Thailand, Phuket: Local Information Updates

Comments sent to noonsite by visiting cruisers with notes of interest for yachts visiting Phuket.

Published 5 years ago

Posted 7th February 2015

Banking: There are numerous money exchangers in the tourist areas of Phuket. An ATM is seldom more than 50 meters away. However, all the ATMs in Thailand are a total rip-off. The minimum flat fee for using an ATM varies from $5 to $7 USD, REGARDLESS of the amount of the withdrawal. AND, there is the traditional 1 per cent foreign transaction fee placed on top of the local bank flat fee. So, a $200 USD withdrawal might cost you $9 USD. Most businesses tack on a 7 per cent value added tax for their goods and/or services. VAT tax refunds are only given to tourist who leaves Thailand via plane and has their original receipts and the related goods in their hands at the airport. “Duty-free yacht in transit” does NOT apply to imports into Thailand. Duty may run as high as 100% of the value of the imported item, so make sure you stock up in the Langkawi, Malaysia duty-free port prior to visiting Phuket. As in many parts of the world, double the estimated or quoted delivery time for all items sent to Phuket, or within Thailand.

WI-FI: Realistically if you are sitting in any cafe or bar, you will get free wi-fi. Cheap data SIMS cards are available every few meters.

Language: Almost all business and government employees speak their local Thai language. If the local spends much time with tourists he/she speaks a little English. Many of the boat industry managers are ex-pats and speak English.

Other Notes

There are about a hundred private mooring balls near the Chalong Bay Pier. Extra caution should be used at night when travelling in these waters.

Several of the large navigational buoys in the Chalong Bay is NOT noted on navigation charts (paper or electronic). And, some of the large concrete dolphin navigational aids in the middle of Chalong Bay are not lite at night.

Dozens of sightseeing tourist’s vessels speed through the Chalong Bay anchorage during the 0800-1000 and 1630-1730 rush hours. The resulting chop can throw boats in all directions.

Chalong Bay is NOT a place most people would swim, and the waters will challenge the best of bottom paints. Jellyfish are numerous in the anchorage.

You can NOT drink the water from the tap on Phuket Island, with exceptions being a few high-end hotels and marinas.

When it comes to groceries, you name it and Phuket has it. Large box stores and malls are common and stocked with just about everything.

Motor scooters rent for about 250 Baht per day. Cars rent for about 1,000 Baht ($30 USD) per day. Caution: Hundreds of people are killed every year on motorcycles in Phuket. A taxi ride to the international airport from the south end of the island is about 1,000 Baht

Jason Trautz, SV Yolo

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