As with any destination, there are always safety concerns to consider before planning a trip. But let’s clear one thing up right off the bat: Phuket is safe for travelers.
That being said, it’s always important to practice common sense and awareness while traveling anywhere.
Ready to travel again? Don’t go without travel insurance.
I recommend SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. I’ve been using it since 2019 and I can assure you it’s the perfect solution for nomads like you and me.
In this guide, we’ll talk about safety tips for solo travelers, female travelers, and expats. We’ll cover the safest areas in Phuket and a few things to avoid (common scams included).
- Phuket is a safe destination for travelers.
- It is safe to travel to Phuket right now.
- Practice common sense and awareness when traveling in Phuket.
Is Phuket Safe For Tourists?
The short answer is yes, Phuket is safe for tourists. While there may be some petty crimes like pickpocketing or scams, overall the crime rate in Phuket is low. In fact, Thailand is a safe destination.
Of course, as with any destination, it’s always important to practice common sense and awareness while traveling.
Keep an eye on valuable belongings, don’t walk alone at night in unfamiliar areas, and be aware of common scams (more on that below).
Is Phuket Safe To Travel Now?
Phuket is safe to travel to now. Like in most countries, Covid-19 restrictions are not an issue anymore.
In addition, Phuket was one of the first destinations to reopen in Thailand for international tourism.
Apart from Covid, there’s no main reason why it would be unsafe to travel to Phuket now.
Why Is Phuket “Dangerous”?
Why does Phuket have a reputation for being dangerous?
In 2004, Phuket was hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami, which caused significant devastation and loss of life. While Phuket has fully recovered and is a safe destination now, this tragic event may still impact its reputation.
Planning your upcoming adventures? Travel by bus! (It’s cheap!)
Another reason could be because of the party atmosphere in popular tourist areas like Patong Beach. These areas can attract rowdy tourists, which can give the perception that Phuket is a dangerous destination.
For example, you might see news of people dying on Patong Beach (overdose, and so on), but this doesn’t reflect the overall safety of Phuket as a destination.
Finally, if you travel during the rainy season, you may experience floods in some regions of Phuket. that said, this is a weather-related issue – so do your research before booking your trip to Phuket.
The Safest Areas In Phuket
Phuket has many safe areas, but the safest and most popular areas for tourists are Phuket Town, Rawai Beach, Kamala, and Kata.
Now, it’s worth researching a bit more to find out where you should stay. Depending on your interest, you may like certain areas more than others.
Below you’ll find a summary of the safest areas in Phuket:
- Phuket Town: This is the main city, with a mix of old and modern buildings, markets, restaurants, and bars. It’s a popular area for expats and tourists.
- Rawai Beach: This beach is quieter and less crowded, with a local vibe. It’s popular for its seafood restaurants and laid-back atmosphere. It’s the best spot for digital nomads and expats.
- Kamala: This area has a tranquil atmosphere and beautiful beaches. It’s popular for families and couples.
- Kata: This is a more popular and touristy area, with resorts and beach clubs. It’s popular for its nightlife and water sports.
- Patong: This is the most popular and touristy area in Phuket, known for its nightlife and bustling atmosphere. It’s popular with young travelers and party-goers. Although, this is not the safest area in Phuket.
Things To Avoid In Phuket
Apart from practicing common sense and awareness, there are a few things to avoid in Phuket.
First, watch out for common scams. These include the following:
- Jet-ski rental scams
- Scooter rental scams
- Scooter insurance scams
- Taxi and tuk-tuk drivers overcharging
- Scratch card scam
- Drunk bill scams
Now, let’s take a look at a few so that you can understand how to avoid them.
Renting jet skis can be a fun activity in Phuket, but there are some scam operators who may damage the jet skis and then ask for excessive payments for “damages”.
To avoid this, research reputable rental companies and check with locals or other travelers for recommendations. We always check reviews on Google Maps, whether it’s for a jet-ski rental or a scooter rental.
When renting a scooter in Phuket, the owner might try to sell you insurance. They say it’s scooter insurance, but it usually covers medical insurance only. That said, if your scooter is damaged, you’ll still need to pay for the damages even if you had purchased “scooter insurance”.
Finally, lots of scams happen around Patong Beach.
Imagine this: You go to the bar, and you drink with locals while enjoying the infamous Ping-Pong show. At the end of the night, you get the bill, including all the drinks from the people you talked to and, potentially, extras. Annoying, right?
