The Pros And Cons Of Choosing The Island Of Phuket As Your Holiday Destination
After living in Phuket for more than a decade, I know the island quite well, and there are many things that I miss since relocating to Chiang Mai. That being said, I did choose to move away from the island due to some of the negative aspects of living there. Since I began writing in 2010, I have been criticized by my fellow bloggers for writing negative stories about Phuket, focusing on issues such as violent crime and unexplained deaths. I know my fellow bloggers are focused on shamelessly promoting Phuket, and absolutely ignoring any issues that might have a negative impact on tourism, after all, they want to sell tours, trips and hotel bookings.
While 99% of what you read is simply a load of false promotional advertising, that tells half truths in order to entice you to book a hotel, or take a day trip, I am far more concerned about telling it like it is. Despite the fact that I often write about the downside of traveling to Phuket, I can also admit that the island does have a lot to offer, so I have decided to take the time to look at it objectively, and weigh the positives and the negatives of choosing Phuket as your holiday destination.
I am often asked by travelers: "should we go to Phuket"? The answer always starts with: "well what are you looking for"? If you are traveling on a budget, trying to live off 20 bucks per day, then Phuket definitely isn't for you. If you want to party, enjoy the nightlife night in and night out, then there is no better place to go. There is a reason why the number of people visiting Phuket grows substantially year after year. They come to party, to relax on some of the world's most exotic beaches, eat in world class restaurants, maybe even enjoy para-sailing or jet-skis in the afternoon.
Phuket often gets a lot of bad press for being a haven for sex tourism, however it is a big island, and outside of Patong Beach and Bangla Road, you will see very little of this. The beach resorts of Kata, Karon, Nai Harn are all suitable for couples and families that don't want to be bothered by noisy bars full of sex tourists. Overall, most of the negative things that people associate with Phuket tend to happen in Patong, and therefore you can avoid a lot of hassle by staying away from Patong. The problem is, if you are there for the nightlife, you won't be able to stay away from Patong. I have provided a list of pros and cons below, in order to give people the opportunity to make an informed decision about their holiday, to decide if Phuket is right for them.
1 - Nightlife: When it comes to bars, nightclubs and party atmosphere, it is pretty hard to beat Phuket.
2 - Beaches: Aside from the big beach resorts with para-sailing, jet-skis and wall to wall people, there are dozens of smaller, more pristine beaches that are far less crowded.
3 - Food: Nowhere in Thailand will you find the variety and quality of foreign and local cuisine.
4 - Easy access: Many people fly direct from overseas to Phuket International Airport, as apposed to having to take buses or ferries to some of the other islands.
5 - Entertainment: Aside from nightlife, there are many things to do in Phuket, so many activities, tours and shows.
6 - Shopping: Whatever you want to buy, it will surely be available in Phuket. There are several giant shopping centers, and no shortage of street vendors and outdoor markets.
7 - Gateway - Phuket is a gateway to smaller islands like Phi Phi and Koh Lanta.
1 - Cost: Of all the places you could travel to in Southeast Asia, Phuket is one of the most expensive. Hotels, food and entertainment will cost almost twice as much as other popular destinations in Thailand and around Asia.
2 - Transportation: The lack of public transportation is a serious issue in Phuket, taxis are outrageously expensive, and they are controlled by local mafia that has a reputation for violence.
3 - Safety Concerns: Driving a motorbike in Phuket could be one of the most dangerous things you could do, and if that doesn't scare you, then the staggering amount of questionable suicides and unexplained deaths surely will.
4 - Corruption: The local police force are notorious for extorting tourists any chance they get, while this happens all over Asia, it happens more frequently in Phuket.
5 - Crowds: During the high season (Nov - Mar), the beaches are wall to wall with people, and everywhere you go you are fighting crowds of tourists.
7 - Scams: Tourists are constantly getting scammed by con men, jet-ski rental operators and various other scams.