Phuket City

Travel Guide Asia Thailand South Thailand Phuket Province Phuket City

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Introduction

Phuket Town

Phuket Town

© xiaohu

Phuket is the capital of the island province of Phuket, which is in South Thailand. While most travelers come to the island for its beaches, Phuket Town is where travelers can experience the true culture of Phuket. The architecture reflects the main history of the island: a mix of Portuguese style buildings with Chinese elements; in fact the city is dotted with Taoist and Buddhist temples everywhere. Phuket Town was an important hub for Portuguese during traffics with China; at the same time Phuket was an important tin mine, where Chinese workers were called to do the hardest job. The historical center is in fact Yaowarad Road, which means China Town. This is one visit that shouldn't be missed during a trip to Phuket. You will find shops, restaurants, coffee shops inside 100-150 year-old Sino-Portuguese style buildings, situated on several roads around Phuket Town area that are worth visiting; an experience out of time.

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Sights and Activities

  • Jui Tui and Put Jaw Temples (corner of Ranong Road and Soi Phuthon, just west of the Ranong bus terminal) - Put Jaw is the oldest Chinese Taoist temple in Phuket, built over 200 years ago and dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy (Kwun Im), while the adjacent and connected Jui Tui is its larger, more modern annex. If you have a question that is puzzling you, ask it and throw the two red mango-shaped pieces in front of the altar in the air: if they land same side up, the answer is "no". If they land different sides up, the answer is "yes". Free admission, but donations welcome.
  • Khao Rang (เขารัง) - A great view of Phuket Town, the southern part of the island, and some of the offshore islands, can be obtained by going to the top of Khao Rang Hill, on the town's northwest border. There are also several restaurants featuring spectacular views of the city, a health park for exercise enthusiasts, and a comfortable, expanse of grass at the top with a bronze statue of Phraya Ratsada Nupradit, the revered Governor of Phuket during King Rama V's reign.
  • Old Phuket (ย่านเมืองเก่าภูเก็ต), Dibuk Road, Phang Nga Road, Yaowarat Road, Thalang Road, Krabi Road - The beginning of the tin boom in the 19th century led to construction of many fine mansions and shops that are still well-preserved. The architectural style, typical of the region, is described as Sino-Portuguese and has a strong Mediterranean character. Shops present a very narrow face to the street, but stretch back a long way. Many, especially on Dibuk Rd, have old wooden doors with Chinese fretwork carving. Other streets, forming what might be called "Old Phuket", with similar structures are Phang Nga Rd, Yaowarat Rd, Thalang Rd, and Krabi Rd, and a walking tour of the area is easy and delightful. Some other old European-style buildings of note are the Provincial Hall, the Phuket Courthouse, and Siam City Bank.

Phuket Cultural Center (ศูนย์ศิลปวัฒนธรรมจังหวัดภูเก็ต), 21 Thepkrasattri Rd, Ratsada (in the area of Phuket Rajabhat University on Thepkrasattri Rd), ☏ +66 76 240474-6 ext 148, +66 76 211959, +66 76 222370, fax: +66 76 211778. Daily, 08:30– 16:30, except public holidays. History as well as the arts and culture of Phuket, such as houses, ways of life, and utensils of the city of Thalang in ancient times. The library collects books on Phuket's history and culture. For a group of visitors who need a guided tour, address a letter of request to the Phuket Cultural Center. Free admission.
Phuket Culture Museum, Rajabhat University. It's very informative. Phuket's history is told in pictures. Free admission.
Phuket Zoo (สวนสัตว์ภูเก็ต) (on the way to Chalong Bay), ☏ +66 76 374430, +66 76 374424. Daily, 08:30-18:00. The zoo contains a collection of Asian and African mammals and birds. Elephant and crocodile shows every day. 500 baht (adults)/300 baht (children).
Saphan Hin (สะพานหิน). A land reclamation project provided abundant new land now used for parks and public facilities at Saphan Hin, located where Phuket Rd meets the sea in Phuket Town. In the circle is the Tin Mining Monument, shaped like a large drill bit, dedicated to the memory of Captain Edward Thomas Miles, the Australian who brought the first tin dredge to Phuket in 1909. The monument was built in 1969 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of tin dredging in Phuket. There is a sport centre in the park.
Thai Village and Orchid Farm (หมู่บ้านไทยและสวนกล้วยไม้ภูเก็ต), Thepkasattri Rd (about 3 km from town), ☏ +66 76 214860, +66 76 237400. Daily 09:00-21:00. Serves daily a typical southern Thai lunch followed by a spectacular cultural show including Thai dances, Thai boxing, southern customs and elephants. Handicrafts are also on display. The complex also houses a dining hall decorated with over 20,000 varieties of orchids and tropical trees. Digestion is aided by the lilting sounds of Thai classical and folk music played on traditional instruments. Cultural shows are performed daily at 13:00 and 17:30. 650 baht (adults)/330 baht (children).
Thaihua Museum, Krabi Rd. In an old Chinese language school, this museum tells the history of Chinese immigrants on Phuket. 200 baht (100 baht for students).
Wat Mongkol Nimit, Dibuk Rd. A classical Thai-style temple with a soaring roof and lots of colourful glass tiling.

