Flights to Phuket, land into Phuket International Airport, 32 kilometres from downtown Phuket. You can check for cheap Phuket flights to other thai destinations, view maps and photos of the facility, and arrange a rental car at the airport's website. Visitors have access to cash machines, information counters and an Internet service station to check email and surf the web. The facility features restaurants, a cafe, a doughnut shop, and souvenir shops. Passengers from overseas Phuket flights should be prepared to stand in line for a while at the immigration and customs area, which is conveniently located near the baggage claim.
When you book your airfare to Phuket you may want to have the agent make arrangements for transportation to your lodging. There are minibuses and limousines available at the airport, but most drivers will stop at a travel agency to try to get you to buy tickets for venues or book with a certain hotel. You can use taxis to avoid this annoyance, but they are a little more expensive and you should let the driver know that you want to go directly to your lodgings with no stops.
Once you are settled, the local transportation is predominately bus or songthaew, which is a pick-up truck fitted with passenger benches. These transports do not have organized regular stops, so you can request them whenever you need a ride. They usually stop service at 6 p.m. If you want to go to other islands or to Bangkok, you will use boats, ferries, and trains.
Phuket is an island paradise for beach lovers. The only towns that are not on the beach are Phuket Town, which is the main business district, and Chalong Bay, which is on the East coast of the island. Chalong Bay is where islanders keep their yachts, and it is also where travellers catch ferries or boats to the surrounding islands. There are numerous resorts on Phuket and plenty of places to scuba dive, snorkel, or engage in various other water sports. There are dozens of companies with whom you can arrange group dives, canoe trips and deep-sea fishing excursions. If you prefer to see the sights, you should visit the ancient Chalong Temple, a famous sanctuary during the Chinese Rebellion. You can also enjoy enormous waterfalls or explore the exotic creatures at Phuket Aquarium, the Butterfly Farm, and the Crocodile Farm.
The most abundant wares on Phuket are cultured pearls, decorative ornaments, pewter items and nielloware, which is Thai-crafted metal jewellery. There are many souvenir shops in town and in the shopping centres at the main beaches. The enormous Central Festival shopping mall is located in Phuket Town, and Jungceylon, another huge mall, is in Patong. The local cuisine features many ethnic noodle dishes with chicken or pork, and noodle shops are scattered throughout the beach towns. Notable Phuket dishes are Khanom Jin, which is a spicy breakfast dish with noodles and Nam Phrik Kung Siap, a mixture of smoked shrimp and vegetables.
For those looking to party, Patong Beach is packed with discos, bars, and night-clubs. You can also visit FantaSea, which is compared to Disney Land by many and offers spectacular evening entertainment. You will likely have trouble fitting all of these attractions into your vacation schedule, so be sure to make plans for a return trip.