Phuket In December: What To Expect

by on 03/11/18 at 2:35 pm

Thailand often tops the list for travel junkies around the globe, because of the diverse mix of experiences on offer at its many islands. The largest of the lot is Phuket, which has now moved its way up to becoming one of the most visited places in the country.

Holiday makers can find everything they’re looking for here, and then some. Sightseeing treats, immersive cultural activities, culinary escapades, explosive beach parties, thrill-inducing water sports, and limitless shopping opportunities – you name it.

Phuket receives thousands of visitors almost every month, but the period from November to April is the busiest. Tourism hits a high in December, owing to not only the end-of-year celebrations but also the pleasant weather. Clear azure skies match the water underneath as it grazes the cool sands along the shoreline, while restaurants and bars on the island are positively booming with activity.


December is the best month in Phuket for tourists, as the monsoon season recedes and more pleasant, sunny days arrive. The skies are bright blue, and the sea is calm and quiet enough for swimming and water sports.

Towards the end of the month, the weather begins to get cooler, readying the island for its highest winter period in January. Large crowds descend on the island in the last two weeks, for the annual Christmas and New Year celebrations. This ‘good weather’ period lasts until March, when the island begins to get hot again.

Average Temperature: 27 degrees C, with the highest being 31 degrees C and the lowest being 23 degrees C.

Humidity: Moderate, at about 70%

Average Rainfall: 60mm, for about 8-10 days of the month

Sunshine: About 8 hours

With the limited amount of rainfall and bright sunny days, you can spend long hours on the beach, both during the day and in the evening. The sun isn’t too harsh, so sunbathing and long walks on the sand are enjoyable. The seawater can be slightly warm, but still refreshing.

What To Pack & Carry

  • There is very little rain, but an umbrella will let you stay outdoors when it does pour. A walk on the beach with a light drizzle for company is a fun experience. If needed, carry a light jacket for evening walks.
  • For footwear, carry walking shoes or boots for treks and walks in the rain, and belted sandals or flip-flops for the beach.
  • Bring along sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses for those warm afternoons.
  • Carry insect and mosquito repellent to fight off bugs that come out in the evenings.
  • Remember to bring waterproof phone and camera cases, so you don’t miss out on capturing your memories.

Things To Do

December is a great month for outdoor sightseeing since days are bright, the sun isn’t strong, and there is very little rain. Every month of the year presents a new activity for tourists, from festivals to parties and local gatherings.

James Bond IslandJames Bond Island via Ithaka

December sees a lot of travellers in Phuket, so you may find yourself as part of a crowd wherever you go. However, hanging out with the locals and other travellers from different parts of the world is a great learning experience. Here are some fun things to do in Phuket in December.


What wouldn’t we give to escape the daily grind and perch ourselves on one of Phuket’s gorgeous beaches? Since it’s the largest island in the country, it does have a glorious shoreline, with calming sunrises and fiery sunsets.

December is the ideal month to hit the beaches of Phuket, with the all-permitting weather making your job so much easier. You’re hit by beach after beach of soft sands and the vast blue sea, and the temptation of a lazy day in the sun.

Patong Beach is easily the most popular, and consequently, the most crowded beach in Phuket. You can visit the beach for an hour or two to see what the fuss is all about, but we recommend you quickly move on to some of the relatively quieter, equally beautiful beaches on the island.

Pack your beach mat and towel, bathing suit and sunscreen and head to Freedom beach, Kata beach, Nai Harn beach, Surin beach or Karon beach for a taste of the simple, free beach life. These may not be as activity and crowd-driven as Patong, but their undisputable beauty and pleasant vibes make them quite an attraction for many peace-loving holidaymakers.

Quick Tip: Patong can be packed to the brim during the peak season, which can hamper the whole experience of experiencing beach life with the perfect weather. The long stretch is crammed with not only tourists, but also restaurants, bars and hotels that keep the raucous activities going way into the night.


When the weather is as good as it is in Phuket in December, you’ll want to spend all your time outdoors. If you put the beaches and nightlife aside, Phuket has a rich cultural side that is also a tourism favourite. Located both inland and near the shore, these sightseeing spots are worth a visit.

