Phuket, one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations is also the ideal luxury holiday destination, what more could you ask for than a tropical beach, azure waters teeming with fish and colourful corals, a private villa with your own private pool and amazing cuisine?
Known as the “Pearl of the Andaman”, Phuket is a beach holiday destination where you can enjoy the five-star treatment for a fraction of European prices. From fine-dining to five-star resorts, indulgent spa treatments will ensure that you feel pampered and cared during your stay.
Phuket also has fascinating culture which stemmed from being a port situated on the trade routes between India and China, and Chinese influence can be found in the many historic buildings of the city centre. There is also a nearby jungle which once was inhabited by tribes until coal mining forced them to relocate. Phuket continues to have indigenous sea gypsies called the Chao Ley who live on the islands around the coast and make their living through fishing.
For those who want more than to lounge on the beach, sipping cocktails all day long, there are plenty of day tours to nearby islands and amazing diving and snorkelling on your doorstep.
Here is our ultimate luxury guide to Phuket showing you the cream of the crop in activities, hotels, restaurants and more!
This guide is perfect for those who are travelling to Phuket on a luxury. We will show you what to do in Phuket, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around, whether it’s a weekend in Phuket or a long term stay.
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The best time to visit Phuket
On the Andaman Coast, the best time to visit is during the dry period which is also its high season, this occurs between the months of November to February. If you want to avoid the crowds it is best to head there in the tail end of the high season from March to May before the Monsoon season starts and the island is buffeted by winds and torrential storms.
The low season begins halfway through May and continues until October. This is called the low season and is the cheapest time to travel there, however, weather conditions on the seas are rough and the island is subject to many tropical rainstorms.
How to get around Phuket
The traffic can be pretty hectic in Thailand and Phuket is no exception. You will find motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic and plenty of cars and tuk tuks. To travel in style you can rent a car, or even a sports car with Phuket Luxury Cars. Alternatively, if you don’t want to brave the roads you can hire a private chauffeur with Blacklane for a reasonable daily cost which will allow you to travel in comfort.
Renting a motorbike is not advisable as it can be dangerous in Thailand, roads are often badly-maintained and you will find potholes everywhere. The locals joke about the “Thai tattoo” that many tourists sport caused by their motorbike injuries which include scrapes and burns from the exhaust pipes. There is also a typical scam where upon returning your motorbike your deposit will be kept for “damages” that were existent prior to rental.
What to expect in Phuket
Phuket is a relaxed holiday destination and is ideal for a beach holiday yet there is also plenty on offer for partygoers who may feel more drawn to the red light district and nightlife in Patong, a seedy district in Phuket. There are also the historic old town which has plenty of temples to visit, shopping malls and restaurants.
ATMs are widely available and cards are accepted at most restaurants and spas. If you want to eat like a local, make sure to bring some Thai Baht (the local currency) to pay for food at street stalls or shop in the markets. Tipping is not common but is much appreciated and a small tip will be greatly valued.
Always make sure to carry sunscreen with you as the sun can be relentless and many people end up burning themselves. If you plan to swim in the sea, make sure to be aware of any red flag warnings as there are often riptides which cause multiple drownings annually.
When visiting temples it’s always advisable to cover your legs and shoulders, a sarong is perfect for this.
Thailand is the land of etiquette and it is important to be respectful when visiting, remember that it is a crime to insult and disrespect the Thai royal family. Pointing with hands or feet is considered insulting and you should never touch someone’s head or hair as it is considered the holiest part of the body and a great insult. And remember to smile! It is the “land of smiles” after all!
Luxury things to do in Phuket
Charter a yacht
Visiting Phuket without heading out onto the Andaman Sea on a leisurely cruise to one of the neighbouring islands would be a pity as the the crystal clear waters are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and diving. Charter your own private yacht and crew, captain and cook to enjoy a VIP experience out on the water. Explore the hidden bays and mangroves or take in the spectacular limestone cliffs of nearby islands. Wahoo Luxury Yacht Charters offers private yacht rental and even big game fishing tours which is the perfect day out for all of the family.
Learn to cook at the Blue Elephant
Love Thai food? Learn to cook at the renowned Blue Elephant Restaurant! The cooking school is situated in the stunning colonial building of the old Governer’s mansion and offers courses run by experienced chefs which start at the local markets where you will learn about ingredients used in Thai cuisine before heading to the kitchen for a five-hour cooking course where you will learn how to prepare some of your favourite local dishes so you can go home and impress your friends and family with your newly discovered culinary skills.
