Hedonistic Phuket seduces all comers with a smooth blend of ostentation and seediness. Thailand’s largest and most popular island, Phuket is as colourful as it is cosmopolitan and one of the world’s most famous dream destinations. Phuket boasts some lush inland vistas, including a few remote swathes of rainforest, but the island really comes into its own along its western shoreline, where hunter green foliage meets the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. Mile upon sandy mile of coastline boasts tons of water sports, delectable restaurants and decadent resorts. The cultural heart is in Old Phuket, the stomping ground of the Baba people who emerged along with the tin mining industry 100 years ago. Their legacy is a Sino-Portuguese treasure trove of mansions and shop houses, creaky teak shrines and local markets that unfurl alongside funky art galleries, hip restaurants,cafes and chic boutiques.
Recommended things to do & see
Our top picks for Phuket
John Gray's Seacanoe: Paddle about Phuket's remarkable coastline with its finest guides
Hat Mai Khao: Explore Phuket's longest beach, where solitude is only a few steps away
Ban Boran NewTextiles: It may look a little shabby, but this humble shop sells the island's best fabrics
Babylon Beach Club: Enjoy dinner or a drink with your toes in the sand
Lonely Planet has supplied content for Jetstar. All Lonely Planet content is independently reviewed and reflects their editorial independence and impartiality.