Jamie's Phuket Blog

Jamie's Phuket Blog - Discover The Real Phuket

Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2019

It's time for the 2019 Top 10 Phuket Hotels list. There are 3 new entries compared to 2018 and a new number 1. For each hotel there are links for checking online rates and availability with Agoda.com. As for all previous year's top 10 hotel lists, I based this on Tripadvisor rankings which may be imperfect and change all the time. You'll find links to reviews for each hotel. Hotels get scores out of 10 on Agoda so you can compare reviews, and importantly reviews can only be made by guests who have actually booked the hotel, so you can see if real hotel guests agree with TA ratings!

1. Ayara Kamala

Ayara Kamala Resort

Ayara Kamala Resort was new in the top 10 last year and now jumps right to the top! Despite the name, the resort is not right on Kamala beach - you'll find it on the headland south of Kamala along with several other very nice resorts and private villas. This stretch of coast has great views and the resort is quite exclusive, with just a dozen or so villas. The area is called Millionaire's Mile. From the resort to Kamala beach is about 2km, so hopefully they have a free shuttle!

Ayara Kamala - Information & Booking
Ayara Kamala - Reviews

2. The Chava Resort (Surin Beach)

Chava Resort

The Chava hit the top 10 in 2015, hit number 1 in 2016 and was number 2 last year too. Surin Beach always has something in the top 10! The Chava Resort features a collection of 2 - 5 room apartments (this seems to be called an "apartment resort"), some are run directly by the hotel, while some on the same property are privately owned and privately rented. Rooms are really enormous, not normal hotel size, great for families and groups. Like Ayara, it's a place with sea views, slightly up in the hills, not right on the beach but just few minutes walk from Surin beach.

Chava Resort - Information & Booking
Chava Resort - Reviews

3. BYD Lofts (Patong Beach)

BYD Lofts

BYD Lofts remains very popular - it's been in the top 5 for the last 5 years. Unlike the top 3 on this list - if you want a room near the heart of Patong Beach, close to the action and in the middle of the busiest beach area in Thailand, BYD Lofts offers serviced apartments with the hotel featuring a rooftop pool (and a view over the beautiful concrete jungle of Patong). There are 1 or 2 bedroom apartments of various sizes. I rarely venture into Patong myself - not my style, but Patong beach is very convenient for visitors, with huge numbers of restaurants plus shops/the big Jungceylon Mall and tour agents near you. And bars and nightlife too.

BYD Lofts - Information & Booking
BYD Lofts - Reviews

4. Trisara Phuket Villas & Residences


Trisara has been either 1 or 2 on this list for about 5 years, so a surprise to find it ranked 4th! I would really really love to stay here a few days and do nothing at all! Are you listening Trisara manager?! Trisara offers private pool villas by a private beach to the north of Bang Tao beach in the north of Phuket island. Trisara is what I'd call a "private, luxury, superb view view, relax and unwind" style hotel. Only 48 villas, acres of space, no crowds. There are also "private residences" (houses) with 2 - 6 bedrooms, ideal for families, big groups, or even wedding parties. Or just for a relaxing getaway for a romantic couple. The location - miles from any busy areas, so youll need your own transport or have to get taxis everywhere.

Trisara - Information & Booking
Trisara - Reviews

5. Navatara (Rawai Beach)


Navatara first appeared on the list at number 7 in 2016, and has been at number 5 for 2 years. Navatara opened in 2013, but with hotels opening all the time I'd not even heard of it until doing the top 10 list in 2016! Navatara has 37 rooms, built with some "Thai style". Some rooms have pool access, and all rooms look pretty big! This is a smaller, Thai style resort away from the main beaches, but not too far - many people ask me to recommend a hotel like this! Like many of the very best hotels, it's not on the beach. Navatara is about 500m from Rawai beach and a few minutes drive from Nai Harn beach and Phromthep Cape. One of my favourite corners of Phuket.

Navatara - Information & Booking
Navatara - Reviews

6. Avista Grande (Karon Beach)

Avista Grande

The top 10 in the last couple of years has almost entirely been missing hotels at the main beaches, but the Avista Grande at Karon Beach leaps into the top 10. The full name is Avista Grande Phuket Karon MGallery by Sofitel .. bit of a mouthful. Sofitel is a chain, part of the Accor group, with MGallery being a more boutique luxury style of hotel. I worked at Karon beach at the Sunrise Divers shop and we had a fair number of customers staying at this hotel.

