More than just beautiful beaches

The paradise island of Phuket is a well-known as a holiday destination, but it’s less known that it’s also home to one of Thailand’s best universities, the Prince of Songkla University.

Phuket is an excellent destination for anyone living abroad for the first time. The host university takes great care of its international students and receives excellent feedback year after year. Whether you want to study for one semester or go for a whole year in Phuket, applying is always easy and quick.

Why study abroad in Phuket, Thailand?

  • High-quality study program at one of Thailand’s top universities
  • Interesting course offering in English and a wide range of extra-curricular activities organized by the host university
  • Both the study destination and the program receive excellent feedback from our students
  • Exotic, warm and convenient location with good travel connections to Southeast Asia
  • Affordable prices and good living conditions

Pearl of the Andaman Sea

Phuket is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Asia. There are about 250,000 inhabitants in Phuket but from November to March, during the tourist season, the population grows exponentially. Around 1.5 million tourists visit Phuket yearly and they have several good reasons to do so.

A commonplace misconception about Phuket is that Phuket is merely a city. In reality, Phuket is an entire island, the largest island in Thailand by square mileage. In total, the island covers 543 square kilometers; it is 50 kilometers long and 21 kilometers wide.

Most tourists visiting the beaches of Phuket don’t wander into the actual city of Phuket, located on the east coast of the island. Phuket Town, the capital city of the island, is mostly inhabited by locals and attracts few tourists. The tourist beehive is on the western side of the island, in the Patong area, and in addition to the above mentioned two areas, there is the rest of the island: square miles after square miles of stunning, glorious views and places to explore, all embraced by clear skies and sparkling sunshine.

The majority of the people in Phuket are disarming in their friendliness and extreme helpfulness – a big reason for developing a serious crush on the place. Thai people in general are one of the genuinely nicest nations in the world.

  • Key facts

    Official Name: Thailand
    Government: Constitutional monarchy
    Population: 67 million
    Capital: Bangkok
    Area: 510,890 sq. km
    Main religions: official religion Buddhism (94.6%), Islam (4.6%), Christianity (0.7%)
    Life expectancy: 77 (women), 72 (men)
    Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
    Main exports: electronics, computer parts, automobiles and car parts, textiles and shoes, fish, rice, rubber
    GNI per capita: US $10,300
    Time Zone: UCT/GMT + 7

  • Best of Phuket

    Getting bored in Phuket is very difficult; you have to exhaust yourself in order to get there. The island in itself is mesmerizing, and being able to live the every day life in these surroundings can pull the rug from under your feet easily. In addition, you can be in awe of:

    Beach

    Kata Noi, Nai Harn and Patong beaches, as well as the other beaches mentioned in guide books, are absolutely stunning but also busy, for good reasons. Phuket is, though, full of unchartered territory when it comes to finding your favorite sun or swim spot and many of the beach treats are yet unknown by the majority of the holiday goers. Extra time in Phuket is, thus, fun and easy to spend on finding the ultimate beach for you and your friends.

    Nature

    It is easy to be a nature lover in Phuket since even the indoorsy people can enjoy it comfortably from, for example, the Kata View Point, a viewing spot high up above the sea level that reveals panoramic views across the southern Phuket. Also, the southern tip of Promthep Cape is a popular, romantic place to look at the sun set. If you want a more hands on experience with the nature in Phuket, the Khao Phra Taeo national park encloses the last remaining bit of the ancient jungle that once covered the whole island. There is also a rehab center at the park for gibbons, i.e. a species of monkeys, which aims at returning the monkeys, once illegally captured for tourist attractions, back to the wild. The center is a good reminder of the unethical measures sometimes taken to make a buck, and visitors of the island should choose carefully which acts they want to support. For example, the conditions of the elephants at the Phuket Zoo are questionable but there are many animal friendly elephant safaris in Phuket, too.

    Partying

    The sun, even though an important factor in Phuket, does not dominate the best times to crawl out of your cave. Especially Patong has a second coming at night when the bars and clubs on Bangla Road turn on their lights and turn up the music. If you enjoy a good time out, Phuket is an excellent, cheap choice for some dancing, drinking and socializing.

