Shopping and nightlife, Phuket
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.
During shopping, bargaining is a must. This is not for the faint hearted. You really have to bargain a quarter of the quoted price.
If you take more things you can really get a more cheaper price.
Walking away from the shop will definitely help, you will definitely get the price you want. If they didnt call you back.. too bad. : ) Check the things in another shop, at least you know whats the bargaining price.
You can get a good bargain at the Panyee village rather than at Patong area. I got a few good bargains there which I could not get at Patong area.
Avoid the shops in front of the beach area, go to the alley shops and less accessible to the tourists.
Unique Suggestions: There is this good spouvenior shop that gives good price and bargains. I found it by accident while walking to the shopping area Patong Top.
The shop is manned by 2 young ladies who really look like they need all the help they can get.Look out for a small lane directly opposite Patong Top sign. There is a new hotel being built there. Just look out for Patong Top sign, cross over and walk in the small street. The shop is between a hairsaloon and an empty silk store. I do hope the directions are good enough.
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 If you eat especially seafood (many places do not quote their prices--they say "market prices") at restaurants like LAIMAI and PAPAYA, you will end up getting a big bill!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" .
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.
Because we only went to Patong, I can only tell the experience there. My sister bought the fisherman's pant for 300 BHT in Patong.
And the same pant cost her only 100 BHT in Phuket town
Fun Alternatives: Take a Tuk Tuk or local bus to Phuket town, its not very crowded and the shoppings there can be much cheaper
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
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!
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
Well it's not a secret that Thailand is famos for sex tourism, but it's been the worst in Patong Beach !!!!
The night-life district is crowded with hookers, real young girls sometimes ....
... and they tend to touch every male being, even if he's obviously walking with someone ....
Unique Suggestions: Just stay calm ;)
Fun Alternatives: Don't go to Patong Beach (at night)
Male locals will wander around Soi Bangla waiting for innocent tourist (like me) to pass by
Telling you about their special Ping Pong show and how you can have a free preview for 10mins
I thought it was harmless to look so I went for it... 10 mins of my time won't kill
I stepped in and i saw like 5 sexy ladies dancing by the pole... BY THE POLE
They were just sashaying their hiips left and right calling it dancing
I was told the show will start in 3 mins so I ordered drinks
When the show started, the lovely ladies exited the stage and guess who stepped in?
ITS YOUR MAMA! I mean its better to watch pros doing the show
But I swear these ladies were waiting for their retirement!
Goodness, it was a rip off... and they can still go round collecting tips from everyone in the room!
I gave them B20! Hahaha.... That's like S$0.80!
Unique Suggestions: Go in a large group and have a good laugh
Give them like B10-B20 tip and watch then give you 'the face'
Fun Alternatives: I wish I could turn back time and watch the man-ladies strut their stuff
Don't have to go to Simon Cabaret and the price's pretty steep and the cab fare ain't cheap either
Just head down to Soi Bangla and go for the 'Tiger Show'
Its just equally entertaining!
If you go to Simon show then beware of these lovely lads! The line up for photos at the end of each show. You pay to have a shot with them but be careful you don't get more then you bargained for. Its common for them to jump into the picture just before its taken. So you might find yourself paying for more than one - it could be 4! They also will grab, yell and even scratch to get their money.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you dont take the picture of all 4. Be firm, say "No!" and agree on the price first.
Fun Alternatives: All it can be a bit overwhelming to have a group of drag queens yelling at you, it still was lots of fun and really recommend you go. Its something you wont forget!