Tourist traps are nothing new. They occur all over the world, including Phuket (Thailand). You see, there are always people looking to scam tourists and trap them into paying extra. In order to prepare you better for your next Phuket visit, here are 6 tourist traps that you should keep an out for:
1) The old “you damaged the jet ski” scam.
This is one that pops up all over the place. The tourist (you – in this case) rents a jet ski. After using it, the person or company that you rented it from claims you damaged it and must pay for the repairs. However, there is no damage. This a tourist trap that appears again and again. In order to avoid falling prey to this scam, never use an important document, such as your passport, as collateral. You also should examine the jet ski closely both before and after you ride it. If you see any dents or dings, point them out before you take possession of it. Lastly, don’t be afraid and give in. The person might say that you need to pay up or go to jail, but that really isn’t the case at all.
2) Be careful which beaches you visit.
Visiting some of the beaches in Phuket can be a nightmare. Some beaches, like Patong Beach, are incredibly crowded. If you’re here during the peak hours, then you’ll be surrounded by other tourists, and probably won’t have much room to stretch out. On top of that, you can’t guarantee that those other tourists will be on their best behavior, adding to your misery. If you really want peace and quiet, rather be off the beaten path and stick with beaches like Kata and Bangtao. Both are private, away from the heavily touristed areas, and will provide you with a quiet patch of sand in which to sunbathe.
3) Seek out local culture.
When the other tourists flock the beaches and bars in Phuket, you can get away from them by seeking out some local culture. For example, there are a number of festivals that take place in Phuket every year. Some of these include the Chao Le Boat Floating Festival, the Nine Emporer Gods Festival, and the Songkran Festival. These are all an important part of the local culture that many tourists miss out on. You can also go to restaurants frequented by locals (not other tourists) and seek out authentic experiences. This will definitely get you away from the populated tourist traps around Phuket.
4) Stop by the historical sites.
Many of the tourists in Phuket are there for one reason – they want to spend some time on the beach. If you really want to get away from it all, and away from them, visit some of the historical locations in Phuket. If you aren’t sure where to go, ask one of the front desk employees at your hotel or resort. They’re locals, so they know about the history of their area and can steer you in the right direction. You’ll learn quite a bit about the area this way. Some suggestions include Old Phuket Town, which is worth visiting for the old mansions and other classically built structures. You’ll enjoy gawking at their magnificence. Also, there are plenty of museums, shops, and restaurants in this part of town. Soi Rommanee is a must-see as well. This street is filled with vintage buildings.
5) Use caution when taking a taxi.
Many taxi drivers are honest and just want to do their jobs properly. There’s always those few who tend to ruin things for everyone else. When you get into a taxi, check to ensure that the meter is properly running, in fact, make sure that there’s a meter! When you’re at the airport, only get into an official taxi, not one being run by a random, unaffiliated person. Lastly, never reveal too much information about yourself and do not try to negotiate a flat fee. Instead, go with what the working meter says.
6) Spend some time out on the water.
When the beaches are too crowded, take to the sea. The waters around Phuket are beautiful, and if you get out on them early, then you won’t have to deal with other boaters or scuba divers. In fact, if one part of the water gets too crowded, you can always have your ship’s captain move you to a different location. This is particularly true if you want to spend some time fishing. Busy waters mean less fish for you to catch.