The island of Phuket is made up of sunshine, sandy beaches and ice cold cocktails under starlit skies. But even on this paradise island, trouble is lurking and every now and then, it finds its way to unassuming travellers. To make the most of your Thai holiday and to return home in one sun-kissed piece, check out our guide to travel safety in Phuket.
Common Travel Hazards in Phuket & How to Avoid Them
Many tourist accidents in Phuket occur when driving a hired motorbike. The results can range from bruises to broken bones and worse. Sure, hiring a motorbike is an easy way to get around the island, but the traffic in Phuket can be very unpredictable and the motorbike you’re driving might not be in peak condition. Consider if renting a motorbike in a foreign country really is worth the risk, especially considering that hiring a car and driver in Thailand is very affordable. If you do decide to rent a motorbike in Phuket, always wear a helmet and of course, never drink and drive. Only drive on well-paved and well-lit roads and avoid driving alone late at night.
Going to the beach is one of the best parts of visiting Phuket. To make sure your beach day stays blissful, it’s good to consider a few basic points of beach safety. First off, never venture into the water drunk. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the ocean – if the waves look big from the shore, it’s best to sit this one out. You should be especially vigilant of treacherously strong rip currents during the rainy season in Phuket. Also watch out for jelly fish. If you do get stung, you should seek medical attention and the same goes for any possible reef cuts.
+ Special Mention: Hiring Jet Skis in Phuket
Perhaps the most persistent tourist scams in Phuket are the ones involving jet ski rentals. Touts rent out jet skis on popular tourist beaches in Phuket and after the skis are returned, the seller will claim some sort of damage to the skis and demand thousands of bahts is compensation. Once the tourists naturally refuse to pay, the touts have been known to make physical threats and things can get ugly. The jet ski scams have become so rampant in Phuket they’ve garnered world-wide attention and local government has tried to intervene, but you might still come across some foolhardy touts. Simply put, be very cautious when renting jet skis in Phuket and consider if it’s really worth the hassle.
Most people enjoy a drink or a few while on holiday, but getting completely hammered while travelling is a recipe for disaster. Certain parts of Phuket are known for offering wild nightlife, which can make for a very fun night out – but just don’t overdo it. Apply the same common sense you would anywhere else in the world. Never leave your drink unattended as spiking drinks is known to happen around Patong. Don’t walk on the streets alone late at night. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. This goes for enticing entrance offers at bars and declarations of undying love made late at night on Bangla Road.
Tourist Police in Phuket
Phuket has a special Tourist Police focused on assisting international and domestic travellers in Phuket. Phuket Tourist Police is staffed by local police and foreign volunteers from over a dozen different countries, meaning you’ll find help in English and several other languages. Phuket Tourist Police patrols the streets in Patong, including Bangla Road, during the night. You can also contact Phuket Tourist Police by phone 24/7 – the number is 1155.
Phuket Tourist Police
International Hospitals in Phuket
Phuket International Hospital / Siriroj International Hospital
This hospital also has a Diving Recompression Chamber.
Location: 44 Chalermprakiat Ror 9 Rd, Phuket 83000
Tel: +66 76 361 888, +66 76 210 935
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
Location: 2/1 Hongyok Utis Road, Muang District, Phuket, 83000, Phuket
Tel: +66 7625 4425, +66 7636 1000
Mission Hospital Phuket
Location: 4/1 Moo 3. Thepkasatri Rd, Rasada District, Ampur Meaung, Phuket 83000
Tel: +66 76 237220 6
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
With travel insurance, it’s simple – just get it. Most people never need to make a claim, which might leave you feeling like getting insured is nothing but a waste of money. But you never know when the unexpected will happen and when it does, you’ll be beyond happy to have coverage. Make sure to read your policy carefully and understand what you are and are not covered for. It’s important that your insurance includes possible medical evacuation from Thailand should you need it. It’s also worth considering that if you get in an accident while driving a vehicle without holding the correct drivers licence, your insurance will most likely cover none of your medical expenses caused by the accident.
Yikes… Should I Still Travel?
Phuket is a beautiful island and sees many a traveller returning to its shores year after year. Though reading about possible risks in any travel destination tends to leave us feeling nervous, the idea here is not to scare but to inform. Once you’re aware of the possible risks, you can plan your trip on a solid, well-informed foundation and enjoy Phuket to the fullest without putting yourself in harm’s way. Happy holidays!