellness-oriented break? Read up on meditation centres in Thailand.

Kamala Beach: a luxury place to stay in Phuket

Looking for all-out luxury and wondering where to stay in Phuket? Consider focusing your accommodation search in the Kamala Beach area.

With a tranquil, laidback ambience, it plays host to lots of high-end options, from fancy 5-star resorts to opulent villas.

Looking for luxury? You’ll love our Thai Sojourn trip.


Bang Tao is a top place to stay in Phuket if you're seeking spa treatments © Shutterstock 

Old Town Phuket: best area for culture

If you’re not set on a typical Thai beach break and want a more authentic experience, check out staying in Old Town Phuket. 

Steeped in history and known for its bright, ornate Sino-Portuguese architecture, many guest houses and hotels are housed in buildings that date back to the town's tin mining heyday.

A place where Sino-colonial mansions sit alongside temples, cafes and galleries, Old Town Phuket is the ideal base for culture vultures who love the idea of enjoying authentic local food and uncovering culturally diverse history.

With accommodation options covering all kinds of budgets, you won’t have a problem finding somewhere to suit your pocket. 

Top tip: don’t miss the Sunday market that’s held on Thalang Road from 4pm.

Old Phuket Town in Thailand © Shutterstock

Old Phuket Town in Thailand © Shutterstock

Mai Khao: a secluded area to stay in Phuket

Located on the northwest coast of Phuket, being part of Sirinat National Park, Mai Khao Beach remains largely undeveloped.

Alongside the beautiful beach — so huge, you’ll have no problem finding swathes of deserted stretches — the park is a joy for nature lovers. 

Encompassing over 90 square kilometres, it includes mangroves, coral reefs, a total of four beaches, and several trails.

Free from noisy nightclubs and touts, accommodation in this area ranges from five-star options to family-run guesthouses and boutique hotels.

Tik on a hike to the top of Bang Tao hill © Banyan Tree Phuket

Beyond Mai Khao, hike to the top of Bang Tao hill for enchanting seclusion in Phuket © Banyan Tree Phuket

Chalong Bay and Rawai: best for island-hopping

If you’re the kind of traveller who wants to make the most of their trips, not least if you’ve taken a long-haul flight to reach your destination, the idea of island-hopping might be your idea of a dream holiday.

So, if you’re wondering where to stay in Phuket and want to make your island-hopping dreams come true, think about staying around Chalong Bay and Rawai.

Located on the southeast coast of Phuket, Chalong Bay is a lively, colourful port and residential area that offers easy access to lots of little islands, most popularly Coral Island. Here, excellent snorkelling and diving awaits. 

It’s also famed for its eponymous rum distillery and the 45-metre giant Buddha that sits atop the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata.

Meanwhile, Rawai, on the southernmost tip of Phuket, is known for its longtail boats. Head to the beach to take a trip to outlying islands like Koh Bon and Koh Kaeo.

Into the idea of island-hopping Thailand? You’ll find extra inspiration in our customisable Thailand’s Islands and Highlands trip. 


Board a boat to explore unspoiled islands and reefs © Shutterstock

To help plan your trip, get yourself The Rough Guide to Thailand and The Rough Guide to Thailand’s Beaches and Islands.

Not keen on planning? Not a problem. Browse our customisable Thailand itineraries or contact our local Thailand expert to take the hassle out of planning and booking your dream trip.

Joanne Owen

written by Joanne Owen

updated 16.01.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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