FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
How is HotelRoomsPhuket different from other hotel booking websites?
We give you a direct link to the hotel allowing you to make a booking direct, with instant confirmation. This direct approach saves you money (we do not take a booking fee) and gives you added peace of mind, as well as the flexibility to make an enquiry with the hotel about any services or special requests you may have.
How can I get the best deal when booking holiday accommodation in Phuket?
Book direct with the hotel, they have special offers, promotions and often the best rates guaranteed.
What price is displayed on HotelRoomsPhuket?
We show three different prices according to the time of year / tourist season. The price is the cheapest room rate offered by the hotel during that period and includes all taxes and service charges. The price is complete, there are no hidden extra charges when booking.
How reliable are hotel reviews on most travel websites, booking engines and travel forums?
Many travel websites allow guests to leave reviews and grade a hotel, usually from one to five stars. The websites then calculate the average rating, which many people use as a guide when searching for a good hotel. However people who leave reviews may not take care to grade correctly, it is therefore up to the reader to determine whether a hotel is being treated fairly with a review and to make up their own mind about whether to visit.
Travelling to / from and around Phuket
Do I need a visa to visit Thailand?
Generally if a foreigner wishes to visit Thailand they are required to obtain a visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate General. Nationals of certain countries do not require a visa and are exempt if they meet certain criteria. There are 48 countries whose nationals are allowed to enter Thailand under the visa exemption rule. For more information please go to: www.mfa.go.th. Those exempt entering the country via an international airport are issued with a 30 day visa, and if the tourist is travelling overland through a border checkpoint, they will be issued with a 15 day visa.
How can I stay longer and extend my tourist visa?
There are several ways to extend a tourist visa if you wish to stay longer than 30 days in Thailand.
7 Day Visa Extension
An extension can be granted for certain nationalities for up to 7 days at the local immigration office. The fee is currently THB1,900.
15 Day Visa Extension
Another option is to travel to one of Thailand's border checkpoints to obtain an additional 15 day stamp. A trip to Myanmar via Ranong can be done in one day. There are many tour companies in Phuket that arrange this visa run by mini-bus. The visa is free but the trip costs approximately THB 1,500 and includes mini bus transport to Ranong and long tail boat to Myanmar, lunch and snacks are also provided.
30 Day Visa
By simply leaving Thailand and returning through an international airport, you can obtain a new 30 day visa.
60 Day Visa
It is possible to obtain a 60 day visa by exiting the country and visiting a Thai Embassy overseas to purchase a new 30 day visa with a 30 day extension. It is also known as a double entry tourist visa. Common countries to visit are Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore as they are close by and easy to get to with regular direct flights.
One of the most popular destinations for a visa run from Phuket is Malaysia. There is a two day trip overland to Penang which is organised by local tour companies. This trip will cost approximately THB 5,000 including transport, accommodation and visa costs.
If you prefer to travel more comfortably and fly, then Kuala Lumpur is a good choice. You will need to stay 2 nights in a hotel as the visa application needs to be submitted early one morning and picked up the following day in the afternoon. For more details about the Kuala Lumpur visa run click here.
What are the options for airport transfers to and from my hotel?
When arriving at Phuket International Airport there are several transport options available to get you to your hotel.
There are two types of taxi, metered taxis and limousines. The airport limousines have a booking desk inside the airport with a list of prices for each destination on display. The set price is reasonable, and should not differ too much from the metered taxi charge. The limousines are comfortable, they usually have a welcome video for back seat passengers and are ideal for up to three passengers. The metered taxi stand is outside the airport building and you may have to queue for this service as there are not as many metered taxis as limousines.
For bigger groups it's possible to take an air-conditioned mini-van to your destination. The vans can cater to 9 passengers or 12, depending on their size. If travelling in one large party, this is obviously the best choice, as you can travel together and there is only one stop off. As the mini-vans offer the cheapest transport per person to reach the hotel, you may be tempted to join a van with others. This can be a little less convenient as it is often cramped inside with people that have just completed a long haul flight, and you may have several stop offs before reaching your hotel.
