Phuket Travel Tips - with Wired Destinations
Welcome to Phuket and welcome to "island time". If you are arriving on an international flight, be aware that immigration procedures in Thailand have become more thorough due to current global concerns. As a service to yourself and others, please have all your travel documents prepared and in hand when it is your turn to be processed through immigration. Unlike clearing into Bangkok, Phuket immigration can be a lengthy procedure, especially if a number of flights arrive in quick succession. After exiting the arrival terminus and entering the main lobby you will be presented with a number of booths along the walls offering every thing from tour package information to car rental. Swarms of limousines, taxis and passenger van drivers will be positioned just inside and outside the entrance doors to the airport. Incidentally, the "limos" are late model sedans so do not expect stretch luxury vehicles equipped with wet bar and Jacuzzi. The taxis are metered compact sedans coloured blue and yellow. Passenger vans and limousines are often dispatched by Phuket hotels and resorts to pickup arriving guests. There are no busses from the airport.
The Phuket beaches and wonderful scenery in the area has attracted a great number of visitors, leading to a construction of the airport and road links. Phuket is the the richest province in Thailand, second only to Bangkok offering numerous Phuket nightlife , incredible Phuket diving palces and of course the amazing Phuket beaches. Find out everything you need to know when you are planning a Phuket holiday with Wired Destinations' Phuket Travel Info, Phuket Insider Travel Tips and Phuket Travel Tips.
Getting Around Phuket
Phuket airport is located near the top of the island, about 40 kilometres from Phuket City. There are a number of Phuket hotel and accommodation options near the airport but the Phuket nightlife and choice of dining establishments are limited. Roughly twenty minutes from the airport, in the vicinity of the Bang Tao beach hotel complex, you will find a better selection of distractions. If your accommodation is located in Phuket City or Patong Beach, you can count on about 35 minutes (if the traffic is light) to reach your destination. Kata, Karon and Nai Harn beaches will take between 45-55 minutes.
During the high season, winds normally pick up late morning, blowing across the island from east to west, and drop off again late afternoon. The west-coast beaches are placid while the east-coast waters can see a good wave chop develop. Protected by landmass, the eastern waters between Phuket and Koh Pha-Ngan / Krabi are not prone to large swell. Skies are predominantly clear with very little rainfall between December and March.
The low season is marked by the south-west monsoon period. Rain can be frequent and heavy. Wind strength increases with large waves developing off the west-coast beaches. Humidity is marginally higher during this time. The shoulder season, for two months either side, sees variable winds, rain showers and plenty of sun-filled days. Average temperatures vary between the seasons but are normally within the range of 26-30 degrees Celsius.
Phuket Business Hours
Government and administrative offices are open 8:30 - 16:30 from Monday to Friday (some offices close for one hour lunch). Banks close at 15:30. Shops generally operate between 8:00 and 17:00. Major department stores and malls open either 9 or 10 am and close late. Sundays find many small shops closed.
Up-to-date technology and international satellite links provide Thailand with a sophisticated communications system. International Direct Dial (IDD) facilities are available at major Phuket hotels and resorts. Internet cafes are everywhere but prices vary widely. In Patong you can expect to pay as much as 120 Thai baht per hour while in Phuket City the rate can be as low as 20 Thai baht per hour. Some Internet cafes offer high-speed connections; others are on slow dial-up lines. Card phones can be found in the airport, public buildings, and large shopping centres. Cards are widely available and can be purchased in several denominations. Coin operated phones are available but harder to find.
Phuket Dress Code
Light clothing from natural fibres such as cotton is recommended. Important functions or meetings would require more formal attire, otherwise casual dress is the norm. Phuket is relaxed, but when not on the beach, even males should cover up with a T-shirt. Remove your shoes when entering someone is house or a religious shrine. Nudity is frowned upon even though some beaches turn a blind eye to women with bared breasts. Thais in general, are conservative-even shy-and though offended, are too polite to show it. Be sensitive to your surroundings.
Visitors with confirmed reservations are normally met on arrival at the airport and transferred by car or van to their Phuket hotel. Public transport varies from busses, metered taxis and motorbike taxis to Tuk Tuks and long-tail boats. Out-lying island resorts often times have their own transfer boats to carry clients. Rental vehicles are widely available.
Many Phuket hotels offer chauffeured cars to their guests. Be aware that many drivers receive compensation for suggesting you visit one or another enterprise. Metered taxis are relatively new to the island and as such are sometimes hard to find. Tuk-tuk are small four-wheeled vehicles with room for up to six passengers. They are painted bright red and can be found just about everywhere. By law, rates must be displayed on a card within the vehicle to discourage unscrupulous drivers from over charging unsuspecting visitors. Busses come in two forms: the recently launched Phuket City busses and the Songtaews. The metro busses currently serve only two routes within Phuket City. The Songtaews cover the whole island starting from the central pickup point in the Phuket City market area. They are slow moving vehicles that can be flagged down from the roadside. Look for something that resembles a small cattle truck. Songtaews are blue in colour, provide bench seating and sun protection. Roll down plastic windows keep the rain out in the event of a sudden downpour. Aside from motorbike taxis, this is the most economical means of public transport. Do not expect the driver to speak English. Once you have your bearings, a motorbike rental may be a good solution. They can be rented by the day or week. Large modern motor coaches provide transport for groups on a tour package. Smaller groups use passenger vans. If travelling to the out-lying islands the choices include passenger ferries, high-speed motorboats and locally hired long-tail boats. A long-tail boat is an open wooden boat (some offer sun protection) that can carry upwards of twenty people. They are low to the water, provide bench seating and are easily identified by the long propeller shaft extending out from the motor mounted on the back. Rates for water taxi services (high-speed motorboats and long-tails) vary and are sometimes negotiable. Ask about group rates.
Phuket Health Facilities
Health care facilities in Phuket are modern and efficient. For international visitors, the Bangkok-Phuket Hospital and the Phuket International Hospital offer an extensive range of services. An international liaison office has been set up in the Bangkok-Phuket Hospital to aid foreigners with all manner of health related issues. Dental clinics are numerous, provide excellent services and, like health care clinics, are open into the early evening hours. There are excellent pharmacies in most communities around the is land stocked with many brand-name medications and toiletries.