Sun, Sand, and Festivities: A Guide to Phuket in December

As the largest of Thailand’s islands, Phuket is a popular destination for travellers who want a tropical getaway. The island is known for its stunning beaches, friendly locals and electric atmosphere. While December is usually a time for family and festivities, it’s also one of the best months to visit Phuket and experience a Christmas getaway in Thailand. 

In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about visiting Phuket in December. We tell you what kind of weather to expect, highlight some exciting seasonal events, discuss some of the best places to visit and give ideas for things to do in Phuket. So read on to discover why a trip to Phuket in December could be a great choice for you. 

The Weather in Phuket in December

December falls within Phuket’s dry season, which means you can expect warm and sunny weather throughout your trip. The temperature in Phuket generally settles around 25 – 32°C, making it a great time for beach activities, water sports and exploring the lush outdoors.

There will be some precipitation in December, often in the first few weeks of the month. There is an average of 73 mm of rainfall across 10 days in December. Fortunately, December is also much less humid than other months in Thailand which makes it a very pleasant time to visit. 

Water temperatures are at their best in December. Ranging from 27°C to 29°C, the azure waters are especially inviting. The sea also remains calm and clear in December, with excellent visibility for spotting Thai marine life while snorkelling or diving

The weather should also factor into what you pack for Phuket. For the daytime, you will want to have a good selection of light clothing and swimwear that will be suitable for outdoor activities. For the evening, a light jacket and jeans might be more comfortable as the temperature can dip slightly. 

Events in Phuket in December

December is a festive month in Phuket. With the wet season tapering off, the island comes alive with great events that showcase its colourful atmosphere. Alongside Christmas festivities, visitors can also participate in the King’s Cup Regatta, a thrilling local boat race. In this section, we highlight what you can expect from these events and how you can get involved. 

Christmas and New Year in Phuket

Christmas and New Year’s Eve bring an atmosphere of fun and excitement to Phuket. There are a variety of parties, markets and celebrations across the island, so you can expect a lively and joyful ambience for your December visit. Though the holiday season isn’t celebrated locally in Thailand, hotels and resorts in Phuket will often host a delightful Christmas dinner for their guests. 

Phuket’s nightlife scene gets even more vibrant during the festive season. Many beach clubs, bars and nightclubs host special parties for tourists and locals. Beachfront venues host magnificent live music, fire shows and DJs, lasting into the early hours that will appeal to any party-minded visitors.

The most famous New Year’s Eve countdown party takes place in Patong Beach. The area transforms into a massive street party with live music, DJs, dance performances and other exciting entertainment. As midnight approaches, a fireworks display illuminates the night sky in a dazzling spectacle of colour and light.

Phuket Kings Cup Regatta

Aside from festive celebrations, there is another standout event in December. The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is one of the most prestigious annual sailing events in Asia that attracts sailors, yachting enthusiasts and spectators from all over the world. The regatta is not only a highly anticipated sporting event, but also a celebration of community that will make your visit to Phuket very special. 

The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is typically held in early December, but the specific dates can vary from year to year. If you are keen on attending, you should check the official event website for the most up-to-date information.

Even if you aren’t an experienced sailor, watching the boats race over the sapphire water is a thrilling way to spend a day in Phuket. Whether you’re a competitive sailor or a spectator, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta offers an unforgettable experience. If you’re interested in participating, be sure to register in advance and check the specific requirements for each racing class.

The Best Places to Visit in Phuket in December

From tremendous temples to charming villages, there are plenty of places to visit in Phuket that will leave a lasting impression on you. You can visit sites on your own or book a customisable tour which will let you choose the top attractions that you really want to see. 

To help you get inspired, we’ve highlighted some of the best places to visit in Phuket below. 

Old Phuket Town

One of the best places to go in Phuket is the delightful Old Town. Here, travellers can immerse themselves in the island’s history and culture as they take in the Sino-Portuguese architecture, colourful streets and thriving markets.

The best way to explore the town is on foot as you can discover quaint shops, art galleries, and coffee shops at a leisurely pace. To see Old Phuket Town at its most vibrant, be sure to attend the Sunday Walking Street Market. This is a popular attraction in Phuket, offering a variety of local products and authentic street food.

Old Phuket Town is also home to various museums, like the Thai Hua Museum and the Phuket Philatelic Museum. These institutions shed more light on the island’s history and culture and can be a great indoor activity if you encounter a rainy day.

Karon Viewpoint

If you’re a traveller who loves great views, the best place to go in Phuket is Karon Viewpoint. Also known as the Three Beaches Hill, this amazing lookout provides panoramic vistas of three stunning beaches: Kata Noi, Kata, and Karon. It’s a popular stop for tourists looking to capture breathtaking photographs and soak in the island’s natural beauty.

The viewpoint provides a postcard-perfect scene of the beaches and the Andaman Sea. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset and enjoy the cool sea breeze in December. Situated halfway between Nai Harn Beach and Kata Noi Beach, the viewpoint is easily accessible and a great place to get the best panoramic views of Phuket’s coastline. 

