12 Mistakes People Make on a 1st Trip to Phuket (Updated)

12 Mistakes People Make on a 1st Trip to Phuket (Updated)

12 Mistakes People Make on a 1st Trip to Phuket (Updated)

Phuket is an easy-going safe destination with so much to see, do and eat! To ensure a safe and happy holiday, there are few things, mostly based on the daily questions we get from readers around the world and some common sense. But this page is also meant to make sure you don’t miss out during your holiday in Phuket!

Mistake 1 – Eat only Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Yes, Pad Thai is great and you finally can get one… or three! But remember to be adventurous and try a different dish everyday! Thai cuisine is varied, affordable and Phuket is famous for its great seafood. So go around the island and try dishes you never tried before! See the 13 most popular Thai dishes or see the best seafood restaurants in Phuket and the best local restaurants and best street food in Phuket.

Mistake 2 – Ignoring the Red Flags on the Beach!

This is a serious matter, people drawn on weekly basis and it’s definitely not how you want to end your holidays. Rip currents are treacherous and no matter how good you think you can swim, you will probably not win. Red flags means NO SWIMMING. Yellow and red flags mean that you can swim between the flags where lifeguards are on duty.

Mistake 3 – Not bargaining… or bargain too much!

Everyone knows that bargaining is part of the shopping experience in Thailand, but you just don’t bargain everywhere. On a market you may start at 60-70% of the demanded price and go as you feel comfortable with. But don’t even consider bargaining at convenience store or in a  shopping mall! You should bargain your bike rental, especially if you rented it for several days, but not international car rent brands.

Mistake 4 – Forget to tip or tip too little

In ‘real’ restaurants, the ones that bring a written bill, a 10% tip is appreciated but not compulsory if you are happy with the service. Usually restaurants already include 10% service charge so you don’t have to feel bad about not leaving one. However everyone leaves a little something since staff is not paid very high in those jobs. No tip is expected in street restaurants. If you go on a tour and you are happy with your day out, leave 100 baht to your tour guide, don’t be cheap by giving a 20 (20 baht is half a dollar !)

Mistake 5 – Underestimate the sun on day One!

The breeze is cool and the sea is warm. It’s so easy to get carried away and enjoy a sunny day, especially if you are escaping the cold winter of your country. But don’t be fooled, that sun is mean and one thing is sure: if you get a serious sunburn on day one, it will ruin your potential suntan! So do wear a good sunscreen, it is easy to buy from everywhere, even 7-11!

Mistake 6 – Search for a hotel at the last-minute for high season

The Shore at Katathani

“There are so many hotels in Phuket, it should be easy to get one in December so we’ll look at it a week before flying…” WRONG! If you come during low season between June to November, yes you can do that, it’s not even expensive. But if you choose to come around the peak season, December and January are surprisingly busy! The best hotels of course will sell out first, sometimes up to 3 months before! Then the closer you get to December, the harder it becomes to find a room. If you book at the last-minute, you will end up far from everything, or worse: in a hotel no one else wants to book! Seriously!

Mistake 7 – Forget to take a travel insurance if you plan to rent a bike

Renting a Bike in Phuket

Insurance exists for a reason. Of course it feels like wasted money… until you need it. If you plan to rent a car or a bike, we urge you to get a decent travel insurance. Driving in Phuket is notoriously adventurous and it’s often the inexperienced driver’s own fault. If something happens, you want the best support you can get and fast.

Mistake 8 – Pick a hotel without a pool at low season

During low season, hotels are cheap and there are actually a lot of sunny days. It’s always a lucky draw and once in a while, there will be several days with rain… not so many but it has to happen. However, one thing is sure: during low season the sea is very often rough and on some days, dangerous. ALWAYS respect the red flags! If you travel between June and November, do yourself a favour and pick a hotel with a beautiful swimming-pool! If the sea is quiet, then jump in the ocean but if flags are red, you still can enjoy a good swim (and a good pool bar too)

Mistake 9 – Over pack

Thailand is hot all year round, not exception. The colder it gets here is probably 24 C and that is exceptional, usually around December. So all you really need to pack are tee shirts and short pants (and passport)! And remember, shopping is part of the fun in Phuket so you probably will end up buying more than you expect so keep your packing to the minimum. Absolutely everything you need can be found here, often cheaper than home!

