Phuket

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 source of economic activity in Phuket are tourism and mining.

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

How to Get to Phuket

Cebu Pacific flies non-stop from Manila to Phuket. Phuket can be reached by air from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Air Asia flies to Phuket from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Suggested Phuket Itinerary

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

Day 1
Since Cebu Pacific flight arrives almost midnight, there is not much to do except partying at Bangla Road in Patong Beach. And Partying here is, modesty aside, makes Phuket famous. Fucking famous.

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 180 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 3000Baht. Lousy exchange rate. 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?

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 200Baht 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

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, I suggest you get DTAC, 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 massage in the evening. I wont talk anything about massage. Ahaha.

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

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Day 4
Phi Phi Island and Maya Beach!

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Save by the fact that Cebu Pacific’s return flight from Phuket to Manila is 12 midnight, your last day can still be maximized to a full day tour.

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 2200Baht to 2800Baht 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.

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 Patong Beach

Baan Laimai is few steps away from Patong Beach – stay here if you have 8,000.00 per night to spend.

Thailand | Phuket Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Millennium Resort Phuket is within Jungceylon Mall Complex and is few minutes to the beach – stay here if you have 10,000.00 per night to shell-out.

Tune Hotel is about 10 minutes walk to the beach – stay here for 3,000.00 per room per night

Beehive Hostel is 20 minutes walk to the beach – stay here for 300.00 per night in their air-conditioned dormitory

Sea Blue Guest House is 10 minutes to the beach – stay here for 500.00 per night in their air-conditioned dormitory.

You may also opt to stay in Phuket Town, Karon Beach and Kata Beach. Hotels are cheaper in these areas.

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 5,000.00 while regular return ticket costs 10,000.00.  Note that Cebu Pacific is the only airline that flies to Phuket 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, 15,000.00 will be more than enough.

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 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

Travel Agencies in the Philippines Offering Phuket Tours

For hassle free tour package to Phuket, you may contact J8 Travel Services at j8travelonline@yahoo.com.ph.  They offer 4D3N Phuket land arrangement for only 4,500.00/pax inclusive of the following: 3N accommodation based on twin in a 3star hotel (Patong Beach Area), daily breakfast, round-trip airport transfers and Guided City Tour.  Optional Tours are available for separate purchase.

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43 replies »

  1. Hello! We are scheduled to visit Phuket on June 9 to June 13. The Php15k budget you have mentioned, is this includes airfare and accommodation? If excluded, how much would be the total expenses if ever.

    Second question – we will be arriving evening of June 9, is there a minibus by the time we arrive to Phuket?

    • hi Gami,

      15k with airfare if you get promo fares. check with cebupacificair.com their current rate.

      yes, there are mini buses for cebpac flight. rtae is 180baht if ur going to pataong. 200baht if karon

      enjoy phuket!

    • yes. there are. but i think if there will be few guests going to phuket town, you might be charged a little higher. as per my experience, most guests stay in patong area. but still, they will bring you to your hotel in phuket town with few extra baht. even with extra baht, the shuttle is still cheaper than taxi. enjoy phuket 😉

  2. thank you 🙂 that is per person right? is it best to book it in a travel agency?

    another question po, does the mini bus from the airport pass by the Tune Hotels Phuket?

    and, any suggestion on what to take po from phuket to krabi? we’ll be arriving in phuket on june 19 po and we plan to go to Krabi on the 22nd.

    thank you so much! 🙂

    • yes per person. just get the shuttle service upon arrival at the airport. heir service is door to door 9airport-hotel transfers). they bring you to your hotel.

      phuket to krabi by bus or rent a car or drive a motorbike. its roughly 2 hours away

      • Oh thank you! 🙂

        How much does it cost po by bus and by car to krabi? May schedule po ba yung buses?

        Thank you so much po for accommodating my queries 😀 you are so kind!

  3. Hi, we are going to Phuket Patong this month with 2 young kids(5-8), your itinery above are also suitable for my kids? or Any recommend for us, we 1st time to there. Thanks so much.

  4. my suggestion in terms of baht to php.
    have a few dollars ready. once ur in thailand, use ur atm to withdraw your money on a lumpsum. the bank will only charge u conversion rate which is $180bhat per withdrawal. (in my case since i have a citibank atm card). for local issued ATM cards, make sure to activate it before leaving the country. (though i think there is an additional bank fee on top of conversion rate)

  5. hi, may I ask where you rented your scooter/bike? do we still need to have an international drivers license? thanks in advance.

  6. Hi nik! We are planning magpunta ng phuket this october and tanong lang is novotel a good option to stay in? Saka what if hindi kami marunong mag motorbike anong modes of transportation para mapuntahan namin yung mga beaches at magkano aabutin/estimate ng gastos for that? Btw your blog is very big help for us! Mabuhay! Thank you 🙂

    • hi richard. thank you. madami novotel dun, mga 4 ata. pero good choice ang novotel naman. u can hire driver para sa motorbike kaso mahal sila sumingil. kung yung motorbike is 200 baht per 24 hours, yung driver mga 500baht for 8 hours. you can hire car din with or without driver. mga 1500-2000baht ang car hire per 24 hours without driver. or you can take taxi. ang taxi dun parang private car lang. medyo pricey nga lang pang taxi. i really dont know via bus or yung local transportation nila kasi i always hire motorbike or car for convenience. its easy to drive around din kahit walang gps. enjoy phuket 😉

  7. Hi po. Tanong lang. 24 hours b ang bus from airport to main town?? Wahhh. Hindi ba mahigpit ang naia terminal 3 kung isa lang magtatravel? Thank you

  8. Hi,

    My gf and I are leaving for Phuket this weekend. We’re staying at Santhiya koh yao yai which is on another island and there are no boat transfers at night (since we are arriving via cebu pac). Should we get a hostel where we can leave our stuff and probably get some sleep? If so, which hostel would you recommend?

  9. Hi! Are there mini vans from the airport going to Kata Beach? taxi is too expensive kasi. we’ll be arriving at midnight via cebupac. One more thing, is it good to take phi phi island tour by the end of august? Rainy season kasi plus pregnant ako. thanks!

  10. hi! we are going to phuket this dec 18-22. which is better expedience phang nga or phiphi?
    another thing, elephant trek with water rafting or safari experience?
    ang cheap hotels u can recommend?

  11. Hi, may marerecommend ka po na travel agency where we can get the ff at a cheaper/reasonable price? Thanks in advance 🙂

    – James Bond Island Tour
    – Phi Phi Island Tour
    – Phuket Simon Cabaret or Siam Niramit (which is better?)
    – Siam Safari

    • Hi sis! Nakakuha ka ba reply for this? May masuggest ka bang agency? 🙂 Me and a friend will travel this month and still clueless kung anong travel agency ako magpackage!

  12. This is a great post that summarizes the fun things you can do and nice places to see in Phuket. However, on the things to remember, I think the really touristy part is only Patong and Karon beaches. But there are many other beaches where you can find a quite place (if you need one). Also be careful if you are renting a motorbike, drive safe and make sure you have an insurance, as accidents are common with motorbikes in Phuket. Great guide overall.

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