Taxi Rip Off
Beware of the "Friendly" Taxi booth at the hotel Kata Palm Resort (and other hotels).
I was "just standing around" the lobby with no plans when they approached me to offer best prices like "1300 Baht for 6 Hours" private car tour. By the way this was the official rate on the price table anyway. Sounds good, I thought. So the next day I planned my personal tour and went to the booth to book a car. They asked me where I wanted to go and I told them I wanted to make a round trip around Phuket including the Gibbon Project at Bang Pae Waterfalls.
This is when they started to p*ss me off. First they said I need 8 hours and it would cost 200 Baht an extra hour. Still ok...I thought. Then they started to add further 400 Baht(!) because my planned tour is oustide the "circle"! WHAT circle?!?!? I surely didn't plan to book a car to drive within 5 km and have him wait 6 hours for me. With all this hassle I got angry and walked away feeling really pissed.
When I walked out the Hotel property there were other Taxis parked outside(!) the hotel to the left. Nice brand new Toyota cars. I just spoke to one of the drivers and got an agreement on an 8 hour tour for 1000 Baht (all-inclusive) and we drove all the way up north to down south. The driver was very friendly and even recommended us special sigths eg. the sunset at "View Point". When we returned I tipped him further 200 Baht for being so nice and the next days, the same driver would drive us on short distances at far better prices than the shakey tuk-tuks.
By the way Tuk-Tuk ask for 200 bahts to drive a distance shorter than 10mins....
Fun Alternatives: Find Taxis and transportation outside the hotels. On short rides, try to get taxis with Taxo-meter. A 10min trip costs about 70 Baht whilst the tuk-tuks ask for min. 200Baht.Related to:
- Road Trip
Travel agents at the Bus Station-Phuket Town
As you approach the bus station, there a row of travel agents next to some of the buses. Don't use them. They wanted 800B each to go to Chumphon (Bus costs 390B each) and it was a mini-bus/ bus combination. Keep walking and you will see the ticket counters for the bus station.
Unique Suggestions: Don't bother.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Be cool for Tour Agents for different options....
Off course every body who moves for holidays to phuket and need to go to see the other islands, different shows, lot of other attractions other then beach where they stay...
So my experience is that you should not book any tour through internet or just from the hotel tourist desk or by visiting only one agent desk (just remember i have a experience of off season which is August 2007 and do not know about on season).....
The cost of tour will be much different and the facilities are same as of other people who companies you during the tour......Every body is being charged of different price and some people traped too much and they pay the same price as written on the printed leaflets...
Unique Suggestions: The suggestion after experience is that simply avoide the tour booking by internet, no booking through hotel travel desk, no booking just visiting one travel desk on beach road......
We book one day tour by speed boat which includes to phi phi ley+don island both (which is very common), khai nok, runtee bay, pileh lagoon, loh samah bay, may bay, monkey beach, viking cave, lunch, hotel pick up and drop, during the way fruit & water, snorking equipment (except foot finder) with english guide...
We pay 1100THB per person and in the boat our other travel companion were arround 12 people.....So we were thes best deal maker in the whole people.....even one couple they pay 2800THB per person with same facilites and are with us the only reason they stayed at La Maridian Hotel and book the tour from hotel desk.
Fun Alternatives: The suggestion is very simple and i do not think so that its too much hassel becuase i personnely experienced it during my visit in August 2007....We stayed in Patong Beach and next day of our arrival we visited just 4 travel desks on beach road and talk about 7 minutes each. Finally we confirm our tour for next day with one travel desk which comes minimum cost...
The travel desk i do not remember the name but was just in the foot of Ali Baba Restaurent (Indian Hala Food Restaurent) the girl who deal us name was Fatima and she was muslim. This restaurent board you can see from the main beach road and if you go from bangla road to wards patong tower on beach road you find the place very easily...
Ali Baba Restaurent in on Soi Holiday Inn.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Budget Travel
One thing I know for sure. The price of seafood restaurants here is very steep. WAY TOO STEEP!!! Some tourist say, "Well, the price is ok when i convert back to my home currency!". The answer to that is NOOOO!!!!! I you take the same amount you pay here and have it somewhere else like Bangkok or Hatyai, you probably could feed 2 families of 10. Check the menus before you even sit down. You do not want to be paying silly USD for some silly fish you think had just undergone Aneroksia Nervosa advance treatment before they are served to you. For me, I rather hit the food stands...
Unique Suggestions: Check my link on cheap but yet delicious seafood restaurants in the other section.
I wasn't sure on previous occasions I stayed in Phuket whether I had lost some money or whether I'd spent it without noticing. The last time I was sure I'd had money stolen by the housekeeper, as I set her up after I became suspicious and caught her. It also appears that she or her young daughter who she would bring to work on a Saturday took my Prada sunglasses.
Friends of ours stayed at the Diamond Cliff Resort, they had a pair of Armani sunglasses disappear from their room, along with at least AUD$100. The $100 note was stolen from the daughter's purse while the family were at the pool. The parents aren't sure whether they had any go missing or not as they didn't check.
