Phuket Beginner Guide
Phuket Thailand has located just 1 hour plus a flight from the capital city, Bangkok which is home to 500 000 thousand population and is famous for its endless white beaches, extravagant nightlife, street foods, and many more.
If this is your first time visiting Phuket, here is a guide for you that is also based on my own experience as well.
Where to Stay?
If you looking for vibrant, exciting nightlife and lots of entertainment - stay in the Patong Beach area. Most young backpackers stay in this area. It's located a little bit further up, 40 km from Phuket International Airport. You would expect busy streets and chaotic scenes and tons of people! The vibrant nightlife is just a stone away. If you wish to have nightlife after a long tour around the island, I would suggest the Patong Beach area. You can easily find money exchanges, clinics, 24 hours convenience stores, restaurants, bars, etc at Patong Beach.
Just an 11.9 km or 11 to 15 minutes drive from Patong is Karon Beach which people always often call Patong's "little sister". This is suitable for people who still want nightlife and fun but it was not necessary right in front of the doorstep. Good for people that want a little bit of nightlife - a fan of not being too busy and not too quiet. However, you have to commute to the center for nightlife and also the shopping mall and it will be an additional cost.
An ideal location if you are into restaurants, boutique shops, aesthetic cafes, and lovely narrow streets. This also might be the best to experience real Thailand. It's famous for the Phuket night market. Plenty of boutique hotels to choose from. Recommend for shop-holics and cafe-hopping enthusiasts. The downside, is you have to commute to the center of the nightlife.
Transportation & Getting Around
Motorcycle Rent - This is the best way to commute around Phuket as it is cheap and convenient for solo travel. Fees per day could range from THB300. Driving around Phuket is safe as long you follow the rules and make sure you had a valid driving license . Please check if your driving license from your country is accepted in Thailand. Based on my experience, a driving license issued by ASEAN is generally accepted in Thailand.
If you don't have a driving license, another common form of transportation is via Tuk Tuk and Songthaew which a pick-up trucks with two wooden benches for seating. It stops and picks up any passenger when requested. Tuk Tuk and Songthaew, from what I saw, are widely available across the center of tourist areas.
One common thing in Phuket which surprise me was, that gas or petrol can be sold to anyone /anywhere in a bottle. I don't know if it is safe, therefore make sure you fill your tank full at Petrol Station before starting your journey as based on my experience, the distance from one station to another is far. From where I came from, the gas station is 1 km or 2 km from each other, and selling petrol is illegal.
Money changers are everywhere. Don't change your currency at the airport due to the high charge. Keep some of your cash in USD as well.
Internet coverage is a must while you travel solo. It is very useful. Plenty of choices but I would recommend Ais Traveller Sim. You may purchase at the airport for THB299 (15 G internet for 8 days).
Things to see & Do
There are so many things to do and see in Phuket, however as a first-timer, you should
you should consider
Enjoy the hot white sandy beaches of Patong
Exploring Phuket Town - Weekend Market
Explore Chula Night Market
Visit Phuket Big Buddha
Visit Wat Chalong
Experience Bangla Road's nightlife
Hike Up to Karon Viewpoint (Three Beaches Hill)
Spend one day on Island Hopping activities
Like many of my posts, in every place that we visited, we always are vigilant at all times.
Based on my experience, I do not highly encourage TukTuk rides to avoid over-charge by the driver. If accompanied by a local friend, then yes. Unless you are a great bargainer.
Keep yourself hydrated because Phuket's heat is just hot.
Take a photo of your passport from the page and keep it on your phone, just in case.
Personally, I did not encounter any safety & security issues while visiting Phuket.
There you go! I wrote this based on my observation and experience as a traveler. Hopefully, this will guide you to plan your trip to Phuket. Have fun!