Phuket Holiday Information

Access to money

There is a vast supply of ATM's available throughout Phuket, accepting most major and methods of payment. Transaction fees can be considerably high and it is wise to check with your bank prior to departure. Maximum withdrawal amount per day is usually around 20,000 baht.

Rates of exchange at banks and authorised money exchanges are generally more competitive than those offered at hotels and retailers. Money can be easily changed at currency exchange counters in retail strips such as Patong, Kata and Phuket City. Always ask in advance how much Baht you will receive for $x and count it back carefully.

Phuket's International Airport

Phuket International Airport is a 40-minute drive from Patong, Kata and Phuket City tourist areas. Taxis can be caught from the far side of the car park, a 5-minute walk outside the terminal. Be wary of the more expensive limousine service on offer inside the arrival hall.

Phuket Currency

The currency in Thailand is the Baht (THB) and looks like this: ฿

Internet Access

Most Phuket hotels, resorts and restaurants offer wireless internet access. Alternatively, there are plenty of Internet Cafes available in the main tourist areas of Phuket.

Languages

The official language of Thailand is Thai. Chinese, Malay, Lao and English are also widely spoken. Tourists should learn a few simple Thai greetings as a polite gesture though will not be expected to speak the language.

Transportation

Self-Drive Options

You can rent a car or motorbike in Phuket with a foreign driver's license, assuming your license is valid and written in English. Drivers will be permitted to use their foreign driver's license for a maximum of 60 days. In Phuket, like Australia, cars drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Taxis

Many taxi's in Phuket do not use their meters as they prefer to charge a set rate, however this is often more expensive than metered taxis. Taxi's should charge by the distance travelled not according to how many people are in the vehicle. Tourists should always negotiate payment with the driver before choosing a taxi.

Tuk Tuks (informal Taxis)

Tuk Tuks are generally a 3 wheeled, open-aired version of a taxi, though in Phuket it's more common to see small 4 wheeled trucks instead. Tuk Tuks will often be sitting outside major hotels and shops. Be wary as drivers very rarely use their meters and often charge much higher rates. Drivers may detour and take you to particular shops on the way to your destination as they earn commission on your purchase. Before you take a seat in the Tuk Tuk, you can request that you drive direct to your destination.

VAT Refunds

VAT known as Value Added Tax is applied at 7% to the price of goods before they are sold in Thailand. As a tourist you are eligible to claim a VAT refund when departing at the international airport. This refund is only applicable on luxury goods sold at stores which display the 'VAT Refund for Tourists' sign. Check with the Thai embassy for up-to-date information regarding claiming the refund.

Visas & Departure Tax

Australians travelling with a current Australian passport (with at least 6 months validity from the departure date) can travel within Thailand for at least a month without obtaining a visa. Please confirm this information with the Thai Embassy before departure as visa requirements are subject to change. A visa is required for longer stays or for travellers intending to work or travel for purposes other than tourism in Thailand. Visas are to be obtained through your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Thailand prior to departure.

In most cases departure taxes are now included with your flight cost to Thailand If you choose to visit Bangkok during an extended layover, take note that there may be a departure tax incurred when leaving the airport. Check with your travel agent at time of booking to confirm current tax rates.