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Events and Festivals

Phuket Old Town Festival

Phuket Old Town is something rather special to visit. Any time that you are visiting Phuket it is a place that you should choose to wander about. The Phuket Old Town Festival is a celebration of the history of Phuket and of all the different influences that have affected Phuket. The History of Phuket is not always clear but there if you have an opportunity to visit the Phuket Thai Hua Museum in Phuket it would be of help. The Phuket Old Town Festival tries to embrace the history of Phuket by having a number of stalls selling old style foods – most notably in front of the Tai Hua Museum.

The festival begins with a procession of H.M the King and the local people will be dressed in their fine clothes and will proudly parade through Phuket Town. The Baba Group is a group that is prominent in Phuket who are trying to preserve Phuket’s Heritage and support this Festival. There is a stage erected in the Queen Sirikit Park where for the three days there will be a number of performaces to celebrate the art and culture of Phuket Town. During this period is also the Chinese New Year and subsequently there is an opportunity to watch some Chinese Dragon Dancing. The other stalls are set up along the normally busy roads throughout Phuket Town. During the period of the Phuket Old Town Festival many of the roads (Rasada, Phang-Nga and Thalang) are closed to motorised traffic. This does mean that it is easy to wander up and down the streets and look at all of the items that are being sold by the local people. Obviously the focus is on the foods because Thai people do like to have a bite but the food is not restricted to Thai food but predominantly it is Thai food. The ceremony continued with candles lit for H.M the King’s birthday and then a ceremony in front of the Giant Sea Dragon

Phuket Vegetarian Festival

The Vegetarian Festival has been celebrated in Phuket since 1825 when members of a Chinese travelling opera group, visiting the town’s miners, were all taken sick. However they recovered swiftly when their diet was changed to a vegetarian one to honour the two Chinese Emperor Gods. This was taken by the Chinese community in Phuket as a sign and for once a year the community will try to abide by a set of rules out of respect to their Chinese gods. The rule that is most adhered to is not to eat meat - there are a plethora of Vegetarian dishes available in Phuket Town and other towns. But what we commonly see is the mutilation of peoples bodies - this includes piercing their bodies with sharp implements (specifically through their faces), carefully placed pins over their bodies, scraping their tongues with a sharp implement - the list is endless. Then others will be 'possessed' by the Chinese spirits and then dance in the processions through Phuket - usually from Chinese Shrine to Chinese Shrine. Then others will dance in firecrackers which are thrown into the processions. People will carry a small Chinese shrine through the towns and onlookers will also thrown firecrackers at them. Others will be 'possessed' by the Chinese spirits and distribute small gifts to the people watching. This event will last a week and will also involve running over hot coals, running up bladed ladders, pouring hot oil on themselves and more. The finale is the last night where the similar processions walk through Phuket Town in a mass of people who throw even more firecrackers at them - this parade finishes in Sapan Hin where there are hundreds of people waiting with candles to witness the burning of Chinese paper and the spirits will leave the possessed.

Por Tor Festival

The local Chinese in Phuket refer the Por Tor Festival as the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’. It takes place on the 27, 28 & 29 of August. The streets of Phuket Town are adorned with flags, markets are set up and there are cakes of different sizes that are bright red. Sounds a little different? The Chinese, (I understand to be Taoist) believe that every year the spirits of your ancestors will return to the Earth and will visit their homes. The red turtles - which are made from wheat mixed with lots of sugar are prepared for every home for the spirits to eat when they visit. Understandably the spirits do not eat the cakes but they are cut up and shared between the families and visitors to the village. The Thai people will happily share the cake with anybody who asks.

