13 Weird and Funny Things in Phuket (and Thailand)

13 Weird and Funny Things in Phuket (and Thailand)
13 Weird and Funny Things in Phuket (and Thailand)
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13 Weird and Funny Things in Thailand

Living in Phuket for so many years has brought a lot of fun sights, and we should get used to them! But sometimes I still smile (or clench teeth) when I witness one of the following weird or strange things that are now so much part of our daily life. I’m not only talking about the good old ‘Phuket Vegetarian Festival‘. These 13 strange things below are visions we encounter on regular basis. We all get shocked the first time, then it just becomes part of our landscape, and I could go easily are another dozen without hesitation.

1) Throw Water at Cops

Every year in April, join the Songkran wild wet street parties starting rather gently in Phuket Town in the morning, turning to water dogfights in the afternoon in Patong, Kata and Karon, and ends in a hectic full scale wet war zone in Bangla Road until late at night, no one stays dry, not even cops. Read more about Songkran in Phuket

2) Ice in Beer

A little weird habit that will shock you at first, but will start making a lot of sense if you live here long enough and get tired of drinking warm beer. Some people never get used to it though.

3) 2nd Hand Shoe Shop

… or should I say ‘Second Foot Shoe Shop’. This is probably the weirdest and oddest shop I ever saw (and smelled), but it is a very common trade in Thailand, just go to the Phuket Weekend Market. I suspect if your shoes are stolen in front of your house one day, you might be able to buy then back here. (Remember, we don’t wear shoes in Thai houses, so if you have a brand new pair of Nikes, don’t leave them outside all night 🙂

4) Driving in the Rain with an Umbrella

There is not much to say about that one… just appreciate the technique: drive fast on a wet road, with no helmet, often with one hand only, the other hand is holding an umbrella against the wind. Anyway, with the rain in your face, you can’t really open your eyes, can you?

5) Gasoline in Whiskey Bottles by the Road

Don’t get fooled when driving past some bars along the streets. The bottles you see on a table by the road side might not be what you expect! It is very common in Thailand to sell gasoline by the liter in glass bottles as you see it on the photo. Don’t try to drink it!

6) Garbage Made of Recycle Tires

Thailand started to recycle old tires long ago, and it is very common to see these round bins along the road side… it’s so well done it might not strike you at first but yes, these are tires smartly stripped and rearranged into neat trash bins, with its stand, handles and lid. And they last!

7) Rubber Strips to Clean your Tires

Since we are talking about tires, here is a little trick that works really well. Hanging a dozen of recycled rubber strips next to each of your tires will continuously clean them and keep them shiny black! Now I wonder if the solution is not uglier than the problem.


8) Drink from a Vinyl Bag

I never thought such thing was possible or even convenient, but it is! Small local shops buy big bottles of soda and retail them in small plastic bags, adding ice, a straw and a rubber band so you can safely walk around… Downside? it doesn’t fit your car cup holder! I should design a Car bag holder’ to sell in Thailand…


9) Helmet Abandoned on the Road

Not to worry, nobody crashed. Phuket people are sometimes so resistant to safety laws, lots of motocyclists just store their helmet in the front basket. Cop in sight? not to worry: pop the helmet on your head, smile and drive by. Few meters further, remove and put it back into the basket! But often while driving on a road bump, the helmet bounces off the basket and crashes on the floor. Leave it there, it was just made of cheap plastic anyway!


10) 4 on a Bike (or 5)

It’s such a common sight here to see three people on a bike… it’s not legal but that would mean stop a lot of bikes to do something about it. Now how about 4 on a bike? yes it does fit, I once saw 4 cops on a bike! None of them were wearing a helmet anyway!


11) Jellyfish Bathing

Yes you read it right , there is such place in the north of Phuket called Haad Pak Phra Beach, where a group of fishermen clean jellyfishes all day to dry and resell on a Bangkok market for culinary purpose. And the easiest way to do this cleaning operation? Sit in the middle of it and do the job on the spot. Weird and kind of smelly too.


12) Branches on the Road

It’s not a decoration, it’s a warning signal! Some hills in Phuket are treacherous and steep, old cars or trucks often can’t make it to the top and have to stop in dangerous curves. A triangle would be costly or complicated to collect once you got lucky enough to restart. So be smart: break a nearby a leafy branch and drop it few meters away from your troubled vehicle! Abandon it there once you leave, who cares anyway! read about the Art of Driving in Phuket


13) Dog Sleeping on the Road

This is something I never saw anywhere else. You are driving at night on a curvy dark road and suddenly, right in the middle of the road is a dead dog! Your first reaction is of course to break hard to avoid it, or if you are a good Samaritan like us, you might even stop to check if the dog is still alive. As soon as you approach the dog will raise a lazy head with an expression like ‘who dares intrude in my bedroom!’ The dog is very much alive and enjoys the warm asphalt, knowing very well that cars will avoid him!

Written by

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world in my 20s and never stopped until I finally settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 22 years, my passion for photography and my natural curiosity has taken me to every corner of Thailand, jumping frequently between Bangkok and Phuket and basically everywhere I could go. I now manage 30 online travel guides in Asia and beyond, including Phuket.com, Bangkok.com and Bali-Indonesia.com