Phuket is a top-rated tourist destination, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s packed with great activities for tourists, spectacular sights, beautiful beaches, and crystal clear water. However, there are some things you should be aware of before you go, and we don’t just mean things to do in Phuket.
Here’s a brief guide.
Like many countries in this area of the world, Thailand has distinct wet and dry seasons. You want to make sure you’re headed there at the right time of the year! The hottest part of the year is April-June, which sounds great, but it can get very hot and very humid. The wet season runs from July-November. The best time to go to Phuket is between December and March. It’s dry, but it’s not too hot.
Customs of Phuket
There are some customs and traditions you should observe while traveling in Phuket. It’s considered extremely rude not to. While you can dress appropriately for the beach while you’re on it, when you’re headed to a temple, you need to make sure you’re dressed respectfully. Cover your shoulders and legs at least to the knee, and make sure you’ve taken off both shoes and hats.
While we’re on the topic of temples, images and effigies of Buddha are extremely important to Thai Buddhists. For non-Buddhist tourists to buy pictures or statues of Buddha is extremely disrespectful, and sometimes, even illegal. Don’t do it! You also can’t buy alcohol on religious holidays.
Also, illegal is any public criticism of the Thai royal family. Again, they are extremely important to the Thai people. You can expect the national anthem to be played before the movie every time you visit the cinema, and everyone is expected to show respect by standing for the duration.
While in the United States, gesturing with certain fingers is considered extremely rude, in Thailand, it’s much more disrespectful to gesture in any way with your feet. Be careful not to do so as you may offend.
Phuket is packed with incredible markets and roadside stalls, so make sure to brush up on your haggling tactics before you do any shopping. Most traders are perfectly happy to haggle as long as you’re reasonable and polite, but do be aware that it’s not cool to try and get something for much less than it’s worth. The market traders need to make a living just as much as anyone else does.
Because it’s extremely hot and humid in Phuket during the day, it’s easiest to visit the markets at night. You’ll also be able to get some fantastic, tasty, and cheap traditional food to snack on as you browse.
Most Thai people think their first customer represents good luck, so expect to get a great deal if you’re the first customer of the day. But then, be wary of small clothing sizes and branded fakes. Most clothing in Thailand runs small, so you may need to size up, and lots of the ‘designer’ goods are fakes.