I ended up in Phuket Town with no plan whatsoever, which turned out to be an awesome experience! It has a great vibe, even in these strange times. There is great coffee/tea, food, architecture, art, and handcrafted goods. There’s a little bit of a tourist feel in certain parts, but it’s not overwhelming, and the charm more than makes up for it.
There is one thing I really wish was different though; taxis. Some locals told me there’s a city fee of 200 baht (a bit over US $6.00) for all rides. It makes short trips completely ridiculous and is a pretty steep premium for a typically inexpensive means of travel in Thailand; not to mention going solo, like me, definitely doesn’t help. Luckily there are Phothong buses (trucks with seating in the bed), regular buses, or motorbike taxis for the more adventurous. The Phothongs and buses are a bit more difficult to maneuver but well worth it for the price; think 40 baht (US $1.30) vs 400 baht (US $13.00). Knowing where and when is the tough part with these, but just ask drivers or information desks and you’ll figure out what you need to. You’ll likely have a lot of other options calling out to you, especially when you’re close. The motorbike drivers, taxis, or tuk-tuk are all willing to make things a lot easier for a price. I’m not saying to never talk to those guys though, sometimes they’ll do deals and can be entertaining, but if the Phothongs or buses go to your desired destination, they will be much cheaper; and they go all over the Phuket island.
This was a 6-night stay…
- Accommodation: see the breakdown below – $191.72*
- Getting around locally – $24.59
- Living expenses; food and groceries – $109.22
- Activities – $0
- Mobile phone/data – $24.03
- Medical insurance = $24.77**
- Total $374.33 / 6 nights = $62.39 per
*Breakdown of separate hotel reservations:
Transportation to and from varies too much, so I’ve left it out along with most incidental/one-time personal costs; I left Bangkok without a flight or hotel booking so things cost a little more than I could have made them. The flight cost me $68.40 for a last-minute booking at the airport. All other standard day to day expenses are included to give an idea of how much things cost in the area. So groceries will sometimes include basic personal care items (i.e. toothpaste, deodorant, contact solution/drops, etc.).
** Medical insurance is a bit different than usual for this visit to Thailand. Due to the required hospital stay even if showing no symptoms, I went with a company that specifically states they will cover the charges if this were to happen. I paid one price to cover 90 days initially, but I’m breaking it out per day here.
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