How to Prepare for Your First Trip to Phuket

March 31, 2020
The Nai Harn

Visiting a new place is always exciting. You get to experience a different culture, see beautiful landscapes, meet new people, and try out interesting dishes and activities. However, regardless of where you’re going, every trip needs planning. This is especially true for places you’ll be visiting for the first time.

By planning beforehand, you’ll prevent any anxiety of feeling lost in a foreign land. If it is your first time traveling to Phuket, then not to worry! In this article, we’ve rounded up the best tips on what to remember for your first trip:

1. Book a hotel before you go

Phuket has around 40 beaches, so you are spoiled for choice when it comes to where to stay while you are here. Some hotels are right at the coastline, while others are tucked inland. When deciding where to stay in Phuket, it helps to know the characteristics of each area.

For example, Patong is the most crowded area of Phuket and is where plenty of tourists congregate. This is the commercial hub of the island, with rows upon rows of bars and restaurants, and with the conveniences of a downtown district.

Meanwhile, Karon and Kata are easygoing and have a chiller night scene. The Nai Harn and other hotels in the area are known for their laidback luxury. On the other hand, those who like history will be charmed by Phuket Old Town, with its Sino-Portuguese architecture and boutiques.

2. Make sure you have Baht

Nearly all establishments accept cash over card payments. Tuk-tuks and taxis also accept cash and not cards. Fortunately, Thailand gives good exchange rates for major currencies. If you are from the United States, the United Kingdom, a European Union member country, Australia, or Canada, most likely you will get a good deal for your currency exchange.

If you won’t be coming from any of these countries, it is good to have your money exchanged into the U.S. Dollars first. In Thailand, you have several options for converting your money into Thai Baht. Popular methods are through an exchange kiosk or at a bank. With either, you get your money right away, with very small transaction fees.

Credit cards are not yet widely accepted in Phuket, though some places have started to accept some. Shopping malls, big restaurants, and convenience stores are likely to accept your card. Some places helpfully place stickers of accepted cards at the front door of their establishment, but not every place does this. When in doubt, ask before ordering.

3. Pack for a tropical climate

Phuket and the rest of Thailand have warm weather all throughout the year, so you should pack clothes that are lightweight and made of breathable fabric. Traditionally, Thai culture expects women to dress modestly. For a beach town, though, the rules aren’t as strict, and as such it’s alright to wear sleeveless tops, shorts, and t-shirts when exploring.

Bikinis and bathing suits are alright when you are at the beach or pool, but not when you are sightseeing. If you want to eat, even at a poolside restaurant, you must still throw a tunic or a cover-up over your swimwear.

Make sure you pack comfortable shoes like sling or velcro-strapped flat sandals, walking shoes, or wedge sandals. If you are going out for a dressy dinner, ballet flats or boat shoes are a good option. You will be on dusty or sandy roads most of the time, so it is best to stick to hardy, dark footwear.


Your first trip to Phuket will go well if you are able to plan. Remember to book your hotel beforehand, plan your activities so you don’t need to whip out your card at the last minute, and pack for the right climate and your planned itinerary.

If you are looking for a hotel in Phuket, book a stay at The Nai Harn. Our bright, breezy architecture beautifully complements the mountain and ocean views you will have in our guest rooms. Take a virtual tour through our site or contact us today to learn more.