I had a great vacation in Phuket, Thailand, earlier this month. I’d like to share some tips that can be useful if you plan to travel there. If you’re looking for the stories, my friend has written a series of it (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5).
1. Book the airport transfer
A taxi can load up to 4 passengers and costs about 450 THB from the Phuket international airport to Patong Beach (one of the most popular tourist destination). If you’re travelling in group and have to take more than one cab, consider to hire a driver with a minivan for the airport transfer.
It costs about 800 THB for a luxury Lexus minivan. It can load up to 9 passengers (or 10 if you include the front seat beside the driver’s). Our driver was Mr. Liem (Niwat Panphuet). He was a gentle driver, didn’t talk much, but actually quite friendly. He will pick you up and you can pay him after he drops you at your destination.
If you want his service, you can contact him through the following:
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +66 89 4696867, +66 81 8949080
Tel/fax: +66 76 528044
2. Take a road trip
Phuket has many beautiful beaches and wonderful sight-seeing spots. You definitely won’t want to stay only in one place and skip the chance to visit those amazing places. The best way to visit most (if not all) of them is by taking a road trip. You can rent a car and drive on your own, but you will need an international driving license for this. Or just hire a driver with a car to drive you around.
When you do, take the west coast line of Phuket from Patong Beach – Karon Beach – Kata Beach – Nai Harn Beach, and all the way to Promthep Cape at the southwest. Along the way, you can also stop at some nice viewpoints (Kata and Karon viewpoints), the Big Buddha, or Phuket Town.
Tip: it cost us 2,500 THB for a 1 day (additional cost applicable beyond 10 hours of trip) for hiring the driver and the car (petrol included). We also hired Mr. Liem for this road trip and we totally enjoyed and loved the ride.
3. Take a boat trip
Many parts in Phuket are accessible only by boats. Make sure you spare at least one day to visit those lovely places in Phang Nga Bay (James Bond Island, Hong Island, Bamboo Island) and Phi Phi Islands (Koh Phi Phi and the world-famous Maya Beach).
The ride can be long, rough, and bumpy, so if you have a weak stomach, be sure to have some preparation or medication to calm your sickness.
4. Haggle prices from street vendors
Often, you can buy your items at 50% or less than the initial price. Don’t hesitate to bargain. The vendors are quite friendly and they’re not so aggressive.
This includes show tickets (Simon Cabaret, Fantasea, etc.) and tours (Phang Nga Bay and Phi Phi Islands). For example, the listed VIP ticket price for Simon Cabaret is 600 THB, but we managed to get it for 550 THB including 2-way transfer by Tuk Tuk (Phuket local public transportation).
Or buy one at Phuket. If you are at the Patong Beach, you can buy from Watson’s nearby. The price was quite cheap there.
Phuket is about beach. You will stay most of the time under the sun. Be sure you have enough protection against sunburn and, more importantly, skin cancer.
6. Bring some insect/mosquitoes repellent
Some areas can be populated by mosquitoes. Bringing one may save you from clapping your hands and scratching your legs all night every night.