Another option is to brave the busy roads of Phuket and hire a car of your own. If you plan to drive around the island during your stay then an airport car rental pick up is very convenient. Check you have all the necessary insurance documents before heading out and remember to drive on the left! For more information about car hire, contact one of the car rental companies on the useful contacts page.
What is the best way to get around Phuket?
Depending on where you want to go to and how often, there are various options for travelling around Phuket. If you plan to stay around your hotel most of the time and occasionally want to visit another part of the island, then a tuk-tuk or taxi are ideal. They are not the cheapest form of transport, but they are safe on the busy roads.
Phuket roads can be hectic particularly on the main thoroughfares, so driving a motorbike is not advisable, especially if you don't drive one in your home country. However, if you want to travel around your resort area then a motorbike may be a good solution as they are inexpensive to hire. But be warned that if you do damage the bike, the renter may overcharge for repairs.
For active travellers that enjoy to explore the island then hiring a car or jeep is the best option. Your hotel or local tour company can help advise or arrange car hire for you. Alternatively there are some international car hire company contact numbers on the useful contacts page.
More information about getting around Phuket can be found here.
Is it dangerous to travel by tuk-tuk in Phuket?
There are plenty of media reports about problems with tuk-tuk drivers on the island, such as fighting with passengers, overcharging and blockading roads and hotels. Most of the violent incidents happen in the evening in busy areas such as Patong, between the drivers and foreign men after a night out drinking. Arguments are often sparked by drivers claiming for damage to their tuk-tuk or charging a high price for their service. It is unfortunate that the bad tuk-tuk drivers get the press, in reality the majority are no problem. However if you do hire a tuk-tuk, then it is advisable to set a price before you depart.
Health and emergencies
What vaccines do I need for Thailand?
Check with your doctor before leaving your home country, as you may be advised to have some vaccines such as Typhoid and Hepatitis A. The risk of Malaria is low in most of Thailand including Phuket, so anti-malaria tablets are not required, but it is advisable to take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites by using effective sprays or creams.
How do I combat heat stroke?
A common health problem for holiday makers is heat stroke or hyperthermia as it is known medically. It can happen when the body overheats from staying in the sun too long. Someone with heat stroke is likely to have sunburn, feel dizzy and have feeling of chills and fever. It can be especially easy to get if you are dehydrated from drinking the night before and stay on the beach all day! To combat heat stroke, move to a cool area and remove clothing to let the sweat come out of the skin's pores. Taking a cool bath and drinking cool water also aids recovery.
What do I do in the case of an emergency?
If you need to contact the police, Phuket has a special Tourist Police unit to deal with foreigner's issues. The busier offices, such as Patong, usually have foreign volunteers on duty to assist with any communication problems. A good starting place to seek help is to call 1155 or visit the official website for the Tourist Police volunteers: http://www.phuket-tourist-police-volunteers.com/
In case of an accident or health emergency you can contact an ambulance using the telephone numbers on the useful contacts page. The government hospitals such as Vachira in Phuket Town and Patong Hospital provide a high standard of service and the doctors have a good command of English. The main international hospitals Bangkok Hospital Phuket and Phuket International Hospital can be expensive, but they are more experienced at dealing with foreign patients needs.
Embassy / Consulate
Your home country's embassy in Thailand is here to help with general passport issues and more importantly if something goes wrong. They can advise you on what to do if you are a victim of crime, you need a lawyer or a doctor, you are seriously ill or if someone close to you dies, if you are arrested or detained, a victim of rape or sexual assault or in cases of child abduction and missing persons.
Some countries have consulate branches in Phuket (please see useful contacts page) but the majority of others are based in Bangkok. This link to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs website has details of the various embassies in the country.
What is the tsunami warning system in Phuket?
