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City/Country: Advice: Saving:
Phuket For those thinking of emigrating to Phuket and especially starting a business, be aware that Phuket is not what it used to be.
Maybe this won't get published, but it's true. Phuket and especially Patong are increasingly dominated by Russians, like Pattaya.
Why does that matter? After all they bring money like everyone else?
The difference is that Russians only seem to like socialising and dealing with other Russians - hotels, tours, taxis, nightclubs, even the girls! Did you ever see Australians, English or American girls dancing in Bangla Road?? Well there are lots of Russian girls doing it now.
Did you ever hear of foreigners saying they wouldn’t stay at a hotel because there were too many Swedish/Aussies/Brits/Yanks? Many hotels and apartments are now becoming seen as Russian or non-Russian.
Buy an apartment in a Russian area and you’ll have a hard time selling it to anyone other than a Russian, but they will only buy from Russian real estate brokers.
Phuket used to be a great melting pot of nationalities and incomes - backpackers to businessmen - who could sit side by side in a bar or restaurant.
Russian culture seems to be different and is causing increasing tension with other foreign cultures and, more importantly (it’s not our country after all), the local Thais.
So from a business perspective, which is why I’m writing, you also have to understand that the customer base in Phuket has changed massively.
Add in the uncontrolled development of endless hotels, leading to polluted water and you can understand why many expats are leaving Phuket for pastures new and not coming back....
If you are Russian or perhaps Chinese, invest in Phuket, if not look elsewhere. If you insist on being near Patong, look at staying in the areas further inland from the beach.
(Phuket Businessman)

 Phuket - Thailand The taxi scam also operates at Phuket airport - make sure you buy a ticket from the official booth with prices fixed for each area and clearly visible. I saw a booth saying taxi and it ended up being one of the private taxi firms. You know you're being ripped off as the 'receipt' if you get one has no price etc. Later found out they charged me double what it should have been. Scam warning
 Phuket - Thailand All the restaurants selling western food in Patong are expensive so a good way to save money is find a hotel with a good buffet breakfast - and make sure you make the most of it! Baan Laimai hotel on beachfront is one, although rooms are pricey. One meal less a day to pay for
 Phuket - Thailand There is night market selling cheap, mainly local food towards the southern end of Patong beach. In a bit from the beachfront. You sit in the middle and chose from various restaurants around  outside. Big savings compared with going to a normal restaurant. Always busy.  Cheapest food in Patong
Phuket - Thailand Be wary of taking a mini bus or bus from the airport. The price is really cheap, but they are known to stop off at tour shops and try to do a hard sell. In the daytime that is annoying. At night it can be scary. As others here have said take an official taxi by buying a ticket inside the terminal. Taxis also try and sell you tours though, but just say you've already booked your tours or better still that you are meeting friends who have everything arranged already. Scam
Phuket - Thailand This is the cheapest hotel I've found on the Patong beachfront. Name is "Quality Resort" and its located at the south end of the beach (near where the small boats park). So if you are looking out to sea it's the left side. I paid 1400 baht per night. Good staff. They will always offer some discount so never accept the first price
 Phuket - Thailand Be careful of jet-ski scams, when they claim you have damaged the jet ski. Always check it over carefully before you go out and even if you don't know what you're looking for pretend you do! (Dave-o)
Scam warning
 Phuket - Thailand A guy was telling me he had a go on one of those boat parachutes (parasol?) that go up and down the beach. Once he got up to full height the local guy that went up with him to operate the parachute starting pestering him about a tip! Hard to say no when you're life is in his hands!!  Scam
 Phuket - Thailand Be very careful of the ladyboys on Bangla road. One wrong look and they can descend on you in a pack. Especially late at night. They use their high heels as weapons and will beat you up and rob you just like a bunch of guys.
Never take the piss out of them, no matter how tempting. if you take a picture they will want money. If they start approaching, move away swiftly into the crowd. With less westerners and more asians visiting Phuket now the ladyboys are making less money - and getting more violent as a result.
 Phuket - Thailand Attention Air Asia flyers: They are moving ALL their flights from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport to the old Don Mueang airport by Oct. 1st (2012)! So if you fly into Bangkok from Europe, USA, Australia you will probably land at Suv. but now need to travel to Don Mueang to fly on to Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai and other places with Air Asia.
Big hassle and unless Don Mueang has improved it's small, hot, old and very little to do. Nok Air was the only airline that stuck with Don Mueang after Suv. was built. I'd estimate travel time between the airports at around 1 hour, but varies depending on traffic. Air Asia are offering the chance to change flights or a credit. It's not been made clear if the flight changes will start from Oct 1 or be finished by Oct 1 so check your ticket carefully from now on to be sure where you should be/are going. (Geoff).
 Check Air Asia tickets
 Phuket - Thailand Taking one of the many cheap buses from Bangkok to the north (Chiang Mai, Laos etc) or south (Phuket, Koh Samui) may seem tempting but its at least an 8-10 hour drive. The drivers are overworked and so often fall asleep or take 'enhancements' (legal or otherwise) to stay awake. Better to take a cheap flight and only 1000-2000 baht more. (Chris, England)  Safety