Why big red turtles? In Chinese popular culture the turtle symbolises longevity and a healthy life and the red means wealth – so a big red turtle is an apt choice. There is also a legend to go with the turtle symbolising longevity. There was a Chinese Monk (Pra Tang Sam Jung) travelling the seas to spread the words of the Sacred Buddhist Script when the junk in which he was travelling ran into a fierce storm. He feverishly prayed to be saved from the storm so that he could spread the words of the Sacred Buddhist Script. A giant turtle swam close to the sinking vessel on which Pra Tang Sam Jung climbed upon and he was subsequently saved!

The Por Tor Festival maybe based on legends and stories but the Festival is like all festivals in Thailand – great fun. There is always a plethora of market stalls selling a great number of dishes and a lot of people wandering the streets.

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Weather

Like much of Thailand, the weather here is of the tropical variety, meaning hot and humid conditions year-round. Temperatures hover around 32 °C during the day and 25 °C at night, with just a few degrees difference between the warmest and coolest months. Humidity is mostly around 80% or more, so be sure to drink enough fluids! November to February in general is the driest time of the year, with just some regular showers (later afternoon) and a mix of clouds and sun. Rain increases from March onwards, reaching a peak in August and September before preparing again for the somewhat drier and cooler season.

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Getting There

By Plane

Phuket International Airport (HKT) is located about 30 kilometres from Phuket City and has a wide range of international flights. There are very frequent flights from Bangkok and direct flights to many other airports in the region, including Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta and direct charters to Europe and Australia in the high season. Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and also Jakarta tourists usually step directly to Phuket without step on Bangkok at all, due to distance of Bangkok to Phuket is relatively same with distance of Kuala Lumpur to Phuket. Backpackers can go to Bangkok from Phuket with 12 hours night buses, if necessary.

The airport is notionally divided into Terminals 1 and 2, with some charter and low-cost operators using the second, but these are only a short distance apart and connected by an air-conditioned walkway.

Several domestic airlines fly here, including Nok Air, Air Asia, Orient Thai. Tickets from Bangkok can cost around 1,300 baht one-way if booked well in advance, or around 2,000-2,500 baht (including taxes) if bought on the day.

Thai Airways flies from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport several times every day, and once daily from Chiang Mai (but there are no direct flights in the opposite direction). Additionally, they sell tickets from/to many domestic and international destinations with stopovers in Bangkok, which are usually cheaper (especially international) than if you book separate tickets. Cheapest (non-exchangeable and non-refundable one-way tickets from Bangkok cost 2,320 baht. Worth checking if you book just a few days before flight, as low-cost airlines may cost only 200-300 baht less in this situation, but you get world-famous Thai Airways service, and free on-board meals too.

Air Asia fly from Phuket to Chiang Mai direct, twice a day at 10:35 and 19:20, affording an opportunity to combine a beach holiday with experiencing the wildlife and exotic cultures of northern Thailand. From Chiang Mai to Phuket flights depart at 13:00 and 21:45. They fly from two cities in Isaan as well, daily from Udon Thani (handy for a trip into Laos) and four times per week from Ubon Ratchathani.

Bangkok Airways has a monopoly on direct flights between Phuket and U-Tapao (Pattaya/Sattahip) and Ko Samui. They also have 6 daily flights from Bangkok. Fares are usually the same as Thai Airways, but sometimes they have very inexpensive promotional fares as low as 1,390 baht.

Thai Airways International and Bangkok Airways fly to Suvarnabhumi (pronounced: soo-Var-na-phoom), whereas Nok Air and Orient Thai fly from Don Muang Airport. This may be of importance when you have a connecting flight.

Happy Air (Phuket to Ranong, also Bangkok to Ranong) with service from BKK and HKT to Ranong.(Ko Phayam and Ko Chang in the Andaman Sea are 20 min from Ranong Airport by boat).

To get from the airport to your destination, there are several options:

A private bus service runs between the airport and Patong and the reverse. There is not yet an English-language website for this service. Times and fares are unclear. There are reportedly signs directing passengers to the curbside bus, but it is not easy to find (Oct 2013).
Municipal air conditioned airport bus service (daily, 06:30-20:45, every 60-90 min) to Phuket Town bus station costs 100 baht (Apr 2016) and takes one hour. Local buses run from there and Ranong St Market to all the major beaches until around 18:00 for about 25-40 baht. After getting off a bus just cross the street and wait for the continuing bus there. It is a very convenient and comfortable spot, with no touts or hustlers, plenty of shade and a minimart for drinks and snacks. The bus will stop anywhere along its route upon signalling the driver ("bus hiking"). See Airport Bus Phuket.

