Getting Around in Phuket is easy. Most of the beach resorts are small enough to walk around and most hotels are located close to the beach, restaurants and shopping areas. If you'd rather not walk, or if your hotel is not on one of the main beaches, your hotel can arrange for a taxi or tuk tuk.
If you want to go exploring the island on your own, there are plenty of places to hire cars (see below) or you can take the local bus. There are two types of buses - the Songtaew - blue open-air buses that run between Phuket Town and the main resorts, and air-conditioned "micro" buses that service the Phuket Town area.
Tuk Tuks in Phuket
For short distances tuk tuks are fine, but their small size makes them uncomfortable for anything longer than about 30 minutes. Tuk tuks used to be cheap, but now in the main resorts like Patong, even short distances cost around 100 Baht. You should state your destination and agree on the price before setting off! Trips further afield, beyond the immediate beach area can cost anything up to 400 Baht - depending on the distance, the weather and your bargaining skills!
Taxis and GrabTaxi App
For transfer from the airport, there's only one authorized "limousine" service that has fixed fares. Expect to pay 100-200 Baht for a shared minibus or up to 500 baht for a private taxi, depending on your destination. There are also metred taxis for hire just outside the airport terminal and around Phuket Town and other centres. Fares are set at 50 Baht for the first two kilometres and 7 Baht per additional kilometre, though for longer distances flat rates may be charged. A 100-Baht surcharge will be levied if departing from the airport.
Air-conditoned car taxis can be hired at all the main resort areas and in Phuket Town, with rates similar to the tuk tuks. Expect to bargain your fare in advance. Many of these are being converted into metred taxis in an island-wide drive to improve the transport system.
Local Buses (Song Taews)
These local open-air buses (painted bright blue for easy recognition) run regularly between 7.00am and 6.00pm and have the destination written in English on the outside of the bus. There are no designated bus stops, which means you can stop them anywhere on the route.
In most areas, your best chance of catching a bus is to go to the main part of the town - sooner or later one will come along. In Patong, your best spot for catching a bus, is along the beach road outside the tourist police box. In Phuket Town, head for the market on Ranong Road (opposite Thai Airways) where you will find Song taews waiting to go to destinations all over the island. Standard cost for trips to/from Phuket Town to/from locations such as Patong, Surin and Kamala is around 15-20 Baht.
Airport Bus Phuket will set out from the main Phuket City Bus Terminal 1 turn left on Phang Nga Rd, pass City Hall, leaving the city via Mae Luan Rd, and stopping to pick up passengers at Surakul Stadium, Panthep Condotown, Big C; Tesco-Lotus, Eravadee Bypass, Boat Lagoon, Heroines' Monument on Thepkrasattri Rd, Thalang City Hall, and at the Nai Yang turnoff from road number 4031 (the old road to the airport), before arriving at the airport.
Bus Stop (apply to both ways)
Phuket City Bus Terminal 1 - Panthep Condo - Surakul Stadium - Big C - Eravadee Bypass - Boat Lagoon - Heroines' Monument - Thalang City Hall - Pearl Village Hotel - Phuket Airport
Driving around Phuket on a motorbike is wonderful - but it's also extremely risky as insurance is usually not included - regardless of what you are told. If you have an accident you may be liable for damages and medical bills or worse, if you are not insured. To make sure, you must have a Thai or an International motorbike licence for make a successful claim on insurance in case of an accident.
There are two types of motorbike generally for hire. Small 50cc Hondas and for more serious bike enthusiasts, "Big Bikes." There are bike shops in Patong that specialise in road cruisers and dirt bikes for those who want something more challenging than the traditional Honda Dream favoured by most tourists and locals alike. Check out the shops along Rat-U-Thit Road in Patong Beach.
A word of warning - take great care on the roads in Thailand. Not only is there an extreme disregard for traffic regulations that leads to unexpected and dangerous behaviour on the roads, but during the rainy season, bike riders often come to grief when damp roads become slippery due to oil leak build-ups. It's probably better if you're an inexperienced rider to forget the bike and go for the safety of a car or jeep.
Great for short distances and available at virtually all hours of the day and night. Look out for "motorbike taxi stands" - groups of motorcyclists on street corners, outside convenience or department stores, or just cruising the streets. They wear red or green vests and will take you anywhere. Do negotiate the price before you get on. Fares depend on the distance and your bargaining skills. Not the safest mode of transport but convenient.
Buses from Phuket to other destinations
Travelling from and to Phuket without spending a fortune on taxi or flights can be challenging. Even finding the necessary information to reach nearby Krabi and Khao Lak isn’t that easy. Here are some prices and schedules to help you orientate yourself. Phuket’s Bus Terminal 2 on Thepkasatri Road leading out of town is relatively new and handles all passengers coming to and leaving the island. As you enter the large building you will find ticket counters to the left and right to specific destinations. Take your time in choosing a window and compare and contrast fares as prices can vary to the same destination depending on the bus type. The bus Terminal is also the place to catch mini-buses to Koh Lanta and Krabi. Prices are non-negotiable.
- Location: On Thepkasattri Road between Mission Hospital and Supercheap shop
- Remarks: Tickets for bus travel can be purchased at the bus station or at one of the many local travel agents.
- Tel: 076 211 977 (Information line in Thai only)