Surrounded by clear blue water, Phuket has all the right ingredients for an unforgettable tropical vacation: its palm fringed beaches are of soft, clean sand, it has a vibrant nightlife and you can enjoy the most wide-ranging cuisine – you name it, you can eat it in Phuket. For several years Phuket has topped the polls as a holiday paradise, and not without a reason, as the island is a spectacular destination. Add all this to the most welcoming people in the world, and you can see why travellers love it.
Thai Baht, 1 Baht = 100 satang
Fire Brigade: 199
Emergency Tourist Police: 1155
Marine police: +66 76 211 883
Phuket International Hospital:
+66 76 249 400
Bangkok Post (National)
The Nation (National)
Look East (Magazine available for tourists in most hotels)
Most shops are open from 09.00 to 22.00 in the evening, and are often open 7 days a week. Banking hours are strictly 08.30 to 15.30, Monday to Friday.
Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT)
191 Thalang Road, Tambon Thaladyai, Muang District, Phuket
+66 76 211 036
Phuket and its surrounding islands are some of the most beautiful and intriguing in the world. Tall outcrops of limestone rise vertically from the sea, and probably the most famous of these was used as a location for one of the James Bond films. It’s now known as “James Bond Island,” but its real name is Phang-nga.
Set just off the west coast of Thailand, in the Andaman Sea, Phuket is about the same size as Singapore. The main town is Phuket Town, but many visitors stay in the beach resorts of Surin, Katu, Karon and the most famous (and busy), Patong. To get from Phuket to Patong takes about 20 minutes. Phuket Town has all the administration offices, bigger business hotels and department stores, whilst the beach resorts cater more to the holiday maker. However, excursions to the islands off Phuket go from the port at Phuket Town.
Gorgeous white beaches, the bluest water you have ever seen and snorkelling, which is like swimming in an aquarium. This is the place to relax and enjoy yourself, either with scuba diving, spa centres or elephant trekking, there is always something to do.
Excursion to Phi Phi Island
Phang-nga and Khai Nai Eco Tour
Splash Jungle Water Park
Phuket Thai Cookery School
Phuket Seashell Museum
Phuket Orchid Farm
Thai cuisine has become one of the country’s biggest exports and naturally nothing can compare to the real thing. Why not sample a bowl of tom yam goong (spicy prawn soup), or perhaps kaeng phed ped yang (roast duck in red curry) is more to your liking? Many restaurants in the resort towns such as Patong will have a mix of Thai and western food. Chinese dishes are readily available at the many restaurants in the resorts and there are a fair number of Indian and Arabic places catering to those particular types of cuisine.
Night Food Market
Kan-Eang Seafood Restaurant
Pomodoro Pizza Restaurant
The Royal Kitchen
Silk Restaurant & Bar
Plum Prime Steakhouse
All the resorts from Surin to Chalong Bay have a beach front road packed with cafes and simple eating places. Some are part of a hotel; some are just simple eateries on the roadside. Too numerous to mention, just have a stroll and see what appeals to your taste buds.
Samero’s Icecream Paradise
A Spoonful of Sugar
The Circle Coffee Boutique
Equally, the bars of Patong run into the hundreds. The main bar areas are gathered around Bangla Square and Bangla Road. The road is traffic-free in the evening so you can wander along without the worries of the motorbikes. Off Bangla Road are some “Soi’, which are lanes, but again without traffic. In these Sois, such as Soi Eric, Soi Cayote, Soi Gonzo and Soi Easy there are even more bars.
Patong Beach Nightlife
Karon Sunshine Guesthouse, Bar & Restaurant
Thailand has excellent shopping, both modern malls with all the regular brands, as well as plenty of traditional crafts. The Central Festival in Phuket Town is the biggest shopping centre and has 300 shops, with branded goods, Thai crafts and electronics. Situated on the outskirts of Phuket Town, you will more than likely need a tuk tuk or taxi to get there.