    Culture

    There are various ways to experience the authentic, local culture in Phuket. There are, for example, a multitude of galleries that hang local art in Phuket Town and in Rawai and when you want to tap into your spiritual side, the Wat Chaiyataram temple is a fascinating place for all those interested in the main religion in Thailand, Buddhism.

    Surfing

    Many islands in South East Asia are famous for their waves. Phuket doesn’t top the charts as having the biggest waves but it is a good place to start surfing if you have no previous experience on a surf board. The Kata Noi area in the south offers different services for blooming surfers, i.e. boards and teaching. You can also try out surfing on artificial waves in the pool at the Surf House Phuket in Kata. Phuket Wake Park in Kathu, in contrast, has dedicated a whole beach for different water boarding and skiing options. You can try out water skiing where you are pulled by a wire, instead of a boat, there, among many other water sports.

    Other sports

    If surfing is too difficult to execute in Phuket, there are various other, great options for keeping fit. The campus has a full size (European) football field and the Kathu area hosts the best golf courses in Phuket. In addition to these Western forms of fun, Phuket is an excellent place to try something more local, Thai boxing. There are a lot of excellent schools offering Thai boxing courses on every possible level. Furthermore, the oceans are not only for surfing or swimming but great for sailing, diving and snorkeling, especially along the southern coastline.

  • Geography and Areas

    Phuket is divided into three geographical sections, Mueang Phuket, Kathu and Thaland. Mueang Phuket covers the southeastern region, Kathu the western coastline and middle sections of the island and Thalang the northern areas of Phuket.

    The most familiar area for tourists in Phuket is Patong, located on the west coast. Patong is charming but quite crowded during the high season during which one might opt for keeping some distance to the hub. High season Patong is characterized by the dozens of street vendors competing for the attention of the herds of European tourists, trying to sell them everything from t-shirts to watches and from electronics to ferry tickets. The most popular beach in Phuket, Patong Beah, lines the coast of Patong. Patong Beach’s clear blue water and long sandy beaches are uncorrupted in their irresistibility; the beach is a delightful oasis despite its buzzing surroundings.

    Bangla Road, which cuts through Patong, is at its heartiest at night when the bars and clubs are filled with bubbly party folk. The atmosphere of the Bangla Road nightlife has nothing to do with a regular Friday night out; this is holiday style partying. It might be quite difficult to find authentic Thai culture in Patong since the area is dominated by Western style restaurants and bars. It is still, though, worth wandering into at least a few times, both day and night, to capture the wonderfully weird flashiness of the area or even catch one of the quirky shows aimed for the tourists.

    Patong is especially attractive for students at the weekends because of the outrageous clubbing opportunities: The area has the largest and most impressive nightlife spots.

    The island of Phuket is, though, much more than Patong. Kathu, the town located in the middle of the island that hosts the Prince of Songkla University campus, will probably become the most familiar to Asia Exchange students during their exchange in Phuket. Kathu is Patong’s opposite in many ways, mostly by having almost exclusively local inhabitants as well as having a much more chilled nightlife. One doesn’t have to worry about being circled by street vendors there; Kathu charms its visitors precisely with its relaxed vibe and local color. For example, there are various excellent Thai food restaurants scattered around Kathu. Students usually find Kathu very homely and most of them choose to live there. In addition, Kathu is one of the most inexpensive areas in Phuket – dramatically cheaper than, for example, the Patong area. A delicious meal goes for a euro, and the villas, very popular among students there, are very affordable when compared to the Western prices for similar style luxury accommodation.

    Other local areas, in addition to Kathu, are the capital city of the island, Phuket Town, and the city of Chalong. Both of the cities are located in the southern end of the island. Phuket Town and Chalong are larger than Kathu and, thus, have a bit more shops and sights. Still, the shopping and the atmosphere in general are a far cry from the more hectic and touristy Patong. Even though Phuket Town and Chalong aren’t tourist hubs they do attract some visitors. For example, the weekend night market in Phuket Town is very popular. Phuket Town and Chalong are both near Kathu and the campus area and within easy access from the university and students’ housing. Phuket Town has nowadays become increasingly popular among backpackers and, following, has a fluid, interesting and laid back visitor base.

    The southern corners of the island host possibly the best beaches in Phuket, for example the Kata Noi and Nai Harn beaches. On sunny days it is almost impossible to peel oneself off these beaches. They are absolutely stunning in their serenity, colors, and sun-kissed sand, and, in addition, are refreshingly cooled by the gentle winds blowing in from the ocean. The little towns located near the beaches are perfect spots for afternoon browsing and beers on one of the countless charming little terraces. The Kata beach does attract tourists, too, but it is still much calmer and quieter than Patong beach.

    The northern coastline of Phuket receives often much less attention even though it has many excellent beaches that are dramatically emptier than some of the southern beaches. If you want to find your own beach, yet untainted by someone else’s footsteps, you have to go wander around the northern coastline. There are also little local towns in the north, the Phuket international airport as well as the bridge leading to continental Thailand.

  • Climate and Weather

    The climate in Phuket is warm and pleasant year round – a factor that has contributed greatly to its popularity as a destination. Seasons in Phuket can be roughly divided into a rainy season and the summer; and the high season and the tourists follow the climate patterns. The rainy season begins in May and continues till the end of October. During the rainy season, the weather has a tendency to be unpredictable, consisting of some heavier monsoon rains as well as long periods of the loveliest, uninterrupted sunshine. The rains are short, soft and warm by their nature and even during the rainy season, the sun shines daily. An added bonus during the rainy season is the completely leveled prices.

    Summer starts, at the latest, in November and banishes the left over rain clouds from the horizon. The weather is excellent all summer long, and since the summer season in Thailand takes place during the European winter, Phuket is a popular Christmas break destination for Westerners. The summer season continues till May and during the season the daily temperatures often rise above 30 Celsius.

  • Transportation and Getting Around

    Even though travelling in Thailand and the neighboring countries is tempting, Phuket itself is also a surprisingly diversified island both in terms of its nature’s biodiversity and the local culture. Especially the above mentioned northern corners and nooks of the island are worth a thorough wander. Also, in the southernmost plains of the island roam around completely wild elephants, among other interesting wild creatures.

    If one wants to travel outside Phuket, the easiest way to conquer mainland Thailand is either by crossing the bridge from Phuket or taking a plain to more faraway destinations, like Bangkok, or the largest city in North Thailand, Chiang Mai. There are also many breathtaking islands around Phuket, for example the Koh Phi Phi Islands, most famous for being the islands where The Beach was filmed. Other gorgeous hide-away islands are Koh Yao Noi, Koh Yao Yai and Koh Raya Yai. There is a harbor in Phuket Town where you can hop on one of the ferries that travel to the nearly islands only in a matter of a few hours.

    After having Thailand under your belt, you can enjoy the excellent connections from the Phuket International Airport to, for example, to various destinations in Malaysia, China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia. You can find more information on traveling in Asiahere.

  • Currency

    The currency of Thailand is the Thai baht (THB). One baht is divided into 100 satang. One euro is approximately 50 baht, depending on the exchange rate. Credit cards are accepted at major establishments, but you might have to pay an additional fee for paying with them. Cash will be needed for transportation, street vendors and smaller stores.

  • Safety

    Phuket is a relatively safe island. Beware of pick-pockets in crowded areas and don’t keep all your cash in one place but divide it among your wallet and pockets. Do not leave valuables in your hotel room, especially if you choose a cheaper accommodation. Find out more about general safety instructions at our destinations.

  • Vaccinations

    Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and Tetanus-diphtheria are should be kept up-to-date. Hepatitis A and B are recommended. Japanese encephalitis is recommended for those who are planning on spending a month or more in rural areas or who are going to spend a lot of time outdoors in rural areas after dusk. Find out more about vaccinations from here.

  • History

    The first mention of Phuket in history was by the Greek geographer, Ptolemy. The island was referred to as ‘Junk Ceylon’. Phuket fell under Thai control in the 13th century and the area became increasingly important due to its natural reserves of gems, ivory, firewood, spices etc. Later on, during the 17th century, the Dutch, English and French competed for the monopoly of the tin and rubber exports from the island.

