Phuket, Thailand

PHUKET, THAILAND FOR FIRST TIMERS: Itinerary, Helpful Tips, and Budget for Filipinos

7/03/2018



Escape to Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is one of the many tourist places in Thailand and tourists flee from every corner. It has mountainous areas with white beaches and clear waters.

Phuket: Province in Thailand
Coordinates: 7.9519° N, 98.3381° E
What to eat: Tom Yang (soup), Massaman Curry, Khao Man Gai (boiled chicken with rice), Roti Pancake
What to do: swimming at the beach, diving, island hopping, visit temples, cultural shows
Where to stay: It would be nice to book a hotel at Patong Beach since it is walking distance to the beach, shops, nightlife and food stalls. Cheap hostel starting from 186PHP (115 THB): Patong Apartments, Patong Paradise Hotel.
Ideal time to visit: Phuket is very touristy and people tend to visit it all year round. It starts mostly during November to February. 
Language: Thai/English
Currency: Thai Baht: 14 THB = 1 USD = 50 PHP (rough estimate)

See complete itinerary below.


We booked a flight from Singapore to Phuket. We were itching for the sand and the sea, and thank God the sun was out in the beautiful island of Phuket!

We arrived at the airport around 2 in the afternoon. Everything went smoothly at the immigration and soon after, we headed out the airport. Just before the exit, there are stalls offering shuttles and tours. We booked a shuttle that would take us to our hotel as well as our return from the hotel to the airport on our last day. It cost us 1000THB per way. Since we were already there, we decided to book our tour for tomorrow.


We had a last minute change of itinerary from Phang Nga Bay tour to Phi Phi Island tour. Since we were time-restricted, we only got to pick one tour-- either Phang Nga Bay or Phi Phi Islands. Both tours would offer wonderful experience yet both tours require a whole day to be explored. We chose Phi Phi because we want to experience the white beach and have a relaxing swim. 

We shared the shuttle with other foreigners and each were dropped to their hotels. We were the last ones to be dropped. Unfortunately, we booked a hotel that's a actually in Patong Beach but not along the beach. 

We were all tired from the flight, so we decided to skip the cab tour and it was a little late to visit temples. (Sad) You can visit the temples by hiring a cab (good for 4 pax) that would take you on a tour to 3 temples along the area: Wat Khao Rang, Big Buddha and Wat Chalong Temple. Try negotiating with your driver, typical prices ranges from 1200THB-2000THB. Since we were lacking time, we decided to head to the busy streets of Patong Beach instead.

When in Patong Beach, it is a must to visit it at night, especially Bangla Road. It is very popular for its bars and nightlife. 


Our second day was reserved only for Phi Phi islands tour. The tour was shared so we were picked up at our hotel first. It was a two hour ride to the pier. I didn't mind the long hours, the trip was full of scenic views.

We arrived at the pier and was briefed of the do's and don't's. We were eager to hop on the speedboat. 

There are two kinds of tours for Phi Phi Island: one via big/cruise/express boat, the other via speedboat. Although was more expensive than the other, we picked the latter. 

The Phi Phi tour includes the the transfer to and from the pier, the speedboat and insurance, guide and tours to the Phi Phi Leh Island, Maya Beach, Ko Phi Phi Don, Loh Samah Bay, Pileh Lagoon, Viking Cave, Phi Phi Don Island, Monkey Beach, lunch at Ton Sai Bay, Koh Khai Nok, a set of life jacket and snorkeling gear. 


Although, there were bad reviews regarding the speedboat tours in Phuket, that it made them sick and uncomfortable. In our experience, the boat ride was a little bit 'jumpy' and gives off a dropping feeling like in a roller coaster with the way it crashes onto the wave making it jump for a second and then crash again. Our tour guide said to look at the view instead of looking inside the boat, that way, you wont be sick. 

The first island was Maya Bay and Koh Phi Phi Lei. First island in the tour and it was already breathtaking. 




Next on the tour was the Viking Cave and the Monkey Beach. We only passed by these spots since people were not allowed to go inside Viking Cave and it was already high tide when we reached Monkey Beach.



We headed to Toni Sai Bay for our late lunch buffet. Even though it was just a meal stop, you can swim and relax in the island. 