Unique Suggestions: Do not leave your valuables anywhere they are accessible even while you are in the apartment/suite. The money I had stolen was taken while I was upstairs and the maid was downstairs.
One of the cheapest mode of transportation from Airport to Patong Beach is to take the join minibus. Tickets are priced at THB150 and can be purchased at the counter upon exit of the arrival hall. You may also pay direct to the driver who will make purchase of the tickets on your behalf. The mini bus will depart when they have 10 passengers. Turn to your left and you will see a mini bus signage.
Although the price of THB150 is cheap compared to the price of a taxi, I would caution those in a hurry to pay the extra THB to have your own taxi to bring you direct to your destination. I would consider taking the join minibus as a tourist trap as they don’t even ask us where we were all going when we board.
Finally, we were all driven to a travel agent company where they gave an excuse that there were so many of us and need to check our tickets and make some rearrangements. So we were all asked to seat at the desk. The staff asked where we are going and have we booked our accommodations and tours. He tried to sell us accommodation and tour packages and we gave them the we are not interested look. We wasted half an hour of our time here where we have to wait for the rest to be brainwashed. Surprisingly, the rest were local Thais and they all signed up their packages either for tour or accommodations. Probably they were given locals prices.
When you go to a bar it is wise to see the prices first because not all bars have the same ones,and if you want to drink a few more drinks maybe a good idea to check your bill because sometimes 2-3 drinks are charge to you without you know anything
beware of Minotel Hotel
i'm not suggesting you ditch that hotel forever but extreme caution and common sense which i apparently lack is required. my bitterness springs from a sad experience...losing 200 dollars in their premises, right inside my supposedly safe room. beware of the ladycleaners who come in and out of your room to perform their cleaning duties followed by riffling through your bags for valuables.
Unless you are going to Phuket to buy a Timeshare, just beware of the couples on motos who pull up and ask if you speak English (most of the time they are English themselves, though can be any nationalities).
They won't tell you that they are anything to do with timeshare, sometimes they say its a survey, or they will give you a scratchie card (and of course you will win something).
The main aim is to get your contact details and the name of your hotel etc so you can then be contacted to attend the hard sell presentation etc.
We just say to them as soon as they pull up, we dont speak English, smile and keep walking haha.
Bang Pae Safari - Misleading advertising
You start your 'safari' with a ride in a buffalo cart led by a local around a small paddock. I figured there'd be more to this - there wasn't.
Next it's elephant 'trekking'. You go up a creek where the elephant makes multiple stops to grab at the vegetation. I wondered if this was the only time it ever got to graze for food. The elephant then meanders through a small plantation of rubber trees back to the start.
Then it's off to the Gibbon Project. If you're expecting to see Gibbons, you'll be disappointed unless a photoboard is your thing. A project worker tells you the plight of the gibbons and how they are bought for use in the tourist industry. She painted a pretty nasty picture but I was left wondering just how much of it was sensationalised. The point of this visit seemed to be to get you to sponsor a gibbon for rehabilitation back into the wild.
Next comes the waterfall. After a 20 minute easy walk up a fairly well maintained track, you come around a corner to be greeted by a waterfall tucked away in a narrow gully between two cliffs. Your guide gives you about 15 minutes to jump in and enjoy the cool water. Then it's back down to the vehicle.
Next is the nature canoe tour through the mangrove channels. Living near a mangrove system myself, I was expecting to go amongst the trees and find wildlife or fish hideouts. Instead we paddled up one side of the main waterway and back down the other in about 30 minutes. There was no explanation at all of what we were looking at - I had to do all the explaining!
Then it's a traditional thai lunch served on the floating platform. If you're vegetarian and don't eat fish, ENSURE that the tour operator knows and CONFIRMS this as most of the meal is fish based or in fish sauce.
Watch out for the monkeys - they're in plague proportions here and will take your food right off your plate.
That's the end of the 'safari'. But I can hear you asking, what about the rubber tapping on the brochure? Remember the elephant trek through the rubber trees? There's your answer!
Unique Suggestions: For the elephant ride - wear long clothing and mosquito repellant as the mozzies are in plague proportions here and clothing alone wont stop them.
For the waterfall, wear shoes at all times as this area is fairly popular and there may be broken glass about. Also try standing under the waterfall - it's the best massage you'll ever get. Just be careful it doesn't pound your bathers right off you!
For the canoe, bring 30+ sunscreen, wear sunglasses and wear long clothes or you'll feel miserable afterwards.
Fun Alternatives: Definitely give this tour a miss. It may be the cheapest on offer but now you know why.Related to:
Got cheated (Part I)
It happened on the very first day when I reached Phuket. Having read the many traps in VT, I still got cheated as what the other VTers had warned in their pages.
The car rental company that I went to happened to be selling some tours as well and when they didn't have the tours that I wanted, they recommended to another tour agency. The lady was "kind" enough to drive us to the place. Apparently, i think she will get some commission from MY sale.
