Ignore strangers who approach you offering to sell goods such as gems, or drive you somewhere. These friendly locals often seem like they have your best interests at heart, but they are almost always making a big profit from your credulity.
If you rent a motorbike, avoid driving at night or when it is raining. The roads become slick during precipitation and even the slightest error, such as pressing the front brake instead of the rear brake when riding downhill, can spell disaster. Similarly, at night you might not be able to see bumps or sandy patches on the road.
It is best not to drink tap water on Phuket. Some high-end hotels purify their water systems, but visitors should generally avoid drinking from taps. It is much safer to drink bottled water provided by your hotel, or purchased from a convenience store. Note that ice cubes at most restaurants and roadside food stalls are made with purified water.
Visitors should beware of pickpockets in crowded spaces such as night markets and tourist streets. Women should always carry their purses and bags in front of their bodies, and keep the zippers closed. Men should move their wallets into their front pockets. While such theft is rare, it does occur occasionally.
It is best not to leave valuables in your hotel room. When possible, use safety deposit boxes for passports, jewelry, cameras, and other valuables. Theft is very rare at upscale hotels, and the front desk can often provide reliable safekeeping. At cheaper guesthouses, security often has lesser control over who enters and leaves the premises.
Even on cloudy days, the tropical sun burns hot, so do not to forget to apply sunscreen – nothing ruins a holiday faster than sunburn. If you want to work on your tan, the sun’s rays are usually strong enough in the mid-morning and late afternoon. Enjoy the hot midday hours in the shade.
You should always consult with a national park’s visitor center before embarking on a trekking or camping trip. These centers can provide maps and other important information for enjoying a safe journey. Also be sure to check the weather forecast, and remember that weather conditions can change quickly so pack for all eventualities.
Even the months with the heaviest rain have long periods of sunshine in Phuket, but the odds of losing a few days to bad weather increase drastically during this time. The upside, however, is that there are fewer visitors and larger discounts.
Skin trade thrives on Phuket, particularly in Patong. However, it is quite easy to avoid these establishments. Exercise a degree of caution when entering any bar, nightclub, or massage parlour that has scantily clad girls, or photos of such girls, outside. Also avoid bars where touts try to convince you to enter.
The hilly and winding coastal roads around Patong are difficult to navigate, even in the best conditions. If your hotel is in Patong and you want to watch the sunset at Naiharn, you should plan to return to Patong before dark, or consider spending the night at Naiharn.