A Pen for Passport Control
Filling Your Thailand Entry Card Out on the Plane
Shortly before your plane arrives in Thailand you will be given an entry card to fill in. More than half the passengers will immediately be wanting to borrow a pen so they will be in short supply. Save yourself a little stress and keep one handy. You will also need your passport number so write it down to save rummaging through the overhead locker to get your documents. Do NOT wait until you arrive at immigration to fill this card in or you will be sent to the back of the line which could mean another long wait !
There will be many other times that you need a pen so its a good idea to keep one on your person especially when travelling.
Hotel Directions and Map
Don't Get Lost on Your First Day There
The local taxi drivers are familiar with most of Phuket's hotels so you should not have any trouble finding yours. That said, there's still a chance that they may not have heard of it or there might be a misunderstanding due to language difficulties. Having a map that clearly shows your hotel's location should solve any problems.
If you are staying at one of the smaller boutique hotels its even more important to do this as they are less well known to cabbies. If you are unable to obtain or print a map then the next best thing is to ask the driver to phone the hotel for directions so make sure you have the number handy.
Whether you're looking for a good overnight hotel near Bangkok Airport or wanting to spend a few nights in the heart of the city our Where to Stay in Bangkok
guide will show you the best areas to stay in and how to get around the easy way.
Photocopy of Passport
What ID to Carry in Thailand
Thai law requires foreigners to carry their passport at all times though, the reality is that most people keep it locked in their hotel's security box or safe. If you decide to do the same then carrying a photocopy of it will probably satisfy most public officials at least as an interim measure. A passport copy would also be extremely useful if you lost the original and had to visit your embassy to obtain a new one. Other photo ID such as a photo driver's license or bank card may get you by in some situations.
Put Some on When You Arrive
This item is easily bought all over Phuket but its a good idea to apply some as soon as you get off the plane at Bangkok as the mosquitoes may well decide not to wait for you to go and buy some.
Malaria is not normally a problem on the island but there are a few cases of Dengue fever each year though usually they are confined to non-tourists who have to work or live in the danger areas. Most of the time, however, mosquito bites in Phuket are just a nasty irritation and will itch for two or three days before clearing up.
Keep your repellent handy and take care especially around sundown. If you are sitting near standing water at any time of day its always a good time to apply protection.
For Laptops, Cellphones-Charging etc
Electricity in Thailand is 220 volts at 50hz which is compatible with devices sold in many countries. If you are coming from a country that is not compatible then you will need a voltage converter. These can usually be found amongt the travel accessories sold at airports though you will probably get them a lot cheaper by purchasing one locally before you travel.
Even if you do not need a voltage converter you will probably require plug adapters. Most electrical outlets in Thailand will fit a plug with either two horizontally opposed flat pins (see right) or two round pins in the same configuration. Cheap adapters can found in many Phuket 7-11 or Family Mart stores but it would pay to have at least one with you before you travel so that you can be sure you are able to do things like charge your phone as soon as you check in to your hotel.
Clothing For Warm, Humid Weather
Pack the Right Shoes and Clothes for Thailand
Phuket is hot all year round whether its raining or not so loose, breathable garments are the most suitable whatever the season. These days there are many modern synthetic fabrics that fit the bill nicely but, if in doubt, cotton is a good choice though it can cling to the skin if you perspire in which case white may not be the ideal colour as it tends to become transparent ! However, as Phuket is a shopper's paradise, particularly for summer clothing, it might be best not to take too much with you or you won't have room in your luggage to take much back with you.
For strolling around town, sandals are ideal and can be purchased very cheaply almost everywhere. Although extremely popular, backless sandals or "flip-flops" are not a good choice due to the uneveness of some footpaths. Also, a flash cloudburst can quickly make this type of footwear slippery and a hazard in themselves.
Its Best to be Prepared Before You Go
Pharmacies are one of the most common types of shops to be found in Phuket and stock most of the things you'd find in any western country but visitors should be aware that some drugs that are prescription-only in many countries are sold freely in Thailand. For this reason some people might feel more comfortable purchasing travel medicines before leaving home.
High on your list might be Immodium and antacid tablets as Thai food is generally very spicy and the change in diet can cause stomach upsets for a few people. If you plan on taking advantage of the many sea tours then motion sickness tablets might also be worth considering.
Thai Phrasebook / Smart Phone App
Handy to Have but Get the Right Type
Phuket is a tourist hotspot so most of the local Thai people know enough english for you to get by without you needing to speak a word of Thai. Still, there will be times when you wish to do more than ask for directions or barter for goods and a Thai phrasebook can be a great help in these situations. Amazon is a good place to pick up a cheap one.
Its not essential to take one with you as they can be purchased quite cheaply in Phuket but buying before you go will give you some time to learn the basics before you get there. Note: if buying in Phuket, take care that it is english to Thai and not Thai to english as they look similar at a glance.
If you have a modern smartphone then there are plenty of applications and ebooks that make the traditional phrase book obsolete.