Public transport in Phuket
City buses in Phuket
They can have soft seats, but they are most often traditional for Phuket songthaews which translates as “two rows”. There is no glass in the windows, so you’ll have enough air.
Here are these famous rows. Remember that songthaews are very high — it’s difficult to drag a suitcase inside. So you’d better have some workout!Ivan Tannenberg Mind The Travel Blog
warns the readers about a problem they can come across using a songthaew in Phuket:
They are quite cheap but can get uncomfortably crowded, with some passengers having to stand on rear platforms.
Pink songthaews run within Phuket-town and blue ones can get you to popular beaches. There are no bus stops — you have to wave your hand to a driver. Freedom!Matthew Biggins Biggi &
explains that it’s not that perfect as it seems:
Sadly, this freedom isn’t without its drawbacks. In order to have a 100% personalized bus stop model, the hitchhikers’ public transit system has to make tradeoffs. The tradeoff? No reliable timetable.
Buses run from 06:00 till 18:00. A ticket costs 30–40 THB. There are no passes in Phuket.
Blue buses run from Ranong-road street to popular beaches:
- Phuket — Kata — Karon. You can also use this bus to get to the main mall of the island — Central Festival, Bird Park, and Big Buddha.
- Phuket — Patong. Runs through Central Festival and Tiger Kingdom Zoo. Take notice: when you go to Patong, the bus runs on the second line from the sea, and when you go back — along the beach.
- Phuket — Bangtao — Surin — Kamala. Take notice: when you leave the town, the bus runs on the second line from the sea, and when you go back — along the beach.
- Phuket — Rawai — Nai Harn. You can get to Phuket Zoo.
There are 3 routes:
- N1 — drives by Central Festival;
- N2 — can get you from the old bus terminal to the new one;
- N3 — you can get to Koh Sirey.
A pink bus ticket costs 25 THB, regardless of distance.
The authors of easydaythailand.blogspot recommend to talk to a bus conductor:
The lady on my bus that collected the fare, all of 25 baht per person is extremely helpful and will be happy to help you find places in Phuket Town, she has a map that shows the actual bus route through town and knows where most things are in town. She speaks good English and is very pleasant and more than willing to help you out, even pointing out specific stops along the way if you have asked her to.
Phuket Smart Bus
Phuket Smart Bus is the best way to move between beaches. They call it smart because you can learn its schedule and location on the website. Smart Bus has the most precise and correct timetable in Phuket. All the buses are modern and comfortable. They have Wi-Fi and air conditioners. The latter facility sometimes turns to be a drawback — Thai like turning it on full power.
Until recently, you had to buy a Rabbit card to pay for a trip, but starting from December 2018, drivers accept cash. Tickets cost 50–170 THB.Willy Thuan Phuket 101 Blog
tells the readers, how to travel at night:
Phuket Smart Bus that goes between beaches will run every hour until 2 am between Kata – Karon – Patong – Kamala for 150 baht per person.
Jamie Monk, the author of jamiesphuketblog, complains about taxi fares:
These days, I gotta say that in my opinion taxi fares are nuts. 400 Baht from Karon to Patong, just 7 – 8 km? Or 200 Baht from one end of Karon beach to the other (2km)? Or 1000 Baht return trip to the Big Buddha? 600 Baht to Phuket Town? Too high maybe?
The most popular taxi app on the island is Grab Taxi. Uber doesn’t work here.
Bgause, a reddit user, advises how to save money using a taxi:
If a taxi driver quotes you a price, stick to this 50% rule. Usually, though, you should expect the taxi driver to turn on the meter, so you don’t have to haggle. Just tell the driver where you want to go and let him nod in agreement…if he quotes a price, start haggling.
If you for some crazy reason decided to rent a moped to drive around Phuket, read our expert’s opinion first.Alex and Lisa блог careergappers
tells the readers to think twice:
Chandan & Stuti Pirates Travelogue
Thailand ranks highest in the world for motorbike accident deaths, with 5,500 victims on average each year, nearly half of which are below the age of 20. Hiring a moped there is hideously cheap, and you don’t even need a driving license.
give 5 important rules that you should follow when renting a moped in Phuket:
- It’s always best to rent bikes from the hotels where you are staying.I would recommend doing a research before you arrive. Confirm with the hotel if they have their own rental.
- If not, consult the recent posts on Trip Advisor forums related to renting a bike in Phuket from external vendors.
- If you still decide not to follow advice 1 and 2 and save 100 THB on the rental. It’s fine. The risks are there but then so many tourists are already doing it. My only strong recommendation, in that case, would be to never ever deposit your passport for collateral.
- If by any chance you crash, or you get caught in a scam, call the police or let them call one if they insist. You might have to pay anyway but you will be safe with a police officer involved.
- Finally ride safely. The traffic is bad and the roads are congested inside the city.
Here you can rent a moped online. Insurance is included in the price.
The car is also a questionable choice. The traffic is very heavy in Phuket and the price of rental per day is quite high (starts from 1000 TBH).Alyson Long World Travel Family Travel Blog
says that there are lots of benefits of hiring a car:
Self driving is so much easier than lugging back packs and children from guest house, to bus, to hotel, to another bus etc. You can see the parts of Thailand many don’t. You can drive right to your hotel, not a bus stop a mile away and then have to find a rip-off tuk tuk. Stop any time, to look at something, eat, stretch your legs, take photographs etc.
Hire a car online.
You can forget all the troubles and get around Phuket like a king. There are two ways to do that:
- Individual transfer:
You don’t have to haggle: you can find the price on the website.
Don’t worry that the price may change at the end of the way, — after booking it is fixed.
All cars are new and have a conditioner. You can change the temperature if you want.
A driver will help you to put your luggage in a trunk.
You will go to your hotel as soon as you are ready, without a long wait.
- Car rental with a driver is beneficial, indeed, if your route includes several stops in a row.
Special transport modes
Tuk-tuk in Phuket
It’s the most authentic mode of transport in Phuket. It’s good for fun trips for short distances. It costs as much as an ordinary taxi and looks like a toy van. It has a capacity of 6–8 passengers.
Stu Brown, the author of travelbud, gives the rates:
The rates are usually anywhere from 80 to 150 Baht and if you brush up on your Thai, you are less likely to be ripped off by the Tuk Tuk drivers.
Perfect for those who are afraid of driving. Only one person can take a motorbike taxi. If you insist, they will allow you to take it with your сompanion. But remember they do it because they don’t care about safety.
The price starts at 20 THB.
You’ll find here hundreds of long-tail boats. You can rent one of them and go to some neighboring island to have a real lazy day.
A round trip will cost you 700–1500 THB.
Not very practical transport on the island.
Maic, a user of tripadvisor, doesn’t recommend using a bicycle:
From the way other vehicles use the road (motorcycles, trucks, cars, pickups..etc) I don’t think I would dare to ride a bike in Phuket. However, I do know some triathletes like to train in Phuket, but these guys are generally tough and spend a lot of time riding on roads.
Phuket transport hubs
There are two bus terminals in the town:
- New Terminal. You can get to all the big cities of Thailand from here: Bangkok, Pattaya, Samui, Krabi, etc.
- Old Terminal. Buses run to suburbs from here. The only interesting destination is Khao Lak Resort.
There is no railway station in Phuket.
Read how to get from Phuket Airport to the town here.
Public transport is not the best choice in Phuket, especially if you are in a hurry. But there’re lots of other options on the island, and now you know about them.