If you are going to take the municipal airport bus from Phuket to the airport in the afternoon (especially the 16:30 and 17:30 buses) you should allow yourself plenty of time. With dozens of schoolchildren getting on and off during weekdays and/or congested traffic the bus is frequently delayed en route.

Minibus services (basically door-to-door shared taxis) are a good value. They charge 100-180 baht per seat, and will get you to your destination much faster than the municipal/government buses. To Phuket town 100 baht is typical; to Patong 180 baht; to Kata Beach 180 baht. When you get off the plane, don't dally, because when the minibuses fill up, they leave. If you miss the first group of them, you may have to wait until the next plane comes in, because they don't leave until they're full. The minibuses will stop at a travel agent about halfway to Patong. They'll ask everyone to get out (you don't have to) and then they'll ask you where you're staying, and they'll try to sell you a hotel or overpriced tours on the guise that they are a government agency. You're not obligated to use the hotels they push. Just say you already booked a hotel, and tell them the name. (If you don't yet have a hotel, just say "Holiday Inn".) They will inform the driver, and he/she will drop you off at the hotel. This is a little annoying, but it's over in 10 minutes, and you're on your way again. Any travel agent can arrange a minibus ride for the way back to the airport.
Metered (yellow) taxis, aka "Taxi Meter" - Turn right as you exit the airport building (ignore the touts) and you'll see a stand at the end of the walkway. Tell your destination to the staff at the stand and they will give you a paper with the taxi driver number for you to keep in case you need to report a problem. Fares to destinations in Phuket cost around 600 baht and up. The rate is what is displayed by the meter plus 100-baht airport fee. The meter will start with a 50 baht display. You may stumble upon a freelance taxi driver who will take you from the airport to Patong for a flat fee of 450 baht. If the driver is pleasant, you may wish to ask for his mobile number for the return trip later. The same driver can take you from Patong to Phuket Town for 350 to 400 baht.
Limousine (blue) taxis from the airport are expensive, costing 600-700 baht to Patong or 800 baht to Phuket Town. The airport co-op booth tucked away towards the back is a little cheaper than the competition. Despite the name, most "limousines" are Toyota Camrys with leather seats, though you may get a Mercedes. It is also likely that your limousine will stop at a travel agent in order to sell you hotel rooms and/or tours. Before you purchase your fare, insist that you do not want to stop at any travel agency along the way. (They will try to legitimise stopping at the travel agency by insisting that "the driver must sign in" or "the driver needs to stop here for directions").

By Train

There are no direct train services to Phuket. But many trains leave from Bangkok central station going south all the way to Singapore. The most comfortable are the sleeper trains (~685 baht for a berth in a 2nd class air-con car. Travellers by train must get off at Phun Phin railway station in Surat Thani Province and continue for another 5 hours by regular bus to Phuket. Do not buy the bus ticket until you actually see the bus and can make sure it is not standing room only, as it picks up passengers at the popular Ko Samui ferry. If full, wait for the next one.

By Car

Phuket is directly connected to the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge. From Bangkok, take Hwy 4 through Nakhon Pathom, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, through Ranong province’s Kra Buri and Kapoe districts, Phang Nga Province’s Takua Pa and Thai Muang districts and onto Phuket Island. The total distance is 862 km. You may be better off getting to Phuket by public transport and renting a car on the island.

By Bus

Buses to mainland destinations including Bangkok, Chumphon, Hat Yai, Krabi, Phang Nga, Ranong, Satun, Sungai Kolok and Surat Thani use the BKS terminal off Phang Nga Rd in Phuket Town.

The most reliable buses from Bangkok are the public BKS buses from the Southern Bus Terminal to Phuket. The journey takes 13 hours and costs between 650-950 baht. There are also some private bus companies, Phuket Travel Tour, Phuket Central Tour, and Phuket Travel Service . Khao San Road operations have a bad reputation for theft, often turn out to include a "surprise" transfer to a minibus at Surat Thani, and are best avoided. Richly Travel Center offers a bus leaving at 19:00 from near the Hualampong Train Station inside Bangkok (without having to transfer to the Southern Bus Terminal) for 900 baht. The TAT next door offers the same for around 1,100 baht.

