IF you’re coming from Bangkok or any other big cities, your arrival in Phuket may be followed by this very simple question: “How do I get around on the island?” Indeed, there are no subways or trains you could hop on, so I thought today is the perfect day to share with you the different ways of getting around when exploring the Pearl of Andaman.
The Airport Bus was recently introduced by the authorities of Phuket to ease road traffic and offers an affordable alternative to taxis. The bus goes from Phuket International Airport all the way down south to Phuket Town, with 14 stops conveniently placed along the way. With a price ranging from 30 to 100 baht per way, depending on your destination, the Airport Bus is one of the cheapest options to reach your destination.
Those blue open-air buses have regular routes between the main towns and villages in Phuket. A ride typically costs between 20 to 30 baht, depending on the destination. Using this option will certainly make you feel like a local: however, bear in mind that the schedule for those buses can be erratic at best, and you may need to wait 20 to 30 minutes should you miss the first ride.
Thailand is famous worldwide for its tuk-tuk. However, the machines used in Phuket are quite different from the ones you can observe in Bangkok. Usually of red color, they look like miniature versions of the Song Teaw described above. It is one of the fastest ways to travel from A to B, and tuk-tuks are relatively safe to use if you are OK with the loud music coming from the tuned sound system they come up with. Ensure to always negotiate the fare before jumping in, as there is no such thing as tuk-tuk meter on the island.
While they come with much more comfort than their tuk-tuk counterparts, taxis on the island are known to be quite expensive. You can find two categories of taxis in Phuket; the ones that use a meter and the ones that don’t. Should you choose the latter, always negotiate the price in advance and don’t be afraid to lower the offer by a few hundred: bargaining is a normal part of the process. As an alternative way, you can summon a taxi using the GrabTaxi application or other local online services.
Rent your own vehicle
You will find plenty of shops renting cars and motorbike in any towns and major touristic destinations. The prices are affordable, ranging from 250 baht a day for a motorbike to 800-1,000 baht a day for a car, and this option offers you the freedom to choose when and where you would like to go. Please note that you do need a Thai or international driving license to rent a vehicle in Thailand and always check if the vehicle you are renting is fully covered by an insurance. For car rentals, using the international car rental companies located at the airport is usually a safe bet.
Now that you know all the secrets about transportation in Phuket, we hope to see you soon under the sun and as always, drive safe when on the roads!
Top: A woman enjoying a moment atop a car in Phuket.
First inset: Airport buses were recently introduced here and are much cheaper than taxis.
Second inset: Cheap though they are, the schedules of Song Taews are pretty erratic.
Third inset: A tourist with a Phuket tuk-tuk driver.
Fourth inset: Taxis are quite expensive in Phuket so remember to bargain.
Fifth inset: Renting a car or a motorbike is a good option for exploring Phuket.
By Nattha Thepbamrung