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Phuket Travel Tips: Things To Know Before Visiting

If you’re planning a trip to Phuket, Thailand – or if you’re still thinking about it, check out the best things to do in Phuket – there are several things that are worth knowing before you visit.

Transport from Airport

Phuket International Airport is located in the north of the island, and depending on where you’re staying, it can take a fair bit of time to reach your accommodation. For example, getting to Old Phuket Town takes about 1 hour by road. Patong is 1 hour 20 minutes away. And on average getting to Kata Beach takes 1 hour 40 minutes.

Although prices in Phuket can be on the low side, particularly if you’re good at bargaining (more on that below), travel costs are generally a bit higher than other parts of Thailand. Taking a Grab Taxi from the airport to Patong Beach, for example, costs 784 Thai Baht, which is equivalent to $22. To put things in perspective, getting a Grab Taxi from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok to Khaosan Road (a similar distance from Phuket Airport to Patong Beach) costs about 432 Thai Baht, equivalent to $12.

If you want to save on travel costs, a good option is to take a minibus. Once you’ve passed through the arrival gates of the airport, there’ll be various transport counters encouraging you to book a taxi. Ask for costs of a minibus. You’ll be joined on the bus with other passengers and you may have to wait a while for departure, but the cost will be significantly cheaper than taking a private taxi. Expect a cost of about $5 to get from the airport to Patong Beach.

Sun Protection & Hydration

Phuket has a tropical climate with a year-round temperature ranging between 25-35 °C. If you’re going for a walk or exploring the island, it can sometimes be difficult to find shade to protect you from the heat of the sun. It’s advisable to use sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, and to keep a bottle of water with you stay hydrated. It’s also worth keeping mosquito repellent to hand.

Bring Cash Before You Arrive

While stores and outlets in Phuket generally accept credit card/debit card payments, it’s useful to bring some cash with you before you visit. For one, if you visit a convenience store such as 7-Eleven, there’s a minimum expenditure of 200 Baht if you want to use your payment card. If you don’t have cash, you may have to buy items you don’t even need just to reach the 200 Baht threshold. Secondly, ATMs (if they’re not out of service) tend to have a surcharge of 200 Baht to get some cash out. As such, if you need cash to use at a 7-Eleven, it’s pointless to go to an ATM. And for other popular tourist locations such as markets and beaches, cash is the preferred method of payment.

Bargaining at Markets

A visit to Phuket’s night markets is an enjoyable and memorable tourist experience. Although some prices will be fixed, bargaining/haggling is generally permitted. If you want to give it a go, remember to be respectful and don’t start with too low of a price for an item. It may help to do a bit of research beforehand so you know what price range to expect for certain items.

If you’re intent on getting a good deal, you can offer to purchase multiple items at an overall price that results in a lower cost per item. For example, let’s say a souvenir costs 100 Baht. You could offer to purchase 3 souvenirs for a price of 250 Baht, making the cost of each individual item 83.3 Baht.

A crowded day market in Phuket, Thailand.
A crowded day market in Phuket. Photo by Bao Menglong on Unsplash.

Remember that haggling itself is part of the Phuket experience. Instead of aiming to get the lowest price possible for an item, it’s worth seeing it as an opportunity to engage in enjoyable interaction with local market traders. That way you can leave with a souvenir at a reasonable price, along with positive memories of your bargaining experience.

Exploring Phuket

As mentioned earlier taxis in Phuket tend to be more expensive than those found in other parts of Thailand such as Bangkok. To save costs, you can rent a car or van with a driver for several hours.

For example, renting a GrabCar for 4 hours costs 1,400 Baht. Four separate 1-hour journeys would cost around 2,600 Baht, and so renting a car results in a considerable saving.

Bear in mind if you’re traveling by taxi, you’re required to wear a seatbelt. If you’re caught without a seatbelt fastened, there’s a fine of 2,000 Baht.

Seatbelt sign in a taxi in Phuket, Thailand. The sign says "Fasten your seatbelt when seated or you will be fined 2,000 baht."
There’s a 2,000 Baht fine for not wearing your seatbelt.

An alternative to taking a taxi is to rent a bike (if you know how to ride one and have a license!). Expect to pay around 200 – 250 Baht per day, equivalent to $5 – $7, for a basic scooter. It helps to get some recommendations, perhaps from hotel staff, of nearby outlets and to do some pre-hire checks on the vehicle to ensure you’re hiring from a reputable seller. As always, remember to wear a helmet.

"Motorbike For Rent" sign at Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand.
Motorbikes for rent at Patong Beach, Phuket.


Phuket imposes a strict policy of no littering and smoking at their beaches. This is a result of environmental concerns that culminated in updated regulations in 2018. Only smoke in designated smoking areas and find bins to dispose of any waste. If you’re caught littering, there’s a fine of 10,000 baht.

No smoking/littering sign in Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand.
There’s a fine of 10,000 Baht for littering at Patong Beach.
A wooden sign at Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand that says, "Our beach is not an ashtray".
Our beach is not an ashtray, Kata Beach.


Phuket has some amazing beaches but if you see a red flag, DO NOT enter the water. You may see some people swimming, but it’s simply not worth the risk. Rip currents can sweep you away even if you’re a strong swimmer. There are plenty of beaches in Phuket. Find one that’s safe to swim in and enjoy your holiday.

An image of Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand with red flags on a pole in the sand.
A red flag warning at Kata Beach, Phuket.

Now you’ve got some key tips under your belt, you’re ready to go and make the most of your trip to Phuket. Enjoy your time at one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations!

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