Phuket , Thailand
Phuket  Thailand:  hotels and travel guide Phuket frequently asked questions (FAQ's)
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Phuket Thailand  

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Phuket Frequently Asked Questions:

Before you come

How do I get there?
When is the best time to come?
Should I book accommodation before I get there?
Do I need a visa?
What is the voltage and do I need an adaptor?
Is Phuket safe?
Do people speak English in Phuket?

What to bring

What goods can/can’t I bring in?
What clothes should I bring?
Do I need to bring my own sporting equipment?

Transportation

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?
How much will I have to pay for a taxi to my hotel?
Where can I get a map of Phuket?
What kind of license do I need to drive a car in Phuket?
Do I need a license to drive a motorcycle?
Are there car seats available for children in hire cars?
Is local transportation easily accessible?
How much is the departure tax?

Food

What kind of food can I find on Phuket?
Can I find vegetarian or Halal food?

Kids

Is Phuket a good place to bring kids?
What activities are there for kids?

Special events

What events will be on when I am in Phuket?

Accommodation

Where should I stay?

Itineraries

What tours should I go on?

Business

Can I own a business in Phuket?
Who do I contact to find out about business?

Money

What credit card can I use?
Are travellers checks accepted in Phuket?

more faq's to come...


Before you come

How do I get there?  

You can get to Phuket by land, sea or air. Phuket’s International Airport receives direct flights from countries all over the world as well as connecting domestic and international flights from Bangkok.  A relaxing and scenic way to arrive in Phuket is by sea on a cruise liner, or by private yacht. Traveling overland, you can come by road from either of Bangkok, Malaysia, or Singapore, with a choice of taking a bus or hiring your own car to drive. Travel by train is also possible from each of these locations alighting at Surathani and making the last leg of the journey to Phuket by road.

When is the best time to come? 

Phuket is great to visit at any time of the year. Traditionally, the busiest time is from late October until early April, with the Christmas/New Year period being the absolute peak. During these times you need to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Beach and weather conditions are perfect at this time ideal for diving, sailing too. If visiting at other times of the year, you will benefit from better prices for accommodation and services, and still enjoy wonderful weather. Even during the monsoon period July through to October, short rainsqualls are interspersed with beautiful sunny periods, allowing you to still enjoy the full range of outdoor activities available here.

Should I book accommodation before I get there? 

For visits during high season, accommodation bookings are essential. Now with the advent of direct on-line booking services, you can search for a hotel in the location you want, according to your budget and preferred choice of facilities, and receive confirmation straight away. This enables you to make a good choice before you arrive and helps avoid disappointment. During low season, booking ahead on the net is also wise, as you’ll find that many of the hotels offer great online specials and packages that are otherwise unavailable.

Do I need a visa?

New Zealanders, Swedish and South Korean passport holders may enter Thailand for up to 90 days visa free. Most other nationalities require to obtain a tourist visa or transit visa. Check with a Thai Embassy or Consulate well before your planned date of travel to see what applies to you.

What is the Voltage and do I need an adaptor?

Voltage is 220 volts, but you will need an adaptor for Thai plug which can be found in most convenience stores.

Is Phuket safe?

Like anywhere, there are things to be wary of in Phuket. Keep these in mind and you will enjoy a safe holiday.  

Be aware that at certain times of the year, the conditions off the beaches on Phuket’s west coast are such that tides and currents can be strong and unpredictable. During the Monsoon months of July through to October it is wise to exercise caution when swimming off open beaches particularly in the unpopulated areas. 

Be wary of touts in tourist areas, selling services or offering assistance. Whilst unlikely to cause any physical harm, they may cause you needless expense and to waste valuable time. If you choose to follow-up on the advice of a tout inspect what’s on offer most carefully and don’t feel obligated. 

Be careful of your valuables at all times, locking away travel documents, money, credit cards and travellers checks wherever possible. Don’t take large amounts of cash around with you and always keep your bag close to your person so that pick pocket and drive-by motorcycle thieves won’t be tempted to try their luck. 

Lone travellers should be careful of people who might wish to befriend them with offers of snacks, sweets or drinks. Druggings are not unheard of and will leave you minus your luggage and valuables.  

Use common sense when choosing what and where to eat. Hygiene is not always of the highest standard, therefore be wary of foodstuffs in open-air markets and mobile stalls. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat market and hawker food just choose only freshly cooked items and steer clear of anything that’s been sitting around a while. If buying fresh fruit try for something that still has it’s skin and has not been lying in icy water. Drink bottled water only and always wash your hands before eating.

