Phuket
Overview

What do Kate Moss, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Angelina Jolie, and Beyoncé have in common? Beyond looks, talent, and individual style, each has paid a visit to the island jewel of Thailand that is Phuket. First things first, the “H” is silent—you can thank us when you don’t accidentally utter an explicative as you reveal to your relatives where your next big getaway is. What you will reveal is that you’re embarking to tropical white sand beaches, bottomless fresh coconuts, and salt water so warm you’ll feel as though you’re slipping into a bath. As Thailand’s largest island, this destination is resplendent with gorgeous hotels, ample activities, and endless eateries. We’re here to help you narrow it down to the best of the best… and how to dress. 

While Southeast Asian weather will transform your skin into a perfect sun-kissed bronze, it may not have the same wondrous effect on your hair or wardrobe. Temperatures hover at a humid 85°, or hotter, even during winter months. Think light layers and breathable fabrics if you want to beat the heat. Phuket embodies a laid back, bohemian vibe, so we’d encourage packing a suitcase to match. The spectrum of attire typically veers more casual, but bring an elegant evening ensemble or two for special occasions out and about (see dining and nightlife below).  

No matter if you spend your days sun-soaked, jungle-trekking, thrill-seeking, boutique-browsing, or some combination of it all, Phuket is the destination of a lifetime. So pick that special someone or your crew of closest girls and start planning your suitcase for a journey across the world.   

Stay

Where to stay

Indulge

Indulge

DINING

Located inside Amanpuri, Nama is a luxury restaurant fusing local ingredients with produce imported from Japan. Go for a beachy-chic ensemble here—perhaps a Reformation midi with a heeled mule sandal and pashmina to layer against the sea breeze (the restaurant sits facing the sand, making for a spectacular sunset should you arrive for an early cocktail). RE KÁ TA Beach Club—located at Boathouse on Kata Beach—is renowned for its emphasis on health and wellness as well as its modern elegance. Opt for bold and contemporary wardrobe pieces to slip seamlessly into this sleek atmosphere, perfect for those who enjoy a tropical vibe without sacrificing on elegance. You’ll be seated on a beach terrace amid pristine white furniture and subdued lighting, designed by Fredo Taffin, the man behind Bali’s famous Ku De Ta. Sea.Fire.Salt is a hotspot unlike any other. Wear something daring with a bold red lip as you indulge in the firey beachside barbeque of the freshest fish and seafood (try the poached seafood bucket). The best part? Each table is assisted by a Salt Sommelier to give your meal that added punch. The restaurant itself is seasoned with a sophisticated blend of design, music, and lighting. Ever wondered what French-Riviera-meets-Sydney-Harbour set in a gorgeous Thai setting looks like?  Well, even if you haven’t, try Trisara. Adorned in blue and white tones, this eatery epitomizes unpretentious, cool simplicity… accordingly, we recommend an outfit to match (perhaps a white linen pan with silk blouse). But just because your outfit reads unpretentious doesn’t mean your entrance must as well… especially when there is option to arrive by boat on Trisara’s high-season jetty.

