Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

About the Place

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is considered the most economically progressive province of the Kingdom. It is located in the southern part of the country and is closer to Malaysia than Bangkok – the country’s capital. The main sources of economic activity in Phuket are tourism and mining.

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

How to Get to Phuket

From Manila, take a connecting flight to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore then fly to Phuket. Air Asia is the cheapest option from either Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok although there are other options both for low cost carriers or full service airlines.

Suggested Phuket Itinerary

If time is of the essence, here is my suggested 4 Days 3 Nights Phuket Itinerary:

Day 1
Your day 1 should start in Patong Beach area- the party capital of the island and is famous for anything that is entertaining and fun! It’s fucking fabulous.

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

From the airport, take a mini bus (that is how they call a 12-seater Toyota Van). If you are headed to Patong Beach, rate is 220 Baht per person. If you are booked somewhere else, mini buses may not be available, hence take a taxi. Taxi rate varies from 700-1500 Baht per way. Expensive.

If you don’t have Baht, there are ATM machines and Foreign Currency Exchange counters at the airport. Normally, 100USD is equivalent to 3300Baht or depending on Forex rate of the day. Worst if you have Philippine Peso. 1000 Peso is only 500Baht. Imagine that!

At any rate, exchange only an amount for your mini bus fare. You’ll get better rates in Patong.

And don’t forget to get free maps at the airport!

Day 2
Beach and lots of beaches!

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Did you know that there are 32 beaches and coves in Phuket that offer white sand and blue waters? Did you know too that these beaches can be accessed freely by the public? And did you know that all, yes, all beaches in Thailand are owned by the King and hence no such thing as private beach in the Kingdom?

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Having that much beaches to see, the best option is to rent a motor bike. Motorbike rental is 300Baht per 24 hours excluding gasoline and you can get one to rent almost virtually anywhere. By the way, don’t worry if you do not have any kind of driver’s license, they allow tourists to drive without any license. You only need to know how to drive and follow road signs. That being said, be careful!

So from Patong, head towards north and follow the road to see:

Kalim Beach
Naklay Beach
Kamala Beach
Surin Beach
Pansea Beach
Bangtao Beach
Layan Beach
Naiton Beach
Naiyang Beach

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Then turn right to go back via Phuket Town. Don’t take the same route, else you’ll get bored. Lol.

From Phuket Town (take by-pass road), head towards south to see:

Challong Pier
Rawai Beach
Prompthem Cape
Nai Harn Beach
Kata Noi Beach
Mata Main Beach
Karon Beach
Karon Noi Beach
Freedom Beach

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

And you are now back in Patong Beach.

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Road network in Phuket is good. However, I suggest to get yourself a map and a GPS when doing this solo. On GPS, buy a local sim card in any 7-11 Store, top-up and register for a mobile connection. Sim card costs less than a 100Baht and 1 day mobile internet is 49Baht.

Tired? Get a Thai massage in the evening. There are hundeds of options everywhere.

Day 3
James Bond!

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

You can’t do this solo. You need to buy it from the swarm of travel agencies in the streets. Rate ranges from 1,800Baht to 2500Baht depending on your negotiation skills. The rate includes return hotel pick up transfers, buffet lunch and the sigh-seeing tour. This tour starts 9AM and ends at 3PM.

At night, I suggest you try Simon Cabaret Show or Siam Niramit. Both are spectacular shows and are, so they say, must-see!

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Day 4
Phi Phi Island and Maya Beach!

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Make sure that your flight out of Phuket is pass 9PM because this island hopping activity normally takes 10-12 hours.

One of the many reason’s why tourists flock Phuket is because of Phi Phi Island. Note however that Phi Phi is no longer part of Phuket Province. Phi Phi is part of Phang-nga Province, north of Phuket.

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Like James Bond island tour, Phi Phi Island tour can be experienced by the help of the many travel agencies operating daily tours to Phi Phi. Rate normally starts from 2500Baht to 3000Baht depending on how you haggle it. Rate includes return hotel pick up, buffet lunch, unlimited water and soft drinks and afternoon fresh fruit snacks.

Phi Phi island tour normally starts 7AM and ends 5PM. That being said, you have to check out already and leave your luggage at your hotel’s concierge before leaving for the tour or go directl to the airport after the tour as the airport is along the way.

Note that the last scheduled mini bus trip to the airport is 6PM. After that, no more mini buses. Your option is to take a taxi. Rate normally is 1500-2000Baht.

Granting say for instance that you have more than 4 Days of vacation, you may do the following:

Whole Day – Shopping and dinning tour
Whole Day – Inland tours visiting Shrines, Waterfalls, Zoos and Wildlife Sanctuaries
Whole Day – Extreme adventure/sports

Where to Stay in Phuket

There are thousands of hotels, hostels, dorms and Guest Houses in Phuket. Here are my suggestions:

Hotels in Phuket

In Patong Beach, Beyond Resort Patong is a good option. Rate ranges from 30-60USD per night with breakfast.

In Karon Beach, Beyond Resort Karon, Phuket Orchid Resort and Spa, and Sugar Marina Art Hotel are good options. Rate ranges frmo 30-60USD per night.

In Kata Beach, Beyond Resort Kata, Pamookkoo Resort, or Sugar Marina Fashion or Sugar Marina Nautical are good options.  Rate ranges from 30-60USD per night.

Where to Eat in Phuket

Try the Seafoods market infront of Bangla Boxing Stadium

Where to Eat in Phuket

Where to Eat in Phuket

Where to Eat in Phuket

And don’t forget to try Jeffer’s Steak in Jungceylon Mall.

Where to Eat in Phuket

How Much It Cost for a Phuket Trip

If you are lucky to get a promo fare, you will save a lot.  Return promo ticket normally costs 200USD while regular return ticket costs 300USD from Manila.  For accommodation, meals and sight-seeing tour, it now depends entirely on what do you want to see, to eat and stay.  At an average, if you are on a budget, 500USD can give you that Phuket-y experience already of a lifetime.

Things to Remember When in Phuket

1. It’s touristy and I mean, it’s TOURISTY!
2. Locals speak good English
3. Rent a motor bike. It’s a lot cheaper than anything else, walking included.
4. Bring USD not PHP
5. Just be in your beach-y attire, all day
6. Food is good and cheap. Try the ala dampa-style infront Bangla Boxing Stadium
7. Shopping is fun and cheap here. There is a Premium Outlet in Phuket Town (along the by-pass road)
8. Anytime of the year is perfect to visit Phuket. October to January are the busiest months.
9. Visit Bangla Road for a taste of Phuket
10. ATM, Convenience Stores and Foreign Currency Exchange are everywhere

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