Thailand has become the most popular Southeast Asian destination for American tourists, and Phuket is where many of them will end up. In fact, in the first ten months of 2022, the province of Phuket welcomed over 2.4 million foreign visitors making Phuket Thailand’s most popular tourist destination. Here are our top 8 reasons why tourists keep visiting this beautiful destination.
1. World-Class Beaches
One of the top reasons many people visit Thailand is the world-famous beaches. One of Phuket’s most famous is Hat Bang Thao, a 5-mile-long sandy paradise on the island’s west coast. Bang Thao is the perfect spot to relax and unwind and has something for every type of traveler. From luxury resorts to hostels and high-end restaurants to laid-back beach bars, Bang Thao is the perfect beach to explore, no matter your budget or style.
2. Amazing Food
While Thai food has become popular around the world, there is no better place to experience it than in Thailand. Phuket has its own style of food that is influenced by Malaysian and Chinese cuisine. For the most authentic taste of Phuket, ditch the hotel restaurants and head to the Old Town, where you will find plenty of restaurants using local produce and seafood to create some truly remarkable dishes.
3. Funky Street Art
Phuket’s Old Town is home to some truly Instagram-worthy murals and street art. In 2016 a property developer teamed up with a local artist and launched an initiative that brought top street artists from all over Thailand. The artists have brightened up the streets and buildings with murals and quirky art all throughout the Old Town. The murals range from cute to controversial and often are political in nature. Soi Romanee is a particularly popular alley for snapping the perfect Instagram shots.
4. Phuket’s Night Markets
Phuket is home to several night markets, each with its own character. They typically open around 4 or 5 pm and run until 10 or 11 pm. You’ll find everything from local art, music, and souvenirs at the night markets, but the best reason to go is the street food. It is easy to fill up on an incredible variety of food and drink on the cheap, so make sure you go hungry.
5. Enjoy Unique Nature
Phuket is full of natural beauty, with the limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bat creating a breathtaking backdrop. Visitors enjoy mountain climbing and hiking through its lush green rainforests, which provide panoramic views. After a long day of hiking, you can cool off and take a swim and jump through the waterfalls at Bang Pae. Sirinat National Park is also a great spot to check out snakes, tortoises, and other wildlife.
6. Inexpensive Massages
There are places to get massages on every corner in Phuket, making self-care and relaxation easily accessible on any trip to the island. The famous Thai massages are a must-try for anyone with aches, pains, or stresses, and are a great way to relax. An hour massage is typically around $15 making it a great addition to your daily vacation routine.
7. Explore Phuket’s Cultural Sights
The island is home to over two dozen Buddhist temples – some of the most impressive in South East Asia. Of the 29 Buddhist temples in Phuket, Wat Chalong is the most impressive. It is the area’s largest temple complex and has a 197-foot tall stupa (a place of burial) at the top, which holds Lord Buddha’s bone fragments. And just a short distance from there is the 148-foot-tall Big Buddha, the third-tallest statue in Thailand.
8. Travel Phuket By Tuk-Tuk
One of the most popular ways to get around Phuket is by tuk-tuk. These miniature open-air vans are typically painted bright red and can take you anywhere you need to go in Phuket. There is something incredibly charming about riding in a tuk-tuk, even if it might be slightly uncomfortable. If traveling by tuk-tuk, just be sure to negotiate the fare before setting off for your destination.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com