If you are a lover of the beach and want to find a true tropical paradise, with blue sea, white sand, all-night parties throughout the morning, Phuket is the paradise for you. Below is a brief handbook for those who want to travel to Phuket this summer.
1. Where is Phuket?
Phuket is an island located in the Andaman Bay, southern Thailand. Andaman Bay is part of the Indian Ocean.
2. The best time to visit Phuket
Andaman Bay has a hot year-round climate, rarely storms, and stronger ocean waves than the Gulf of Thailand.
The best time to go to Phuket is the dry season from November to April next year with a temperature of 23 to 30 degrees Celsius.
3. How to get to Phuket
You can book flights to Bangkok and then a flight from Bangkok to Phuket with cheap airlines such as AirAsia or Nok Air.
Note that when booking the return ticket that you should choose the flight at 8 PM or 9 PM because the minibus from Phuket town to the airport departs at 6 PM (the last one).
Bus from Bangkok to Phuket
It takes more than 12 hours to take the bus, most of them are double-decker buses, which are clean with attentive service. Tickets are sold through the Thaiexpress system. Price ranges from about 500 baht. The disadvantage of this bus is that it takes passengers directly to Phuket bus station, then you have to spend 400baht more to Patong center, which is too expensive compared to tickets from Bangkok to Phuket.
4. From the airport to the center of Phu Ket
There are 3 ways to get from Phuket airport to the center:
Private transfer: 700 Baht / 4 seats – cheap for big groups.
Minivan: 150 Bath / 1 guest / Patong Beach. If you want to go to Kata or Karon, it costs 180 Bath / 1 guest. This is available right after landing. This option is ideal for small groups (about 2 persons). This car takes you to the hotel; however, there are many stopovers on the way to drop off guests, it takes approximately 1h30 minutes to arrive. The car also stops at its main office for ticket checking and sell tours. You should book the car for the return there. Note: the return ticket from Patong to the airport is 180Bath because the car at the airport is a state-owned company, while in Patong it is privately owned so it is more expensive.
Taxi: 550 Bath to Patong Beach, 650 Bath to Kata,/Karong Beach. It’s faster to go by taxi, about 40-60 minutes. Remember to ask the price before boarding and must ask if the airport fee (100 baht) is included. 550 bath is included already.
Airport Bus: price 85 Bath / 1 person. This option is a bit complicating. Firstly, the schedule does not coincide with the flight. Secondly: the car does not take you to the hotel. The car just stops at Phuket Town then you have to go to the hotel by yourself. That’s why the taxi cost is very high. Thirdly: You must know which station you stop at, which station is closest to your hotel. The last bus is at 6.50 PM. In Phuket, there are many one-way streets. Sometimes it just takes 5-10 minutes to walk, but if you take a taxi, it will take you much more time. This option is only suitable for those who have good health, know the path, and have a good orientation to avoid being cheated.
5. SIM card, wifi
At Phuket Airport, there is a free SIM card, it is ok to get some. So everyone can take some. After taking your luggage to the gate, you will see the table to place the SIM card (next to Lost & Found by Air Asia), feel confident to go to the counter and get the SIM card (like taking leaflets). Inside the account, there is 15baht in the account, which is enough for the internet.
Wifi in Phuket covers the whole island but very weak and requires a password so it is difficult to connect.
6. What to visit in Phuket?
There are many attractions in Phuket. The best choice is still swimming, going to the islands. You also should not miss the Fantasea show.
The island is very beautiful and very clean. Booking online is much cheaper than booking at a travel agency office. Normally 1 tour to 3 islands Phi Phi, Nga Bay, and Khai by speed boat cost you from 2200 baht/person as the result from the negotiation from 2500 bath. The price of the big boat is more than 1000 baht/person. You should take a speed boat because its faster, more stopovers (going to a big boat only stops at Phiphi). In addition, going by speedboat, you will have more time for swimming. We recommend booking local tours in advance for a good price.
If you are going to Shopping, don’t go to Phuket town. The road is far away, it is tiring to go on a sunny day. There are not many shopping places if you like then go to Bangkok for shopping. Shopping in Phuket, you should go along the sea and the parallel roads where there are many shopping places. Most of them are souvenirs, swimsuits, saron, colorful T-shirts.
Old Phuket is a unique Portuguese colonial architecture complex in Southeast Asia.
Some islands near Phuket
Similan island – natural conservation area. Scuba diving and hammerhead shark watching are also available.
7. General notes
If you have not yet booked an online tour in advance, you should not buy a tour at the hotel, because of the higher price. Just go out, find an office that looks bright and ask for a price, just go around asking a few agents in advance to buy.
When buying a tour, ask clearly about the tour whether it’s including transportation/meals or not. And ask what is not included.
When traveling, you should bring change for tipping if it’s needed.
For a family trip with many small children, remember to bring some water and snacks when traveling. Prevent food/water shortage.
Do not withdraw cash with an ATM card because you will be charged 150 baht for 1 withdrawal time. Buying bath money in Vietnam is even more valuable than exchanging money in Phuket.
When entering the temple, you should dress discreetly, must cover limbs. When you enter the temple gate, someone will give you a towel to cover. But you should take the initiative to dress discreetly or bring a towel to go to the temple, and to the sanctuary.
8. Rent a motorbike in Phuket
At long, you should rent a motorbike, the rental price from 200-300 baht a day for small cars and scooters. Note that the rented car includes 1 liter of gasoline, if you want more, you have to pay50 baht for 1 liter. Instead of buying right there, you should go to the gas station to top up with the price of 34 baht 1 liter. You should choose the store where it only keeps your photocopy passport. Always remember your license plate so it will take you less time to find your car. In case they keep the original passport, you should check if there is any trust or not.
