Walk around Patong’s Jungceylon Shopping Mall in a bikini? Just don’t do it in modest Thailand. We could probably come up with 50 Do’s and Don’ts for the naïve Phuket tourist, but let’s start with five:
5. Do – Get Off the Beach – Hanging out at your resort is a wasted Thailand vacation. Phuket is one of the most beautiful places in the world with a dozen incredible beaches. See it all, experience it and get away from your resort. Everything is half the price, once you get off the beach. Eat food from the street vendors. Try the locally owned little restaurants. See the place. Go for it!
4. Don’t – Rent a Motorbike – Phuket roads are the most dangerous in the world. There is a constant parade of injuries coming into Phuket’s emergency rooms. You’ll see wounded, limping casualties with bloody bandages everywhere. Don’t think about coming to Phuket to learn how to drive a motorbike. Unless you’re an experienced motorbike driver, don’t take the chance of ruining your vacation with a motorbike accident. If you want to cheat death, then at least wear a helmet! And be careful! Drive uber defensively.
3. Do – Find the Local Fresh Markets – In Kamala Beach alone, we have markets on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. These are the markets the locals go to buy fresh food and supplies. There are also t-shirts and everything else tourists buy at half the price of the shops around the resorts. If you can’t find it at the market, you don’t need it.
2. Do – Ignore the Touts – Walking around the tourist shops, you’re constantly assaulted. Tuk tuk? Buy a suit? Have a drink? Massage? The touts are relentless. The secret is to completely ignore them. Pretend you’re deaf and don’t respond. Don’t even look at them. You need to develop the 500 mile vacant stare. That’s when you ignore them and continue to look off into the far distance. For the very polite, try the words for no thank you in Thai, “Mi Ow Krap” (kap for women). That usually doesn’t work. Try it again in a louder voice. The 500 mile vacant stare works best.
1. Don’t – Fall in Love – This last one is for the guys. We might be prejudiced, but Thai girls are the most beautiful in the world and so accommodating! They can be so sweet, but use your head. Be careful with money and don’t do anything foolish, like buy them gold. We see guys fall in love with bar girls, all the time. Remember, they don’t love you, but they do love taking money from the poor misinformed, walking ATMs. They’re really, really good at it. It’s their job. By all means enjoy your stay in the Land of Smiles(LOS), just don’t get emotionally involved with a Thai girl, you met on vacation. Long distance relationships don’t work.
And have fun, you’re in most beautiful place in the world, LOS!