Our Guide to Phuket on a Budget
Phuket is the premier beach resort island set on the Andaman Sea and is not known for budget travel, rather Phuket is an upmarket holiday destination with luxury accommodation, yet despite this, you can still have a great holiday without stretching your finances, and with that in mind, here are a few tips on enjoying Phuket on a limited Budget.
- Street Food – The great thing about Thailand is without doubt the amazing street food; from Chaing Rai in the north of Thailand, right the way down to Phuket, there are many street vendors selling grilled pork sticks and sticky rice, while Thai style restaurants that cater for the locals are an attractive alternative to the touristy restaurants along the beach, where you will pay top prices. Of course, you will want to indulge in the top-rated seafood restaurants, but street food is great for lunchtimes and late-night snacks, and a few dollars will fill you up.
- Hotels – If you avoid the elegant resorts, there are great value venues at a very reasonable price, such as Best Western on Patong Beach, which has everything you need and you can save as much as 40% with online bookings. You won’t be spending too much time in the hotel, so look for affordable deals, as they are there to be found if you search online, which will leave you more money for other things.
- Getting Around – There are baht buses everywhere, which run to no schedule, they leave when almost full, and you press the button when you wish to get off. The baht buses are actually pick-up trucks with a roof, but they don’t run everywhere, and perhaps the most economic way to get around Phuket is to rent a small motorbike, which is easy if you have a driving licence from your home country, and make sure you also have insurance. Taxis are in abundance in the town, plus there are the 3-wheel cycle riders who will take you around the quiet lanes for a few baht.
- Souvenir Markets – These are usually well-overpriced, aimed at the holidaymakers staying at the big resorts, which mainly cater for European and Scandinavian tourists, and if you offer 50% of their initial price, that would be about the right price. If you walk around the town of Phuket in the evenings, go down the narrow lanes where you will find souvenirs at lower prices, plus there are some great small restaurants that don’t charge tourist prices.
- It’s OK to Haggle – When talking to motorcycle taxi riders or buying souvenirs, it is acceptable to ask for a discount, although this should be realistic, after all, the local people do have to make a living. The only places you can’t barter are department stores, restaurants and convenience stores, and every little helps if you are on a limited budget.
While it is easy to spend money in a tropical paradise like Phuket, you can find local prices if you are prepared to get off the beaten tourist track, and you will find some amazing street food, no matter what part of Phuket you visit.