The island of Phuket is the largest in Thailand, and one of the most popular tourism destinations in all of Asia. With stunning natural scenery, a thriving nightlife and a friendly local population, it should come as no surprise that Phuket has plenty to offer international visitors. With so much to do and see on the island of Phuket, it can be a challenge to fit everything into your itinerary. Be sure to include these top destinations:

1. Party in Patong: This large stretch of beach on the island of Phuket has been called the world’s biggest party, offering hundreds of bars, nightclubs and pubs with a vibrant atmosphere. There is a little of everything in Patong, from a casual beach-side bar offering cocktails at sunset to roaring nightclubs full of a mix of locals and tourists, open until after the sun rise the next day. For a taste of something a little different, seek out some karaoke, cabaret or even a Muay Thai boxing match.

2. See the Real Thailand in Phuket Town: With so many touristy destinations on Phuket filled with international travelers and backpackers, it can be a challenge to get a real glimpse of Thailand. Phuket Town is the perfect place to get a real feel for the heritage and culture of the local population. Thanks to the inland location, there are few tourists and prices are as cheap as you can find on the island. Tour the old Chinese temples, or stroll through the incredible orchid farm just outside the city.

Thailand: Phuket -- Snorkel Boat Tour

3. Dive in Ko Racha: This island off the southern coast of Phuket has long been known as the diving capital of Thailand. Although home to stunning white sand beaches which are nearly always deserted, the appeal here is underwater. Incredible coral reefs offer the perfect place to scuba dive among thriving marine life, and even a wreck at roughly 25 meters below the surface to check out. It is also possible to snorkel either along the shore or out at sea on boat tours if deep sea diving isn’t an option, or you can try snuba, which is a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving.

4. Relax in Karon: Thailand is known for being a country full of friendly, smiling residents, and Karon is no exception. This beach resort is one the Western coast of Phuket, and one of the largest on the island. There is no end to the ways you can relax and enjoy a vacation in the warm, tropical destination. The beaches are much more isolated and quieter than in Patong, and there are several spas and salons ready to pamper anyone. Or, just find a mat on the beach where you can receive an incredible and cheap massage right on the shore.

Whether your vacation to Phuket is alone, with a group of friends or a romantic getaway, these top 4 destinations are among the best ways to see the island. Include a dive in Ko Racha, a relaxing day in Karon, a peek into Thai culture in Phuket City and a crazy night out in Patong.

Hock Guan Kong Temple, Phuket City

Photo credits: Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand by yeowatzip/flickr; Thailand Phuket — Snorkel Boat Tour by puuikibeach/flickr; Hock Guan Kong Temple, Phuket City by Eustaquio Santimano/flickr; Patong Beach by eutrophication&hypoxia/flickr

World traveler Sally Marsh also writes for thailandholidays.net, a site with special holidays in Thailand such as escapes to fabulous Hua Hin holidays.