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Travelling to and from Phuket International Airport

Travelling to and from Phuket International Airport

Travelling to and from Phuket International Airport

Here is a blog to make travelling to and from Phuket International Airport a little easier for you.

Your options for getting from the airport to your hotel include;

Phuket Smart bus – Only THB 100 but be prepared for a long trip & only does the western side of Phuket.
Shared minivan – Cheap option, however will be a long drive depending on number of stops.
Grab Taxi – The Grab app is one of the cheapest ways to get taxi’s in Phuket. Grab is now available at Phuket airport and lets you see the rates before booking.
Metered Taxi – If you can get a metered taxi (make sure the meter is on & running, not fixed rate) it will be the second cheapest taxi option.
Private Taxi – One of the better options however higher rate.
Private Limousine – Most expensive option, note that these are often not a limousine in the western sense, they may be modified Toyota Camrys.

Arrival

When you first arrive in Phuket and have cleared customs and immigration you may now wonder how we get to your resort. Believe it or not this is a question we get asked quite regularly.

Flying Scuba Diving Aussie Divers Phuket

Flying Scuba Diving Aussie Divers Phuket

Many people mistakenly believe that Phuket is a small island, but in reality, it spans an area of 539 square kilometers, stretching 48 kilometers from north to south and 21 kilometers from east to west. Despite its size, Phuket is densely populated, with over 10 million tourists visiting annually and approximately 1,000,000 permanent residents.

The island boasts numerous resorts, with popular destinations like Patong Beach, Kata Beach, and Karon Beach located to the south of the airport, each approximately an hour’s transfer away for the airport. For instance, Aussie Divers Phuket’s main office in Chalong sits roughly 50 kilometers from the airport, a good 60-90 minute drive. However, resorts to the north, such as Bang Tao, offer shorter transfer times of around 20 minutes, but much longer travel times for the diving day trips.

These transfer times are subject to local traffic conditions and may vary.

Visitors have several transportation options from the international airport to their resort, including private taxis, minivans, and public buses. Notably, Phuket lacks a railway or subway system.

For each option we will give you the pros and cons:

Phuket Smart Bus

Pros: Cheapest Option, onboard Wi-Fi

Cons: Longest journey, set timetable, only transfers to western side of Phuket

The Phuket Smart Bus, offering an economical yet extensive transportation option, provides an intriguing journey from beach to beach.

Phuket Smartbus Phuket Airport Scuba Diving

Phuket Smartbus Phuket Airport Scuba Diving

Departing from Phuket Airport, it travels all the way to Rawai Beach and makes stops at 15 stations along the scenic west coast, including popular destinations like Bangtao Beach, Surin Beach, Kamala, Patong Beach, Karon, and Kata Beach before reaching Rawai.

With its comfortable and affordable services, the Phuket Smart Bus offers a convenient mode of transportation for exploring the coastline. For travelers seeking this option, the bus can be found in front of the Phuket Domestic Terminal at the airport.

Shared minivan

Pros: Cheap Option, comfortable minivans

Cons: May have to wait until enough people for 1 bus, Long journey depending on number of other stops

The shared minivan is around 200-300 baht per person which is very cheap for a transfer to your resort. This cheap price however comes at a price. You will be sharing the minivan with other people from other resorts.

Minibus Taxi Phuket Airport Scuba Diving

Minibus Taxi Phuket Airport Scuba Diving

First you will all be taken to the minivan office, to check your hotel location and drop off point. They often also try to sell additional tours etc. whilst at the office. This takes time out of your day and increases the time it takes to get to your resort.

The driver will then arrange the hotels in order and drop off accordingly. You may be the first to get dropped off which is fantastic or alternatively you could be the last and we have heard of it taking over 3 hours to get to a customer’s hotel. We have also heard stories of the drivers taking customers to their friend’s shops and restaurants to try and convince them to buy food and gifts?

Grab Taxi

Pros: Cheapest taxi option, private car, can review pricing before booking on the app

Cons: Maybe a delay in waiting for a driver, need to pre-install the Grab Thailand phone app

In Phuket, where the airport is located far from the city Grab is a good alternative to taxi’s. Prior to Grab being allowed to operate here, travellers would have no choice but to take an airport taxi, which lacked price transparency. There is now an option to book a ride at Grab’s new official pickup zone at Phuket airport, where the fare is visible to drivers and passengers ahead of time, giving travellers a peace of mind.

Grab Taxi Phuket Airport Scuba Diving

Grab Taxi Phuket Airport Scuba Diving

Grab has a designated pickup point at the Phuket Airport. This is located in front of the Domestic terminal so if arriving at the international terminal you will need to follow the signs to domestic.

Metered Taxi

Pros: Convenient Option, shortest wait

Cons: Driver will speak very little English, may try for a fixed rate (don’t do this, make sure the meter is on and running before leaving airport)

The safest and easiest taxi is the metered taxis. Metered taxi counters are located outside of both domestic and international terminals at Phuket airport. There will be a small desk with an attendant that will be able to speak English (maybe limited english).

Metered Taxi Phuket Scuba Diving

Metered Taxi Phuket Scuba Diving

You will explain to the attendant where you would like to go and they will explain it to your allocated driver. These are metered taxi, the driver will try to negotiate a fixed price. DO NOT do this. Make sure the driver turns the meter on and leaves it on before leaving the airport. A trip to Patong should be around THB 700.

Private Taxi

Pros: Easiest Option, shortest wait, available 24/7, many private taxi desks to negotiate with

Cons: Driver will speak very little English, fixed price

With a private taxi then this will take you directly from the airport to your hotel and is considerably quicker than the minivan and public buses. This is the quickest way get to your hotel. The drivers can take short cuts and are not set to go a designated route. They can adjust for roadworks, accidents, etc. Obviously with the private taxi the price is going to be higher than a public bus however most taxis are now on a meter which is clear for all to see.

Taxi No Meter Phuket Thailand Scuba Diving

Taxi No Meter Phuket Thailand Scuba Diving

The general price is around THB 800 to Patong however they will try to get more. We have heard some unsuspecting tourist paying excess of THB 2,000 to Patong. Other resorts such as Kata and Karon are going to be more expensive as they are further south than Patong whereas the resorts to the north will obviously be cheaper.

Private Limousine

Prior to leaving the airport terminal you may be offered a limousine taxi. This is an overpriced way of getting to your hotel and are often way more expensive that a metered taxi. The term limousine may not be an accurate one s a lot of the limousines are Toyota Camrys. There may be some slightly larger cars but rarely what you would consider a limousine in the western world.

Approximate Taxi Prices

*Note these are approximate prices you maybe able to negotiate a better rate. Travel times are estimates and can change depending on traffic and time of day

Limousine Taxi

Prior to leaving the airport terminal you may be offered a limousine taxi. This is an overpriced way of getting to your hotel and are often way more expensive that a metered taxi. The term limousine may not be an accurate one s a lot of the limousines are Toyota Camrys. There may be some slightly larger cars but rarely what you would consider a limousine in the western world.

If you have any further questions please contact Aussie Divers Phuket

By Darren Gaspari

Proud owner and active PADI Gold Course Director of Aussie Divers Phuket, a professional and awarded PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Scuba Diving Centre. Member of the PADI Advisory Board for the eLearning modules 2019 and 2020.

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