Mistake 10 – Go to the same beach everyday

Tri Trang Beach

It is understandable that most people prefer to stay at the most convenient beach, where the balance Sea/Food/Shop/Party fits their style best. Usually those beach would be Patong, Kata, Karon, Kamala and Bangtao Beach. Now keep in mind that there are 36 beaches in Phuket and the most beautiful ones are a bit further. Rent a bike or a car and explore! Use our list of ‘14 Most quiet beaches of Phuket‘ to show you the way to some hidden gems.

Mistake 11 – Not taking advantage of beach massage

Phuket Beach Massage

Beach massages are cheap and available on every beach of Phuket, even the most remote! Of course some are better than other and it might be difficult to tell. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. You had a long working year, you had a long flight, maybe you had too much party. Or maybe like us, you have to walk and walk and walk to explore, discover and take photos and you photo bag is very heavy and you legs are sore. Take one hour of your ‘not busy’ schedule and stop at any beach massage. Most of you already know how great it feel to have a Thai massage or an oil massage on the beach. Usually beach massages start at 300 baht per hour. Price can go up to 500 baht in remote beaches, or when the place is known to be really good. Anyway, try once. A few might not like it but the majority do!

 Mistake 12 – Book a hotel in Phuket town (thinking it’s strategic)

Phuket Town

Don’t get me wrong, Phuket town is a beautiful heritage town with a lot of charm and a lot to discover, but so often travellers believe being  in Phuket Town will allow them to go to the beach easily. Wrong again! Phuket town is 20 km from the closest beach (Patong) and traffic can be a nightmare (not really bad but no one likes a traffic jam on holiday). It is a lot better to stay by the see and take a day trip to Phuket town to enjoy the famous weekend markets and heritage streets!

12 Mistakes People Make on a 1st Trip to Phuket (Updated)
4.2 (29 votes)

Written by

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early and never stopped until I settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 24 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 run 2 blogs: Phuket101.net and BangkokUndercover.com, I also manage 30 online travel guides in Asia and beyond, including Phuket.com, Bangkok.com and Bali-Indonesia.com

The Best FOOD Stuff
10 Most Romantic Restaurants
10 Best Local Restaurants
10 Best Seafood Restaurants
10 Great Thai Dishes
10 Phuket Typical Dishes
10 Best Classic Thai Dishes
10 Hardcore Thai Food

The Best EXPLORER Stuff
14 Hidden Beaches of Phuket
15 Islands Near Phuket
18 Nicest Mansions in Phuket
13 Viewpoints in Phuket
10 Things to See Off the Beaten Track
10 Most Quiet Beaches of Phuket

The FUN Stuff
16 Things to Do with Kids
10 Ways to Party in Patong
7 Best Beach Clubs
10 Best Rooftop Bars
7 Night Clubs
10 Romantic Things to Do in Phuket
10 Reasons Why We Can’t Leave Thailand

The USEFUL Stuff
10 Questions People Always Ask
10 Mistakes People Do on First Trip
13 Tips to Save Money
12 Things to Do on Small Budget
10 Quick Facts about Phuket

10 Things to Do When It Rains
What To Expect in Low Season
7 Beaches for Low Season

13 Really Weird Things in Phuket
10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
10 Insects for Gourmets
10 Clues you have been in Phuket TOO LONG!
10 Cheap Fun Things to Do in Phuket

Phuket Airport: Things to Know
Phuket Weather
Phuket Event Calendar
How to Pronounce Phuket
About Us – Contact us

Patong Beach ☆☆☆
Kata Beach☆☆
Karon Beach ☆☆
Kamala Beach ☆☆
Nai Harn Beach ☆☆☆
Kata Noi Beach ☆☆☆
Laem Singh Beach ☆☆☆
Bang Tao Beach
Mai Khao Beach
Surin Beach ☆☆
Nai Yang Beach ☆☆
Naithon Beach ☆☆
Rawai Beach

Freedom Beach ☆☆☆
Paradise Beach ☆
Banana Beach ☆☆
Ya Nui Beach ☆☆
Ao Yon Beach
Ao Sane Beach
Tri Trang Beach
Panwa Beach

