Located in the Andaman Sea off Thailand's west coast, the holiday hub of Phuket, or the 'Pearl of the South' as it has become known, is connected to the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge. Along with being Thailand's largest island, Phuket has an incredibly diverse list of attractions, which include rocky and sandy beaches, tall cliffs, forests, waterfalls, and temples.
Phuket caters to all, with accommodation options that range from backpackers and simple guesthouses to modern luxury hotels, though beachfront bungalows on unspoilt stretches of white sand are more rare now than they used to be. There are numerous activities in or near the destination, including mountain biking, bungee jumping, and golf, and it is even possible to go elephant trekking. A variety of tours offer day trips to the cliffs of nearby Phang Nga Bay, Koh Phi Phi, and the beaches and islands around Krabi. Several offshore islands are good for snorkelling and scuba diving. Phuket also has a huge variety of goods and shopping establishments, from markets and street stalls to department stores and specialist shops, and a range of restaurants that includes Thai seafood, Indian and Western cuisine.
The island's airport makes it easy to get to and from Bangkok and, though thousands of tourists visit in peak season, Phuket's sheer size allows travellers to escape from the madding crowds. Patong Beach is the island's most famous and developed beach resort, and offers a wide choice of holiday activities, dining options, and nightlife. It is situated nine miles (15km) from Phuket City.