Do people speak English in Phuket?

As a truly international resort, you will find that English is widely spoken by most who involve in the tourist industry albeit at differing levels of competency, and you will find that communication with Thai people is mostly a delight - with the exception only of the most hardened workers in the tourist industry.

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What to bring

What goods can/can’t I bring in

Import of illegal drugs, firearms and pornographic materials is prohibited. A litre of wine or spirits per person and up to 200 cigarettes is allowed, along with a reasonable amount of clothing, toiletries, and electronic items for personal use. Foreign cash may be brought into the country without restriction.

What clothes should I bring? 

Lightweight cotton clothing is the most comfortable for this tropical climate. Being a beach resort, you can get away with wearing very casual clothing for almost any occasion at most venues. Shorts, T-shirts and sandals are the norm for daywear (men and women) and casual pants, short sleeve shirts (men and women), and simple dresses and skirts (women) ideal for night times.  Those who like to dress up at night can do so without fear but be assured that it is not necessary. Do be respectful of the Thais’ opinion towards nudity and dress codes in public places. Nude and topless sunbathing is not approved of, and the wearing of skimpy beach attire or minus a shirt in restaurants is also frowned upon.

Do I need to bring my own sporting equipment?

Snorkellers may want to bring their own gear to save on the cost of hire. Dive gear is readily available and more convenient to hire here. Serious golfers may like to bring their own clubs, particularly if you plan to play frequently during your stay. However for the social hacker who wants to fit in only a game or two, gear can be hired at most courses around the island if you prefer not to lug the extra baggage around. Standard rates are around 500Baht for 18 holes, slightly more if you choose a superior quality of clubs.

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Transportation

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?     

Upon arriving at Phuket Airport, proceed through baggage and customs (if flying international). Before reaching the public arrivals area, you will walk past counters where arrangements for the hire of minivans and taxis can be made. If you have made prior arrangements with your hotel for an airport transfer, you can safely bypass these counters and head directly outside to the transit area where drivers with placards are waiting. Look for the logo of the hotel you’re booked with and for your name. If no prior arrangements have been made, go directly to the taxi/limousine counters and state your destination including the name of the hotel and beach. The counter staff will fill out a ticket in exchange for the appropriate fee. You will be asked to follow an attendant to the outdoor transit lane where a taxi or minivan will be assigned. These services are offered at a fixed rate according to your destination and the mode of transport you choose.

How much will I have to pay for a taxi to my hotel? 

Dependent on your destination, and the mode of transport you choose, your trip can cost anywhere from Baht 100 to Baht 600. If traveling by shared minivan to Patong for instance, the fee is Baht 100. If hiring a taxi, expect to pay up to 600 Baht.

Where can I get a map of Phuket?

For on-line maps go to Phuket-maps.com. On your arrival in Thailand, maps are readily available from all tourist information desks, the airport and book stores.

What kind of license do I need to drive a car in Phuket?     

For short stays, an international driving license or a license to drive from your own country is at least required from most reputable car hire agencies. Whilst you can readily rent vehicles from private agencies without having to show any license at all, you will not be covered by insurance if you are involved in a traffic accident, and can be fined for driving without one if pulled over by local police. For stays of more than 3 months and particularly if you drive a private car, then a Thai driver’s license is necessary. Many people don’t realize this fact until it’s too late and their insurance company refuses to pay on the basis of not having the correct license (and yes, you can apply for and obtain insurance coverage without being informed of this minor detail).

Do I need a license to drive a motorcycle?

Whilst you don’t need a license to hire a motorbike, you can be arrested for driving without one, so be sure to have your home country license if not an international license. Also be aware that you will not be covered by insurance if involved in an accident on a rented motorcycle, despite what you are told. It is important to keep this in mind when choosing to hire and ride around in what are often dangerous conditions for inexperienced riders.

Are there car seats available for children in hire cars?

International hire car agencies can provide car seats for children if requested in advance. Small, local hire car companies are less likely to have them but there are exceptions.

Is local transportation easily accessible?

Phuket is geared for the tourist with hotel limousines, tour buses and hire cars etc to the extent that most visitors don’t avail themselves of the local transport as often as they might. There is good reason to however as it is an economical and entertaining method of getting around the island. It requires that you be a little adventurous and be prepared for the unexpected, but the rewards are worth it. Local buses travel to and from destinations right around the island from early morning ‘til early evening. Destinations are written on the front, and you just flag them down in the street. Local tuk-tuk’s are always available in the street - do your own bargaining for the fare before you set off. Another alternative is the motorbike taxi not the safest mode of transport but an interesting experience and handy for short distances.