After the tragic earthquake and tsunami in 2004, the Thai government formed the National Disaster Warning System and Tsunami Early Warning System, which are now in operation along the Andaman coast. Upon receipt of information regarding seismic or wave activity, warnings will be issued within 30 minutes. Broadcasts will be made via nationwide radio and television. For tourists staying in coastal areas there will be sirens and audio played in different languages from the 30 metre high warning towers constructed along the beachfront. The messages will be accompanied by flashing red lights.
Everyone is to proceed along the evacuation routes clearly signposted along the beachfront. There are five such routes in Patong, along Bangla Road, Soi Patong Tower, Ruamjai Road, Prachanuklo Road and Coral Beach Bridge. The evacuation process has been rehearsed so all the hotels and resorts are aware of the procedures, making the evacuation to the designated safe area as rapid as possible.
Customs and behaviour in Thailand
Why does everyone stand up in the cinema to the Thai national anthem?
In Thailand the royal family are highly worshipped, especially the King. The national anthem is played at the beginning of each movie shown at the cinema and everyone stands up to pay their respects to the King. As a guest in Thailand it is it polite for foreigners to respect the customs and beliefs of the country and join in by also standing.
In general, criticising the royal family and the King in any way is very risky, especially considering the Lèse-Majesté laws in place. Images of the King, even including Thai bank notes, must be treated with respect and never defaced. The consequences are serious and can include jail terms and deportation.
What are the do's and don'ts when visiting a Buddhist temple?
Visiting a temple is a must do activity in Thailand, and there are some fine examples of Buddhist temples in Phuket such as Wat Chalong. Here are some tips of how to behave and dress when visiting the temple:
- Take off your shoes when entering the temple, wear slip ons it is much easier.
- Do not point at the Buddha statues or anything for that matter with your feet.
- Women should dress conservatively and cover their chest and shoulders and don't wear short skirts or shorts, cover to your knees if possible.
- Do not touch the images (especially the head) of the Buddha, monk or nun statues.
- Refrain from public displays of affection.
- Be quiet.
- Do not get too close if taking photos and preferably kneel down so your head is below the statue.
Can I wear beachwear about town?
We are afraid another no no in Thailand is strolling around the supermarket or department store in swim wear. Apart from looking out of place and creating a scene, you can offend people by going about your daily tasks showing so much skin. Please keep the swimwear for the beach only.
Phuket beach guide
How can I be sure I won't get scammed renting a jet-ski in Phuket?
There have been some highly publicised cases of jet-ski scams in Phuket, where tourists have been accused of damage after returning the jet-ski and asked to pay ridiculously high sums of cash for repairs. This has happened frequently on Patong Beach, by rouge operators. Complaints have been made, and continue to be made to the police, as the jet-ski operators intimidate tourists until they pay up. If you want to hire a jet ski, avoid Patong Beach, there are plenty of other resorts where you can rent one, such as Kata, Karon and Bang Tao. But no matter where you hire from, it is vital that you inspect the jet-ski, in particular the underside that lies below the water line, as this is the common place where the claims for damage occur.
What do the colour flags mean on the beach?
The coloured flags on the beach are important warning signs about swimming in the sea. In the low season, swimming is particularly treacherous as there are some very dangerous under currents that can lead to drowning on most of the west coast beaches. The red flags are a warning not to swim, so never enter the water when this flag is displayed. Unfortunately people die each year on Phuket's beaches from ignoring the warning flags and swimming in dangerous waters. The red and yellow flags indicate that it is safe to swim and that there are lifeguards on duty.
Can I go topless on the beach?
Thai people are very reserved, and you will notice that when visiting the beach, they remain fully clothed even when splashing around in the water. Thais don't expect tourists to remain fully clothed at the beach also, but it is not appropriate to go topless. Out of respect for the local culture and customs please cover up and wear a top.
How much does it cost to rent a beach chair?
Most of the beaches in Phuket have large plastic sun loungers and umbrellas for hire. The cost is 100 baht for each chair, per day. If you have a family, and plan to sunbathe in the same spot each day, you can try to negotiate a better rate with the beach boy, it could be worth a try!