Rawai Village

Phuket is known for its lavish resorts and palm-lined beaches, but there are still some great places where you can experience the local culture. Rawai Village is a coastal settlement known for its local fishing community and laid-back atmosphere. While it might not have the same bustling tourism scene as other areas, it offers a more authentic glimpse into life in Phuket.

Rawai is famous for its seafood market, where you can choose fresh seafood and have it prepared at nearby restaurants. It’s a must-visit for seafood lovers who want to try authentic Thai dishes. The village is also very close to Rawai Beach, where you can find many operators running boat tours and diving excursions for a thrilling day out on Phuket’s crystal waters.

Wat Chalong

You will find an array of breathtaking temples across Thailand, and Phuket is no exception. Phuket’s most important Buddhist temple is Wat Chalong, which is a significant religious and cultural site. A guided visit to this hallowed building offers insights into Thai spirituality and architecture.

Wat Chalong is the largest Buddhist temple in Phuket and amazes visitors with its intricate decorations, golden spires and beautiful pagodas. The temple grounds are meticulously maintained, providing a calming atmosphere to soak in the soothing energy and learn about local religious practices. 

Wat Chalong is not only a place of worship, but also a site of reverence for locals and visitors alike. The temple is dedicated to two revered monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang. Visitors can pay respects to the monks, light incense, and make offerings. 

The temple is a place of tranquillity where you can experience the spiritual side of Thai culture and take some time to reflect in the serene setting.

The Best Things to Do in Phuket in December

Phuket is a truly stunning destination that showcases a different side to Thailand that travellers may not have seen before. There are so many things to do in Phuket for every type of traveller, whether you’re interested in beaches, outdoor adventures, shopping or diving into the local culture. 

We’ve highlighted some of the best activities in Phuket to help fill up your trip. 

Enjoy the Best Beaches in Phuket

Phuket is renowned for its stunning beaches and December is an ideal time to enjoy them. The water is clear and inviting, making it perfect for snorkelling and adrenaline-pumping watersports. Patong Beach is one of the most popular beaches, known for its lively atmosphere and exciting activities such as jet skiing and paragliding.

If you want a more relaxing beach experience, Kata and Karon Beaches may better choices. They are just as popular as Patong in the December high season but are more suitable for gentle swimming, surfing and watching gorgeous orange sunsets. They enjoy a more laid-back vibe which is ideal for visitors who want to spend some tranquil time on the golden sands. 

Explore the Nearby Islands

Phuket serves as a gateway to other beautiful islands in the Andaman Sea. You can take day trips to places like Phi Phi Islands, Similan Islands or even the iconic James Bond Island. These trips allow you to explore pristine beaches, go snorkelling in crystal-clear waters and witness breathtaking landscapes.

The Phi Phi islands are a very popular spot for tourists and contain a multitude of activities that make for an excellent day trip. On a speedboat tour, you can experience the natural beauty of the archipelago, swim across colourful coral reefs and go monkey spotting at Monkey Beach. 

Another great island to check out is the landmark James Bond Island. Made famous by the movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, this island is an iconic part of Phuket that travellers simply must see. You can take a day trip to James Bond Island which will see you canoeing through caves and lagoons and includes some downtime at Naka Noi Beach. 

Visit the Big Buddha

One of the best things to do in Phuket is to take a trip to the Big Buddha. Perched on Nakkerd Hill, ​​The Big Buddha statue stands at an impressive height of 45 metres and is made of reinforced concrete overlaid with beautiful white Burmese jade marble. 

Its sheer size and gleaming white appearance make it visible from many parts of the island but there is nothing quite like seeing it up close. From its elevated location, visitors can enjoy breathtaking vistas of Phuket Town, the beaches and the lush landscape.

There are stairs and a ramp which leads you to the statue itself, making it very accessible. It is also important to be respectful of the sacred site and dress modestly for your visit; there are sarongs available to rent on-site to ensure you adhere to the dress code. There’s no entrance fee to visit the Big Buddha but feel free to leave a donation. 

Phuket in December FAQs

Mosquitos are present all throughout the year in Thailand, especially in the rainy season. Their numbers drop slightly in December, but it is still advisable to bring insect repellent especially if you plan on visiting the islands off the coast of Phuket. 

How safe is Phuket for Tourists?

Phuket is safe for travel, as is the majority of Thailand. Violent crime tends to be rare, but incidents of pickpocketing and scams are fairly common. Be sure to practise usual precautions when exploring Old Phuket Town and always keep your belongings secured to your person. 

Summary

Overall, a trip to Phuket in December promises a delightful blend of cultural experiences, festive celebrations and outdoor adventures. With its pleasant weather and exciting activities, Phuket is a captivating destination for travellers seeking an extraordinary December escape in Thailand. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a fabulous journey to the Land of Smiles.

For more information about Thailand, check out our posts covering how to spend 3 days in Chiang Mai and Bangkok

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About the Author

Tom Adams

Copywriter at SEO Travel. Contributor to Backpacker Boy, Travel Aisle with a background in Archaeology and Sports Writing.