Phuket is an easy place to misinterpret. As an island that sees over two million visitors a year, many parts of Phuket are overrun with tourist shops and sunburnt backpackers, and the popular beaches are crammed year-round.

You have to really make the effort to seek out Phuket’s hidden gems, but when you do it throws you back to what the island would have been like twenty years ago – an unspoilt paradise. Visiting in low season makes a huge difference, but it’s possible to see the real Phuket at any time of year. Here are a few tips to help you find Phuket’s most stylish and untouched treasures.

Indigo Pearl

Indigo Pearl is located on the northern shores of Phuket, which automatically puts it in a good position because a huge percentage of travellers choose to stay in the South. Impeccably designed, Indigo Pearl matches smooth dark woods with crisp white linens in their suites and villas, some of which have outside bathtubs or private pools. Dine in Black Ginger, their floating main restaurant, to try quality Thai cuisine. Spend your days relaxing on the quiet beach nearby.

  • +66 76 327 006
  • Go to Website
  • Nai Yang Beach & National Park
    116 Moo 1, Sakhu, Thalang
    Phuket
    83110

Centara Villas Phuket

Karon, a coastal neighbourhood in Phuket’s Southwest, is packed with dozens of hotels right next to the shores. Centara Villas Phuket is set further back and uphill from the beach, which makes all the difference if you’re looking for a peaceful place to stay in a lively area. Surrounded by jungle-like foliage, which cuts the hotel off from the chaotic outside world, Centara has a shimmering pool with a waterfall, cliff-side dining and private villas – some with their own pools or jacuzzis. Sweeping views of the ocean come as standard.

  • +66 76 286 300
  • Go to Website
  • 701 Patak Road, Karon Beach, Amphur Muang
    Phuket
    83100

Sri Panwa

Perched on the slopes of Cape Panwa – a hilly peninsula just south of Phuket Town, the island’s only city – Sri Panwa is the showstopper of Phuket’s eastern shores, another area in which tourists rarely stay. Aside from being one of the best luxury hotels on the island, this resort also boasts one of its top spas, with a vast array of treatments. Enjoy a traditional Thai massage, or go for something a little different like a mango body polish or an aloe vera and honey wrap.

Sri Panwa is one of the best sunset spots in Phuket because of Baba Nest, its slick rooftop bar. Floating on top of an infinity pool, Baba Nest serves decadent cocktails and fine wine or Champagne, and offers 360° views of the ocean and islands beyond.

  • +66 76 371 000
  • Go to Website
  • 88 moo 8, Sakdidej Road, Vichit, Muang
    Phuket
    83000

Thavorn Beachfront Dining

Ever dreamt of eating dinner at a fully set table on the beach with your toes in the sand? At Thavorn Beach Village and Spa you can. Tucked away just north of hectic Patong Beach, Thavorn offers authentic Thai food cooked to exceptional standards, served up on intimate beach tables, metres from the ocean. In these peaceful surroundings you can look out into the distance at the sparkling lights of the party districts reflecting off the water, and relish in your solitude.

  • Go to Website
  • 311 Patak Road, Karon Beach, Mueang Phuket District
    Phuket
    83100

El Gaucho

When travelling in Thailand you should probably be trying all the local delicacies, but El Gaucho is worth breaking the rules for. This Brazilian restaurant at the Mövenpick Resort is in prime position on a terrace overlooking Karon beach, an ideal spot for catching the sunset while you eat. After you’ve tucked into their selection of grilled meat dishes, don’t forget to head to the bar and sample their extensive collection of sophisticated cocktails.

Bo(ok)hemian

Most tourists visit Phuket Town once or twice during their stay, for a day of milling around museums and shrines. Bo(ok)hemian is the headquarters of this scene.

This trendy café serves great coffee, refreshing iced drinks and delicious pastries and desserts. With books (in English and Thai) lining the walls and regular art exhibitions, it’s one of the best places to discover Phuket’s artistic community.

Ao Sane Beach

Secluded Ao Sane beach can only be reached by driving all the way to Phuket’s far South, through the Royal Phuket Yacht Club, and down a rocky track – which of course means few people visit. This small, curved beach sheltered by high trees sees just a handful of visitors a day and is home to only one or two restaurants and shops.

Venture to Ao Sane for blissfully quiet beach days and bring a snorkel: the rocks here provide an ideal environment for marine life, making it one of the best places to see it in Phuket.

  • Karon, Mueang Phuket District
    Phuket

Indigo Pearl

Centara Villas Phuket Karon Phuket Thailand

Sri Panwa

Thavorn Beachfront Dining

El Gaucho

Ao Sane Beach

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