Phuket is probably the biggest tourist destination in all of Thailand. Be it over-developed beaches, tiny towns or sex tourism, this place has it all. Phuket has something in store for all kinds of travellers and people of different age groups.
Travelling on a budget is something many travellers have to endure these days.
After all funding must never come in the way of a holiday in the making. Keeping this in mind, here is a guide to vacationing in Phuket on a budget. This not only helps you be cost effective but will also give you a unique experience on a holiday.
Plan a trip off-season
If you decide to visit Phuket when everyone is not, chances are you can make huge savings overall. A good idea would be to book flights and accommodations in advance to save more. The off-season out here is between May to November as the weather is more wet. This directly affects the prices for flights, hotel rooms and other tourist attractions. If you are okay with a few rainy evenings then you can definitely save like a pro on your holiday to Phuket.
Travel like a Local
Grab on a rental bike to explore Phuket. Taxi’s and cars can be a bit pricey and may not suit everyone’s pocket. Bikes, on the other hand give you great access to off-road beaches and other neighborhood places. Make sure you always drive to the left in Phuket and wear a helmet.
Do hop on a Songthaew, which are the blue buses all locals of Phuket use. If you are not in hurry or a looking to cruise around the city then Songthaews are a great option.
Why shop when there is so much Nature around?
Avoiding touristy shopping can definitely help you avoid unnecessary costs. Instead, head over to the Sirinat National Park that is located along the northwestern edge of the island. Explore the mangrove forests and the Hai Sai Kaeo Beach, which is a bit crowded but definitely worth a visit.
But still if you want to shop, do it at the right place
Local markets bring you close to the people indigenous to a region. There are various markets out here in Phuket out of which a few are situated inside of clean concrete buildings. Otherwise most of the real fun happens in shops made of plastic sheets and wooden poles.
Unusual foods, smells and colorful packaging containers are something you can’t let go by when going through a local Phuket market. Easy to find some really fresh and tasty seafood on stalls around here.
Head over to Supercheap if shopping is still on the cards. This huge warehouse has everything to offer be it souvenirs and daily use items. One visit out here and you would realize how overpriced goods are around Phuket otherwise.
Night Markets You Cannot Miss
It’s probably during the holidays that we have the luxury of exploring the night-life. This always doesn’t mean heading over to clubs or bars. Night markets in Phuket are a vibrant and happening affair. Do make sure you plan to visit one of the night markets during your stay in Phuket.
This market is small, cozy and gives out a bohemian vibe. There are several food and fashion stalls out here. You can very distinctively find this place on the side of the Yaowarat Road as colorful shipping containers are used as storefronts out here.
Phuket Night Market
The largest market on the block has everything that you could possibly desire for. There are endless stalls out here, so finding what you like at a reasonable price might take a while. Being the most popular market in Phuket, expect this place to be jam-packed with locals and travellers alike at all times.
Phuket Walking Street
Set in the Phuket Old Town, this market represents itself as more of a cultural attraction than a regular shopping centre. Sino-Portuguese houses on the roadside are lit up while the market turns into a cornucopia of traditional foods, handicrafts and other things every night. Expect to find performances in the street that will keep you entertained while you are here.
Malin Plaza Patong
If food is your cue and then Malin Plazais one place not to miss when in Phuket. This night market has the most amazing food at unbelievable prices. Budget travellers can eat to their heart’s fill out here. Expect to find rare delicacies out here, which you probably may not find anywhere in and around Phuket. Tight knit stalls make this a warm, cozy and welcoming area.
Restrict your ATM Usage
Yes, you heard it right! It’s easy to find a cash machine around here but the service provider with charge you with a 200 baht transaction fee every time you plan to use the ATM. All methods of currency change and withdrawal will cost you the same. To avoid unnecessary costs make sure you make fewer and larger withdrawals and keep the extra cash locked away in your room for safety.
Beware of Scammers
Scams are quite popular in tourist areas all around the world. But beware of all the ponzi schemes that you’ll come across quit often when in Phuket. Jet-ski scams are way too common here. Your provider will most likely provide you with a damaged ski and then ask you to compensate the damages. The police can also be involved in such schemes so inspect and photograph the vehicle thoroughly before hiring it. Hope to find similar scams with minivan drivers and authentic gemstones.
Become a Beach Bum
Saving the best for the last, you definitely need to spend a substantial amount being lazy at some awesome beaches. Phuket has a few hidden secret beaches, which are not densely populated and allow travellers to breathe in the picturesque scenery.
Ask the locals about the Ao Sane Beach, Banana Beach, the Nui and Khao Kad Beach. These hidden gems are a tropical dream destination for any traveller looking to get away from city life. You can also indulge in water sports like snorkeling, sea kayaking and scuba diving out here.
Wrapping it all up, a trip to Phuket doesn’t always have to be an expensive one. If you plan ahead and make a few adjustments your holiday can be thrilling and lively, something that you probably would not forget in a lifetime.