    After Thailand’s old capital, Ayutthaya, fell to the Burmese in 1767, the Burmese also planned to raid the prosperous Phuket from sea and capture as many people as possible to be sold into slavery. Luckily, however, the Burmese fleet was discovered and the people of Phuket were warned in advance. The counterattack was gathered and led by Kunying Jan, the wife of the recently deceased governor, and her sister Mook. The Burmese siege lasted a month, but the people of Phuket were victorious. King Rama I awarded the sisters titles usually reserved for royalty only. Jan became Thao Thep Kasattri and Mook Thao Sri Suntorn. The sisters are still thought of as heroines and a monument has been raised in their honor on Thep Kasattri Road.

    When tin became more important in the 19th century, Chinese workers flocked to Phuket. The influence of the Chinese can still be seen in the food and culture of the island.

    The tsunami that devastated South East Asia in 2004, an abnormally ruinous natural phenomenon, was detrimental in Phuket as well. Phuket has been reconstructed and reinforced since 2004, and has bounced back from the event remarkably well.

Get international at one of Thailand’s best universities

Students participating in the international program at the Prince of Songkla University are able to combine a challenging academic program, exotic free time activities and unforgettable experiences during their study abroad semester. You can join the program for either one or two semesters.

Prince of Songkla University

university

Prince of Songkla University (PSU) in Phuket is a public, research-driven university that was founded in 1967. It was the first university in Southern Thailand, harnessed to raise the general education standards in the region and to support regional industry and development. Today, the university is a modern and highly international university that takes pride in its origins as a patron of the local culture, education and environment.

  • Prince of Songkla University in brief

    Prince of Songkla University is well known both in Thailand and in the international academic scene. It is one of the nine research universities in Thailand and has constantly been ranked within the top 5 of almost 200 Thai universities. For example, Webometrics ranked PSU 1st in Thailand and 2nd in South East Asia in 2011. Exchange students at PSU have been very satisfied with the academically rigorous and challenging course curriculum there.

    Prince of Songkla University is a public university, established in 1967. It was the first university in southern Thailand and now has five campuses around the region. The main campus is in Hat Yai and satellite campuses are located in Pattani, Phuket, Surat Thani and Trang. Around 35 000 students are enrolled at the university.

    The Phuket campus, established in 1977, is the campus Asia Exchange students can study at. It is the most international of the campuses of the university and hosts about 3,500 students. The lush campus area in the Kathu district, in the middle of the island of Phuket, is quiet and populated mostly by locals. Students are able to enjoy the authentic atmosphere of Kathu while still being within easy reach of busier areas, such as Patong Beach and Phuket Town.

    Read more about studying at Prince of Songkla University.

  • Courses and studying

    The international study abroad program of the university receives excellent student feedback year after year.

    The courses cover topics from the fields of business, economics, administration, culture, tourism and languages. Some of the courses also include cultural and business excursions. The teaching takes place in English and many of the lecturers have international backgrounds.

    You can join the program for either one or two semesters.

    Read more about available courses at Prince of Songkla University and apply.

  • Semesters and application periods

    There are two semesters at Prince of Songkla University, Semester 1 (autumn) and Semester 2 (spring).

    Semester 1: August–December
    Application deadline: End of April

    Semester 2: January–May
    Application deadline: End of September

    See the exact semester dates and application deadlines here.

  • Fees

    Tuition fee: 1990 EUR / semester

    Application fee: 75 EUR.

    See what’s included in the fees.

    Are you from outside of Europe? See the fees here.

    Benefits when applying via Asia Exchange

    • Confirmation within one week
    • Asia Exchange Guide with lots of information about studies, visas, accommodation and other tips
    • Orientation days
    • No English proficiency test required
    • 100 EUR discount when you apply for two semesters.
  • Accommodation

    There are plenty of accommodation options  near the campus and near popular beaches in Phuket. Options range from basic dorm rooms to luxurious villas. The monthly rent is around 100 – 350 EUR per person.

    Find out more about accommodation in Phuket.

