AMONG Thai people, Phuket is often counted as a luxury destination claiming that everything is more expensive here than in other parts of the country, no matter if it is the food, transportation, accommodation or activities. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this shining Pearl of Andaman on a budget. Let’s spend a day in Phuket under ten bucks!
This most likely will be the first expense getting out of your pocket; you should be aware that more comfortable and more luxurious transportation is also more expensive, so forget about those fancy taxis or limo lining up in front of the airport as taxis in Phuket are way more expensive than in Bangkok and some of them don’t use meter.
At the airport, there is an Airport Bus shuttle that will bring you to Phuket Town. From the airport to the end point, the old bus terminal in Phuket Town, the service starts at 8 am and finishes at 8.30 pm while the route from the old bus terminal to the airport starts at 6 am and finishes at 6.30 pm. The stops of the airport bus include The Slate Phuket, Thalang area, Heroines Monument, Boat Lagoon, Baan Teelanka (The Up Side Down House on Bypass Road), Tesco Lotus in Samkong, between Central Festival Phuket and Big C Phuket and Sino Inn Phuket. The fee per trip is 100 Baht.
At some stops like the bus terminal (main stop), Big C and Tesco Lotus Samkong, you can also get connecting buses to Phuket OrBorJor (pink non-air conditioned bus) that goes to many small stops across the island. The fare is maximum 20 baht. So far, you should be paying 120 baht.
When you visit a destination, local food is something you should never miss… and it’s cheap! Food in Phuket is one of its charm attracting people domestically and internationally all year long. You’d better go for the original venues without the cool air-conditioner but serving the true taste of local food and you won’t get the tourist price. You can find places like this in the old town such as Mee Ton Poe nearby the clock tower, Loa Rong in Soi Loa Rong, which sells a long list of Phuket menus from desserts to main courses, small Dim Sum shops in Sam Kong area and Kanomjeen shops in Sapanhin area (there are about three shops to choose from). The price per dish at those places ranged from 10 – 50 baht and you seriously will feel stuffed.
The most popular activity in Phuket is beach outing. It is free, fun and very relaxing. At the beach, you can spend the whole day getting a sunbath, have a nice walk exploring the bay, dip and dive in the salty crystal clear ocean or just relax under a coconut shadow. At the beach, food and drinks from vendors and shops nearby are more pricey than usual, so spend wisely on your snack and beers and leave some cash to take the government pink bus back to your accommodation.
Top: Even if you only have a little bit of money you can have a lot of fun in Phuket.
First inset: A map showing the Airport Shuttle Bus route.
Second inset: Reasonably-priced and really delicious food is available on the island.
Third inset: Of course it is the beach you go to for lots of free fun and relaxation.
By Nattha Thepbamrung