From Phuket bus terminal to your final destination, you can take a motorcycle taxi, tuk-tuk, meter-taxi, or bus. A motorcycle taxi into Phuket Town will be about 10-20 baht; to most beaches 100-200 baht (negotiable).

A local bus to one of the main beaches will cost around 15-40 baht. It's not unusual for the tuk-tuk drivers at the bus terminal to tell arriving travellers that the local bus service has finished, even though it hasn't. The bus stop is near the market in the old town. From Bus Terminal 1, make a right onto Phang Nga Rd. Continue down Phang Nga until it terminates at Yaowarat Rd, then turn left. Within a few steps you will see a roundabout. Once at the roundabout, keep right. By keeping right, you will find Ranong Rd. Within 100–200 m you will find the local bus stop.

There are two bus terminals in Phuket, one small, old one in town, and one huge modern one 4 km north of town. You can take a 10 baht pink songthaew (leaves every 30 minutes) between the two. There are also 3 regular songthaew lines within Phuket Town, and both bus stations are served by them. There is a very useful big map just outside the bus stations (look where the taxis are waiting at the old bus station, and at the very rear, not towards the entrance, at the new bus station) that displays the three songthaew routes within Phuket town. Fare's 10 baht, last one at 19:00.

Before exiting the Phuket bus terminal, grab a free Phuket map from the information window. While supplies may always not be on hand, the map is a great way to get your bearing before jumping-off.

By Boat

Ferry services connect from Rassada Port in Phuket Town to Ko Phi Phi and to Krabi Province on the mainland twice a day, taking 90 to 120 minutes and costing 350/650 baht one-way/return, for each leg. It's usually a pleasant ride, but can be rather bumpy when it's windy.

From the harbour, you could avoid the minibuses and take a 10 baht songthaew to Phuket Town. If it doesn't show up at the bus stop right outside the terminal, you'll have to walk past the gate outside the harbour and along the road, turning left at the first T-junction, about 600 m, then on the main road you can catch a cheap songthaew. There's a picture of all the routes posted just outside the terminal near the bus stop inside the complex. Last one leaves at 19:00.

There are speedboats from/to Ko Racha (45 minutes), Phi Phi (1 - 1.5 hours), the Similan Islands (about 3 hours) and other islands. Boats and yachts can be chartered all year from Phuket at Chalong Bay, Rawai Beach, the Boot Lagoon, the Yacht Haven and Royal Phuket Marina. Boats from Phi Phi and Phang Nga can be found by visiting the local beaches. A search for Phuket speedboat charters will turn up many companies providing inter-island charters and services.

Prices for transfers on board a tour speedboat are typically between 1,500 to 2,500 baht depending on destination. Phi Phi speedboat transfers (no tour) are provided by the Zeavola Resort, which has dedicated speedboats for Phi Phi transfers. Most companies doing Phi Phi speedboat tours will not accommodate transfers that include baggage due to space limitations.

Prices for speedboat charters to/from Phuket range from 3,000 baht to 60,000 baht+ depending on distance/size of boat:

Coral Island: 3,000-5,000 baht
Racha Yai Island: 8,000-15,000 baht
Phi Phi Island: 15,000-25,000 baht
Phang Nga: 15,000-25,000 baht
Krabi: 20,000-30,000 baht
Similans: 30,000-60,000 baht+ (Nov-Apr only. Lower price from Khao Lak, higher price from Phuket)

It's possible to visit Phuket by cruise ship. For cruises from Singapore, try Star Cruises

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Getting Around

Phuket Town is just a little too big to be covered comfortably on foot. There's little organised public transport as such, but motorbike taxis and four wheeled tuk-tuks cruise about looking for fares.