Similan Islands ☆☆☆
Phi Phi Islands NEW!
Bon Island
Coral Island
Khai Islands
Racha Island
James Bond Island
Koh Panyee

12 Things to Do When it RAINS
John Gray Sea Canoe ☆☆☆
Phang Nga Bay ☆☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Phuket Town Walking Map
Thalang Road – Old Phuket Town ☆☆
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Simon Cabaret Show ☆☆
Phuket Fantasea ☆☆
Phuket Trickeye Museum
Upside Down House
Kao Rang Hill
Phuket Aquarium

Big Buddha ☆☆
Karon Viewpoint (Kata Viewpoint) ☆☆
Wassa Homemade Bar ☆☆
Windmill Viewpoint
Black Rock Viewpoint ☆☆
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint ☆☆
Promthep Cape Viewpoint
Panwa Viewpoint
After Beach Bar

Bangpae Waterfall
Kathu Waterfalls
Tonsai Waterfalls

Baan Chinpracha
Phuket Mining Museum
Thai Hua Museum

7 Buddha Postures for 7 Days
Big Buddha ☆☆
Wat Chalong ☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Wat Kao Rang and Sitting Buddha
Wat Phra Thong
Chinese Temples
Shrine of The Serene Light

10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
10 Ways to PARTY in Patong
Simon Cabaret Show
Paradise Complex
Party Drinks in Phuket
Phuket Fantasea
Rock City Patong

Cafe Del Mar ☆☆
Catch Beach Club
Dream Beach Club
Kudo Beach Club
HQ Beach Lounge
Iguana Beach Club
Xana Beach Club

Suzy Wongs A Go Go (HOT)
Devil’s Playground (HOT)
Diablo A Go Go
Exotica A Go Go
Harem A Go Go
Rock Hard A Go Go

Soi Seadragon (HOT)

Illuzion Phuket
White Room
Seduction Phuket
Tiger Club

Central Festival Phuket
JungCeylon Shopping Mall ☆☆☆
Phuket Price Check

Chillva Night Market ☆☆☆
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Phuket Weekend Market
Phuket Indy Market

Banzaan Market ☆☆☆
Phuket Amulet Market

Loy Krathong
Patong Gay Festival
Vegetarian Festival

Diving in Phuket
Thai Boxing Training
Wake Park
Dino Park Mini Golf
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Go Kart
Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay
Phuket Tree Adventures
Spas and Massages
Splash Jungle Water Park
Surf House Kata Beach
Surf House Patong
White Water Rafting

Phuket AIRPORT: Things to Know
Phuket Travel Tips and FAQs
10 Quick Facts about Phuket
Phuket FAQs
Driving and Renting a Bike or a Car
Phuket Price Check
Phuket Map – with all locations
Bangkok Blog


Sala Phuket Resort
Renaissance Phuket Resort
Banyan Tree Phuket
Hyatt Regency Phuket
Maikhao Dreams
Pullman Arcadia Naithon Phuket
Phuket Marriott Nai Yang
The Slate Phuket
Trisara Villas
TwinPalms Phuket

Amari Phuket Resort
Holiday Inn Phuket
Kalima Resort
Phuket Graceland
Le Meridien Phuket
Novotel Phuket Resort
The Kee Resort
Impiana Resort Patong
Swissotel Patong

Kata Rocks
The Shore at Kata Thani
Katathani Beach Resort
Mom Tri’s Villa Royale

Movenpick Resort
Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket

Westin Siray Bay Resort
Novotel Phuket Phokeethra
Little Nyonya

Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi
The Racha


La Gritta at Amari Phuket
Wok Pagoda
Da Maurizio
360 at Pavilions
Mom Tri’s Kitchen
Pan Yaah Restaurant
Tunk Ka Cafe
Gaetana Italian Restaurant
Blue Elephant
Panwa House at Cape Panwa

Mor Mu Dong Restaurant
Piang Prai Restaurant
Kan Eang 2 Seafood
Kan Eang @ Pier
One Chun
Kaab Gluay
Raya House
Tunk Ka Cafe
Paknam Seafood
Suay Restaurant
Kru Suwit Restaurant
Thanoon Seafood
Osha Phuket

8 Sunset Photo Tips
Phuket Funniest Photos
Phuket Tsunami