Phuket is Thailand's largest island. It is also known, and rightly so, as The Pearl of the Andaman sea. Whilst it is no longer the quiet backpacker haven of 30 years ago, it has evolved into a first class holiday destination and offers a wide variety of travel experiences to suit all tastes and all budgets. Its world renowned west coast beaches such as Patong, Karon, Kata, Kamala, Surin and Bang Tao, offer a wide variety of experiences. Whether it be sailing, jet skiing, parasailing, canoeing or just lounging on the beach, the tourist is well catered for. Each of the main beaches has its own style and charm yet, despite the island's popularity, it is still possible to find a near deserted stretch of sand to escape from the crowd.
With all the beach activities, it is easy to over look the islands many other charms. Phuket Town with its Sino-Portuguese architecture has a quirky, arty feel with a vibrant cafe culture. It is also home to some of the islands best street food and restaurants. The east coast of the island has a number of top quality marinas and reasonably priced seafood restaurants. Khao Phra Thaeo National Park is home to Phuket's last area of virgin rain forest and makes for a great half day hike.