Are you planning a trip to Thailand this month? March is an ideal time to visit this varied and inspiring country. Thousands of people from around the world travel to Thailand in March – springtime in the northern hemisphere when the weather may still be cold and miserable – to enjoy all that the country has to offer. Phuket, a large island off the mainland in Thailand, is a popular destination. Here are a few tips to make your trip to Phuket even more enjoyable this spring.
Raya Island in Phuket/ Image via Nicolas Vollmer/ Flickr
1. Make the Right Transport Choices
Most people get to Phuket by plane, flying from Bangkok International Airport or from another airline hub in Asia. When you arrive at Phuket Airport you only have a few choices regarding airport transport, so make sure you make the right decision based on your budget and your needs. The journey from the airport to the resorts in Phuket will take over an hour, depending on where you are based. If your hotel has a pick-up service it is a good idea to enquire about the price as it will likely be cheaper than a taxi. If you do decide to take a taxi, take one from the stand of metered taxis that are parked outside the airport building as you exit on the right. Try to get them to use the meter as fixed fees are normally priced much higher. You can also get a bus from the airport that runs to Phuket Town but there are limited stops – if you are staying at one of the hotels along its route this is a great option. You can also take a bus from Phuket Town to Patong, if you are on a budget and you are staying in the popular resort town on Phuket.
You also need to decide how you are going to get around once you are at your hotel. Renting a car works out quite expensive, and is not normally recommended unless you want to travel a lot by yourself. You can also rent a motorbike but be careful with safety as this is a notoriously dangerous way to get around. Taxi bikes and tuk tuks are inexpensive and convenient but be sure to negotiate a price in advance. Taxis are also ideal for getting around; again, you should use the meter for the best fare.
2. Find the Best Beach
You are blessed with a wide choice of places to stay when you vacation on Phuket. Patong is the busiest and liveliest part of Phuket and many people choose to stay here. But if you are looking for more space, more character, and more beautiful beaches you will find them just a short distance away from Patong itself.
Karon Beach, for example, is a lovely place to stay and there are also the options of Kata and Kata Noi beaches which are more secluded. Nai Harn is a charming little beach in the south of the island, and Kamala, Surin, and Bang Tao also deserve a special mention.
3. Make the Most of the Weather in Phuket in March
March is not technically the high season so you will likely find some bargains in accommodation and tours. But it does start to get hotter in this month and you could see temperatures of 33 degrees C and above – it can be humid, and there may be storms but days are generally very clear and sunny with little rainfall in the daytime. During March you can swim and dive as the ocean is generally safe – make sure you check local reports about water safety before you get in.
4. Get the Etiquette Right
The Thai people are warm, friendly, welcoming and peaceful on the whole, and your trip will be enhanced when you react with understanding and tolerance to their views and lifestyle. It is not the Thai way to be aggressive, for example, so you will do better if you avoid losing your temper when haggling or bargaining (which is a normal part of shopping in Phuket). And never talk in a disrespectful way about the royal family – it is against the law, as well as being offensive. Pay attention to the dress codes at wats – Buddhist temples – and you will enjoy a much more pleasant stay in Phuket.
5. Keep Safe and Happy
Phuket is a relatively safe place to visit and most tourists experience no problems whatsoever. Be careful not to fall victim to petty crime by keeping your valuables safe on your person or in the hotel safe, and always being aware of your surroundings particularly late at night.
Phuket/ Image via jenny downing Flickr
If you’re looking for more information about Phuket and other Thai islands, visit PhuketOn for all the details about cheap hotels, best tours, places to visit and more.