Our last island was Koh Khai Nok. Here we were allowed to swim and snorkel for 2 hours. Souvenirs and snacks are also sold in the area.


The day was fulfilling and worth every baht! We headed back to the pier filled with content.


Since it was our last night in Phuket, we decided to buy souvenirs and have dinner our in Patong. Everything went smoothly and roughly 3 days in this Thai Paradise wasn't enough! 


Tips:
↠ 
It is ideal to use USD to convert to Baht.
↠ 
Phuket is pricier than Bangkok maybe because of the amount of foreigners visiting.
↠ It would be cheaper to travel in a group and splitting cab rides. Since we were 6, it was a little harder hiring cabs and booking city tours since cabs could only fit 4 pax.
↠ Grab App is widely use in the area.
There's not much language barrier, people know and can speak English. 
↠ Book within the vicinity or walking distance of Patong Beach. This way, you wont need to hire cabs going to and from your hotel (typical prices around 1000 THB, depending on your location) Everything you need is there-- food, accommodations, nightlife, shops and of course, the beach. 
↠ Book accommodations inclusive with breakfast. That's one less meal to worry about!
↠ Try booking an early flight going to Phuket and late flight going back. This way, you can maximize your day time activities.



ITINERARY & BUDGET:
DAY 1: Phuket City Tour

Arrival at Phuket Airport

Phuket Day Tour: via cab | 1200 THB | From the airport, hire a cab that would take you on a private tour. Try negotiating with your driver. Typical tours for a half day would be 1200 THB to 1500 THB. (Yes you can do this tour in half a day) Splitting the cab tour with your friends can lessen the expense. Tell the driver  your planned places to visit: Wat Khao Rang, Big Buddha and Wat Chalong Temple.
Wat Khao Rang: inclusive | no entrance fees, just donations
Lunch: prices ranges from 80-200 THB on a budget
Big Buddha: inclusive | no entrance fees, just donations
Wat Chalong Temple: inclusive | no entrance fees, just donations
Explore Patong: free | tell the driver to drop you at Patong. 
↠ Dinner: prices ranges from 80-200 THB on a budget
Accommodations: 1100 THB | accommodations go as low as 600 THB per night, book beforehand to check out cheaper accommodations

DAY 1 TOTAL: Solo-travel: 2700THB/87USD/4523.74PHP Group travel of 6: 784THB/25USD/1300PHP

Day 2: Phi Phi Islands Day Tour
↠ Breakfast: inclusive in the accommodation
Phi Phi day tour: 1700 THB per person | We booked this tour at the airport. Just give your hotel address and your Thai contact number.
Transfers: inclusive in the tour
Phi Phi Leh Island: inclusive in the tour
Maya Beach/Ko Phi Phi Don: inclusive in the tour
Loh Samah Bay: inclusive in the tour
Pileh Lagoon: inclusive in the tour
Viking Cave: inclusive in the tour
Phi Phi Don Island: inclusive in the tour
Monkey Beach: inclusive in the tour
↠ Lunch at Ton Sai Bay: inclusive in the tour
Koh Khai Nok: inclusive in the tour
Transfers: inclusive in the tour
↠ Dinner: prices ranges from 80-200 THB on a budget
Souvenir shopping: I alotted 1000 THB for budget | prices ranges from 100 THB + 
Accommodations: 1100 THB | accommodations go as low as 600 THB per night, book beforehand to check out cheaper accommodations

DAY 2 TOTAL: Solo-travel: 3000THB/95.82USD/4982.35PHP Group travel of 6: 2084THB/66.56USD/3460.92PHP

Day 3: HOME

↠ Breakfast: inclusive in the accommodation
Patong Beach: free
Accommodations to Phuket Airport: 1000 THB | We split this 5-way. We hailed a cab going to the airport. Reasonable for a 30-40 minute ride. 

DAY 3 TOTAL: Solo-travel: 1000THB/31.94USD/1660.78PHP Group travel of 6: 167THB/5.33USD/277.14PHP

Total: SOLO: 6700THB/214USD/11127.36PHP GROUP TRAVEL OF 6: 3035THB/96.94USD/5040.59PHP

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*Note: You can save more when you travel by group. This would lessen the guide fee.
*Prices may change and travel time may vary.

Footnotes:
Phuket, Thailand | June 2017 | Updated July 2018


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