Traveling around Phuket

Posted: 11th September 2010 by glyn.roberts in Thailand

This is just a quick guide of how to travel around Phuket during your stay

Moped Taxi

These are the cheapest way to get round the area though safety is sometimes an issue.
If you are walking on a road you will regularly have mopeds beep at you asking if you want a taxi (if they are not beeping at you to get out of the way). You can tell them where you are going then haggle the to the price you are looking for. By law you have to wear a helmet if you are on a moped in Thailand. This is enforced by police and you will be charged an on the spot fine for 5000 Baht if caught. Most moped taxi’s have spares with them and ask you to wear them though there are a few that don’t so be prepared to walk away if you don’t want to take that risk. Also some drivers take little regard for your safety on the journey weaving in an out of traffic to your destination. As this is quicker it is a bit of a roller coaster that could lead up to you being hurt. This is still the method I use most as it’s the cheapest and the majority of drivers are safe(ish).

Hire a moped

You can hire your own moped throughout your stay though it is not as cheap as it seems. If you plan to travel to lots of destinations during your stay then it is worth it, but for me I mainly travel away from the camp only 2 times a week. The average moped hire for 1 month is 3000 Baht. You have to keep your petrol topped up which is easy with many restaurants and shops offering petrol bottles to buy (yes, you by petrol in glass bottles like vodka). Be sure to take a day to practice driving on quite roads if you have no experience on a moped as the main roads are hectic. You are likely to get stopped by the police to check credentials so be sure to take your details with you.

Taxi

Taxi’s are the safest way to travel but also the most expensive. Haggling is important to keep your costs down. They will regularly offer over the normal price of travel so if possible ask someone that has done a similar trip what they paid so you know what price you are expecting. You are also likely to be offered other services inside these taxi’s like day trips and boat rides or anything else you need. They get commission for any business they bring so they are more than happy to find you a place for your activity.

Tok Tok

These are available at most tourist hotspots. Usually larger than taxi’s so if there is a large group of you it will turn out to be allot cheaper. Don’t pay more than the same price that you normally would of a taxi though. I’ve heard stories that all the tok tok’s are ran by the mob. Saying that you are unlikely to have any trouble as long as you pay what you agreed to for the price of the journey.

Other means

I’ve traveled in the back of a pick-up truck, what seemed to be a milk cart and many other vehicles. If you are not happy with what they plan to take you in you can always walk away. There are always other taxi’s around so if you think something is unsafe, don’t take the risk.

Haggling

It is custom to haggle in Thailand and if you are western then you are more likely to be charged a higher price. Don’t be offended by this as tourism is their main industry and they try to over charge with everyone that is not Thai.
Be strong and be prepared to walk away if they do not come down to the price you are happy with. There are always other taxi’s around. Saying that, also be realistic with the price you are willing to accept. Ask other people how much they paid to get somewhere so you know a price range to work to.
Most of all be safe, if something does not seem right like the driver is drunk or the vehicle looks like it is going to fall apart, walk away.

  1. Luke Espin says:

    very sensible glyn.

    ashley bowe knows all about the fines imposed for not wearing a helmet…