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Phuket at dawn | © chee.hong/Flickr
Phuket at dawn | © chee.hong/Flickr

How to Escape Tourist Crowds in Phuket

Picture of Kyle Hulme
Updated: 20 September 2017

Located in the south of Thailand, Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and as a result millions of travellers flock to its shores each year. With such a busy crowd, it can be hard to immerse yourself in Thai culture or enjoy the surroundings quite as much as you would if it wasn’t so busy. That said, all hope is not lost. There are a few things you can do to escape the tourist crowds in Phuket.

Avoid high season

Phuket is a popular tourist destination all year round, yet some times of the year are considerably busier than others. When the weather starts to get colder back home, from November to March, many people make the decision to ditch the snow, snotty noses and sniffles and replace it with the sun, sea and sand of Phuket. This makes these months the busiest in the year and also the most expensive time to visit. With that in mind, if you’re wanting to avoid the tourist crowds then the best times to visit will be from May until October. This is Phuket’s low season, and whilst the temperature will have dropped compared to high season, it will still be around a more than hot enough at around 30 C. There’s a risk of rain interfering with your travel plans during these times, but it will still be bright and sunny most of the time. The threat of rain looming is a price many will be more than willing to pay to enjoy Phuket’s gorgeous beaches with far fewer tourists on them, or to take advantage of the low season prices that the hotels and restaurants advertise.

Early birds get the first worm

Throughout Thailand, waking up early is your best chance of seeing something without a throng of people ruining your photo ops, and this is certainly applicable to Phuket. Famous tourist hotspots such as the Big Buddha statue can get pretty crowded as the day goes on, yet by waking up early you can ensure that you can take in the majesty of the statue and its surrounding with a degree of solitude and peace. Waking up early also has the advantage of beating the heat when it comes to walking up to the top, and less people witnessing you panting up the steps.

This advice is also applicable to people who want to visit beaches or islands during their time in Phuket. Chartering a boat in the early morning can ensure that you get some peace and quiet during your time in paradise, and once the busy crowds start to flock to your location you can simply move on.

Big Buddha, Karon, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83100, Thailand

Avoid the tourist trap beaches

Patong is a popular area to stay in Phuket, and Patong beach is the most popular beach – but that’s purely down to convenience, rather than beauty. It can be hard to find a decent spot to rest on Patong beach, and even harder to enjoy your surrounding with the constant blaring of music and watersport activities going on in the background. Well, you’ll be relieved to know that there are far more beautiful and much quieter beaches to enjoy in Phuket.

Arguably the most beautiful and most peaceful beach in Phuket is Freedom beach. Despite not being too far from Patong beach, the difficulty in accessing it on foot and steep longtail boat price for a 10-minute journey means few make the effort to visit – though those who do certainly don’t regret it. It’s a beautiful bay of white sand and turquoise water, set against a backdrop of lush green forest, and looks every bit the postcard beach that may have inspired you to travel to Thailand in the first place.

There are other beautiful beaches to visit in Phuket that are a lot quieter and less crowded than Patong too, such as Layan beach and Banana beach, which are also easier to get to than Freedom beach.


Swap crowds for crustaceans

With plenty of dive shops to choose from, Phuket is a great place to get diving certified, and truly get away from the tourist crowds. Nothing says peace and solitude like entering another kingdom several feet below the waves, and marvelling in a world that isn’t your own. With sharks, coral and turtles to see and not a crying baby in sight, there are plenty of great dive spots in and around Phuket just waiting to be explored.