- Thousands of people are injured or killed yearly on Phuket’s highways.
- Take special care on the roads from Patong to Karon and from Kata to Rawai/Hat Nai Han: we've had reports of late-night motorbike muggings and stabbings.
- Sunbathing topless is a big no-no in Thailand for women.
- Drownings occur every year off Phuket's beaches; take care.
- Drug possession can result in a year or more of prison. Drug smuggling carries considerably higher penalties, including execution.
- Jet-ski scams plague Phuket; inspect before hiring.
- There have been serious boat accidents; ensure your boat has safety/emergency equipment; if in doubt, find another operator.
During the May–October monsoon, large waves and fierce undertows can make swimming dangerous. Dozens of drownings occur every year on Phuket’s beaches, especially Laem Singh, Kamala, Karon and Patong. Heed the red flags signalling serious rips, which are the number one danger for visitors to Phuket's beaches.
At any time of year, keep an eye out for jet skis when you're swimming. Although the Phuket governor declared jet skis illegal in 1997 and they were re-banned again in 2014, enforcement of the rule is another issue. Long-tail boats can also be hazardous as they come in close to shore; do not expect the boatman to see you!
Jet Ski Scams
If you're hiring a jet ski, especially on Hat Patong, be aware of one of Phuket's most well-publicised scams. There are endless reports of unscrupulous jet-ski owners who, upon your return, claim you've caused damage to the watercraft, when in fact it was pre-existing. Things can turn nasty: tourists constantly report extortion attempts, physical threats and intervention by police, often allegedly involved in the scam. To avoid these unpleasant encounters, insist on inspecting the jet ski prior to use, particularly underneath and along the sides, and take photos.