Most-Googled questions: Phuket

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Phuket is an increasingly popular destination for Aussie vacationers and it’s not hard to understand why. Phang Nga Bay, Big Buddha and the vibrant nightlife at Bangla Road are just a few of the extraordinary experiences on offer in Phuket.

With so much cultural exploration to take advantage of and so many sights to behold, it’s easy to see the draw to this vibrant holiday destination. However, there is as much apprehension as excitement that can be elicited by venturing into the unknown.

What to know before you go

Is Phuket in Thailand?

Yes, Phuket is a province within Thailand and one the country’s main resort areas.

Where is Phuket located?

Phuket is situated off the west coast of Thailand on the Andaman Sea.

Is Phuket affordable?

If you compare the prices in Australia with those in Phuket, the overall costs in Phuket are significantly lower. Let's look at some of the examples of pricing difference for a better perspective.

In Australia we’d usually pay about $80 for a three-course meal for 2 people, whereas in Phuket you’d be looking at something closer to $26.40 for the equivalent.

Draught beer is more affordable too, as it would usually be in the region of $7 in Australia, whereas Phuket prices are more like $2.79 (averaged out).

For coffee we’d expect to pay in the region of $4, and in Phuket you’d be more likely to pay around $3.

Generally, public transportation and taxi services are cheaper than back home too but fuel costs are substantially higher in price.

Dairy products like milk and cheese will seem incredibly overpriced compared to what we pay in Australia.

Where is it best to stay in Phuket?

There are plenty of accommodation options on offer in Phuket and where to stay really depends on what you’re looking for.

  • Patong Beach has an amazing party atmosphere and is great for those travelling on a budget, although it’s not really ideal if you’re looking to relax or for somewhere to stay with your family.
  • Kata Beach is popular with surfers and divers. It offers an well-rounded holiday experience ideal for families and young travellers alike. Nightlife is on offer but it’s a little tamer than that in Patong Beach.
  • Kamala Beach is ideal for relaxation. It’s peaceful and quiet, which makes it popular with retirees.
  • Mai Khao Beach is luxury and serenity at its finest, which makes it the ideal spot for honeymooners.

Who flies to Phuket from Sydney?

Jetstar offers direct nonstop flights between Sydney and Melbourne and Phuket as well as connecting flights from other cities. Other budget airlines that can get you to Phuket include AirAsia with a short layover at Kuala Lumpur International airport, or Scoot via Singapore.

Does Phuket have an airport?

It does indeed. Phuket International Airport is situated in the north of Phuket Island, approximately 32 kilometres from the centre of Phuket City.

Phuket: how do you pronounce it?

The ‘h’ in Phuket is silent, so you would just pronounce it as ‘Poo-ket’.

Health and Safety

Is Phuket safe?

Phuket is relatively safe for travellers in general. As always though, it’s important to be aware of the hazards at risk during your stay.

  • Beaches. Phuket was one of the places devastated by the 2004 tsunami. Tides are unpredictable and you should exercise caution when swimming.
  • Jellyfish. Some of Phuket’s beaches have been taken over by box jellyfish. If you spot one, get out of the water. If you get stung, seek immediate medical assistance.
  • Mosquitoes. Dengue fever is present in Phuket and can be transmitted by mosquitoes. Always wear mosquito repellant.
  • Electrical shock risks. Electrical systems are not always properly grounded and Phuket’s power lines can be a tangle of wires, so take care and watch where you are stepping especially when visiting during the wet season.
  • Crime. In order to prevent yourself from falling victim to crime, take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of your personal possessions. Keep your bag and phone out of sight when out and about. Also, exert due diligence when drinking in bars. Do not leave your drink unattended.

Was Phuket hit by the tsunami?

Yes. Phuket was one of the areas that suffered the most devastating effects of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. However the area has recovered and you’d hardly know it was ever hit if walking along streets on the island today.

Culture, customs and lifestyle

Phuket: do’s and don’ts?

Culturally different from what we’re used to, there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind during your trip to Phuket.

  • Visiting religious sites. You should not wear beach clothes to a temple and shoes should be removed before entering any building containing a Buddha image. Men will need to wear hats, and women should cover their heads with a shawl. Women should not touch monks or hand anything directly to a monk.
  • The Monarchy. Thai people hold the monarchy and in particular the King of Thailand in the greatest respect. As a visitor, you are expected to demonstrate respect also. For example, standing for the Royal Anthem before the movie at the cinema is customary. Disrespectful comments towards the monarchy are not tolerated at all, and considered to be a serious crime.

Other important etiquettes:

  • Thais greet each other by pressing their palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a “wai”. The younger person greets the older, who then returns it. However, an adult should not wai a child. Thais will greatly appreciate it if you practice this part of their culture during your visit.
  • The feet are considered the lowest part of the body by Thais, both physically and spiritually and are therefore not to be used for anything other than walking. They are not to be used for pointing at anything. The head is the highest part of the body so refrain from patting children on the head. One of the worst things you can do is to point your feet at someone’s head, even accidentally.
  • Shoes should be removed before entering a Thai person’s home. It is also quite common to remove shoes before entering some shops and offices. If there is a pile of shoes outside, that indicates that you are expected to remove your footwear before entering.

Getting around the things to do

Does Phuket have Uber?

Uber is available in Phuket. However, Phuket’s taxis are resistant to Uber encroaching on their turf. As such, pricing is likely much higher for an Uber than a local taxi service.

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