Phuket is at its best from December-March. Worst July-November (rough seas, winds and life-threatening rips. In 2012 tourist deaths hit one per month in spite of red flag warnings)
Phuket is one of the world’s most famous international resort islands with a massive variety of accommodation ranging from super-budget hostels to magnificent resorts. Phuket is the largest, the most expensive and the most touristy of all Thailand’s islands, with busy though superb sand and an international airport.
• Patong beach is particularly crowded but long, wide and with soft sand and quite protected waters.
Unfortunately hawkers are unpleasantly pushy and immediately adjacent Patong town is a sleazy pit of trash architecture enrobed in tarry cables, patrolled by braying motorcycles and smelly tuk-tuks and fuelled by booze, porn and unprincipled, uncontrolled salespeople.
• Nai Harn and Kata beaches in far southwest Phuket are for those with money who are looking for quiet, clean, safe, pretty beaches backed mainly by up-market, all-inclusive hotels, though the sleaze factor is creeping into some arts of this more exclusive region of Phuket.
• Nai Thon beach in northwest Phuket is very, very quiet, with just a few simple bars, restaurants and modest hotels, but wonderful squeaky white sand, clear water, no boats, few cars, few package people, no clubs and an adjacent nature reserve. It’s even romantic! But it could get substantial waves in December.
• Mai Khao beach in far northwest Phuket is the place for real solitude on the least visited, 13km long Mai Khao Beach, turtle hatching area (November-January, waves permitting). It’s coated with medium grain yellow sand, clear water, and gets pretty big waves in December. There is a little, very simple and cheap accommodation available.