One of the main questions we receive regarding Phuket is how effectively can we move from point A to point B. It is common knowledge that transportation in Phuket is rather chaotic; however, they are plenty of ways to move across the island once you know which ones they are and how to catch them.
The Airport Bus was recently introduced by the government 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 THB 30 to THB 100 per way, depending on your destination, the Airport Bus is one of the cheapest options to reach your destination.
The Phuket Smart Bus is the latest addition in terms of transportation on the island. Operating daily from 6:00 am to 8:15 pm, the bus leaves from the airport to go all the way to Rawai, turning right at the Heroines Monument to visit Surin Beach, Kamala, Patong, Karon and Kata. The name Smart Bus has a real meaning, as the bus offers complimentary Wi-Fi and USB ports as well. The maximum fare (for a trip from Phuket International Airport to Rawai) will cost you THB 170.
Thailand is famous worldwide for its tuk-tuk. However, the machines used in Phuket are quite different from the one you can observe in Bangkok. Usually of red color, they look like miniature versions of the Song Teaw described below. 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.
One of the cheapest transportation options in Phuket, those blue open-air buses have regular routes between the main cities and villages in Phuket. A ride typically costs between THB 20 to THB 30, 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.
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.
You will find plenty of shops renting cars and motorbike in any cities and major touristic destinations. The prices are affordable, ranging from THB 250 a day for a motorbike to THB 800-1000 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.