Getting around in Phuket, what you need to know

If you are planning a holiday in Phuket and want to know how your going to get around and see the island following is some really useful information. Remember, Phuket is relatively small so getting around is not a big hassle. If you are staying (like most people) in the tourist parts then getting to most places is really within walking distance, I’m talking about Patong Beach and Karon Beach areas.

 
In fact, if you are staying in these built up areas you probably don’t need to travel far as all the best restaurants, bars, shopping and the beach is close by your villa. Having said that, if you are keen to go exploring and see other parts of the island or perhaps visit friends who might be staying in other area, such as a Patong Beach Villa –  getting around is super easy and very cheap. Remember this is Thailand so overall prices for travelling are a hell of a lot cheaper than back home in Australia. But, in many cases you will have to bargain to get the price down to an acceptable level.

1) THE LOCAL BUS

You can take the local bus and there are 2 types of these. Firstly, you have the blue coloured open air buses or the Songtaew that run frequently between Phuket Town and the main tourist areas and resorts OR you have the more comfortable air conditioned buses that service basically the Phuket Town area. Either way they are very reliable and very cheap. These buses run the whole day from 7am to 6pm and make it easy for English speaking tourists with destinations all written in plain English.

If your staying in Patong the best place to catch the bus is along the beachfront area. And in Phuket Town head towards the market on Ranong Road. Standard bus fares are between 15-20 baht which is really cheap at less than $1 to get anywhere from Phuket Town to most resorts.

buses in phuket

2) TUKS TUKS IN PHUKET

These tuks tuks are all over Phuket and are probably the most popular form of transport. The only downside is they are small and if your sitting in the back of one of these for more than 25 minutes it can get a bit uncomfortable. They are relatively cheap but they are becoming a little more expensive as tourist numbers grow. Best to negotiate a price before stepping inside one of these. Because you are a tourist chances are they are going to try to get as much money as they can out of you, so be prepared to bargain a bit. Some short trips around the Patong area are known to have costs upwards of 100 Baht which is very pricey– so be warned!

the local bus in phuket

3) TAXIS

If your coming from the airport to the resort areas of Phuket you can expect to pay around 200 Baht for a minibus/tuk tuk but for a private taxi the journey is roughly 500 baht. Most taxis can be hired from your hotel or villa from the main areas of Phuket with rates surprisingly similar to those of tuk tuks – BUT be prepared to bargain before you start the journey.

getting around in phuket taxis phuket

4) AIRPORT BUS

This will take you from the airport to all main resort area. It is reliable and costs 90 baht from the airport to the main bus terminal in Phuket Town. The trip will take roughly 90 minutes. If you have just arrived in Phuket International Airport and want to take the airport bus you will need to exit the terminal and look for the ‘airport bus’ sign.

airport bus phuket

5) MOTORBIKE RENTAL

Most tourists that come to Phuket end up renting a motorbike due to the sheer convenience of it. You don’t have to worry about getting ripped off by taxi drivers or bargaining every time you get into a tuk tuk. This does however come with a massive downside and that is it’s very dangerous. All you have to do is look around and you will see heaps of tourists that bear the scars of a previous Phuket motor bike accident.

They are everywhere PLUS most of the bikes are NOT insured so you end up having to pay a huge repair bill that will put a real dampener on your holiday.

There are 2 bikes for hire in Phuket a small (yet ample) 50cc and for those willing to risk it there are lager bikes that can go up to 250cc. There are many bike rental shops in the Patong area. Due to the ease of renting a bike (it’s not like back home in Australia) you get all types of people hiring them, some with little previous riding experience. These people will share the roads with you so what ever you do PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION – especially in the wet.

motor bike hire phuket

6) MOTORBIKE TAXIS

Fast, convenient, available everywhere and at all times of the day. Keep an eye out for ‘motor bike taxi’ stands where these bikes will pull up very quickly looking for customers. During slower periods there are usually many of these guys hanging around waiting for customers. Make sure you agree on the price beforehand. You will notice them by their red or green vests – they have to wear these. The price of the ride with depend strictly on the distance you intend to go, how busy they are and of course your bargaining ability. Take care when on the back of a bike as it is really dangerous.

motorbike taxis in phuket