Avoid this by only ordering and paying for your own drinks right away, and be aware of people who may try to take advantage of you, especially while drunk.
Overall, just use common sense and be cautious in Phuket, as with any destination. And remember that the majority of the locals are kind and genuine – it’s just a tiny minority that may try to scam tourists.
So, you may be wondering what not to do in Phuket to avoid being scammed. The answer is simple: trust your gut, do your research, and stick with reputable companies or recommendations from locals or other travelers.
Driving In Phuket
Driving in Phuket can be quite chaotic, so it’s best to avoid driving if don’t feel comfortable or if you never drove a scooter in Thailand before. However, if you do choose to drive, watch out for motorbikes and tuk-tuks.
The driving rules in Asia are often bent, and they can be totally different from what you are used to.
It’s also important to have a valid driver’s license and international driving permit. There are police checks in Phuket, and if you don’t have an international driving license, you could get a fine of up to TBH 1000.
Phuket For Solo Travelers
Phuket can be a great destination for solo travelers, however, it’s important to use caution and common sense while exploring.
Avoid walking alone at night, especially in Patong Beach, and always trust your gut feeling if something feels off. Stick to well-lit and busy areas, and consider staying in a hotel or hostel with 24-hour security.
Also, be careful of drinks being spiked, especially in clubs and bars. Only accept drinks from people you trust, and never leave your drink unattended.
Overall, solo travel in Phuket can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience as long as you stay safe and aware of your surroundings. And don’t forget to have fun and meet new people – Phuket is a great destination for solo travelers looking to experience the beauty and culture of Thailand.
Phuket For Female Travelers
Phuket is a great destination for female travelers too, but it’s essential to use caution, especially if you’re traveling solo.
In general, Thailand has a good reputation for solo female travelers, but like anywhere in the world, there have been cases of sexual harassment or abuse.
We recommend you stick to the safest areas and that you avoid walking or driving alone at night. If you must, pick busy streets with enough lighting and avoid empty streets.
As Thailand is quite a conservative country, we recommend you dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention. Obviously, it’s a hot country, so this might influence the choice of clothing, but keep that in mind if you feel uncomfortable.
I suggest bringing a sarong or a jacket along so that you can cover up if you’re feeling uncomfortable (when you drive at night, for example).
That said, I spent several months in Thailand over the years, and my experience was positive.
It’s important to note that I have two female friends who didn’t share the same luck (both women were groped when driving alone at night).
Phuket For Digital Nomads And Expats
Phuket is a popular destination for digital nomads and expats, thanks to its beautiful beaches, affordable cost of living, and developing coworking scenes.
Whether you’re just passing by, working and living in Phuket for a few months, or even settling down permanently, safety in Phuket remains the same.
Follow the same safety tips as mentioned above, and also take precautions with your belongings. While most locals are kind and genuine, there have been reported cases of theft in popular tourist areas such as Patong Beach.
Always keep an eye on your valuables, and consider getting travel insurance for peace of mind.
Extra Safety Tips
Now that we’ve covered a few essential safety tips for Phuket, here are some additional recommendations to keep in mind:
- Know your limits when it comes to drinking alcohol and using drugs. These substances can impair judgment and make you more vulnerable to dangerous situations.
- Use mosquito repellent and take necessary precautions to avoid mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever.
- Be respectful of Thai culture and customs, including being mindful of religious sites and dressing modestly.
- In the event of a natural disaster (such as a tsunami), follow all safety guidelines from local authorities.
- When it comes to street food, be cautious and use common sense. Stick to busy stalls with fresh ingredients, and avoid food that’s been sitting out for a long time. After all, you don’t want to ruin your holiday with digestive issues in Thailand, do you?
Phuket Travel Insurance
As a traveler, it’s always important to have adequate travel insurance. In case of an emergency or unexpected event, having insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection.
Personally, I’ve been using SafetyWing for several years now, and I’ve had great experiences with them.
So do yourself a favor and don’t leave home without travel insurance – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Final Thoughts On Safety In Phuket
While Phuket can be a safe destination for travelers, it’s important to exercise caution and common sense. It was said multiple times, but always trust your gut and listen to any warnings from locals or fellow travelers.
And remember, safety isn’t just about avoiding danger – it’s also about respecting local culture and customs. So have a fantastic time in Phuket, but do so responsibly and respectfully.
Are you traveling to Phuket soon? Read one of the following guides: