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6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Phuket And How To Avoid Them

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Phuket And How To Avoid Them

Our full guide on Tourist Traps to Avoid in Phuket and how to avoid them for your next trip in Thailand.

Phuket is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations, known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich culture. Click here to book online Phuket activities and day trips

However, like many tourist hotspots, it has its share of tourist traps. Here are some common ones and tips on how to avoid them.

What is The Cheapest Way From Phuket Airport To City Center?

The cheapest way from Phuket airport to city center is by bus is 100 THB which is $3 USD. The travel time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can book online thru this link with Bookaway

You can also get alternatives from private transfers for $13 USD up to 3 people cheaper than if you buy the bus ticket. 

Read here buying a Phuket Airport sim cardPhuket vs Bali comparison and Get your own Thailand tourist sim card

WHERE TO STAY IN PHUKET

Some accommodations only cost less than 500 THB that’s a room for below $15 USD! There are many mid-budget rooms in Phuket for $20-50 USD and you can find luxury rooms starting from $80 USD.

Click here to get the best hotel deals in Phuket with Booking and Agoda!

BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE

Two of our favorite travel insurance: Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full comparison of Genki vs Safetywing Travel Insurance Review and the comparison Heymondo vs Genki

General Tips to Avoid Tourist Traps

Use travel blogs, forums, and review sites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews to get recommendations and avoid common traps​.

Ask locals for their favorite spots to eat, shop, and visit. They can often guide you to places that offer better value and a more authentic experience​​.

Book tours and activities through reputable agencies or platforms like Viator and GetYourGuide. They often have verified reviews and ensure quality service​.

Understanding local customs can help you avoid misunderstandings and scams. Websites like Scam Detector provide information on the latest scams to watch out for​.

Visit popular attractions early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid crowds and potential scams​​.

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Phuket

1. Patong Beach Bars and Clubs

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Phuket And How To Avoid Them

    Trap: Patong Beach is famous for its nightlife, but many bars and clubs here are overpriced and cater mainly to tourists, with aggressive touts and scams being common.

    How to Avoid: Explore alternative nightlife areas such as Kata Beach or Kamala Beach, which offer a more relaxed and local atmosphere. Look for bars frequented by locals and expatriates for a more authentic experience​.

    2. Tiger Kingdom and Animal Shows

    6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Phuket And How To Avoid Them, 8 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Thailand And How To Avoid Them

      Trap: Attractions that allow close interaction with tigers, elephants, or other wildlife often exploit animals and provide poor living conditions.

      How to Avoid: Support ethical wildlife sanctuaries such as the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, where animals are well-treated and the focus is on conservation and education​.

      3. Jet Ski and Motorbike Rental Scams

      Phuket 2

        Trap: Some rental operators charge exorbitant fees for minor damages or claim pre-existing damages were caused by the renter.

        How to Avoid: Rent from reputable companies with good reviews. Take photos of the vehicle before renting and ensure any pre-existing damage is documented. Use services recommended by hotels or trusted locals​​.

        4. Overpriced Seafood Restaurants

        6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Phuket And How To Avoid Them, Royal Kantoke, set dinner for two, with authentic Thai dishes served in Poppies Restaurant, Koh Samui Thailand.

          Trap: Seafood restaurants in tourist areas often charge inflated prices.

          How to Avoid: Dine at local markets or less touristy areas. Visit places like the Rawai Seafood Market, where you can buy fresh seafood and have it cooked at nearby restaurants for a reasonable fee​.

          5. Phuket Fantasea Show

            Trap: While it’s a popular cultural show, it’s often criticized for being overly commercial and expensive.

            How to Avoid: Opt for more authentic cultural experiences such as visiting local temples or attending smaller, local performances. Check online reviews and forums for alternative recommendations​​.

            6. Overpriced Souvenir Shops

              Trap: Souvenir shops in tourist-heavy areas charge much higher prices for items that can be found elsewhere for less.

              How to Avoid: Shop at local markets like the Phuket Weekend Market or the Banzaan Fresh Market. Look for unique, handmade items and engage with local artisans​.

              How To Avoid Tourist Traps in Phuket

              6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Phuket And How To Avoid Them

              1. Research and Plan Ahead

                Why: Being informed helps you avoid overpriced or low-quality attractions.

                How: Use travel blogs, forums like Reddit, and review sites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews for current and reliable information. Websites like Lonely Planet and Fodor’s Travel offer valuable insights and recommendations​​.

                2. Use Trusted Transportation

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                  Why: Taxis and tuk-tuks can be subject to scams, including overcharging or taking longer routes.

                  How: Use ride-sharing apps like Grab for predictable pricing. If you use local taxis or tuk-tuks, always negotiate the fare before starting the ride and prefer metered taxis​​.

                  3. Shop Smart for Souvenirs

                    Why: Souvenir shops in tourist areas can be overpriced and offer generic items.

                    How: Purchase souvenirs from local markets or government-run stores. Visit places like the Phuket Weekend Market for unique, reasonably priced items. Verify authenticity for higher-end items, especially when buying gems or silk​​.

                    4. Avoid Timeshare and Sales Pitches

                      Why: Timeshare and aggressive sales pitches are common in tourist-heavy areas.

                      How: Politely decline any unsolicited offers for tours, accommodation, or purchases. Research and book services through reputable agencies or online platforms like Viator and GetYourGuide.

                      5. Choose Authentic Dining Options

                      6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Phuket And How To Avoid Them, best thai food, thai dishes, thai food, This is the main dish in Thailand, noodles with seafood or pork and vegetables and we enjoyed it in Riva Arun Bangkok.

                        Why: Restaurants near major attractions often charge high prices for food of lower quality.

                        How: Eat at places recommended by locals or those that are busy with local patrons. Apps like Zomato and TripAdvisor can help you find well-reviewed, reasonably priced restaurants. Enjoy street food from vendors frequented by locals​​.

                        6. Be Cautious with Guides and Tours

                          Why: Unauthorized guides and tour operators might overcharge or provide subpar services.

                          How: Hire only official guides from the government tourism office or book through reputable platforms. Verify credentials and read reviews before booking any guided tour​​.

                          7. Use Official and Secure Payment Methods

                            Why: To avoid overcharging and scams related to payment.

                            How: Use secure and official payment methods. Pay in local currency and use credit cards or digital payment options where possible. Avoid handing over large amounts of cash​​.

                            8. Stay Informed About Local Customs and Scams

                              Why: Understanding local customs can help you avoid misunderstandings and scams.

                              How: Read up on common scams in the areas you plan to visit. Websites like Scam Detector provide information on the latest scams. Respect local customs and dress codes to blend in and avoid standing out as a tourist.

                              9. Visit Less Touristy Areas

                                Why: Popular tourist spots can be crowded and more prone to scams.

                                How: Explore lesser-known destinations and attractions. Smaller towns and rural areas often provide a more authentic experience and are less commercialized​​.

                                10. Verify Accommodation and Booking Information

                                  Why: Some accommodations may not be as advertised or could be part of a scam.

                                  How: Book through reputable websites and verify booking details directly with the hotel. Read recent reviews from other travelers to ensure the place meets your expectations​​.

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