Millions of tourists return to Phuket each year for the island’s warm climate and beautiful beaches. But, what is the best mode of transport to be getting around Phuket? Well, luckily there are a number of different ways whether the purpose is as simple as an airport transfer or a day sightseeing.
To help you know exactly what options there are available to you, we’re going to be taking a look at the most common types of transport.
The TukTuk is a common sight in Phuket. Generally, you’ll find them in the largest concentrations in Patong. They are small 4-wheeled vehicles which carry around 5 passengers.
The typical fee is 200 Baht for any location in Patong, but is agreed beforehand. The fee should not be charged per passenger, as this is a scam. Some drivers may also attempt to take you to specific shops where they can receive petrol vouchers. So if you are not interested in doing some extra shopping along the way then just let the driver know you only want to go to your destination.
One of the oldest and most well-known buses is the song-thaew, known as a blue bus. The blue bus is very popular with local Thai people and foreign tourists will often want to experience a ride during their visit.
Destinations are usually written on the side of the bus in English and fares start at around 30 Baht. These buses normally take passengers from a beach location to Phuket Town, they do not normally run from beach to beach. The pickup points can be difficult to find so instead you will need to flag one down in the street or speak with a local to find out where the bus usually stops. Once aboard you will need to ring the bell to get off the bus as there’s no marked stopping points.
Phuket Smart Bus
The Phuket smart bus is a bus service which takes people from the airport and stops at most well known beach areas. You can catch it from Phuket International Airport and will stop at the following locations, Thalang, Baan Khian, Cherngtalay, Surin, Kamala, Patong, Karon, Kata, and finally to Rawai and then return back again.
The fee for the bus can range from 50 to 170 Baht. This is a fairly inexpensive cost, considering the comfort, and children under 7 can travel for free if they present a valid passport. You will also have access to free WiFi throughout your trip.
You will find more information on the service here: phuketsmartbus.com
Like most places around the world, you can get a taxi from the airport. Unlike a lot of places, however, the metered taxi, which can be disguised by its yellow striped colour, is uncommon everywhere else. You will find them located in the airport waiting for customers, and there is a 100 Baht airport surcharge. However these metered taxis will normally be the cheapest taxi option for getting you to your destination from the airport.
The other type of taxi is the unmetered private taxis which are pretty easy to find everywhere on the island. These can be recognized by special yellow stickers located on the side of the doors. You will need to check the fee with the driver before you take a ride.
There are a few ways to get a taxi, most people will flag them down from the roadside, use the Grab app to book a ride, or book from their hotel.
Another popular way to get around especially in the more popular areas such as Patong, Kata / Karon, and Phuket Town is by motorbike taxi. The official drivers wear colored vests that have printed numbers on the back. Motorbike taxis are ideal for short distances and they will normally honk their horn as they drive past you to pick up new passengers. Prices start at 20 Baht, if you haggle right, so it’s not bad value.
Car, Moped and Bike Rentals
If you’re planning on doing a lot of travel, then renting a car or bike would be the best option. You can rent either a car, moped or bigger bikes at various prices all across Phuket. Daily rentals can start as little as 200 Baht (mopeds) and go up to over 1,000 Baht (cars). These prices will increase during high season months. It’s also worth checking out reputable online car rental companies. With these companies you can easily book online before you come and prices are normally reasonable.
For local rental companies be prepared to haggle with the company to get the results you need especially if you are renting for a month or longer. At the same time, you should also ensure you get an adequate level of insurance. Finally with any rental it is advised to carry a valid driving licence just in case you come across a police check-point.