See the sunset from a traditional junk boat
Spend the afternoon exploring the spectacular landscape of Phang Nga whilst aboard a traditional wooden junk called the Ayodhaya. This cruise on a traditional sail boat will treat you to some incredible scenery whilst visiting sea caves and limestone cliffs. You will have the opportunity to visit a sea cave by canoe with an experienced guide and enjoy a sunset barbeque before heading back to your hotel.
Charter a private scuba diving expedition
You can head out on a private charter scuba diving tour with your own experienced instructor or guide and explore the diverse marine life of the Andaman Sea. Submerging into the crystal clear waters you will be greeted by a wealth of colourful corals and reefs teeming with fish, if you’re lucky you may even encounter a friendly hawksbill turtle or harmless local reef and leopard sharks.
Visit Super Divers Phuket for more information or even certification courses. For experienced divers, you can head out to the Similan Islands with Sunrise Divers, to explore some of the best diving Thailand has to offer and even the chance of meeting a manta ray or whale shark, the gentle giants of the Andaman Sea!
Take to the skies
For those who prefer to see Phuket from above, you can organise a helicopter tour which will give you stunning aerial views of Phang Nga and Phi Phi Islands. Skydance Helicopters organises tours or even transfers to island accommodation that will ensure you arrive in ultimate style. If you want a completely different aerial experience, head to Sky Club Asia where you can experience a tandem paramotor flight with an experienced flying instructor over Phuket’s beaches, coastline and jungle. For especially keen aerialists you can even take a few classes to learn to fly on your own!
Relax in a luxurious spa
Thailand is an incredible destination for services and you can be pampered and indulged in some of the best spas in the world, in Phuket you are spoilt for choice! Head to the Mandara Spa at the JW Marriott Phuket Hotel to enjoy an indulgent spa ritual in one of their 32 treatment rooms. Their signature treatment is called Ritual of Javanese Lulur, a milk treatment that was once only experienced by Javanese royalty.
For the ultimate spa experience you can visit the Kata Rocks Spa, where you can use the facilities by purchasing the Infinite Luxury Experience, which includes a consultation and allows you to use all the facilities in this chic and elegant Spa including a gourmet lunch and access to the infinity pool.
Pick up a unique souvenir at Phuket Art Village
For a unique gift visit the artists village in Rawai, called the Phuket Art Village. The community of artists, musicians and performers live, perform and sell their artisanal crafts and it is the perfect place to pick up a unique souvenir from this bohemian commune of studios and galleries.
Chill at one of Phuket’s Beach Clubs
Cocktails, chilled out lounge music and poolside cabanas are the ultimate VIP experience and Phuket has plenty of beach clubs including the famous Café del Mar and Dream Beach Club which are the places to see and be seen and rub shoulders with the local jet-set and dance until the sun comes up.
Where to stay in Phuket – Luxury Hotels
Banyan Tree Hotel – For a luxurious stay in Phuket rent one of the 150 private villas with your own private pool and experience the intimacy and privacy of the Banyan Tree Hotel, the hotel is surrounded by a saltwater lagoon and is right on the beach. The hotel also has packages including in-room dining for couples and offers a gym with yoga classes, tennis courts, 18-hole golf course, award-winning spa and amazing restaurants and Jazz brunches on Sundays.
Rosewood Phuket – This newly established hotel has its own stretch of white sand beach and is the epitome of style and sustainability. The hotel has bungalows with wood furniture, beds with soft Italian linen, indoor and outdoor bathrooms and spectacular sea views as well as your own private outdoor swimming pools and private hot tub. The facilities include an outdoor infinity pool, seafood restaurant, 24 hour gym and a personalised spa tucked away in a forest.
Amanpuri Hotel Phuket – The first true luxury hotel in Phuket is an amazing place to stay and has attracted celebrities including Bill Gates and Beyonce with its elegance and reputation. You will find the hotel surrounded with a courtyard and boasting a swimming pool completely tiled in black and thatch roof private villas overlooking the sea with your very own private pool. Aside from the amazing rooms, the resort has its own white sand beach and you can find facilities such as a fashionable and trendy Japanese restaurant, kid’s club and spa. If you want to charter a boat you can choose from their fleet of luxury cruisers to fulfil your island hopping dreams!
Six Senses Yao Noi – This stunning hotel offers the perfect romantic getaway, you’ll feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in one of their private thatched roofed villas with decked terraces built upon the hillside just minutes from a stretch of gorgeous private beach. The enormous villas have indoor/outdoor bathrooms, large regal wooden beds and ocean villas have stunning views of Phang Nga Bay. Facilities include a fitness centre, pool, tennis court and indulgent spa as well as excellent restaurant with a glass floor and warm Thai hospitality. The hotel is situated on an island but transfers are organised via longtail boat.
