Phuket travel tips, frequently asked questions and good things to know before you go and once you arrived in Phuket: These are the little things we gathered that can make the difference during your holiday.
There is a lot to say to help you enjoying your stay while avoiding problems, so bookmark this page as we try to add as questions arise.
A full page is dedicated to the new Phuket International Airport: what to expect on arrival, how to get to your hotel, money changing, etc… it’s not that stressful. Read it here.
ATMs are everywhere and usually work safely. In Bangla area of Patong, make sure no one watches over your shoulder but isn’t it just common sense? NOTE: in Thailand, money comes out FIRST, then only your card is ejected! A great way to forget your card in the machine after those 3 beers! NOTE: When changing money at a money exchange, count your money in front of the cashier, there have been some cases of missing money.
Renting a car at the airport is very simple but we recommend you to book in advance if you prefer a specific model, especially during high season. Cars are third party insured (it will only cover the damage done to the other vehicle you may hit) but you will have to pay for any damage to your car. Always double check the condition of your car before leaving the airport. Best is to pay a little extra to have it fully covered and worry free. You can also rent a GPS at the airport. Renting cars from the street is possible, you will see plenty around the island, but it’s a lucky draw. As long as things go fine, you might save few baht, but if something happens, it can get ugly. In any case call tourist police : 1155. They have a good basic understanding of English.
Thai Baht Banknotes: 1,000, 500,100, 50, 20.Coins: 10, 5 2, 1 and the useless 50 ‘satang’ (0.5 baht) and 25 ‘satang’ (0.25 baht)Never had a counterfeit problem (so far). Major credit cards are accepted in many stores and restaurants, but not in taxis, bazaars, massages, beer bars and other very ‘local businesses’.
220Volts – 50/60 Hz
Booking your hotel in advance is always cheaper than on arrival, especially at the airport. There are so many hotels in Phuket there is no lack of choice. Most important is to chose your location, if you want all everything available at anytime, go to Patong but get ready for some crowd. If you like it quiet and romantic: Mai Khao Beach. Something in between good for family? Kata, Karon or Kamala. Note that beaches quiet during high season often appear deserted in low. (Read more)
Most common is the ‘Two round pins‘ sometimes with ground (Europlug CEE 7/16) and occasionally the old ‘Two flat parallel blades‘ similar to the US, (NEMA 115 or JIS C 8303). Most modern plugs accept both. Adapters are easy to find at the many convenience stores.
SIM cards are extremely easy to find for 50 Baht at any convenience stores in Phuket but the fastest way is to pick up a free one at the airport luggage claim, usually from TRUE Move. Then go to the next 7-11 once you are all set with your hotel and add credit to it. According to our readers, all cards work quite well: TRUE, DTAC, AIS, 12Call, but DTAC seems better for data (Internet and Facebook)
With so many things to see and do in Phuket, renting a bike or a car seems to be one of the best ways to get around freely at low cost. But it comes with some risks and dangers. Follow these basic rules might help avoiding unnecessary trouble. Read more
Costs around 1,500 baht for 30mn. This is just an indication, the rate varies with the gasoline price, but always up, never down! Jet skis riders are too often victims of accidents or major scams involving huge unjustified fines. Stay away from them, it’s not worth it!
Don’t take it lightly: sun in Phuket, even on a cloudy day is very strong. Do yourself a favor and don’t ruin your chances of a nice smooth suntan on your arrival day by over exposing yourself without sunscreen. In 18 years I have since some pretty severe sunburns! Take it easy the first days and trust me you will get a better tan!
Swimming flag and warning signs are to be taken seriously, especially during low season. Rip tides are treacherous and no matter how good swimmer you are, the danger is real. One second you stand waist deep on the sand, the second later you are meters away and swimmig back can be impossible. During low season, pick a hotel with a nice swimming pool if you really want to swim your laps.
Taxi Meters often forget to turn on their meter and therefore will try to overcharge you on arrival or offer a higher ‘agreed’ rate. Keep an eye on that meter and insist. Also, always assume that taxi meters, even in Bangkok NEVER have small change. This can lead to serious tips! Read more about taxis and airport transfers
Tuk Tuks have bad reputation… I kind of feel sorry for the few drivers I met that were actually nice guys. ALWAYS agree the fare before you go and always bargain since they will try to overcharge by default, maybe by 30%. It’s not recommended for girls to ride a Tuk Tuks alone at night. Otherwise, it’s convenient since they are absolutely everywhere and once again, most Tuk Tuks are OK.
Make sure you memorize the expiry date of the arrival stamp on your passport! if you overstay it will cost you 500 baht per additional day for the next 40 days, then 1,000 baht per day beyond that. You could even get blacklisted! But who would ‘forget’ more than 40 days? It has become increasingly difficult to ‘negotiate’ the fine when in the officer’s office, but it’s not forbidden to try 😉
The general consensus recommends not to drink tap water and buy drinking water which is widely available. Usually your hotel will supply a couple of complimentary bottles and 7-11 stores are absolutely everywhere. However, ice is safe! Companies supplying ice all over the island use filtered water.
Phuket lies in a tropical region and is warm all year round. Temperatures range from ‘WARM’ to ‘TOO HOT’. Best Time to Come: Coolest and supposedly best months are December to March. Rainy Season : June to August is a mix of rain and sun, usually very enjoyable. September, October and November are often the wettest months, Hottest Time: April and May are the hottest months… (Read more and see our webcams)