We have all had to sacrifice foreign travel since the start of the pandemic and with the arrival of the vaccine, we are all expecting things to return to normal in 2021. Phuket is targeted as the prime tourist destination under the ‘sandbox’ scheme, which will allow fully vaccinated tourists to spend a few weeks in tropical Phuket. With more than 30 million foreign visitors in 2019, Thailand is the number one holiday destination, with the majority heading for the tropical paradise beaches in the south of Thailand and if you have already made your booking to spend a few weeks on the paradise island of Phuket, here is our ultimate checklist to ensure that nothing gets overlooked.
- Sun protection – If you come from a European climate and your skin complexion is fair, you will need to take special care when in Thailand. The tropical sun can quickly burn delicate skin and with the cool ocean breeze, you won’t notice until it is too late. Pack all your sun protection stuff and don’t forget to wear polarised sunglasses with a UV400 protection.
- Snorkelling – Of course, any holiday in Phuket wouldn’t be complete without exploring the amazing marine life and with top quality flippers and a diving mask from Decathlon, you are good to go! Phi Phi Island is the top spot and you can charter a luxury yacht for a few days and visit all the top snorkeling spots and if you are lucky, you can swim with whale sharks and bottle-nose dolphins. Resist the temptation to buy your snorkeling gear in Phuket, as you will pay through the nose!
- Electrical Universal Adapter – You can order these online and Thailand uses a two-pin plug (no earth), so make sure you have adaptors for all your digital devices. A quick Google search will tell you what you need to know regarding Thai electricity and you can prepare accordingly.
- Pack Lightly – Thailand enjoys a tropical climate, with the rainy season from May to the end of October. If you are travelling during monsoon season, don’t fret; it rains hard for an hour or two in the afternoon and in no time, the sun is out and everything is dry. Light cotton T-Shirts and shorts are the order of the day and you can buy in Phuket at very cheap prices. Regarding footwear, a pair of flip-flops and a pair of trainers is all you need and if you are taking any medication, take enough to cover you for the trip and if it includes prescription drugs, you might have to declare on entry into the country. Click here for reasons to spend the winter in Thailand.
- Thai Money – The Thai baht is the only currency traders will accept and resist the temptation to change a lot at the airport, there are better rates with the exchange booths in Phuket. Make sure the notes are in good condition when changing dollars or pounds into Thai baht and familiarise yourself with the various denominations; grey = 1,000, purple = 500, red = 100, blue = 50 and green, which is the 20 baht note. It is up to you if you tip and while haggling in markets is fine, remember that these people are poor and work hard for the little they receive.
- Government Restrictions – There will likely be restrictions due to the pandemic and it is important that you follow the guidelines you receive when applying for the visa. You can check the current entry requirements for Thailand here, plus keep abreast of the current Covid-19 status, which can change very quickly. You might be required to show proof of Covid-19 insurance with cover no less than $100k and an online search will take you to an insurance provider and you can be covered instantly and the provider will send you the documentation to show when applying for the visa.
Thailand is one of the safest countries in the world and the people are warm and hospitable, so you will have a great time; just be aware of any travel restrictions that might be in place. It is always a good idea to do some online research prior to arriving in a foreign country, as this will enrich the experience.