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Eat

  • China Inn Cafe & Restaurant, 20 Thalang Rd, ☎ +66 76 356239 - Dinner in beautiful historic Sino-Portuguese building in Phuket old town with romantic atmosphere. Thai and European food. Open: M-W, 11:00-18:00; Th-Sa, 11:00-23:00. Closed Su.
  • Phuketiquette (formerly Circle Cafe) (on Ranong Circle, between Rasada and Yaowarat), ☎ +66 76 221458. 08:00-21:00 - Home of arguably the best coffee in Phuket, and probably the best value for money in Phuket Town. Great mix of Thai and international food, and a very friendly, young owner who will offer you great advice on what to see and do while in Phuket. Free Wi-Fi, DVD club. 50-200 baht.
  • Farang Restaurant (Chaloem Kiat Rd, next to Index), ☎ +66 94 63142 - Italian and Thai food.
  • Fuji Japanese Restaurant, Central Festival Phuket 3rd Fl., ☎ +66 76 249861-2 - Fine Japanese restaurant with reasonable prices

Kra Jok See, 26 Takua Pa Rd, ☏ +66 76 217903. Serving Thai cuisine tailored to Western palates, the restaurant sheds its inhibitions at 22:00 when the tables are pushed back and hostesses pull guests onto the floor for dancing, which is heaps of fun.
Laem Hin Seafood (แหลมหินซีฟู้ด), 90/11 Moo 7 Ko Keaw, ☏ +66 76 239357.
The Living Room Restaurant (Dibuk Rd just past Montri Rd.). Great restaurant for tasty Thai and Thai-Chinese food. Indoor and outdoor eating section/beer garden. Dimly lit interior for romantic dining. They've got a spot for live music as well. 80-200 baht.
Natural Restaurant, Soi Phutorn, ☏ +66 76 224287.
Raya, New Dibuk Rd, ☏ +66 76 218155. Thai cuisine, southern style. Popular dishes such as crab meat curry served with white noodles. Shrimp with tamarind sauce. Pork with garlic and black pepper. Fish with tamarind sauce. Salty pork. Fish with yellow curry and vegetables.
La Romantica, 70 Phang Nga Rd (across from the On-On Hotel). Best pizza in Phuket Town. Large authentic thin crispy margherita for 140 baht or numerous pasta dishes for between 140-200 baht. Thai family-run with Italian chef/owner.
Ruam Jai Restaurant, 215 Ranong Rd, ☏ +66 76 222821. 06:00-16:00. A locally-run restaurant with friendly staff serving delicious all-vegetarian food. The prices are very reasonable. A plate of white/brown rice with two or more dishes from the buffet of about 15 different courses is around 25-35 baht. Try also locally-made fresh juices, 10 baht each. Popular among locals; it can be crowded around mealtimes. One of 3 vegetarian restaurants in close to the local bus terminal. edit
Siam Bakery, 13 Yaowaraj Rd (north of Ranong Circle). French-run bakery offering pastries and drinks (~50 baht) in pleasant air-con surroundings.
Weekend Market (Opposite Wat Naka). Numerous stalls sell a variety of meats, vegetables, noodles, fruits, and sweets that can fill a stomach for a handful of baht.
Kota Khao Mun Kai. 6am - 5pm. Very nice clean local place to get a specialty of the region, Khao Mun Kai - chicken with rice. The owners are very friendly to foreigners and will help show you how to eat it. 60 baht for food, 10 for a drink.

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Drink

Nicest venues on Yaowarad road are Sanaeha, Rockin' Angels and Timber Hut. Nicest venues on Dibuk road are Ploen Chit and Sofa. Nicest venues on Rassada road are Anna's Pub, Phuket Brasserie.

  • Anything Goes (87 Yaowarad Rd) - A newly-opened shop is a nice and cozy spot for all travellers and locals who enjoy Sino-Portuguese style building. They have delicious homemade Italian ice-cream, coffee, beers, and their own special recipes of cocktails, all at affordable prices. Besides that, the place also has design products and accessories made in Thailand that are great ideas for gifts.

China House, 43 Yaowaraj Rd. Chinese tea and other drinks in an impeccably restored shop house that doubles as an art gallery. On the expensive side though, with drinks 50-100 baht.
Coffee Max (On the roundabout where Ranong Rd meets Yaowarat Rd). Small, friendly coffee shop offering hot and cold coffee and tea drinks and a selection of pastries and cakes. Free Wi-Fi.
Michael's Bar, 12 Takua Pa Rd. Owned by a British expat, a friendly, low-key place to grab a few drinks at a reasonable price. Has Wi-Fi and a PC for customer use, free for the first 20 minutes. Good happy hour prices.
Smile Cafe (Near the junction of Montri Rd and Phang Nga Rd). Run by a friendly young Thai couple who make a great ice-blended coffee or green tea.

