Phuket attracts millions of visitors every year to this read more island which used to be heaven on earth. Today Phuket has gone from one of the best tourist destinations in the world to a place people want to forget. With the flood of tourism in the last decade or so has also brought in a flood of money to this tropical island which has been good for the locals but not so good for the tourists.
One of the good things about Phuket still is the nightlife,
it is still very good and everyone is very friendly, this is one of the few things Phuket does very well and if your in Thailand only for the nightlife then it is still a great place to go for that.
Patong in Phuket is what is wrong with Phuket, other places are not to bad in Phuket in my opinion but Patong is just a place to be ripped off if your not careful. I have been in Thailand over a year and to Phuket plenty of times in the last decade, so I know the tricks.
I have to say their is still some great people in Phuket and I have also made some great friends their, but the main concern with Phuket is how it is run and the corruption.
One major problem is the Phuket taxi’s, their is a taxi mafia operating and the even stopped a US aircraft carrier from docking by blocking if off as they could not get their business as mini buses were organized for them for much cheaper rates and not the taxi mafia’s much more expensive rates. This is not one isolated case either, their is many stories of taxi drivers charging more for a taxi fare to a hotel than a one way airfare from Bangkok to Phuket.
Even some (not all) tour operators do not care about you once you have paid your money, if their is a problem with anything on your tour they don’t want to hear about it.
The beaches in Phuket are not to bad but their is plenty of better and cleaner beaches around Thailand, Hua hin which is only a 2 or 3 hours drive from Bangkok, Koh Samui has better beaches, Trang which is further down south from Phuket and many more.
Phuket also used to be considered a very cheap holiday, but over the year prices have sky rocketed, some clothing items cost more then most western countries now although you can still find some bargains around.
One of the reasons Phuket is so popular is because on their past reputation, it used to be paradise but with the corruption, dirty beaches (not all), price rise, lack of customer service on tours, taxi mafia not being controlled. It has fallen a lot over the years and many tourists now are unhappy when they leave Phuket and they really need to fix things. If Phuket just got their beaches cleaner and sorted out the taxi situation it would be a much much better place.
But if your thinking about coming to Thailand and visiting a tropical island, I would suggest Trang, Koh Samui (also fallen over the years but still ok), Koh Chang, Koh Samet, Similain Islands plus many more, you will also get more for you baht too, food and accommodation is much cheaper than Phuket with better experiences.