When it comes to getting around Phuket, there is a trio of significant challenges that travelers often encounter:
- Vast Island Size: Phuket’s expansive land area means that distances should never be underestimated. Navigating from point A to point B can take longer than anticipated due to the island’s size.
- Traffic Troubles: The Island’s bustling roads often lead to extensive traffic congestion, causing frustratingly long delays on certain routes.
- Taxi Tariffs: Brace yourself for sky-high taxi fares! Rumors of a taxi monopoly linger, substantiated by exorbitant pricing that may suggest a less-than-ideal scenario.
Unfortunately, a well-developed public transportation system is largely absent on Phuket. While some limited bus routes, particularly those heading towards Phuket Town, do exist, this remains a rare exception.
Consequently, if you’re keen on exploring beyond your hotel’s vicinity, taking matters into your own hands is your best bet. Here are a couple of options to consider:
Option 1: Scooter Rental on Phuket Opting for a scooter rental stands as the most economical and convenient means of traversing the island. Scooters are available for around 250 Baht per day, granting you the freedom to cruise from place to place. Fuel can be obtained from roadside vendors, typically costing around 40 Baht per liter.
However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the risks associated with scooter riding, especially in Thailand where traffic-related incidents are a grim reality. We’ve witnessed accidents firsthand on Phuket’s roads, a stark reminder of the hazards. Despite this, we still choose to rent scooters in Thailand, but we take certain precautions to enhance safety:
- Always Wear a Helmet: No exceptions. Your safety takes precedence, even if the allure of the wind in your hair beckons. Investing in a quality helmet is wise, as the ones available locally might not meet optimal standards.
- Mind the Road Conditions: Sand on the road can pose a hazard, particularly around bends. Maintain vigilance and adjust your speed accordingly.
- Limit Night Riding: We make an effort to avoid riding after dark due to diminished visibility and potential encounters with intoxicated drivers.
- Watch the Exhaust: Be cautious not to accidentally touch the hot exhaust. While protective covers are often present, they can sometimes be fragile or absent.
Ultimately, while scooter rentals offer an efficient way to explore Phuket, prudence and safety are paramount. By adhering to these guidelines, you can enjoy your journey while minimizing potential risks.
Let’s Talk Traffic in Phuket
A heads-up: you’ll be driving on the left side of the road in Thailand, which might initially catch you off guard. Don’t fret, though; adjusting to left-hand traffic is easier than you think. Now, when it comes to the roads of Phuket, there’s no denying that traffic is a significant presence. However, the intensity varies between the main thoroughfares and the quieter byways. Regardless of the route you take, brace yourself for a noticeable number of cars and minivans sharing the road with you.
International Driver’s License: A Must-Have? For renting a scooter, an international driver’s license isn’t a mandatory requirement. Your regular driver’s license is perfectly acceptable to rental companies. But (and here’s the catch), if you happen to get stopped by traffic police, they might request an international driver’s license. I’ll touch on this topic more in a moment.
Class A License: To Have or Not to Have? Here’s the scoop: you can typically rent a scooter with a standard Class B license, which is what most folks have for driving cars. Rental companies generally aren’t overly strict about this detail. However, the police view it differently, and not having the proper license could lead to a fine (stay tuned for more info on that). And here’s where it gets serious: if you find yourself in an accident and it’s revealed that you were riding without the correct legal license, your insurance coverage might come into question.
The Infamous Police Checks: Fact or Fiction? Yes, indeed. Regular police checks are a reality in Phuket, and tourists are often in their sights. You might find this hard to believe, but no more than ten minutes after renting a scooter, we were waved down by road control. While these checks do occur when a genuine offense is committed (which seems fair), they’re also set up to nab unsuspecting tourists. Here are the top offenses they’re vigilant about:
Helmet: Non-negotiable – helmets are a must!
If you’re fined, the standard penalty is around 500 Baht per offense. Interestingly enough, once you’ve paid the fine, you’re good to go. And guess what? They even hand you a little “receipt” that basically serves as your golden ticket to ride legally for a few more days. So, if you encounter another police check, just show them your fine receipt, and you’ll be on your way, no hassle.
Stay informed and vigilant and you’ll navigate Phuket’s roads like a pro!
What Else Should You Keep in Mind?
When renting a scooter, it’s common for rental shops to ask for your passport as a deposit – just a heads-up on that. Also, before you set off, take a moment to ensure all the lights are in working order. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to discover they’re not functioning when you’re out for an evening meal. We learned this the hard way and want to spare you the surprise. Another tip: snap a quick video or photos of any existing scratches or dents on the scooter. This way, you’re not held responsible for any additional damage at the end of your rental.
Last but not least, keep a calm perspective. Fear and scooter riding aren’t the best companions. While it’s essential to be mindful of potential risks, we don’t want to magnify the concerns surrounding scooter rides in Thailand. Truth is, we’ve rented scooters countless times during our visits to Thailand, and we always opt for a reputable rental company like Bikago. As Southeast Asia’s largest motorcycle and scooter rental company, they offer a wide array of well-maintained Yamaha, Honda, and Vespa models for a safe and enjoyable riding experience.
Bikago now operates from 11 locations, providing customers with convenient options for motorbike and scooter rentals, along with connectivity solutions and more. With Bikago – the best scooter rental Phuket airport , you can take your scooter from the airport.
Alternative Choices for Getting Around Phuket
Option 2: Car Rental in Phuket Undoubtedly, driving a car offers a safer alternative to scooter riding. Renting a car on Phuket is possible, albeit pricier than a scooter rental. On average, expect to shell out around 1,500 Baht per day for an ordinary car. We’ve personally rented cars in Thailand and can vouch for the hassle-free experience. Plus, if you’re traveling with a slightly larger group or kids, a car proves to be the more comfortable choice. We tend to book our rental cars through Sunny Cars and have consistently had positive encounters with this company.
Option 3: Private Driver in Phuket For those planning sporadic day trips, hiring a car with a private driver might be a viable option. Naturally, this choice comes with a higher price tag compared to renting a car. Prices typically start around 85 Euros for 4 hours and 130 Euros for an 8-hour duration.
Exploring Phuket comes with its range of choices; just pick the one that aligns best with your preferences and needs. Safe travels!