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To finalize the occasion, pick a bottle or two from Trisara’s Wine Spectator award-winning cellar, recently recognized with the 2012 Award of Excellence.  Swap your wedges for a casual flat mule sandal at China Inn Café, a homey establishment in the Old town. Savor the red duck curry slowly to properly enjoy its spicy tamarind sauce. Set amid colorful décor and creative lighting, this place truly demonstrates creative, individual style (a trait we forever try to emulate!). As much as we love to kick back and relax on a beach getaway, care and makeup free, every girl craves a hint of elegant indulgence to truly complete a vacation. In Phuket, your answer is Diavolo, the elegant Italian restaurant at Paresa Resort. From the moment your Ferragamo sandals hit the dark wood of the sweeping deck, you’ll be speechless at the view of the sea below shimmering against the interior hues of read and gold. We know a seasoned jetsetter can be hard to impressive, but take our word that Diavolo is among the most spectular dining Phuket as to offer along its stunning coast.  When it’s time to cut loose, you’ll find support among the clientele at Ka Jok See. Make a reservation, as this popular joint has had its fair share of celebrity sightings (Kate Moss has given her stamp of approval). The unusual, artistic, and fun atmosphere celebrates individuality, so don’t shy away from letting your truest self and funkiest style shine through. Time to break out that daring vintage piece or sport an eclectic local purpose, because after 9pm party turns up to the tune of bongo drums and tambourines. If you find yourself dancing on a table before night ends you at least surely won’t be alone.  LIM’s Pop-Up Kitchen is known to attract an in-the-know crowd of chic partygoers to its al fresco dining room decorated with lush tropical foliage. From colorful throw pillows to velvet sofas and eclectic artwork, LIM’s style is unusual yet tasteful, somewhat like that of forever-icon Carrie Bradshaw. The food is modern thai, but ditch the noodles tonight and sample the deep fried sea bass with mango salsa, or any of the fresh daily specials. We all love a good home-cooked meal from time to time, and at Royale Nam Tok you’ll get just that, though likely just a touch more upscale than our own home kitchen creations. The restaurant is literally set inside a Belgian couple’s home-turned-restaurant, featuring an interior that is soothing and discrete, fusing tranquil, Flemish designs with the surrounding Thai Tropics. Interestingly, the menu is mostly French with hints of Asian influence—we recommend starting with the beef carpaccio with delicious homemade pesto. White Box is as sleek as it sounds, known for its eccentric, exceptional design, set in what used to be a modern private home. The chef hails from the Mediterranean, making for a menu reticent of the French Riviera mixed with Thai influence. If you can’t make it for dinner, White box is an ideal locale for a sunset cocktail or final nightcap at the rooftop bar, offering a stunning beachfront view of Patong bay. One of Phuket’s oldest and best-known restaurants, Kan Eang@Pier cooks from the heart. The ambiance epitomizes Phuket culture in its relaxed yet effortlessly lovely setting of al fresco dining by the sea. A simple sundress and sandals is all you need here to enjoy the famous barbeque spread, from fresh lobster, to massive tiger prawns, and vast curry selection.  If you’re sensing a home cooking theme here, you’re not wrong, but we would be remiss to exclude the famous Raya from our list. Visited by locals and travelers alike, Raya is known for its traditional fare and setting (specialties include the crabmeat curry and steamed pork). The atmosphere is quite charming, decorated with fine china and antiques and set in an old home so well-preserved it can feel like eating in a museum. Dress up a notch above your standard casual sundress, but not need to go over-the-top (unless you so desire). How about dinner in a mansion? I think yes. Blue Elephant is literally set in a Sino-Portuguese mansion that was one the home of the Governor of Phuket. Atmosphere aside, with menu items like crab soufflé, massaman lamb, and foie gras tamarind sauce, it’s no surprise that “royal” is the adjective most commonly used to describe Blue Elephant. Break out your best ensemble for this evening—you’ll want to look top-notch for your inevitable photo shoot on the mansion grounds.  

NIGHTLIFE

Home to Asia’s longest swim-up pool bar (35 meters), Xana Beach Club always makes for a good time. Sink into a pristine white day bed and soak in the seaside view, but prepare to liven up when the sun goes down and the state-of-the-art sound system beats pick up. Phuket’s original hotspot, Catch Beach Club, has reopened and it better than ever, reclaiming its leading position in the Phuket club craze. Sample Asian tapas in your poolside sala before picking up a daiquiri at the canopy-covered beach bar.  Everyone loves a good rooftop bar, but one glance at the 360° views from the 360° infinity pool at Baba Nest and you’ll understand why this legendary hotspot has been voted among the worlds best rooftop beach bars. Located at the Sri Panwa resort on the southern tip of the island, Baba Nest is not the easiest to get to, but hey, for the best sunset on the island it’s only fitting to have to put in a little work.

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Explore

Explore

While the beach and steady flow of booze may be all you require for a getaway, we’d encourage you to take advantage of the vast set of activities Phuket has to offer.  Enjoy the waves with surfing or scuba diving lessons (Thailand is known to be one of the most affordable countries to get scuba-certified). Spend a day exploring outer islands by boat, or venture a bit further for a visit to the Phi Phi islands.  Nature lovers would also enjoy sea cave kayaking, a visit to Khao Sok National Park, or embarking on a jungle trek complete with an elephant ride. For those who never travel without their workout attire, try your hand at Thai boxing to kick up a sweat. If you’re hoping to capture some FOMO-inducing photographs, venture up to Karon Viewpoint or Promthep Cape; better yet, book a helicopter tour for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Phuket also has several stunning sites, the best of which include the Big Buddha and Wat Chalong, though even spending a day exploring the Old Town is sure to assuage your culture fix. Finally, if you happen to get caught in a classic Thai tropical rainstorm, you can still fill your day with indulgent spa treatments, or whip up some chicken curry in a Thai cooking class.  

