Tips and Information on Phuket
WEATHER IN PHUKET
Phuket has a tropical monsoonal climate, warm all year round. The hottest months are from April to May and from September to October. The September-October period is also the wettest thanks to the South-West monsoon. Heavy rains during this period cause minor disruptions and it’s rare to see several days of bad weather. Phuket weather is mostly mild because of its position in the Andaman Sea. The island avoids the majority of typhoons and tropical storms which occasionally batter Hong Kong and the Philippines.
The hottest months is April through May with temperatures ranging from 27˚C to 36˚C. Humidity is high and occasional short, thundery showers bring little relief from the heat.
Locals enjoy visiting in June, July and August. The weather is generally fine, and the island’s favourite attractions remain uncrowded. The usual pattern is brief, heavy showers with plenty sunshine between downpours. Temperatures range between 20˚C to 33˚C.
PASSPORT & VISA REQUIREMENTS
South Africans do not require visas for Thailand but make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Travellers to Phuket do not normally need to get vaccinated. However, if you plan to travel to parts of Thailand outside of the tourist areas and major towns and cities, vaccinations such as hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus, tuberculosis, rabies and Japanese encephalitis immunisations are advisable. You should consult your doctor at least 6 weeks prior to travel.
See communicable diseases for more information.
All visitors to Phuket should be adequately covered by health/travel insurance, which includes medical evacuation back to your home country. Most of the private hospitals have contractual arrangements with the major health insurance companies and if you need hospitalization, they will arrange direct billing on your behalf.
Water: Do not drink from the taps. Always use bottled water.
Ice: Always made with clean water. Perfectly safe.
Swimming: The sea can be very rough during low season (June-August), with very dangerous rip tides. Do not enter the sea if a red flag is flying.
Mosquitos: Dengue Fever does occur in Phuket but is not common. Malaria is rare to the point of non-existence. Avoid getting bitten by using insect repellent and covering up at night.
Drugs: The penalties for all drug-related offences are very severe.
Driving: Be very careful on the roads – accidents are common.
Emergency: In case of an emergency, dial 191 for police, 1155 for tourist police and 1669 for ambulance.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS
The Thai Baht is the currency of Thailand. The currency code for Baht is THB and the currency symbol is ฿.
Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted cards, followed by American Express and Japan Card Bureau (JCB). Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, tour agencies as well as certain restaurants and shops. However, you will need cash for markets, street stalls and when paying for transport.
CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE
Temples: Dress appropriately – cover your shoulders and legs at least to the knee. Remove your shoes and hat before entering temple buildings.
Buddha: Images of Buddha are highly regarded in Thailand. Purchasing statues and getting Buddhist tattoos (if you are not Buddhist) is disrespectful, and sometimes even illegal.
Royalty: The Thai royal family is also very respected and public criticism of them is illegal. The national anthem is played on the radio at 08:00 and 18:00 and before movies in the cinema, where you will be expected to stand for it.
Feet: Gesturing with your feet is considered very rude.
Buddha Days: Alcohol cannot be purchased on certain religious holidays, commonly referred to as “Buddha Days”.
Alcohol Sale: Convenience stores will only sell alcohol between 11:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 – 24:00. Entertainment venues will sell it at any time.
The sea can be very rough during low season (June-August), with very dangerous rip tides. Do not enter the sea if a red flag is flying.
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