Shopping and nightlife, Phuket
Well, this happened to my friend during my last trip...(for ppl who think i dunno what i am talking abt it was 16th trip to pukhet), since it was his first time he got bedazzled by the relatively cheap prices and the wide array of goods, hes a watch freak he ended up going to this bloke who owns a shop right next to the DUBAI RESTAURANT he is a burmese fellow and apparantly calls himeslef "MR WATCH" be careful of this fella he charged my friend 8000 baht for a watch which he gladly bought only to find it later on in bangkok in MBK mall for 1500 (before bargaining), during my last trip i was informed by the people there that he has even charged 16k to unususpecting new tourist and had a run in with cops once the tourist found out the real price,
Unique Suggestions: DONT GO
Fun Alternatives: so if you guys want to save your money and have a good time buy all ur stuff from MBK its a lot cheaper, a lot less haggling and a much better shopping enviornment, tehre s a really nice lady on the 3rd floor of MBK MALL shes got her shop near section where u get these cd for 100 bahts and 99baht shirts, she has wide array of selections and is nominally priced trust me you wont be disappointed, oh and avoid "WATCH CORNER" they charge a quite high as well but not as high as " MR WATCH"
You will see a group of ladyboys in Bangla Road. My friend and I asked permission if we can take a picture of them and they were more than happy to smile for the camera. They even asked us to join them in the picture and touch their breasts.. After that, they were asking for 100 baht tip... ;(
Unique Suggestions: If it's okay with you to pay them 100 baht then smile :)
Fun Alternatives: If you dont want to pay 100 baht, maybe it's okay to just take a picture of them, not with them.
Simon's Cabaret is popular amongst the tourists to Phuket. The show features girly boys who perform lip synced songs and dance in full costume. The show lasts for about an hour and it's quite enjoyable to those who like cabaret. There are times we forget the performers are boys in dresses. For some, the curiosity of looking at drag queens is enough to attract many to the many shows performed in a day, even more during peak periods.
After the show, the drag queens will stand outside and for those who want to take a picture with them, a small tip is advised
Check out http://www.phuket-simoncabaret.com/
Unique Suggestions: If the show is part of your tour agenda, it's not so bad because they do put on a good show and nothing indecent or perverse is on
Restaurants on Patong Beach (main street) are 2-3 times more expensive than equally good restaurants a bit further back from the main street. In addition, many of these restaurants belong to hotels and charge extra for services/taxes. If you eat especially seafood (many places do not quote their prices--they say "market prices") at restaurants like LAIMAI and PAPAYA, you will end up getting a big bill!
Unique Suggestions: Avoid restaurants that have live music because you will end up paying double for food. If you like to listen to their music , I suggest you only have a drink at these places but eat elsewhere!
Fun Alternatives: You can get the same quality of food at restaurants that are farther from the main road and do not have/charge for "entertainment" .
Located at the top end of Soi Bangla in Patong Beach, you can't miss the boxing stadium. The advertising trucks are always doing the rounds along the beach road and flyers are everywhere.
Ticket prices are 1500 Baht (£20) for 'VIP' seats and 1300 Baht for the rest.
We were assured that VIP seats were front row armchairs and no-one in front of us. When we paid up and went inside, we found there were no front row seats left and we were shown to a row of tiered wooden benches, hardly armchairs! When I asked about the front row seats, I was told they had all been sold 3 days before the fight.
The only air conditioning inside is from ceiling mounted fans and so the place is swelteringly hot.
Most disappointing of all I found to be the guy who comes round to take your drinks order tried to rip me off , first off by not bringing my change back, 500 Baht for a bottle of water! Then when I found him, he said he didn't have all my change as he'd run out!!
Unique Suggestions: Take earplugs, the music played whilst the fights are on is like badly tuned bagpipes on acid!
Take your own drinks then you won't be ripped off by the guy who takes the drinks orders. He 'forgot' to bring me 450 Baht in change for my bottle of water...
We were at James Bong island (Phang Nga) when my friend wanted to buy a disposable camera. The lady quoted 1300 baht, which was ridiculously high, since the one at Patong was already at 650 baht and that was before bargaining. In the end, we told her we would only pay what was quoted to us at Patong, and she agreed to the same price, which was less than half of what she originally quoted us!
Stuff in Patong are generally higher than Phuket town and the other tourist sites such as the stalls at Laem Promthep. A sarong cost 300 baht in Patong compared to 100 baht in those places before bargaining.
When we hired a driver for a mini van for 9 pax thru our hotel, we paid 1200baht. That part's all right. The thing you have to be wary about is the places the driver bring you to. We told the driver we wanted a place to eat, he brought us to this seafood restaurant - of coz we told him we wanted another place. Then we wanted to buy local foodstuff, and he brought us to his place where they sold it at expensive prices (the same bag of chips which cost 150baht at the supermarket beside my hotel cost 400baht here). Of coz we didn't buy there. The only place that he brought us to which we liked was the elephant ride, coz for that, we really cut the price down, or else we would have walked away also.
So by all means, hiring a driver does make it easier to get around, but do your research or you'll get ripped off.
Patong beach shopping is good. There is a great range of merchandise, and the prices are not bad, till you have had a trip to Phuket Town its self and you realise that Patong does have inflated prices for the tourist. Go still later to Bangkok and prices are cheaper yet for the identical items.
