Patong Beach, Phuket
Phuket (pronounced Poo-get) is an island on the Andaman Sea on the western side of Thailand. It is a popular beach destination. Phuket Town was elevated to city status in 2004 so you will see it referred by both names.
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships could anchor and tender to a temporary pier at the south end of Patong (removed during rainy season May-Oct) or dock at Ao Makham Deep Sea Port approximately five miles south of Phuket City. Kalim Beach on the north end of Patong has also been used as a tender pier. If a shuttle is not provided at Ao Makam, you will need to negotiate with a taxi driver to get you where you want to go. The taxi mafia had blockaded traffic to the port in the past when shuttle buses were provided for passengers. Port schedule here http://cntr.ctic.co.th/pkport/data/pk_Booking.html
South Patong Beach Pier
South Patong Pier in Google Streetview
Thailand's currency is the Thai Baht (THB). ATM's tend to have a high service fee (200 THB) for foreign cards. http://www.squidoo.com/bangkok-atm-and-money-exchangers Tipping is not expected though small change is typically left (less than 20 baht) when dining at a restaurant. You can give a taxi driver a small tip for good service and for not overcharging you.
If you are in Phuket City, you can take a bus to Patong beach from the markets on Ranong Road opposite the Thai airways office. Fares are between 25-35 baht and the journey takes 20-30 minutes. Buses run only until approximately 6pm. To get back to Phuket City, you can flag a bus down by the Tourist Police Box on Patong Beach Road (Thaweewong Road) at the end of Bangla Road. Otherwise try to get a metered taxi. General rule is to avoid parked taxis and try to get one off the street but away from touristy areas.
Avoid taking the mini truck tuk-tuks since they will either overcharge or scam you. Also beware of tuk-tuk drivers telling you sites are closed and friendly locals giving advice. You will probably ending up wasting your day in a scam to sell you jewellry. Jet ski scams are also common where renters are charged for pre-existing damage.
Search hotels in Phuket here
There aren't any sights in Phuket Town so you should make your way to the beach.
Shopping & Restaurants
There may be a small market set up at the deep sea port when cruise ships are docked. Both Phuket City and Patong have plenty of shops and restaurants. In Patong, Jungceylon is a large modern mall opened in 2006. Banzaan Fresh Market is nearby and transforms into a night market in the evening. In Phuket Town, the main shopping area is by Ocean Mall and To Rung Night Market beside the McDonalds. Big malls just outside of Phuket City are Big C and Central Festival. Phuket Weekend (night) market is located on the western edge of Phuket City on Wirat Hong Yok Rd.
There is a post office in Patong beside McDonalds on the main beach road. In Phuket Town, there is a post office on Montri Rd (at Thalang Rd).
Try cafes and restaurants for WiFi.
Maps (right-click to save)
Phuket Weather Forecast
Suggested Port Guides