How much is the departure tax?

Baht 500

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Food

What kind of food can I find on Phuket? 

You’ll find practically everything on Phuket, from local Thai to international cuisines ranging from French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Indian and more. Sophisticated restaurants, sidewalk cafes, terraced or garden outlets, groovy eateries, bakeries, delis, local style cafés and canteens you have you pick of venues. If you want to do your own thing shop at the many open air fresh food markets or western style supermarkets and cook up your own feast.

Can I find vegetarian or Halal food?

If you are vegetarian you’ll find many dishes to please you, as will those with a preference for Halal food.

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Kids

Is Phuket a good place to bring kids

Judging by the numbers of families that visit Phuket each year Phuket is certainly suitable for a family holiday. Thais are very welcoming to children and the vast range of activities and attractions here will keep them occupied and amused all day long. Take the usual precautions about health drink bottled water only and wash hands frequently to ward off any bugs.

What activities are there for kids?

  Kids will enjoy water sports activities by the beach, elephant trekking, safaris, visits to the zoo and various aquatic museums, animal centres, mini golf, visits to open air markets, bowling, go-kart racing, horse riding, and much much more.

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Special events

What events will be on when I am in Phuket?

Visitors will come across various different events and festivals held on the island during the year. Some like the Thai New Year celebration Songkran are held annually on the same date every year. Others like the Chinese Vegetarian Festival are held to coincide with the phases of the moon in the ninth month of the year, and thus change their dates from year to year. Check this link to Festivals and Events to see what is coming up this year.

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Accommodation

Where should I stay?

Dependent on your budget and preferred activities, there is an entire range of accommodation possibilities ranging from budget type bungalows to the fully blown 5-star luxury resorts. You may like a quiet location away from the madding crowds, or alternately, love to be in the thick of things. Our suggestion is to work out your daily accommodation budget and conduct your search of the options on that basis. Note the facilities offered at each and the locations they are in. You can read up on each location on our web pages. If you need some extra help check through our Special Offers page to see what bargains are on offer. Likewise our Suggestions page will give you some hints about types of accommodation suited to different tastes. Having identified what looks to you to be the right location for the right price book on-line for immediate confirmation.

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Itineraries

What tours should I go on?

Choosing tours is sometimes like going in a lucky dip. There are so many options available and you’re not sure what each are going to be like. Our advice is to research a little before hand on your options and ask the advice of those who have been before. Check out our tour pages on Things to See and Do/Tours & Excursions. Then visit our Travel Forum to post your questions or see what other people recommend.

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Business

Can I own a business in Phuket?

Yes, but it depends on the type of business you seek to own. Foreigners can own and do operate businesses in Phuket, subject to certain restrictions. Under Thai law, some categories of business cannot be majority owned by foreigners, whilst others can, subject to certain conditions being met. Still others have no restrictions placed at all. The authority on this issue is Thailand’s Alien Business Law.

Who do I contact to find out about business?

To find out general information about doing business in Thailand, there are a number of publications now available that will answer most of your initial queries for limited expense. Such books are found at Asia Books stores, DK Books and Bookazine stores throughout the country. You may then want to go directly to a business adviser a locally based, reputable international law firm would be the best option who can give you specific information according to your targetted business. They will also be abreast of any changes in the laws to your advantage. Several internet search directories list the names and contact details of such law firms in Bangkok.

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Money

What credit cards can I use?

Visa and Mastercard are widely used at major hotels and some restaurants, AMEX less. Small hotels, restaurants and many shops do not accept credit cards so be prepared for this possibility also. Use your credit card to obtain cash from ATM’s. This is the cheapest way to obtain Thai Baht. ATM/s are located in the main areas of Patong and Phuket Town, as well as at Phuket Fantasea in Kamala Beach, at the Siam Commercial Bank at ChoengTalay (near Laguna Resort) and at Karon Beach. You can also withdraw cash on your credit cards from local exchange tellers but need to show your passport.

Are travellers checks accepted in Phuket?

Yes. Foreign denomination checks are easily exchanged for cash however it is not the cheapest way to buy Thai Baht. Foreign exchange counters are located in all major tourist areas.

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Published by the Plain Paper Guide Book Co., Ltd. by Gary L. Ebsen

 

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