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Sleep

Ban Nai Inn, 22/98 Luang Poh Cham Rd, Soi 1 (Behind the long distance bus terminal. Walk past the motorbike taxi drivers), ☏ +66 76 214907-9, fax: +66 76 232276. Small guesthouse. Rooms are basic, and include TV, refrigerator, air-con, separate shower, and wardrobe with lockable drawer. Little English is spoken, suggesting that this is a destination more popular with Thai tourists.
Crystal Guest House (คริสตัล เกสต์เฮาส์), 41/16 Montri Rd, ☏ +66 76 222774-5, +66 76 226245. 26 rooms. 250-450 baht.
Crystal Inn ((คริสตัล อินน์), 2/1-10 Soi Surin Montri Rd, ☏ +66 76 256789, fax: +66 76 256666. 54 rooms. 950 baht.
Damrong (ดำรงค์), 52 Luang Pho Rd, ☏ +66 76 211704. 45 rooms. 180-280 baht.
Down Town Inn (ดาวน์ทาวน์ อินน์), 56/19 Ranong Rd, ☏ +66 76 216884-5. 24 rooms. 250-450 baht.
Imperial Hotel, 51 Phuket Rd, ☏ +66 76 212311. 48 rooms. Rooms have free Wi-Fi, mini bar with fridge, and cable TV. 650-750 baht.
Lub Sbuy Guest House (Around the corner from the bus station), ☏ +66 76 232210. Clean, safe and friendly modern guesthouse/hotel, but overpriced for what it is. Basic rooms (with fan) at 700 baht and air-con rooms at 1,000 baht available, dorm 250 baht.
Phuket Backpacker (In the centre of town, next to the local food market on Ranong Rd), ☏ +66 76 256680. Establishment for Western travellers, with sociable common room and kitchen facilities. Fan cooled rooms at the back are popular with cockroaches and mosquitoes, so be prepared to share or fight for your space (and bring your own lock for the door). Fast and free Wi-Fi, but the range does not extend to the outlying rooms. The rooms are pretty pricey considering the facilities and the condition. 550 baht.
Phuket Cyberinn Hotel (On Soi 4 off Bangkok Rd in the heart of Phuket Town), ☏ +66 76 220100. A 3-storey hotel is surrounded by many shops, street bazaars, and wonderful old buildings. Easy to reach many beaches around Phuket. 750 baht.
Phuket Resotel, 2/6 Luangphor Rd, ☏ +66 76 220965, ✉ phuketresotel@yahoo.com. Air-con throughout, with a lift. You also get breakfast, a quite good buffet. Rooms are a little worn, but clean. Plenty of channels on the TV, and the shower is hot. 690 baht.
Sino Inn Budget Hotel (On Mea Luan Rd close to the 7-Eleven), ☏ +66 76 234423-4, fax: +66 76 234425, ✉ info@sinoinnphuket.com. Rooms with en suite toilet and shower with hot and cold water, fridge, mini bar, TV, and air conditioning. Clean, comfortable and fully furnished with a balcony. Free mini bar and Wi-Fi. 2,000 baht.
Art-C House, ☏ +66 82 420 3911. Very nice clean hostel with private rooms and ensuites. There is a nice rock climbing gym inside, with three top rope walls and a fairly large bouldering area. Phone up before you go to make sure it is open. ~300 baht a day including equip hire, 150 baht if you are staying there.
Baba House Hotel, 33/28 Moo2, Chaofa Road, Wichit, Phuket 83000 (5 minutes from King Power), ☏ +66 76 245-170, fax: +66 76 245-171. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Best Serviced Apartment & Hotel is located 5 minutes from Cahlong temple, King Power, Central Department Store. 15 Minutes from Big Buddha. 10 minutes from night market. Not far from town. Full amenity like gym, pool, Wi-Fi and Breakfast, Baba House has it all. It has only 30 rooms. Great service and great tour discount. All rooms overlook a long 30' pool & Big Buddha. Rooms include air-con, fridge, hot water thermos, utility kitchen sink, Flat screen TV, cabinet closet, working table, security safe, key card door, refirdge. Free Wi-Fi in room. Parking garage. 1,200 baht low season - 1,700 high season (nov - march).
Baan Suwantawe, 1/9-10 Dibuk Rd (At the corner of Dibuk and Montri Rd), ☏ +66 76 212879. A gem of a small hotel (~24 rooms) centrally located. Small (great) staff, so not a full-service hotel, but otherwise exceptional. All rooms overlook a pristine pool. Rooms include air-con, fridge, hot water thermos, utility kitchen sink, giant TV. Free Wi-Fi in lobby. For 100 baht/day reception will give you a patch cable for Internet in-room. Covered parking garage. Maybe Thailand's best book store across the street. Highly recommended. 1,400 baht low season - 1,700 high season (nov - march).
Bhukitta Hotel & Spa, 28 Phang Nga Rd. In the heart of Phuket City providing easy access to old town and many attractions. The design of the hotel combines an elegant blend of contemporary design with a modern Thai touch, all the latest amenities and free Wi-Fi. 1,250-4,500 baht.
Daeng Plaza (แดงพลาซ่า), 57 Phuket Rd, ☏ +66 76 213752, +66 76 213966, +66 76 216428, fax: +66 76 213884. 800-1,400 baht, includes breakfast. edit
Metropole Phuket, 1 Soi Surin, Montri Rd (5-10 min walk from the main bus station and the market), ☏ +66 76 215050, fax: +66 76 215990. Large hotel. May once have been an opulent choice, but it feels like a decision was made some decades ago to spend minimal effort on upkeep or cleaning of the hotel. At least the cheaper rooms and the "gym" are in desperate need of renovation. Free Wi-Fi. 3,000 baht.
Royal Phawadee Village, 3 Sawatdirak Rd, ☏ +66 76 344622, ✉ info@royal-phawadee-village.com. Thai-style pavilions are placed strategically throughout the resort leaving open spaces for exotic Thai flora to flourish. 2,500+ baht.
Sino House Phuket Hotel and Apartment (โรงแรมชิโนเฮ้าส์ ภูเก็ต), 1 Montree Rd, ☏ +66 76 232494, +66 76 232495, fax: +66 76 221498, ✉ reserv@sinohousephuket.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Boutique business hotel in the heart of Phuket Town. Providing clean and fully furnished rooms with air-con and free high speed Internet access in rooms.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are countless internet bars across the country in big and small towns. Internet cafés are widespread and most are inexpensive. Prices as low as 15 baht/hour are commonplace, and speed of connection is generally reasonable, but many cafes close at midnight. Higher prices prevail in major package-tourist destinations (60 baht/hour is typical, 120 baht/hour is not unusual). Keyloggers are all too often installed on the computers in cheap cafes, so be on your guard if using online banking, stock broking or even PayPal. Remember that in the smaller towns and more traditional areas the owners and staff of internet bars prefer if customers take off their shoes at the entrance and leave them outside. This might seem strange although this gesture goes a far way to make friends and give a positive image of foreigners to Thai people.