Avista Grande - Information & Booking
Avista Grande - Reviews

7. Chanalai Flora Resort (Kata Beach)

Chanalai Flora Resort

And another on a main beach! There are several Chanalai resorts in Phuket (Garden, Hillside, Romantica, Flora) and all are in Kata or Karon. Note - if you stay at one of these, be sure if you book tours that you know which Chanalai you are at! And note that this is not the same place as La Flora, which is in Patong. Chanalai Flora is in a great location just a few minutes walk to Kata beach, and there are plenty of shops and all kind of restaurants nearby. And the price is quite a bit lower than most of these top 10 resorts!

Chanalai Flora Resort - Information & Booking
Chanalai Flora Resort - Reviews

8. The Surin (Pansea Beach)

The Surin

The Surin (formerly called The Chedi) reopened with the new name about 8 years ago, but The Chedi had already been in Phuket for many many years, with it's uniquely excellent location on a "private" beach between Surin and Bang Tao beaches in the north of Phuket. I'd stay here! Another resort that is a little remote but you can get to Surin or Bang Tao for restaurant options. I'd rent a car if I stayed here. And The Surin is not ridiculously expensive compared to the neighbour - the beach is shared with the very very fancy Amanpuri.

The Surin - Information & Booking
The Surin - Reviews

9. Renaissance Phuket Resort (Mai Khao Beach)


Renaissance is one of the various Marriott owned resorts north of Phuket Airport at Mai Khao Beach. Renaissance has been on this blog before as part of the Best Luxury Phuket Resorts list and was also in the Top 10 Hotels for 2018 and 2017. Mai Khao beach is still really quiet and unless you stick to only the various Marriott hotel restaurants you'll need transport or taxis to get to other places. Rent a car, explore, drive just a few minutes from here and you're over the bridge into Phang Nga province. Ideal for a few days of relaxation and a quiet base for exploring the Phuket area!

Renaissance - Information & Booking
Renaissance - Reviews

10. Pacific Club Resort (Karon Beach)

Pacific Club Resort

Pacific Club has been lurking around the top 10 for years, sometimes in and sometimes just out. Located on the hillside above Karon beach near the also-popular Mandarava resort, Pacific Club is a bit off the main strip, quiet at night, great views, has a popular restaurant and various room types including suites and small apartments with kitchens. It's about 10 minutes walk down to the beach.

Pacific Club Resort - Information & Booking
Pacific Club Resort - Reviews

And that's the Top 10 hotels in Phuket as of early 2019. Have you stayed at a hotel that's not listed, but you think it should be? Go and give it a big review and get it's TA ranking up! Phuket has been on the mainstream tourism route for nearly 30 years now, and there is a great mix of old and new resorts (hard to keep up with openings and re-brandings!), big hotels, guesthouses, villas, apartments, hillside, beachfront, busy areas, quiet areas. There is something here in Phuket for everyone. Any budget.

For anyone thinking of coming to Phuket - doing your research is very important especially regarding the hotel location. Look at a map, please! I read too many reviews complaining about location. Check the map! In recent years, as this list shows, many top class resorts have opened in more secluded areas and the trend is for sea view hillside (not on the beach) hotels and villas. Land prices (buying or renting) are so incredibly high that beachfront would be a mega-investment. Although Phuket does get many package tourists these days there is also a big luxury market, and most of this top 10 could be called luxury (by my standards), but at the same time small hotels, guesthouses and "backpacker price" places are also plentiful.

For hotel booking, reviews, information ... check agoda.com or booking.com! See you in Phuket!

Our House For Sale (or Rent) in Phuket

If you follow me on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) you may have seen that, after 19 years in Phuket, I am heading back to the UK. Reasons? School/education for my kids, a new challenge, a new life, being close to family in the UK ... it's not planned to be permanent, and we are keeping our house in Chumphon (my wife's hometown), but in order to fund this big move we are selling our house in Phuket. Or we'd be happy to rent long term (at least 6 months). Anyone interested, please contact by email (jjjjmonk@yahoo.co.uk) or if you are in Phuket and want to see the house please call my wife's number 089 2929104 to arrange a viewing.

