Phuket is Thailand’s most popular holiday destination and the departure point for liveaboards to both the Similan Islands and Southern Thailand, Thailand’s premier dive spots. Thanks to its location between these two areas and its international airport, Phuket is ideal for diving in Thailand’s best two areas.
Typically liveaboards last for 4 days and 4 nights, departing on the evening of the first day so that diving can begin first thing in the morning and returning on the afternoon of the fifth day. There is a wide range of Similan liveaboards from budget to luxury departing from Phuket
The only drawback about Phuket is that its very popularity means Phuket can be quite expensive and quite crowded on major beaches like Patong, Karon and Kata. If you are joining a liveaboard trip in Phuket, this is not really a problem, as you can transfer direct from Phuket Airport to the liveaboard without needing to stay in Phuket itself. If you are looking for a quiet getaway in Phuket, you probably want to head to Nai Yang or Bang Tao beaches.
You can get daytrips to Southern Thailand sites from Phuket, but the Similan Islands are a bit too far away for day trips from Phuket – if you only want to do Similan day trips, you’re better off taking a one hour drive north from Phuket Airport to the town of Khao Lak, which is the nearest point geographically on the Thai mainland to the Similan Islands. (See our separate page on Khao Lak).
Phuket Hotels, Guesthouses and Villas
There’s a huge choice of accommodation of hotels and guesthouses in Phuket for all budgets. The main consideration is deciding which beach you want to stay on.
Things To Do In Phuket
For more info on where to stay and what to do in Phuket when you’re not diving, we recommend Travelfish’s Phuket travel guide and Lonely Planet Phuket.
When To Go Diving In Phuket
The diving season is November to April in Phuket for access to the Similan Islands and Southern Thailand sites – May to October is the monsoon season and too rough for safe diving. There are some reefs nearer to Phuket which are accessible all year round.
How To Get To Phuket
You can fly direct into Phuket with several international airlines – check Kayak for latest prices and routings. You can also fly from Bangkok to Phuket with numerous budget airlines, included AirAsia and Nok Air. See Skyscanner
There is no direct train to Phuket from Bangkok – the only overland route from Bangkok is by overnight bus.