Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island, with several major beaches and developed areas. For the most part, development on Phuket is concentrated along the western coast of the island, which is where you can find popular beaches like Patong, Kata, Karon and Kamala.
We’ve covered each of Phuket’s main areas below, with a brief guide to accommodation and nightlife in each area to help you choose the best part of Phuket to stay in. You can find a full list of hotels for each part of Phuket in our guest friendly hotel guide for the island.
Patong is Phuket’s largest and most popular beach. It’s also the island’s nightlife hub, with the biggest selection of bars, nightclubs, go-gos and other places to hang out and enjoy yourself. If you’re visiting Phuket for the nightlife, Patong is where you’ll want to stay.
Despite being Phuket’s largest and most heavily developed beach, Patong doesn’t have a huge selection of luxury hotels. Most of the hotels here are mid-priced or budget, with the higher end hotels and resorts usually found on nearby beaches like Kata and Kamala.
You can find a full list of hotels in and around Patong in the Patong section of our guest friendly hotel list. Staying in Patong will help you avoid Phuket’s infamous tuk-tuks and easily access the island’s best bars and nightlife without having to spend as much on transportation.
While the advantages of staying in Patong include easy access to nightlife and shopping, there are also some downsides. Patong is the busiest part of Phuket, meaning you’ll deal with larger crowds here than on some other beaches. Patong’s nightlife also means that many of the area’s more central hotels can be quite noisy until late at night.
Still, if you want to be close to the nightlife, Patong is the best part of Phuket to stay in. It’s also home to the biggest selection of mid-priced and budget guest friendly hotels in Phuket, making it the first place you should look for accommodation.
Quieter and less busy than Patong, Kata is Phuket’s second most heavily developed beach. This part of the island is more family focused, with a larger selection of high-end resorts aimed at families with children, honeymooners and other people seeking a quiet experience in Phuket.
Despite this, there is some adult nightlife in and around Kata. There are several beer bars in the area and a good selection of local bars where you can meet new people. Kata also has a variety of higher end bars aimed at tourists and locals alike.
The beach area in Kata is split into two sections — the main Kata Beach and the smaller Kata Noi Beach. Both beaches are quieter and cleaner than Patong Beach, making Kata a better place to stay if you want to spend most of your time enjoying the sun and sand. You can find a full list of hotels in and around Kata in the Kata section of our guest friendly hotel guide.
All in all, a pleasant place to stay. However, the major downsides of staying in Kata is that it’s a long 20+ minute and 400+ baht tuk-tuk ride to and from Patong, and that the local nightlife is very limited compared to what you can find in and around Patong Beach.
Located between Kata and Patong, Karon is Phuket’s third most popular beach. Like Kata, it’s mostly aimed at families and couples, with a good selection of mid-priced and luxury hotels and resorts. Nightlife here is very limited, with not much more than a few beer bars and upmarket places to enjoy a drink with other tourists.
From Karon, it’s a 10-15 minute and 300+ baht tuk-tuk ride into Patong. All in all, a good place to stay if you want peace and quiet, but definitely not ideal for guest friendly nightlife. You can find a full list of hotels in and around Karon in the Karon section of our guest friendly hotel guide.
Located in the south of Phuket, Nai Harn is one of the island’s less well known beaches. Popular with expats and surfers, Nai Harn gets more surf than the beaches on Phuket’s west coast. The area around the beach has a good selection of international restaurants, although there’s very little nightlife around here.
Rawai is another local and expat area that has several beer bars. There’s also the well-known Laguna Rawai bar/club, and a good selection of outdoor beer bars to be found in the surrounding area. All in all, a pleasant part of the island that offers quiet, relaxing nightlife, but nothing in the same league as Patong Beach.