Shopping in Phuket is becoming harder and harder. It is like the airport where suddenly they can charge whatever they like. It seems the stall holders inflate the prcies much more then elsewhere in Thailand and will go near the price that you can get in Bangkok or Chiang Mai. Alot of stall holders know now that we will automatically take a third of the price and have not put their prices up another third.
Last year I was helping a friend shop as I can speak a bit of Thai. The women was giving my friend a ridiculous price. When I started bartering in Thai she no longer wanted our business and walked away. Most of the stall holders are good and will try to get as many baht as possible out of you with a smile.
Unique Suggestions: Set a price in your head and stick to it. They will cry poor, tell you how good the quality is, transportation costs, that a bigger size costs more. But if you are friendly and firm when bartering if will do okay. If you walk away and they let you go you have gone to low in price. If they come back to get you you are either close and will get it for that price with a little more negotiation or will have to pay just a few more baht.
If a man comes along on a motorbike and just happens to be from your country, wants to be your best friend and says he is working for a promotion company- say goodbye! He will say that if he doesn't get someone to scratch these scratch & win tickets today he could lose his job. Sure enough if you scratch you will be a winner and offered a free ride to pick up your prize, only to be trapped in a hotel conference room for 3 hours with time share and investment salesmen working you over! We went for the ride (nothing else to do at that point) but once we arrived and saw the setup, managed to get away and do better things!
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy the ride to pick up the prize- its free!
Fun Alternatives: Go to an agent that doesn't employ such tactics to find potential clients.
Please bargain when buying clothes and other stuff from the street vendors. The normal price of a t-shirt should be around R150 Baht. Some vendors ask for R600 Baht. So be careful don't settle on any price. I suggest not buying on the first day. Check out the prices first then you get an idea of the actual worth of a product. Also i found its cheaper and easier to bargain if you buy in bulk from a single vendor instead of buying products at different vendors.
I really mean it, dun help anybody that come to you who at first, addressed himself as a taxi driver (my case, he's "Ah Kau", a local chinese). He offers to chauffer us round the town with minimal charges THB10 per person (we have two pesons together).
That's our first day in Phuket, we met him on our way strolling back from restaurant back to hostel after early dinner.
After journey started, (he's actually driving sedan car, not taxi or etc) he brought us to a souvenir shop. Asked us to help him to get a coupon stamped. He claimed that he could get cheaper petrol / petrol subsidy with the stamps. We did as asked. The shop is selling all kinds of souvenir that are very very costly. We came out within 5 minutes.
Then he drove us to a local travel agency after leant that that was our first day in the island and we are looking for travel packages to neighbouring island. Yeah, we ended purchased day trip tpo Phi-Phi islands from the "recommended agent" @ THB900/person, which he told that is cheap.
Finally, he draopped us at a shopping complex in the town as per our requested and collected his fee before leaving. He promised to come and see us again the next day, to bring us to another travel agent for our other "programmes".
We went to Phi-Phi island as per booked, the trip was okay. Everything just acceptable. But after returned to hostel, our hostel's manager told that our package should be THB 200 chaeper than our purchased price.
Unique Suggestions: After all, tourists' motive is to have fun. THB 200 isn't too much but try to avoid this.
So if u meet another ah kow and don't mind go for a "taxi trip", hope onto his car BUT reject all his offers promoting any "programme" to u.
Fun Alternatives: there are bunchof tour agent in Patong. Go get a more competitive priced one there!
Although Visa and Mastercards are widely accepted, the vendors may impose a 3% charge compared to paying cash. This is commonly the case in car rentals and tour bookings.
Unique Suggestions: Bring only the cash that is covered by your travel insurance and the rest in travellers' cheques. That way you have the best of both worlds - the convenience and liquidity of cash and the security of credit cards and traveller's cheques.
That is a big, new shopping mall in the middle of Phuket.
Others maybe would put that tip under "Shopping tips", but I think it has more of a tourist trap.
The Mall offers shops and restaurants like "The Body Shop", "Starbucks", "Zen Restaurant", "Fuji Restaurant" and other department stores for clothes and interior design.
Nice to look around, but certainly nothing new, nor special for Thailand.
Also they have prices that rival these in my home, switzerland (that is to say: pricey, priceyer). The customers I saw where hence in the most not Thais, but Europeans, Americans and many Japanese.
Oh, one more thing: they open quite late, about at 10 in the morning. If you are earlier, you will have to wait (see picture)...
74-75 Moo 5
T. Vichit, A. Muang
Unique Suggestions: Have a look around, say to yourself that you can get the same things for the same prices at home.
If you need to eat something: The Fuji Restaurant at the top level is something that is ok for eating. They offer Japanese food and sushi for quite reasonable prices.
Fun Alternatives: Go out and have a look at the local markets. Much more fun.
If enjoying a beer at an ourdoor table, you will have people come up to you selling all sorts of trinkets: hats, shirts, cigarette lighters, etc. These items are generally over-priced junk, and if you even bother to show passing interest you will have others swarming around you with their goods. On the one hand, you could say these folks need to make a living, but you don't have to entertain them if you are trying to enjoy your meal or drink.