The Thai island of Phuket is famous the world over for its powdery-sand beaches, five-star hotels, and dramatic landscapes, craggy green mountains falling off into the sparkling sea. It has also, sadly, become known for its hordes of tourists and, shall we say, questionable nightlife.
But despite some less lovely areas, Phuket is still a world-class destination, with its unforgettable scenery, excellent restaurants, Thai hospitality, and palpable history. Whether you’re splurging or trying to save, it’s a highlight of Thailand. Here are two ways to do Phuket right.
On the Cheap: Phuket Town
Many travelers touch down at Phuket International and beeline to their resort of choice without ever passing through the historic old town. Their loss. While Phuket as a beach destination is the product of the last few decades, the town was a thriving commercial center for centuries. Similar to port cities like Singapore and Penang, Phuket sat along heavily trafficked trade routes and, as a result, reflects the heritage of many cultures that have passed through — China, India, Portugal, and more.