SHOP

Where to Shop

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The boutique at Amanpuri is perfect for picking up vacation staples, like gorgeous printed sarong, but what makes this boutique most special is its intricate artwork and unusual Asian jewelry, sure to make for tasteful and unique souvenirsAndara Boutique thrives at vacay-chic,  whether you seek a new look for lounging at the resort, dinner with your friends and family, relaxing at the spa, or celebrating on a yacht, they’ve got you covered for any occasion. The globally curated collection at Trisara is worth a peek, particularly if you’re in the market for a new swimsuit. For pristine Thai silk, head to the spacious Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company outlet, where you can also find a vast selection of fine linens, purses, and scarves. If you want to take some Thai relaxation home with you, visit the aromatic Lemongrass House, specializing in massage oils, body lotions, organic teas, and skin calming powders (did we mention it’s been featured in the New York Times and Time magazine?). While you don’t often hear life music and salvaged metal home-goods in the same sentence, Australian-born John Underwood has managed to create the perfect aesthetic of great music AND eco-friendly furniture in his famed Underwood Art Factory. Underwood and his 50-person team have made quite the name for themselves repurposing old objects into statement home goods, all to the tune of regular live music performances on the store stage.  

Shop the Destination

Zimmermann Kali daisy-embroidered wide-leg cotton playsuit
$530.00
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Vanda Jacintho Sphere-drop earrings $456.00
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Sensi Studio Leather-trimmed toquilla-straw basket bag $255.00
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Dodo Bar Or Hoza embroidered cotton wrap skirt $235.00
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Haight Maria one-shoulder bikini $195.00
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Sophie Anderson Keiko woven-toquilla tote
$424.00
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Zimmermann Helm polka dot-print bikini top $160.00
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Zimmermann Helm polka-dot print bikini briefs $95.00
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Adriana Degreas Striped crepe de chine maxi dress $855.00
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Wai Wai Petite Balaio woven-rattan bag
$588.00
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Zimmermann Prima polka-dot linen dress $530.00
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Tabula Rasa Ibis striped knitted bikini $325.00
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Common Projects Minimalist suede sandals $425.00
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Rye Fwip Fwip printed triangle bikini $200.00
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Tabula Rasa Ottoman cutout open-knit maxi dress $695.00
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Garrett Leight Seville 48 round-frame sunglasses $420.00
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Truss Party mini woven raffia-effect wristlet bag $340.00
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Gabriela Hearst Reeves graphic-print wraparound sandals $595.00
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Schutz Zoola Heel $190.00
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Miguelina Renee Broderie Anglaise-trimmed Polka-dot Cotton Top $350.00
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Miguelina Emy broderie anglaise-trimmed polka-dot cotton mini skirt $295.00
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Truss Exclusive Small Crossbody striped woven raffia-effect shoulder bag $185.00
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The Row X Oliver Peoples Board Meeting 2 sunglasses $420.00
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Melissa Odabash Pippa embroidered cotton wrap dress $257.00
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RAYE Naomi Slide $150.00
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Dior Éclat mirrored round-frame sunglasses $450.00
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Caroline Constas Aristi striped swimsuit $285.00
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MDS Stripes Everything Floral Scarf Top $145.00
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MDS Stripes Floral Maxi Skirt $495.00
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Cult Gaia Rhea resin hoop earrings $90.00
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Sophie Anderson Nilsa circle toquilla-straw cross-body bag $263.00
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Caroline Constas Mer Tinos Polka Dot Striped One Piece Swimsuit $295.00
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Caroline Constas Mer Summer Sheer Pants $495.00
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Nannacay Exclusive Baby Roge pompom-embellished woven raffia tote $170.00
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Elizabeth and James Mckinley Oval-frame Acetate Sunglasses $185.00
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