Outside the most competitive tourist areas, free Wi-Fi is not as common as in neighbouring countries in many budget hotels and guesthouses and they may charge small fee for Internet by LAN or Wi-Fi even if you bring your own laptop. Wi-Fi is commonly available in cafes and restaurants serving Westerners.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international code for Thailand is 66. 999 connects to all emergency services. Standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. 911 for Tourist Police Department, English available.

For mobile phone users, Thailand has three GSM mobile service providers - AIS, DTAC and Truemove - which may be useful if you have a mobile phone that will work on either one or both of the GSM 900 or 1800 frequency bands (consult your phone's technical specifications). If you have one, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for any of the Thai carriers in any convenience store for as little as 50-200 baht and charge it up as you go. Using your own mobile phone while on holiday with a Thai pre-paid SIM card can save a lot of money and lets you give your number to family back home, so they can have an emergency contact number.

Post

Thailand Post is the Thai postal service that deals with all local and international mail in Thailand. The business is operated from local post offices. Post offices are easy to recognise with their red white and blue motifs and the words 'Thailand Post' in English and Thai above the entrance. They are open from Monday to Saturday, usually 8:30am to 4:30pm (main ones until around 8:00pm), though keeping shorter hours on Saturdays (usually until 1:00pm). They are generally closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Each post office offers a comprehensive service which includes an Express Mail Service (EMS) and parcel post. They also have a price calculator for letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. They also have a track and trace system and money transfer services. If you want to send packages, it might be a good idea to check with private courier companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and generally quite competitively priced.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 7.877130
  • Longitude: 98.384560

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This is version 34. Last edited at 14:47 on Nov 8, 19 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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