I have actually wanted to go Ko Similan for 2 days and specifically requested to stay on the boat (Liveaboard stay), after many phonecalls, the travel agent got someone who will let me stay on the boat as they don't allow non-divers to stay on the boat usually. For that, I had to pay TB6000. The normal brochure price is TB5000 and you got to stay in a tent. (This leads to my next trap. See Part II).
Then the advertised price for a day trip to the Phi Phi Islands was around TB2800 but they told me that they will give me a good discount as I had bought the other tour with them and quoted me TB2200. This is a trap! The prices quoted is still high as compared to what you will get if you shop around the travel agencies selling exactly the same tour near the main beaches. I jolly well know of such traps but then fell for it again!
Unique Suggestions: The very best way to get day trips tours are to go to those small travel agencies along the main beaches and bargain!!
Never go to places like the airport and car rental places. You may think that it's convenient to get all after you get down from the plane but in actual fact you are being robbed!!Related to:
- Family Travel
Got Cheated (Part II)
As mentioned above, I paid TB2000 more (for 2 pax) just to stay in a boat when I am in Ko Similan. When we were there, the tour guide actually tried to "phsyco"us into staying on the island and gave reasons such as "the boat will be uncomfortable to stay in", "the boat will keep shaking at night that you won't be able to sleep" and "staying on the island allow you to play by the beach and on the boat you'll be boring as there are nothing to do", blah, blah, blah...
Irritatingly, my bf was on his side too! So in the end I had to agree into staying on the island BUT told the tour guide that I will stay on the island provided he gave me a chalet and not a tent..
When we arrived on the island, he introduced us to another tour guide on the island... And again, I told him to check on the accomodation before I agree to stay there... Before he left the island, he told me that he has checked and that we will be getting the chalet and told me to wait for the other guy to arrange the accomodation... I was pleased and since our room was not ready, we waited on the beach...
The tour guide on the island later showed us to our "room" which was actually a damn tent!!! I was arguing with him that it was agreed that I will get a chalet.. And he was like "No-No.. Chalet is fully booked and we only got tent and furthermore that guy told me that you wanted a tent..".... I was damn furious definitely....
And by the way, there are no way the chalet were fully booked as I can even count the number of tourist on the island!!!... I had paid TB1000 more to stay in a TENT when I can get that for a price cheaper than the one in the brochure!!
Got Cheated (Part IV)
This time we got cheated by the hotel..
When I checked out from Andaman Cannacia, I found that I was charged for some overseas calls that I didn't make.... And those phone calls were made when I was not in the room at all!
I told the receptionist to remove those charges and it seems like she needs to call her manager, etc to get approval... And because I had an early flight to catch and didn't want o be late, I just paid for it... It costs me TB300...Bummer..
Unique Suggestions: The best is to get the hotel bill the night before you check-out so that you can check if they are charging you correctly....
Very important especially when you got a plane to catch and such issue will probably take some time to settle...
Got Cheated (Part III)
I wanted to avoid the crowd at Patong Beach that I decided to go to Karon Beach for water sports..
There were only 3 man in-charge of the jet-ski & parasailing on the beach.. We were quoted TB1500 for parasailing and TB1200 for jet-ski which of course the price was unreasonable.. I was told that jet-ski would cost me TB700 at most so we tried to bargain...
When we asked for TB800, the guy was so rude and told us, "If you want take, if not don't take".. There were no bargaining at all!! I was shocked and because I wanted to ride the jet-ski so much, I paid that price, thinking that it could be due to inflation that's why the price increased so much.. And because it was too expensive, I didn't want to take the parasailing....
Later I found out that another VT whom I met there got offered TB500 for the jet-ski in Patong Beach.... What a *** I was!!
Unique Suggestions: If you want to play water sports, go to Patong Beach, and try not to go other beaches..
And remember to bargain!!!
Remember that jet-ski won't cost you more than TB700....
If you have booked accomodation....
If you're arriving in Phuket on a bus and have allready booked accomodation, make sure the bus driver/ticket collector understands this. Some other people on the bus were able to get off the bus with their luggage right at their chosen hotel, when I tried to get off where I needed to the ticket collector blocked the bus door and told me to wait, they then drove up the street and around the corner to a hotel which would obviously pay them commisions for bringing customers. I assume that if they knew I had booked accomodation they would have nothing to gain by droping me at their commision paying hotel and let me out where I wanted.
I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of studying the tourist traps and warnings and dangers prior to any international travel. Thailand was my first overseas holiday and was planned in a hurry with little time to investigate these issues, being so inexperienced I got caught up in just about every scam going which caused a LOT of unnecessary stress. Hopefully with the information people share here you can have a better holiday than what I had.
Amari Coral Beach Resort is superbly located on a secluded private beach at the southern-most corner...more
80/19-20 Moo 2 | Soi Cokmakham 3, Rawai, Phuket 83130, Thailand
Good for: Couples
683 Patak Road, Karon Beach, Muang, Phuket, 83100
Good for: Solo
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