Answers from Our Experts (1)
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and a favored destination for both traveling couples and families seeking some beachy rest and relaxation. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors have four basic travel tips to help ensure your visit goes smoothly:
1. The currency in Thailand is the Thai baht. While you can change your money ahead of time at the airport, ATMs dispensing baht are widely available — just be sure to check if your bank charges any international withdrawal fees, and be sure to inform your bank and credit card providers that you’ll be traveling in Thailand. Most resorts accept credit cards, as do some restaurants, shops and bars, but some only accept cash.
2. Request a transfer from the airport to the hotel to avoid any confusion when you arrive. There will be plenty of harmless “gypsy drivers” offering you rides from the airport, but to skip the hassle simply have a representative from your resort pick you up — he or she will likely be waving a sign with your name on it near the main exit.
3. US citizens are granted a free 30-day visa on arrival in Thailand, but you will need a passport that is valid for at least six months past your date of entry into the country. If you’re staying longer than 30 days you will need a visa, which can be arranged with your local consulate.
4. Most of the hotel staff will speak English, but once you venture further out and into Phuket’s more rural areas you won’t find as many English-speaking residents, though most road, store and restaurant signs will have English. If it’s your first trip to Thailand and you’re uncomfortable with the language barrier — remember, smiling, pantomiming and patience can go a long way — consider hiring a tour guide if you plan to head out for a day of sightseeing, particularly if you’re going to do some shopping since negotiating the price for many goods is common.