Getting Around in Phuket
The island of Phuket is situated 900 kilometres (560 miles) south of Bangkok. It has to be one of the most charming and enchanting beach destinations in the world. The island was originally a backpackers paradise in the 1970’s, but today it is a major holiday resort that attracts millions of tourists annually.
The Island of Phuket offers you
Direct Flights arrive from all over the world, but it is just as easy to travel from Bangkok, which is only an hour away by plane. If you are not in any hurry, then a leisurely drive down to the southern coast is also an excellent option. Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and it is linked to the mainland by a causeway.
If you need information on acquiring return transfers from Phuket Airport to your hotel in Patong Beach as well as other transport options from the airport to the main town on the island, then simply click on the link above. You’ll find everything you need on this magical island and then some. What more could you possibly want? On second thoughts, I don’t think you should answer that one.
After the 2004 tsunami, the streets of Phuket received a fleet of new red four-wheeler minivans. Lots of them line the beach road in Patong in front of the shops and restaurants. These little guys are good for short distances in and around town, but further afield, I suggest you take one of the air-conditioned taxis as these particular Tuk-Tuks can be to some extent, largely over-priced.
Best to ask the hotel receptionist as to the correct prices, but whatever you do, don’t ask the bellboy downstairs as he will more than likely be on a commission structure with some of the drivers. I’ve seen this happen time and time again.
It’s a good idea to negotiate a price beforehand, but if you feel that the price is way off the mark, walk away and try another. There are plenty of them around. Of course, the first driver will almost certainly try to entice you to take a ride in his Tuk Tuk. Some of them tend to be a little pushy at times.
You must remember that most of the locals think this is your first-time visit to Thailand. It may well be. What do you know about the prices here anyway, they would be asking themselves. It’s often not an easy feeling when you know or you find out that you have been ripped off, though it’s bound to happen sooner than later.
Just think of it as an extension of your kind nature and that the extra tip is going to a worthy cause. Either that or you may have to take another cold shower.
Metered Taxis were recently introduced to the island, but are mostly available at the airport. There are very few locations around where you can readily find them, although you can arrange for a taxi to pick you up directly from your hotel.
Please note that hotels and resorts don’t always acknowledge that there are metered taxis on the island. You will, however, find unlicensed taxis readily available outside most resorts as well as the main tourist areas. You may need to brush up your negotiating skills as fares change from one driver to another.
I remember a time when trying to reach an agreement with a tour operator for a taxi service from Patong Beach to Kata Beach. I was given a price and only when I happened to mention that there would be a second person travelling with me, did the price suddenly leap up by another 200 Baht. Well, now I’d heard it all.
I might just like to mention here that you can spend a fair amount of valuable time negotiating prices on so many different things while all you really want to do is relax. But if you’re up to it and don’t mind going the whole nine yards, it can certainly be amusing at times. You have to understand that you’re in a country that thrives on the bargaining principle.
All I can say is that patience is the keyword, but no matter the outcome, never ever leave the negotiating table angrily. It will almost certainly spoil your day. It is best to conclude business with the same sense of humour as Thai’s do and leave with a big smile on your face. I’ve seen many a tourist losing it when feeling they have been taken for a ride. Pun intended.
Motorcycles are a popular way of getting around the island. There are several places where you can rent motorcycles at reasonable prices. Navigating around the countryside to places of interest or to the beaches can be tremendous fun, but I have to caution you, there could be a downside to riding motorcycles here.
It may not be your lack of ability, only the notorious way in which locals seem to behave on of these roads. I have seen many a motorcycle accident here. Having said this, I must point out that almost all of the accidents I’ve observed, involved locals, but you cannot be too careful anywhere in Thailand. An important issue that speaks for itself is the mandatory wearing of helmets here.
Renting a car on the island is relatively easy as there are several car rental agencies around, including international companies like Budget, Avis and National. You’ll find them all at the International Airport as well as in the city centre itself.
Driving yourself around the island is not nearly as daunting as it appears in some of the other cities in Thailand, but you should be cautious anyway when driving in unfamiliar surroundings. The locals here seem to have adopted a rather relaxed attitude to this particular phraseology. They call it the Thai Way.
Berlitz Pocket Guide to Phuket
The Berlitz Pocket Guide to Phuket is a fully revised and updated travel guide packed with many clear colour coded sections enabling you to easily locate all the information you may need for your trip to this popular and mystical island.
There are great sections about the history of the island as well as where to go, what to do, where to find good restaurants, where the best beaches are, where to find hotels and resorts to suit your budget, many handy travel tips and lots of other insightful features, allowing you to make the most of your leisure time.
This guide is a true pleasure to read before, during and after your visit. Small in size but big on content, makes this the perfect pocket fit. Should you wish to review or purchase this guide whilst on this page, please click on the link above.