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Know Before You Go
- You'll need an international drivers license. While it's possible to hire a scooter without one, if you get pulled over by the police, you'll have to pay a spot fine.
- Dress appropriately when visiting the temples. Women are expected to cover their shoulders and knees, while men have to wear a shirt.
- Respect the Thai culture and customs. Greet others with the Wai (placing your palms together at your chest and bowing your head). Stand when the national anthem is played before movies, concerts and sporting events. Avoid making any negative comments about the King and other members of the Royal Family.
- Get a sim card at the airport. You can choose from packages ranging from 3-day, 7-day, 10-day or 1 month with different data bundles.
- Don't drink the tap water. It's not safe, and you could end up with stomach problems. Instead, stick to bottled water and don't eat fruits or vegetables that have been rinsed with tap water.
Getting Around Phuket
- Rent a car. If you want more freedom exploring the island, hire a vehicle at the airport or from one of the agencies in town. You'll need your driver's license with an international driving permit, and it's a good idea to pay extra for a GPS as the roads are poorly marked and maintained.
- Grab a taxi. You can hail down a metered cab from the street or use ride-sharing service Grab to get to your next destination. Fares are reasonable, and you'll be able to see the total price for your trip before you request a driver.
- Use a tuk-tuk. It's one of the most common forms of transportation in Phuket, but you'll need to use your haggling skills to get a reasonable price. Fares within the city shouldn't cost more than THB 50, but some drivers might also charge a flat rate of THB 100.
- If you're on a budget, catch a ride with one of the songthaews. It's a shared pickup truck that's much cheaper than a tuk-tuk. The drivers have routes throughout the city and usually, operate from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and cost THB 25 per person.
When is The Best Time to Visit Phuket?
The best time to visit Phuket is during its dry season. From November to April, the weather is warm, and there is little chance of rain ruining any outdoor activities. If you're a diver, visibility will be at it's best, and you'll be in time for one of Thailand's biggest festivals, Songkran.
The only downside is that it's also high season. Expect bigger crowds at the top attractions, expensive flights and tour prices to skyrocket.
If you're travelling to Thailand on a shoestring, the monsoon months of May to October are the best time to visit. While you won't be able to visit some islands or marine reserves, there's still plenty of things to see and do. Hotels slash their rates during this seasonal lull, and you'll have a better chance finding deals on domestic and international flights to and from Phuket.
Airports in Phuket
Phuket International Airport
Phuket International Airport is located 32 km from the city centre. It's the third busiest airport in the country and is a springboard for tourists looking to explore Thailand's nearby islands. The airport is a hub for regional carrier Bangkok Airways as well as Thai Airways and Thai AirAsia.
Getting to and from Phuket International Airport
Book a limousine taxi to your hotel. While it's one of the more expensive transport options available at the airport, it's a comfortable and a convenient way to get around. You can arrange your transfer once you arrive, or pre-book your trip online.
Grab a taxi. Outside the arrivals hall, you'll find a counter marked "taxi meter". By using this service, you can be assured the fares are fair, and you won't be ripped off. A trip to Phuket Town will cost between THB 600-900, and you'll have to pay an airport service surcharge of THB 100.
Hop on board the Phuket Airport Bus. The bright orange buses run from the airport to Phuket Town between 06:30 a.m. and 09:30 p.m. Fares are THB 90-100, and you can buy your ticket from the counter at the airport exit.
Another affordable option is the minivans. You can find the counters inside the Arrivals Hall and tickets cost as little as THB 120 to Phuket Town and THB 180 to Patong Beach. One thing to keep in mind is that the vans won't leave until they are full and sometimes stop at travel agencies to try to sell you packages.
Hire a car. There are two rental desks inside the Arrivals Hall as well as a few others outside the airport. You'll need your passport, a valid driver's license and an international driver's permit.