Best seasons for vacations in Phuket

Published: 07th May 2010
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Phuket is popular all year round. This is the major tropical island in Thailand's enviable archipelago and it is also the biggest, much larger than its closest competitor which is Koh Samui. Phuket is the third most popular tourist destination in Thailand with Pattaya coming second and Bangkok top. Some seasons in Phuket are busier than others are so here is my guide to the Phuket seasons.

Crowds are at their highest during the December and January period which includes Christmas and New Year and then soon after that, Chinese New Year. During these two months prices in Phuket are sky high and room availability is scarce. Visitors without advance bookings will no doubt be left high and dry as it is no exaggeration to say that every room in town is full.

There should always be accommodation to be found in Phuket Town or some of the less touristy areas of Phuket but anyone wanting to spend their Christmas or New Year holidays in the main areas such as Patong will be disappointed if they arrive without a booking.

Also, advance bookings during the peak season are the only way to find any form of discount. People that are regular visitors may have a stronger chance to find a discount but there is simply no way that a walk up customer will secure any kind of reduction in the posted room price during this peak period of travel to Phuket.

Much better value can be found in the shoulder seasons. October to November and then February to March are the best seasons to visit Phuket. At these times, crowds are reduced and hotel rooms are available for some very good discounts. Contacting hoteliers before hand and discussing travel plans can result in some excellent value.

Long stay visitors, who are planning to spend more than three weeks in Phuket, will also be greeted with wonderful discount offers. Hoteliers all over the world love to know that their rooms are full for longer periods and nowhere is this more true than in a place like Phuket that experiences substantial quiet seasons where rooms can stay empty.

It's also easier to get to and away from Phuket during the shoulder seasons because flights remain just as regular but prices can be less than a quarter of what they are in the peak season of December to January. Budget airfares like JetStar Asia and Bangkok Airways are some of the carriers that operate out of Phuket airport.

The world famous Phuket Vegetarian Festival takes place in early October or late September. The actual date of the festival varies each year as it is dependent on the lunar cycle, not the calendar date. The King's Cup Yachting Regatta in December adds another layer of business to the Christmas period.

Planning a visit to Phuket around the climate is probably the only way to guarantee that expectations are met. It will never rain for too long outside the wet season while during the wet season, long dry spells should never be expected. Plus golf in Phuket is available all year round.

Apart from these basics, it really is up to the visitor to decide what sort of atmosphere suits them best. Come in peak season for crowdy boisterous fun or come in shoulder season to Phuket for slightly quieter times and cheaper prices. Plenty of visitors say they prefer Phuket during the cooler and atmospheric wet season, so everyone will have their own opinion on what is the best season in Phuket.

Austin Granger has lived in Phuket since discovering a love of surfing. He has produced many articles on the island's tourism industry over the years.

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