For traditional Thai crafts, there is an organisation which is government supported called One Tambon, One Product. The idea is to encourage rural and tribal people from the villages to produce traditional goods and take the benefits directly. The store is located at the south end of Patong, behind the Holiday Inn Hotel. All the resorts have a night market, but the biggest is in Patong. The vendors begin to set up their stalls around 18.30 and then they are open for business until about 23.00. All the best bargains are here: clothes, sports equipment, watches, souvenirs, luggage and some of the best replicas you can find.
Ceramics of Phuket
Ban Boran Textiles
Central Festival Phuket
Passport / Visa
Visitors to Thailand need a valid passport and in some cases a visa to enter the country. Nationals of 57 countries are allowed a permanence from 14 to 90 days without a visa. Nationals of other 21 countries including China, India and Saudi Arabia are granted a visa on arrival, while the remaining need a visa in advance. Check the website below for further information:
Best Time to Visit
Phuket is one of the major tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, attracting tourists from all over the world. The various hotels and resorts get very busy during the high season, which coincides with the dry season, from December to April, and the weather is warm and dry, with long sunny days and a clear sky. During this period, in mid-April, the famous Songkran, the Thai New Year, takes place and the whole country celebrates on the streets. The monsoon arrives in May bringing heavy rainfall until November, making this the low season for tourism. This is by far the cheapest period to visit Phuket, and also the most peaceful, as the island is not as crowded as during the high season.
Phuket International Airport (HKT)
Phuket International Airport is situated north of the island, away from the luxury hotels and resorts. By taxi the trip to Surin will take about 30 minutes, to Patong about 40 min, Karon and Kata beaches around 50 minutes. The bus to Phuket Town takes one hour.
Metered taxis are available, but there are not too many of them around. They are to the right as you come out of the arrivals building, at the far end.
To the left as you come out of arrivals, there are 8 seated mini vans which will take you to your hotel, but of course you have to stop at everyone else’s hotel as well.
There is also an Airport Bus but it only goes to Phuket Town Bus Terminal. It does stop on the way but not at any of the coastal resorts. Journey time is one hour from the airport to Phuket Town.
Address: Phuket International Airport
Phone: +66 76 351 166
There are several public buses in Phuket, which are bright blue, with open sides. There aren’t any real schedules, but if you see one and want to get on, just wave – there are no official bus stops. The local bus station is located on Ranong Road in Phuket Town.
The most widely used ‘taxis’ are bright red tuk tuks. These are not the 4 seated variety as in Bangkok but hold about 6-8 people. Unlike the metred taxi, arrange a price before getting in.
You can also find traditional taxis outside the airport terminal and around town, which either have fixed fares or a meter.
Car and Motorbike Rental
Traffic in Thailand is on the left side and all the major car rental companies have offices at the airport. An international driving license is required. There are enterprising companies immediately outside the arrivals hall with cards offering cars at cheaper rates. Jeeps are also available, make sure you see the car before paying, some have been around for a while.
When driving in Thailand, beware of motorbikes overtaking on the inside and /or on bends. Drive a little slower and keep an eye on the wing mirrors.
In Phuket you can find larger chain pharmacies such as Boots (Central Festival) and Watsons. Individual pharmacies are located in Phuket Town and in most resorts in the main shopping areas.
Grace Pharmacy (Phuket Pharmacy):
Address: 114/47 Moo 5 Srisoonthon, Talang, Phuket
Phone: +66 84 344 8250
Post offices are usually open from 08.30 until 16.30, but make sure your post is there by 15.30, otherwise it waits until the next day. The main post office in Patong is on Beach Road and in Phuket Town is at Montri Road. There are post outlets in many of the major stores and supermarkets. Look for counters with the names of courier companies listed – you can still send with the Thai post service from these counters.
Main post office:
Address: 158 Montri Road, Talardyai, Muang, Phuket
Phone: +66 76 211 020
Country code: + 66
Area code: 076
Remember that an area code is needed even if you are within that city. So, if a call is made from Patong to Phuket, the prefix 076 is still required.
220V, 50 Hz. The general socket is a flat two pin, but there are some Thai appliances that have a third round pin. Many hotels, especially the older ones, have only the two pin socket so bringing an adapter is recommended.