Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. At 540 km sq, it's about the same size as Singapore. Just over an hour's flight from Bangkok or Singapore, and with daily connections to and from most major Asian airports, Phuket is ideally situated for a short break or a relaxing vacation.
General Business Hours - generally 9am to 5pm, weekdays, and 9am to 12 noon on Saturdays, except Public Holidays when hours may vary. Shops and local stores open from 10 or 11am to 10pm, daily.
Banking hours - Monday to Friday 8.30am to 3.30pm. Some branches, including those located in shopping centres, are open as late as 7-8pm and on Saturdays. Currency exchange booths are usually open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Twenty-four-hour ATMs are widely available, and most accept cards using international banking networks such as Cirrus or Plus
Electricity - 220 Volts. Several different plugs and sockets are in use, but two pin flat (US type) or round (European type) are pretty universal. Adapters can be bought at local stores.
Immigration - During Phuket's high season (December - May), when several flights can land one after the other, queues for immigration can sometimes be a little trying and officials thin on the ground - so be prepared for a wait unless you're willing to elbow all and sundry aside to get to the head of the line.
On the positive side, the airport's compactness means that it's just a short stroll from immigration and customs to the luggage carousel and the front door.
Transportation - Getting Around in Phuket is easy. Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort offers a free shuttle-bus service in and around the resort, for longer trips outside of the resort you can arrange for a Taxi or tuk tuk from the concierge desk.
Tuk Tuk, Taxis and Buses in Phuket - If you want to go exploring the island on your own, there are plenty of places to hire cars or you can take the local bus. There are two types of buses - the Songtaew - blue open-air buses that run between Phuket Town and the main resorts, and air-conditioned "micro" buses that service the Phuket Town area.
Local Buses (Song Taews) - These local open-air buses (painted bright blue for easy recognition) run regularly between 7.00am and 6.00pm and have the destination written in English on the outside of the bus. There are no designated bus stops, which means you can stop them anywhere on the route.
In most areas, your best chance of catching a bus is to go to the main part of the town - sooner or later one will come along. In Talang, your best spot for catching a bus, is along the main road outside the Police Station. In Phuket Town, head for the market on Ranong Road (opposite Thai Airways) where you will find Song taews waiting to go to destinations all over the island. Standard cost for trips to/from Phuket Town from Talang is around 40 Baht. For shorter trips from Talang to Surin, Patong or Kamala beach trips cost between 15 to 35 Bhat.
Side-Car Taxis in Phuket - For short distances Side Car Taxis are fine, but their small size makes them uncomfortable for anything longer than about 30 minutes. You can take a side-car taxi from the entrance of Tesco Lotus in Bang Tao to any destination of your choice. You should state your destination and agree on the price before setting off. Trips further afield, beyond the immediate town can cost anything up to 400 Baht - depending on the distance, the weather and your bargaining skills.
Taxis - For transfer from the airport, there's only one authorized "limousine" service that has fixed fares. Expect to pay 100-200 Baht for a shared minibus or up to 500 baht for a private taxi, depending on your destination. There are also metered taxis for hire just outside the airport terminal and around Phuket Town. Fares are set at 50 Baht for the first two kilometers and 7 Baht per additional kilometer, though for longer distances flat rates may be charged. A 100-Baht surcharge will be levied if departing from the airport.
Air-conditioned car taxis can be hired at Laguna Holiday Club Resort from Canal Village and in Phuket Town, Expect to bargain your fare in advance.
Motorbike Rental - Driving around Phuket on a motorbike is wonderful - but it's also extremely risky as insurance is usually not included - regardless of what you are told. If you have an accident you may be liable for damages and medical bills or worse, if you are not insured. To make sure, you must have a Thai or an International motorbike license for make a successful claim on insurance in case of an accident.
A word of warning - take great care on the roads in Thailand. Not only is there an extreme disregard for traffic regulations that leads to unexpected and dangerous behavior on the roads, but during the rainy season, bike riders often come to grief when damp roads become slippery due to oil leak build-ups. It's probably better if you're an inexperienced rider to opt for renting a car.
Car Rental in Phuket - Although driving here is easy, you must ensure that you follow these guidelines
In Thailand driving is on the left side of the road, as in the UK, Singapore and numerous other countries. A valid International License or Thai Driving License is essential. Seat belts and drunken driving laws apply, and are occasionally enforced. Full Comprehensive Insurance is a must. Beware of street side vendors with signs saying 'With Insurance' - usually the level of insurance is very basic and would not cover the car, nor it's Passengers - just third party injuries or damage.