Getting around Phuket is fairly easy because of the fact that there is lots of ways to move through the island. Both public and private transport options are available. So, exploring this beautiful island shouldn’t be a problem. Taxis, Tuk-Tuks, Buses or Boats? All these options are available for you. Whether you are alone or not, you can easily hire any of these transport options.
There are some open-air buses called Songtaew that normally ferry people from Phuket Town and the main resorts as well as air-conditioned minibuses. Good thing is that most resorts are small enough for one to just walk around. Plus, the popular hotels and resorts are close to the beach, shopping malls and restaurants. So, you see how getting around in Phuket can be pretty easy?
Depending on where you are staying and where you are headed to, the good question should be ‘What is the best way to get around Phuket’? If you are a newbie in Phuket, it can be pretty scary. Lucky for you, Tuk-Tuks are just everywhere any time of day or night. Unless you are on a tight budget or a planning to move from one corner of Phuket to another, you need not worry yourself too much about getting around Phuket.
In this article, we are going to show you ways that can make you explore Phuket easily. Let’s hope that this is comprehensive enough to put you at ease and make you look forward to your upcoming holiday in Phuket.
The Tuk-Tuks of Phuket can be found all over. Much as you can hail one anywhere, the larger clusters are usually in Patong. Most of the ones in Patong Beach come installed with some blaring music systems and colourful lights like those you might see in night clubs. Young people really love this kind as they get to enjoy the music as they explore Phuket.
The Tuk-Tuks are a bit pricey so they are perfect for short distances. Plus, given their small size, they can be pretty uncomfortable for longer distances. Make sure to check the prices displayed on boards at the beaches so that you don’t get overcharged for a ride. You can be charged 100 baht for a 5-minute ride to as high as 400 baht depending on distance. So, when getting around in Phuket by Tuk-Tuk, the price will depend on distance, weather, and your bargaining skills. So, make sure you agree on the price beforehand.
Taxis and Car rentals
If you have just landed at Phuket International Airport, you will find metred taxis outside the airport terminals. There are lots more at tourist areas like Patong and Phuket Town. The metered ones charge 50 baht for the first 2 km and 8 baht for every additional km. Some taxis do charge a flat rate for longer distances.
The best and most convenient way to get a taxi is to install the Grab app onto your smartphone. If you find those unmetered taxis, make sure you agree on the price before getting around Phuket. Some quote higher prices for tourists so get ready to haggle.
As for car rentals, make sure you rent from a reputable international company. You can do this before you arrive at Phuket. Renting from the international companies is more expensive than renting from local companies since they come covered with proper primary insurance. If you can get full coverage to avoid unnecessary headaches in case of anything.
Motorbike Taxis and Rentals
Like the Tuk-Tuks, motorbikes are readily available. For taxis, the fares start at 20 baht. The riders usually were red or green vests with a white number written at the back. Much as they can be a little dangerous, they are very convenient for short trips when in a hurry.
As for the rentals, you need to be careful when riding the bikes as they come without insurance. So, in case of an accident when getting around in Phuket, you will need to cater for your own hospital bills. Make sure you are a qualified rider as the roads can be pretty tricky to maneuverer during the rainy seasons. Also watch out for the other riders as some of them disregard traffic rules.
There are different kinds of buses for getting around Phuket. From the airport, there are the airport buses that follow a set route, stopping at various bus stops. Take your time to compare bus prices as tickets do vary based on the company, season and seat.
There are modern air-conditioned buses that operate within Phuket city alone as they don’t reach other parts of the island. They have a fixed fare of 10 baht and designated routes and bus stops.
The Songtaew (Thailand’s open-air buses), painted light blue so that one can spot them easily. At least the destinations are written outside the buses in English. You can flag one from the roadside as there are no designated bus stops for the Songtaew. These open-air buses operate between 7am to 6pm. In Patong, they pass the main beach road.
There are also smart buses that hail from beach to beach from Phuket Airport to Rawai Beach. Much as they are relatively cheap with aircon, they take more time as they have designated bus stops. You need to purchase something they call a ‘Rabbit Card’ when boarding the bus which can be refilled at shops within the island.
Boats and Ferries
If you want to visit nearby Islands for fishing or water sports, you can hire boats. Getting around in Phuket by boat, you can hire boats from Chalong Pier and Rawai. The fares are determined by the number of passengers, distance, the time it takes to get to your destination as well as the type of vessel. Longtail boats or speedboats? Longtail boats are way cheaper than speedboats. Much as they are cheaper, they are slower and less comfy. That said, the traditional Thai sea-going experience is better. Point of caution: Make sure they provide life jackets before boarding.
As for ferries, they are the perfect alternative to speedboats if you want to visit nearby islands and neighbouring places like as Krabi. It’s more convenient to book a ticket by going through a tour agent. This includes to and fro transfer from the pier. They get busier in December and January as these are the peak months. So, you better book in advance to avoid disappointments as well as know which destinations they operate.
Have fun exploring Phuket!