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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in phuket
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in phuket, Bed and Breakfast!
Phuket (??????) is an island and province located in Southern Thailand, on the west-facing Andaman Sea coastline, suspended from the southern tip of Phang Nga Province by a pair of short but substantial road bridges.
Phuket Town is the administrative centre of Phuket Province, and the island's main population centre.
Phuket is 48 km in length and 21 km at its widest, and Thailand's second smallest province.
The west coast of Phuket was badly damaged by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004; put off by media coverage depicting the area as a disaster zone, many travellers cancelled their plans to visit Phuket at that time. A year later however, little evidence of the damage remains.
Phuket is hot and humid throughout the year. The high season is generally considered to be from November to May. During the summer monsoon season, mornings and afternoons are still sunny and clear, but it tends to rain in the evenings and water clarity goes down.
Phuket is one of Thailand's premier tourist destinations and (basic) English is very widely spoken, especially in the beach areas. That said, even a little Thai will draw smiles and can be useful in the less touristed areas of Phuket Town.
Particularly in the monsoon season, there are strong currents on many of the beaches and drownings are a depressingly common occurrence. Heed the warning flags on popular beaches and play it safe if off the beaten track.
The major beaches from north to south are:
The island has an airport and is also directly connected to the mainland by bridges, so it's possible to arrive by air, road, or sea. The nearest train station is about 3 hours away, at Surat Thani.
The compact Phuket International Airport (http://www.airportthai.co.th/airportnew/phuket/html/) (HKT) is located in the north of the island, and is Thailand's second largest hub.
"Limousine" taxi rides from the airport are expensive, costing 500-600 baht to Patong Beach or Phuket Town. More economical options include a seat in a shared minivan-taxi for 100-200 baht, metered taxi (300+ baht - outside the car park gates), or the recently introduced airport shuttle bus service (to Phuket Town, and transfer there to a local bus).
International departure tax is 500 baht, payable in cash (there are several ATMs at the airport). Departure tax for domestic flights is included in the ticket.
There are very frequent flights to/from Bangkok as well as direct flights to many other airports in the region, including Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and direct charters to Europe and Australia in the high season.
Several discount airlines fly here, including Air Asia (http://www.airasia.com/) and Nok Air (http://www.nokair.com/) - tickets from Bangkok can cost under 1000 baht one-way if booked well in advance, or around 2000 baht (including taxes) if bought on the day.
From Bangkok - as of December 2005, fares from the Southern Bus Terminal to Phuket are:
The dodgy Khao San Road operations (which have a bad reputation for theft, and often turn out to include a "surprise" transfer to a minibus at Surat Thani) are best avoided.
Ferry services connect to Ko Phi Phi twice a day, taking 90 minutes and costing 350/650 baht one-way/return. It's usually a pleasant ride, but can be rather bumpy when it's windy.
There are also boats to Ko Racha (2 hours) and the Similan Islands (9+ hours) in the high season only.
Phuket is a large island and you need some form of transport to get around.
There are frequent services between Phuket Town and Patong Beach (20 baht) and less frequent services to the other beaches (15-30 baht). The routes are operated both by full-scale buses and songthaews. Bus services stop at around 18:00.
Phuket has two types of taxi - millions (or so it seems) of small songthaew-style minivans (usually bright red, occasionally bright yellow), and a much smaller number of conventional sedan-style taxis (yellow and red, with a "TAXI-METER" sign on top).
The minivans are universally referred to as tuk-tuks (even though they have four wheels, not three). They have no meter, and their drivers are notoriously mercenary, so always agree a price beforehand and do bargain hard. Short hops around town shouldn't cost more than 40 baht, but good luck getting from Patong to Phuket Town for under 200 baht.
For longer distances the metered taxis are generally a better bet, so do your bit to break the iron grip of the minitaxi mafia and patronize them if you can. You can hail one by telephone on 076-232157.
By car or bike
More than 10,000 people are injured and over 250 killed every year in road accidents in Phuket. Nine out of ten accidents involve motorbikes. Major risk factors are the hilly terrain, careless speeding drivers and driving at night, and drink-driving.
Renting a car or motorbike to explore the island on your own is a cost-effective way of getting off the beaten track. However, given the atrocious driving habits of most locals and the resulting carnage on Phuket's roads every year, the risks do demand careful consideration.
Motorcycle and scooter rentals start at around 150 baht/day, coming down to 100 baht/day for rentals of a week or more. Phuket police do enforce the crash helmet requirement, and also conduct frequent spot checks at which a driving licence must be produced.
Phuket is a little short on cultural or historical attractions, and most of its visitors spend their time at the beaches and in the bars. The most heavily-hyped attraction is the Phuket Fantasea (http://www.phuket-fantasea.com) show at Kamala Beach, a self-proclaimed "cultural theme park", but comparisons to Disneyland are exaggerated at best.
Scuba diving and other watersports like jet-skiing and parasailing are the most popular activities on the island. Most dive sites are on nearby islands, but distances are fairly short and there are dozens of dive shops to cater to your needs.
Food in Phuket is surprisingly cosmopolitan, as many foreigners have set up shop to cater to their fellow travellers. All the usual Thai favorites are of course still available, with a particular emphasis on seafood.
Phuket has a busy nightlife, second only to Pattaya among Thailand's beach resorts. Patong Beach is by far the busiest, and seediest, of the lot, but in addition to go-go bars there are also plenty of other bars, discos and clubs.