Phuket, a rainforested, mountainous island in the Andaman Sea, has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, mostly situated along the clear waters of the western shore. The island is home to many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants. Phuket City, the capital, has old shophouses and busy markets. Patong, the main resort town, has many nightclubs, bars and discos.
As a travel destination, Phuket is a breeze to navigate. The whole island is accessible by road, and none of the beaches require an admission fee. Travelers can show up pretty much on a whim. Once you’re here, choose from diving, nature hikes, massages, or even a day trip out to the surrounding Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands, or the narrow sea caves of Phang Nga Bay.