Location, Location Location

Sure everyone has an idea of their preferred location. If you want a seaview, sorry we can't help, but .. we are in the Kathu area. The center of the universe! Within 5 - 10 minutes we can drive to all major malls and supermarkets, cinema, international hospitals, many of the best schools, local markets, golf courses, lots of restaurants .. Patong is a 10-15 minute drive in one direction and Phuket Town is 10 - 15 minutes in the other direction. Nearest minimart to our house is a 2 minute drive or 10 minute walk, and there's a gasoline station in the same location. We are on a quiet side road, but close to everything. There's a clubhouse with a pool right over the street from our house. There's no through traffic passing our house, it's very peaceful.

Our house sits of 140 Wah of land, which is 560 square meters. This is divided into 2x70 Wah plots with separate land titles. The house is on 70 Wah and we bought the extra land later so we have a big garden area and space for parking multiple vehicles and lots of space to expand the house or build your own pool or even build a second house.

The house is one floor (unless you count a climb of 2 steps to the bedrooms. There's a large living room/dining area, a not-so-huge kitchen that we often thought to enlarge, 3 bedrooms, one main bathroom, plus 1 bedroom has en-suite shower/toilet and another bedroom has en-suite shower. Main bathroom was recently redecorated. All bedrooms and living room have aircon. Behind the kitchen is a covered utility area where we have washing machines/dryer/storage. At the front of the house there's also a decent size shed.

Water supply to our street is very good, and we also have a water tank with pump. Electric supply in Kathu is very reliable, I can recall maybe 3 times in 15 years when we had any power outages. We have 3bb internet / wifi in the house which a new owner can take over if they want. There are multiple wall mounted fans around the house which will stay there. All windows have mosquito screens and bars. Security in the street has never been a problem. It's a very safe area.

If you need more information - please contact me by email (jjjjmonk@yahoo.co.uk) or to see the house please call my wife's number 089 2929104 to arrange a viewing.

We have lived there 15 years and we were the first occupants of the house, so it has had 1 careful owner! Perfect for a family, lots of space, quiet area but close to everything.

Selling price : 9,650,000 Baht or near enough offer. For a house in this location with a big land area, it's a good price.

Rental : 20,000 Baht per month

House Photos

As you can see - lots of space and different areas around the house. We have enjoyed living here, adding extras to the house, redecorating, repainting, growing the garden - lots of big mature plants which we planted many years ago. I am biased, but it's a very nice place to live.

Anyone interested, please contact by email (jjjjmonk@yahoo.co.uk) or if you are in Phuket and want to see the house please call my wife's number 089 2929104 to arrange a viewing. Cheers!

10 Things To Do In Phuket Town

When this blog first started back in 2006, a large part of the idea was to show that there is a lot more to Phuket than beaches, hotels and nightlife. A lot more. In my 19 years living in Phuket, beach days were rare, and nightlife was normally limited to a few beers or maybe watching some live football or having parties with friends. The main nightlife areas in Patong beach or at one of the newer beach clubs had no interest for me. Sure there are great beaches, and every now and then I'd feel the urge for some beach time, but normally (along with my family) I'd like to head out and explore some local scenery, find viewpoints, and very often head into Phuket Town - so many times I'd enjoy a walk in town looking at new attractions or just enjoying a good cafe or restaurant. Phuket Town has a great mix of old and new, plenty of history, art, museums, and is a great place to be during certain festivals. The blog has featured Phuket Town so often over the years, this blog post pulls a few ideas together for things to do in Phuket Town.

Thai Hua Museum

Located in the old town on Krabi Road, the Thai Hua Museum is full of interesting displays about the history of Phuket, especially from the early 19th century after the Burmese had been subdued and Phuket started to fill up with Chinese immigrants and the tin mining industry boomed. The museum is found in the old Thai Hua Chinese school, which has moved to a much bigger and more modern location on the edge of town. Well worth a visit and (I think) the entry fee of about 200 Baht is well worth it.

Phuket Thai Hua Museum

More information : Thai Hua Museum in Phuket Town

Chinpracha House

Just along the road from the museum is one of Phuket Town's old mansions, mostly built in the early 20th century for the big tin mining families. Chinpracha has been partly converted to a museum, a chance to step inside one of these amazing houses. There is a small entry fee.

Chinpracha House Interior

More information : Chinpracha House

Street Art

In the last few years, loads of street art has been appearing around the old town, with new works of art appearing now and then, made by local and foreign artists. You can do a little walking tour around town - looking for the art you'll find little side streets and local life that you may have otherwise missed. I am sure there is more art since I blogged about it!

