Phuket does have that reputation of being very expensive - only resorts and tourist restaurants. This is wildly inaccurate. Phuket has it all - OK, so there's not really a "backpacker" scene here any more, but there is plenty of cheap accommodation, food is as cheap as you like - just go where the locals go, there are local buses and you can rent a motorbike for 200-250 Baht per day. I will try and list some less expensive places to stay below - not a complete listing by any means, but hopefully useful. You can find some links to other sources of information below.
for low budget places to stay
Phuket Town is often said to be the cheapest place to stay, rather than any of the beaches. The town is quite nice actually, and there are also some nicer places to stay, but it has always been where you are likely to find the odd backpacker passing through. Back in 1999, I arrived in Phuket and the first few nights I stayed at a hotel called "Thai Inter", also a night at the well known On On Hotel, which was used during the filming of "The Beach". After a few nights I realised I could stay in Patong for 300 Baht a night and save all the bus or tuk tuk rides. The buses only run until about 5 - 6pm - after that you are at the mercy of the taxi drivers who'll charge you more than you pay for your room to take you back there.
Phuket Town is good for exploring and using as a base especially if there's something going on like the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.
• Old Phuket Town
• Vegetarian Festival
Cheap places to stay in Phuket Town
On On Hostel
Old Town Hostel
More Phuket Town Accommodation - see Agoda.com
One day if I have time, I must take a walk and check out all the guesthouses in the old town area.
On The Beaches of Phuket...
It's not all expensive, you know. Patong has quite a lot of guesthouses - you can find some in the Agoda link on this page. But since I am not a fan of Patong, let's ignore those - Kata and Karon Beaches are slightly more laid back and have a good choice of lower budget places to stay. I have featured the Pineapple Guesthouse
on my blog already (Karon Beach). You can book Pineapple Guesthouse online here
. The Fantasy Hill Bungalows in the center of Kata are often praised, and the Doolay Hostel
on Karon beach road is another good lower budget option.
Cheap Places to stay - Kata and Karon Beaches
Baan Suay Backpackers
Southern Fried Rice
Fantasy Hill Bungalows
Karon Sunshine Guesthouse
Hotel Kata Center Inn
Karon Living Room
Oh, there's more if you wander around - and depends on your definition of "low budget"! In Karon I could also mention Casa Brazil
, JJ Inn, Nice Residence, Holiday Village, Robin House, Anan House... all within a few minutes walk of the beach.
Phuket Hotel Listings