Beautiful beaches, dramatic landscapes, delicious food… the island of Phuket in Thailand has everything you need from a tropical escape. Here, Tim Laven from Cape Panwa Hotel lists the ultimate must-dos for anyone visiting this holiday hotspot.

Order a sundowner at the coolest bar

I love Baba Poolclub at Sri Panwa. It’s surrounded by water and perched up high and has beautiful views, particularly at sunset. I also like Eleven Two & Co. in Phuket Town. You can sit inside where it’s air-conditioned but I prefer the outside area so I can watch the world go by.

Visit a “hidden-gem” restaurant

Head to China Inn Café & Restaurant in Phuket’s Old Town. It’s a wonderful place set in an old house with verandahs and gardens and I love its Thai menu.

Dine like a local

At Mook Dee Seafood in Rawai, you buy your fresh fish on one side of the road then take it to the restaurant, where they’ll prepare it for you.

Bust a move at the hottest nightclub

I’d suggest White Room Nightclub, a popular spot in Patong – but always check before you visit because sometimes it’s closed. If you want to party during the day, there’s Catch Beach Club on Surin Beach. 

Tuck in to the tastiest breakfast

Go to Sac’s Bakery & Tearooms, just outside Phuket Town. They have the best croissants and they make their own strawberry jam.

Get the best caffeine fix

The Circle in Phuket Town has excellent cappuccinos and a selection of cakes. You can sit inside or out. 

Experience a local Thai market 

The Phuket Walking Street market is held on Sundays in the Old Town. Go here for locally made food – I like the yellow noodles with seafood that they make in front of you – and handmade scarves and printed T-shirts.

Shop ’til you drop

I’d go to one of the high-end malls like Jungceylon in Patong or Central Festival Phuket near Phuket Town.

Buy holiday mementos and gifts 

Radsada Handmade in Phuket’s Old Town has everything from homemade candles and bags to bed runners.

Enjoy a romantic escape

Definitely look into having a private dining experience at Cape Panwa Hotel. Staff can set up a table on the beach for just the two of you with sunken candles in the sand, a private chef and a private waiter.

Take a daytrip with a difference 

I recommend a sea canoeing experience with John Gray’s Sea Canoe. They pick you up from your hotel and drive you to Phuket’s north coast, where you get into a canoe and explore these isolated, uninhabited islands. You can camp there overnight, too.

Hit the beach, minus the crowds

The northern part of Phuket, near the airport, has beaches that not many tourists know about. My favourite is Nai Yang, a long stretch of beach next to Sirinat National Park.

 SEE ALSO: 10 of Thailand’s Best-Kept Island Secrets

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