9. Hotels in Phuket
Two areas to book hotels in Phuket are Patong beach or Kata center. They are central, noisy hustle and bustle. At night, you can go out to the Bar and street food. If you prefer a quiet area, you should book a hotel in Karon beach, which not as developed and crowded as the two above areas. If you want to go to a bar or a club, you have to go to Patong or Kata, and the tuk-tuk is expensive. It costs 400 baht by tuk-tuk from Karon beach to Bangla road Patong Beach. You should choose hotels which are not close to the beach, about 10 minutes’ walk from the beach is ok. Because it is located in the alley so just out of the hotel there are many stores, pubs for you to choose from.
You should check the hotel via hotel2thailand.com or Agoda. Agoda offers cheaper hotels than hotel2thailand, but sometimes hotel2thailand has promotions at a very cheap price.
10. 10 must-eat food in Phuket
Phuket is the most famous beach destination in Thailand. It is a paradise for those who looking for pure relaxation on white-sand beaches and turquoise water. The beaches are amazing, but Phuket food is also a treasure. Below we will suggest 10 must-eat food in Phuket for those who are about to visit this wonderful beach province.
10.1. Tom Yum
Tom Yum has the sourness of lemon; the spicy of chili, the smell of lemongrass, the taste of coconut which is very attractive. The popular tom yum is seafood, chicken, pork chops, served with rice or noodles.
– Bang Pae Seafood (PA Khlok Thalang Phuket Thailand) – open from 12:00 to 20:00
– Ang Seafood restaurant (Soi Phuket Villa California 1, Wichit, Mueang Phuket) – open from 5:00 pm to 12:00 pm.
10.2. Mee Hokkien
Mee Hokkien is a Fujian-style mixed fried noodle (China), thick golden noodles, fried with shrimp, pork, squid, eggs, bean sprouts.
– Lock Tien (Thanon Dibuk, Phuket old town, located at the intersection of Yaowarat and Dibuk) – open from 10 am to 5 pm
– Mee Ton Poe Restaurant (214 / 7-8, Phuket Road, Tambon Talat Yai, Amphoe Mueang Phuket) – open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm (often in a long queue).
10.3. Massaman curry
Massaman curry is sweet with coconut milk, sour with lemon juice, fragrant with lemon leaf and basil, peanuts, and no chili, so it is a suitable food for anyone who cannot eat spicy when traveling to Phuket.
– N.C. Bakery and Food (183/6 Phang-Nga, Talad Yai, Muang Phuket) – open from 8 am to 6 pm.
– Oriental Spoon restaurant (106/46 Moo 3, Surin Beach Road, or Twinpalms Phuket Resort).
10.4. Dim sum
Traveling to Phuket, you will be surprised when the dim sum is sold a lot due to a large number of Chinese tourists here. The dish you should try is the shrimp dumplings with a delicious filling.
– Boon Rad Dim Sum 1, 26/41 Thanon Bangkawk, Phuket town, Phuket, open from 6h to 10h.
– Wang DimSum, 269 / 1-2, Phuket Street, Phuket town – open from 6 am to 11 pm.
10.5. Gaeng Keaw Wan Gai
Gaeng Keaw Wan Gai is a Thai curry made from chicken, eggplant, and spices like basil.
– Kaab Gluay Restaurant (58/3 Phrabaramee Road, Patong, Phuket) – open from 11 am to 8 pm, both lunch and dinner.
10.6. Kanom Jeen Phuket
This is a Phuket-branded soup made from chicken, turmeric, tomatoes, and lemongrass, cooked in coconut milk. Chicken can also be replaced by fish or crab, served with noodles or vermicelli.
– Khanom Jeen Mae Ting (28 Satul, Muang Phuket) i- open from 8 am to 12 pm.
– Pa Mai Kanom Jeen Restaurant (Satun, Phuket, right next to Blue Elephant restaurant) – open from 5:30 am to 11:00 am for breakfast.
10.7. Khao Man Gai
Khao Man Gai chicken rice has ingredients from boiled chicken, rice cooked with jasmine, chicken broth, ginger sauce, garlic, chili, and special soy sauce.
– Kota Khao Man Gai (16-18 Soi Surin Mantri) – open from 10 am until out of stock but mostly around 17h. In addition to chicken rice, the restaurant also has many famous snacks.
10.8. Por Pia
Por Pia is almost like a fried spring roll in Vietnam, wrapping meat, shrimp, vegetables, noodles … in rice paper and then frying on a hot pan. But instead of dipping in sweet and sour sauce, Thai people use a typical sauce for this food in Phuket.
– Lock Tien Restaurant (Thanon Dibuk, Phuket old town, located opposite Yaowarat and Dibuk crossroads).
– Natural Restaurant (62/5 Soi Phutorn Bangkok Road, Talad Yai, Muang, Phuket) – open from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, the restaurant is older than 20 years.
Satay is another name for skewers that are popular in all Southeast Asian countries. In addition to meat, people can also substitute with seafood such as shrimp, squid … with peanut sauce. This sauce has delicious fish sauce, ginger, scallions, coriander leaves, pepper, peanut butter, sesame oil, lemon juice, and coconut milk.
– Khun Jeed’s Rad-Na Yod Pak Phang Nga Road in the center of Phuket Town, open from 9 am to 8:30 pm
– Mee Ton Poe Restaurant (214 / 7-8, Phuket Road, Tambon Talat Yai, Amphoe Mueang Phuket), open from 8 am to 8 pm.
10.10. Pancake Roti
Roti pancake is a pastry made from flour, eggs, condensed milk, and sugar, served with coconut milk or cream. This food is sold a lot in vendors.
– French Crepe Thai Pancake Vendor (Patong Beach, Kathu District, Phuket) – open from 9 am to 8 pm.