Apply to Prince of Songkla University

What students have said about Phuket

Here’s what some former Asia Exchange students have said about studying abroad in Phuket:

“The studies have surprised me in a very positive way”

The studies have surprised me in a very positive way. You often hear that people treat exchange semesters as holidays, and subsequently not much effort is put into studying. The quality of the teaching in Phuket is, albeit, very good and you have to attend 80 % of the classes – in accordance with the mandatory attendance policy. The students are regularly tested on what they have learnt, through various assignments and exams.

– Meri-Tuulia Huurresalo, Finland

“Asia is the best choice for my future career”

The world changes fast. It’s estimated that up to 60 % of the world economy comes from developing countries. Even the leaders at the World Bank have encouraged students to educate themselves about Asia and the diverse cultures of the continent. Asia is the best choice for my future career and life.

– Jukka Leino, entrepreneur, Finland

“Asia keeps calling me back”

The world has an interesting way of dishing out great experiences to the ones who are passionate about their dreams and want to live up to them. Thanks to the International Office at my home university! Thanks to Tuomas and Harri at Asia Exchange for making this possible! Asia keeps calling me back!

– Miia Muukkonen, Finland

“Travel, grow and live in the moment”

Study hard, and learn as much as you can both culturally and academically! Always remember to make time for putting that cultural knowledge to use. Travel, grow and live in the moment. Nothing could be more important than all of these.

– Lacey Cooper, USA

More testimonials on Facebook

Videos from Phuket

More student videos from Phuket

Blogs from Phuket

Sincerely Judit

Judit is a 26-year old student writing about her exchange experience from Phuket in the fall semester of 2015. Her blog features beautiful photos and interesting stories about life in Thailand.

Check the blog

Become a blogger

Do you want to write a blog during your study abroad semester? We’re always on the lookout for good bloggers. If you’d like to write a blog and have us link to it from this page, let us know! Check out our hints and tips for bloggers.

Want to read more student experiences?

More blogs from Phuket

Student Interviews from Phuket

Study Abroad Reports from Phuket

0

Asia Exchange in Phuket since

0

Inhabitants

0

Asia Exchange students every year

Reasons to choose Phuket

High-quality study program at one of Thailand’s top universities.

Interesting course offering in English and a wide range of extra-curricular activities organized by the host university. Both the study destination and the program receive excellent feedback from our students.

Exotic, warm and convenient location with good travel connections to Southeast Asia.

Phuket in our blog

28.04.2017

Life-changing experiences in Phuket

Studying is never useless, and especially studying abroad in a foreign country can prove out to be extremely rewarding. You’ll never know when the things…

→ Read more

13.04.2017

Happy Birthday Colin!

Our dear Colin Callagher, the contact person of Prince of Songkla University, reaches a special milestone in years this week! We wanted to give him something…

→ Read more

10.04.2017

Ready – set – WATER FIGHT!

Do you remember when you were still a kid and one of the best things during hot summer days were water fights with your mates?…

→ Read more

27.03.2017

Prince of Songkla University in Phuket – not just sitting in the classroom!

The spring semester at Prince of Songkla University (PSU) in Phuket, Thailand is already halfway through! We chatted with one of our current students, Asel, to hear what…

→ Read more

24.03.2017

Snapchat Takeover – Roshan, Phuket

Last week one of our students took over our Snapchat channel to share his life in beautiful Phuket. If you didn’t follow this week on Snapchat…

→ Read more

28.12.2016

Kevin in Phuket (Prince of Songkla University)

My semester abroad was one of the greatest adventures in my life Kevin studied abroad at Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, Thailand in autumn…

→ Read more

28.12.2016

Josh in Phuket (Prince of Songkla University)

“I wanted to experience head on what Asia had in store” Jost studied abroad at Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, Thailand in autumn 2016….

→ Read more

06.12.2016

Explore Phuket in 5 days!

You are studying at Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, Thailand. You arrive to Phuket a week early and want to spend five days exploring your…

→ Read more

Have questions? Contact us!

Never miss an important update or an interesting story

Sign up to our mailing list

Asia Exchange, Vuorikatu 3 L 3 33100 Tampere, Finland
Email: info@asiaexchange.org Tel: +358 45 322 1230, Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm (GMT +2)

Site by Atomi