  • Big Buddha: Phuket’s Big Buddha watches over the whole island from a height of about 150ft. The pristine white marble statue sits atop the Nakkerd Hills, from where you can get a 360-degree view of the island. Beautifully carved, the statue has a uniquely peaceful aura that is enjoyed by every tourist who visits here.
  • Phang Nga Bay: You can spend a whole day in this stunning bay, with its limestone cliffs, mangroves, small islands, lagoons and caves all calling out for attention. Take a guide along to help you navigate through and see every part of the bay. Don’t miss a visit to the James Bond Island and Khai Island.
  • Islands: Phuket is surrounded by equally picturesque locations that you can make day visits to. The Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands, and Raya Islands are massive tourist spots.
  • Wat Chalong: The white, red and gold Buddhist temple of Wat Chalong is a local worshipper’s favourite. Impressive statues and pagodas are the highlight, besides the tranquil ambience. You can buy small souvenirs and Buddhism artefacts as well.
  • Viewpoints: Those interested in going back with aerial view shots of the island can make their way to any one of Phuket’s many viewpoints. Khao Rang, Karon Beach and Samet Nangshe Viewpoints have some of the best vistas of this isle.
  • Spa: Spas and massage parlours are a dime a dozen in Phuket, in five-star hotels and as standalone wellness centres. Thai massages are the best in the world, so the locals here are adept at providing the most relaxing massages with luxurious blended oils. It’s the perfect unwinding session after a few days of partying. Oasis Turquoise Cove Spa and Santosa Detox and Wellness Centre are two of the most visited ones.

Water Sports

Since Phuket has quite a tropical climate, the seawater remains quite warm all year-round, which is great for water sports. In December, the sea is at its calmest, which means adventure sports lovers are at their most excited.

Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, or a mild thrill-seeker or a high one, the island guarantees a water sport for everyone.

SnorkelingSnorkeling via Gopal Venkataraman

Scuba diving is one of the most common activities here, followed closely by snorkelling, kite surfing, kayaking, surfing and wakeboarding. Run through the list and pick one, or all!

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Best Beaches For Water Sports: Patong, Ao Sane, Kalim, Kata, Kata Noi and Paradise beaches


Nightlife in Phuket isn’t just restricted to the snazzy nightclubs. There are discotheques, beach bars, lounges, rooftop bars, sundowner spots, gay bars, ladyboy shows and live performance venues.

While December days on the island are beautiful and serene, the nights are colourful and lively, with a lot of outdoor parties taking advantage of the cool weather.

Nightclubs and bars in Soi Bangla, Soi Tiger and Soi Seadragon are some after-dark hotspots.


The crazy beach galas in Phuket for Christmas and New Year’s are on every party lover’s bucket list. Of the two, Christmas is a little quieter, since it is not a traditional Thai festival.

But visitors can find enough party pads to dance the night away, with restaurants and bars serving special meals at great offers. The last night of the year is one raucous island party – the beaches are transformed into glittering dance floors, with great food and drink, live performances and fireworks.

In the rest of the month, you can find seafood festivals, open-air performances, shopping carnivals, live music events, and much more on different parts of the island.

Quick Tip: The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, usually held for 5-7 days in the first two weeks of December is a popular local event to celebrate the birthday of the King of Thailand. Sailors race yachts into the open sea, against spectacular backdrops of the horizon.


You cannot go back from Thailand empty-handed. The inexpensive clothing, beachwear, souvenirs and knick-knacks are a lure for even the most disinterested shopper, and Phuket is packed with both day and night market to satiate your appetite for some local goodies. The comfortable December weather means that you can easily do some street shopping, while putting your bargaining skills to the test.

The Phuket Weekend Night Market, or Naka Market, has a little something of everything – Chillva Market has an exotic, edgy collection of items, Phuket Walking Street in Old Town is a treasure trove of handicrafts and souvenirs, and Indy Market will fulfil your street food cravings while you relax at a local bar.

Tips For Travelling To Phuket In December

Largely, December doesn’t dampen the traveller’s spirits. However, if you are looking for an enjoyable holiday with minimal hindrances, it is best to keep certain things in mind.

  • The weather in Bali has become unreliable over the last few years, so it’s best to be prepared by packing all your essentials. Carry an umbrella or raincoat whenever you step out, and check the weather forecast before booking any outdoor activities.
  • Book your accommodation and flight tickets well in advance, so you don’t miss out on the property of your choice. Hotels and resorts run full during the festive week.
  • Many cheap hostels in Phuket will offer you just that, affordability. Many of them may not be very safe or clean, and can get too crowded during the months of December and January. Budget for a moderately priced hostel or hotel for a comfortable, stress-free stay.
  • Activity and travel rate scams are rampant here. Confirm all rates for taxis and adventure sports before paying up.
  • Eating at street stalls is quite common here, but don’t just stop anywhere for a meal. Ask around for recommendations, or eat at sit-down restaurants for large meals. Avoid eating raw food.
  • Consume bottled water only. Do not drink from the tap.

The post Phuket In December: What To Expect appeared first on Ithaka Travel.