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The perfect day in Phuket will incorporate its glorious beaches, wilderness areas, its heritage, viewing points, exceptional cuisine and its famous nightlife. You will need to rent a car, or a car and driver, which any resort can arrange. An alternative would include a daytrip to Phang Nga Bay or the Phi Phi islands.

7:00am 

Begin with breakfast and a refreshing swim, at your hotel – perhaps in your private plunge pool – or at the nearest beach before you pick up your car or greet your driver for the day. Bring your swimming gear and your sunscreen.

8:00am 

Time to explore the beaches of the upper west coast. Drop in and out at will from Mai Khao to Surin, enjoying the water or simply walking along the sand. If it takes your fancy, most beaches offer al fresco massages, which are generally cheap and cheerful.

11:00am 

Cross the island to Khao Phra Thaew National Park. Visit the park's two waterfalls, Ton Sai and Bang Pae, and take a walk through the rainforest on one of the hiking trails before visiting the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre.

1:30pm

Head to Phuket Town, and spend an hour or so walking through the historic Old Town to admire its distinctive architecture, stopping in at some of its shops. Lunch at Kopitiam by Wilai before striking out for Rang Hill and its viewpoint.

3:30pm

Visit Wat Chalong, Phuket biggest and most revered temple complex. Climb the chedi, view its statues and murals of the life of the Buddha and see the relic of the Buddha, before making merit in the central temple.

4:30pm

Climb up to the Big Buddha, whose brilliant white marble surface you have seen shining in the sun for most of the day. This is one of Phuket's most distinctive images, and as well as being impressive in its own right, its site offers fabulous views over the island.

5:30pm

You won't be alone at sunset at Promthep Cape – it is comfortably the most popular spot to watch the sun go down in Phuket – but when you take in the view you will see why it has such appeal.

7:00pm

Off to Kata for pre-dinner cocktails at the Boathouse before a fine meal at Mom Tri's. Or vice-versa. If you're feeling in the mood for something a little more laid back, drop into the Ska Bar for a chilled beer and the chilled vibe.

10:00pm

Patong's Soi Bangla will be in full flow, so take a walk along its length from Beach Rd, ogling the ladyboys, the working girls and the street entertainment and dropping in for a drink wherever takes your fancy. If you've any energy left, hit a nightclub such as Illuzion or the VIP Room. Officially, closing time is 2am, but sometimes that is a little rubbery.