Phuket Island is Thailand’s largest island and its brightest jewel.
Tourists love this island as this is the place where you can go and unwind on white sandy beaches and next to clear blue waters.
The island is at 48km in length and 21km at its widest. It’s located in Southern Thailand, on the west-facing Andaman Sea coastline.
The reason Phuket is so popular with tourists is that it offers a wide rage of options and activities: you can swim in blue lagoons and pink sunsets or make a short visit to monks in orange robes.
The most popular beaches are on the southern coast: Phi Phi Island, Phang Nga Bay and Patong Beach are the most popular places because they’re God’s gift to all summer lovers.
Your options here are is very rich: diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and sailing are just some of the available activities.
And if you really want to get away from the vibrant hustle of Thailand’s coast, you should head up north.
Warnings & Dangers in Phuket
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Generally speaking, Phuket can be considered a safe country: some parts are very safe, while others are highly dangerous. You better apply all possible precautious measures, just in case you stumble upon the latter.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
There is a great risk when it comes to transportation conditions in Phuket. The number one cause of death for visitors to Thailand is motorbike accidents that often occur on the narrow, mountainous and twisty roads of Phuket and Samui. These are completely new traffic rules for tourists, that they are not used to, which makes it difficult to be a part of the transportation system. Avoid public transport too, as this is where the pickpockets operate.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
As Phuket is a growingly popular tourist destination, it's actually to be expected that pickpockets operate everywhere, usually in crowed places filled with foreigners. Excessive vigilance is highly recommended around Chian Wa, Patong and Phuket City market.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
As for natural disasters, Phuket is known for tsunamis, severe storms and occasional earthquakes.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Kidnappings are not that often, though they have happened. Muggings are also rare, but they're possible, so remain vigilant at all times and avoid deserted and poorly lit areas.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
It is advised against visiting far south regions of Thailand, such as Yala, Pattani, and Songkhla since they have been targets of small bomb attacks and shootings. As for Thailand’s main cities, they have been assessed as a medium-threat location for terrorist activity.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Be prepared that most people providing any type of service for tourists in Phuket are probably going to try to scam you or rip you off. Tuk-tuk drivers, fake police officers, street vendors are all possible scammers. Keep in mind that ATMs are places where criminals try and steal pin codes. Also avoid drinking in local clubs and bars. There have been many reports of tourists being drugged and then stolen from.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Even though Phuket could generally be considered a safe country for women, they are still highly advised to follow the basic rules of precaution. Try avoiding dark alleys, walking alone along dark, poorly lit or deserted areas, or finding yourself late at night in areas filled with bars or clubs as you might receive some unwanted attention. Apart from that, use your common sense and apply all basic precaution measures.
So... How Safe Is Phuket Really?
Phuket is somewhat safe to visit, though it does have its dangers. It’s a location known for its nightlife, which by itself can cause numerous risks for tourists, from pickpocketing to assaults.
Violent crime has been on the rise during the past couple of years and muggings and robberies are not rare at all.
Avoid any confrontations at bars and clubs as you might get severely beaten up.
There have, of course, been reports of getting ridiculously overcharged by taxi drivers, street venders, practically anyone providing any service, so do be careful about getting scammed.
Another, probably the most severe, danger in Thailand, and the number one cause of death for visitors to Thailand is motorbike accidents, that often occur on the narrow, mountainous and twisty roads of Phuket and Samui.
Always wear a helmet, avoid driving at night at all costs and never drink and drive.
Keep in mind that you should never, under any circumstances, say or mumble anything negative, or make jokes about the Thai royal family, as you might get attacked, and severely so.
There are strict Lese Majeste laws, and these laws extend to even the national currency bearing the picture of the king.
Many locals might try to physically assault upon hearing something bad about the Thai royal family, and at the very least you can expect getting verbally attacked.
- Visas - US citizens planning on traveling to Phuket for less than 30 days do not need a visa. Just make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months past the date of arrival into this country. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Thai BAHT is the official currency of Phuket. Bear in mind that Kasikom Bank and Siam Commercial Bank have the best exchange rates and, as mentioned earlier, treat the money well: never step on a coin, or throw, tear or burn paper bills, because it shows disrespect to the royal family.
- Weather - Phuket is, expectedly, hot and humid throughout the year. The hot season generally runs from March to early May. During the summer monsoon season, that lasts from May to October, mornings and afternoons are still sunny and clear, with huge rain spells in the evenings.
- Airports - Phuket International Airport is an international airport serving the Phuket Province of Thailand. It is located in the north of Phuket Island, 32 kilometres from the centre of Phuket City.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Phuket, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.