Old Phuket Town Street Art

More information - Street Art in Phuket Town

Markets in Phuket Town

Lots to choose from! If you want to see a real local food market, then head to Ranong Road for the main fresh market. Most days there is a new market called Chillva Market on the north edge of town with lots of clothes, art, often live music, lots of food. On Sunday there is the walking street market on Thalang Road in the heart of old town. And the small, but popular Indy Market is on several evenings per week.

Busy night at Chillva Market

(above) Busy evening at Chillva Market

Rang Hill

Rang Hill (Khao Rang) on the north side of Phuket Town has long been a popular hangout. The famous Tunk Ka Cafe has been there since before time began and you get very nice views from up there, plus locals use the area for exercise. There are several routes up the hill. If you ascend from the same side as the Vachira Hospital you also find Khao Rang temple featuring a big golden Buddha statue.

The "Other" Phuket Big Buddha

More information - Rang Hill Viewpoint + Rang Hill Temple

Just Walk Around Randomly!

Aside from seeing a few of the "sights", I love a good wander around the old town. When I first took a walk to explore in about 2006 it was very different, hard to find a cafe, many buildings looking rather shabby, but the old town looks much better now, aided by a continuing project to hide all the overhead cables. A good walk around is easy enough, plenty of cafes if you get thirsty, it's good to explore, find local shops, wander down side streets, stumble upon little gems. And these days with 4G and Google Maps you can't get lost :)

Yentafo Sam Pee Nong

Trickeye Museum

Not really a museum and the most "touristy" thing to do on this list - good I think if you have young kids the Trickeye 3D gallery has loads of paintings where you can pose and take photos - it's indoors and aircon, so good for a hot day, or a rainy day. Not so cheap to get in, but kids and some adults will enjoy!

Phuket Town Volcano!

More information : Trickeye Museum / Gallery

Chinese Shrines

With the history of old Phuket Town being largely connected with the influx of Chinese immigrants in the 19th century it's no surprise to find many Chinese shrines in town (and in fact, all over the island). The town is a very mixed community .. one road you may want to find (Soi Talingchan) features a shrine, plus a mosque and a Catholic church. The biggest of the Chinese shrines is Jui Tui, located at the end of Ranong road past the market. This one along with Bang Neow shrine feature heavily during the amazing Phuket Vegetarian Festival. A smaller shrine called Por Tor Kong is the center of the annual Hungry Ghost Festival. And the beautiful little Sang Tham shrine (aka Shrine of the Serene Light) is certainly worth a look.

Shrine of the Serene Light

Sapan Hin Park

In the far south of Phuket Town you find Sapan Hin, a large area of park, sports facilities, mangroves, large open areas that are often used for local festivals. A very popular area in the late afternoon for locals to walk or jog or sit and have a picnic, it's right by the sea. The old Bang Yai canal flows into the sea here - this canal used to be a much larger waterway allowing ships to sail right into town and it carried on past town and was used to transport tin mining produce. The Sapan Hin area also has some small local restaurants and normally quite a lot of food stalls, even when there are no events taking place. There's a Chinese shrine here too.

Evening at Sapan Hin

More information - Sapan Hin in Phuket Town

Great Local Food!

In the Phuket Town area it's much easier to find good, real local food ... close to the beaches it can be a struggle, food tends to be dumbed down for tourists. In town if you want the real local food, look for small restaurants where locals are eating. Just wander into a small noodle shop or get food from stalls in the market. A few slightly nicer restaurants I really like in town include Kopitiam, One Chun, Yellow Door. For very good and simple chicken or crispy pork on rice try Moo Grob Khun Yai. For local food with maybe the best view ... the Tunk Ka Cafe on Rang Hill has to be tried. Also well known are places like Raya, Thamachart, China Inn, Dibuk, Suay... and try the noodles at Mee Ton Poe or Lock Tien. If you want to explore Thai food, Phuket Town is the place to be!

Kopitiam on Thalang Road, Phuket Town

Now, most tourists don't stay in town, preferring to stay near the beach. It's easy enough to get a local bus into town from Patong, Karon or Kata beaches, but note that the buses only run until about 5:30 - 6pm. If heading to town in the evening you'll need a taxi or your own transport. Or why not consider staying in town for a couple of nights so you can explore easily. There are plenty of Hotels in Phuket Town ranging from guesthouses to some very nice boutique hotels. A lot to see in town and it's a great area to see more local life than you'd see at the beaches. I wish you happy exploring!