Luxury eats in Phuket
Suay Restaurant – For contemporary Thai cuisine, head to Suay situated in Phuket Old Town. The fusion between Asian ingredients and Western cooking techniques hails from the Thai chef Tammasak Chootong’s German training and the delicious combination of flavours can be savoured in dishes such as the lemongrass-infused lamb loin or spicy tuna tartare with hints of Isaan cuisine. They also host regular cooking classes if you want to learn to cook Thai cuisine.
La Gritta – If you’ve had enough of Thai food and you are looking for the most romantic restaurant in Phuket, head to La Gritta Italian restaurant in the Amari Phuket Hotel. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining options with a terrace overlooking Patong Bay where you can dine under the stars, refreshed by the cool sea breeze and the sound of waves lapping on the shore. The a la carte menu features a fusion of Italian cuisine with locally sourced seafood and a wine collection from all over the world.
Chanadda Royal Thai Cuisine phuket – If you want to dine like ancient Thai kings, head to Royal Thai Cuisine which is the epitome of Thai culinary perfection. Experienced chefs transform fresh, seasonal ingredients into delicious spiced dishes with an aristocratic heritage. Enjoy the fiery flavours of Thai curries and salads from the a la carte menu and the kitchen are also open to preparing Thai dishes that are not on the menu.
Siam Supper Club – If you are looking for something different and you’ve had your fill of Thai food, head to Siam Supper Club to step into LA in the 1950s with it’s hot jazz and a diverse menu with dishes that will take you around the world in one restaurant, you can find everything on their a la carte menu from Wagyu beef tartare to Italian lobster ravioli to American style sticky pork ribs.
PRU Restaurant – Phuket’s one-star Michelin restaurant offers locally sourced ingredients and a farm-to-table concept with vegetables, herbs and fruits sourced from their very own farms. The dishes are influenced by the exotic Thai cuisine fused with Western traditions merging into a perfect combination of flavours. They have a 6 or 8 course menu and prices start from €125.44 per person for the 6-course menu.
Luxury tours to do in Phuket
Night Street food tour of Phuket Old Town
If you want to delve into authentic Thai flavours and explore the UNESCO “city of gastronomy” the best way is to visit the local markets to experience the authentic local flavours. Try Southern Thai favourites, fusion cuisines with Chinese, Portuguese and Muslim influences and explore the local markets on this foodie evening with an experienced guide. This tour will stimulate all your senses as you wander through Phuket Old Town and take in the heritage architecture of this historic region.
Discover Chalong Bay Rum on a distillery tour
For something a little different, head to Chalong Bay Rum Distillery to learn how Thai sugar cane and French techniques are utilised to create this recognised rum and learn some cocktails along the way in a masterclass lead by a mixologist. On this tour around the distillery you can learn about the process of making rum and how Chalong Bay Rum Distillery sustains the local economy of sugarcane growers and enjoy some fantastic rum along the way.
Explore Khao Lak on a private bamboo rafting tour
This adventure is perfect for adrenalin junkies and lovers of the outdoors. The tour will take you on a hike through the tropical jungle where you can bathe in the cool waters of a waterfall and drift on a bamboo raft through a canal followed by a local Thai lunch before returning to your hotel. The tour includes lunch and transfers and is the perfect day out for all the family.
Get up close and personal with elephants
There has been a lot of bad reputation surrounding elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, however the Elephants at the Retirement Park for Elephants are rescued from retirement and years of riding and shows. These majestic creatures are treated with dignity in the retirement park and are allowed to roam freely, are not ridden or abused and is an ethical way to meet these amazing creatures. A private experience will allow you to get up close and personal with the elephants, help them prepare their meals, wade in a mud spa and wash the elephants. Tours are run in the morning and afternoon.
Recommended luxury tours in Phuket
- 7-Hour Phi Phi and Maiton Islands by Power Catamaran with Lunch
- Phang Nga Bay Canoeing & James Bond Island by Big Boat from Phuket
- Phi Phi Sunrise Tour from Phuket with Premium Snorkeling
- Phuket Catamaran Afternoon Cruise
- Private Khao Lak with Bamboo Rafting Tour
- Small Group Phuket Sightseeing and City Tour
- Photogenic Islands Short Trip by Private Speedboat
- Origin- 2 days 1 night Overnight- 2 Island
- Private Full-Day Speedboat Tour of Phang Nga Bay from Phuket
- Padi Open Water Diver Course
- Elephant Care Program – PRIVATE
- Khaosok National Park Adventure – 2 Days 1 Night Package
- Luxury Ocean Boat Club *VIP day BED – Racha & Coral Island
- Jungle Trip to Khao Sok National Park