Time zone: Thailand (GMT+7)
Best to visit: November – April
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world, and for good reason. Surrounded by the Andaman Sea, Thailand’s Phuket island has something to offer to anyone: from remote white-sand beaches to bustling nightlife, from local delicacies to water sports.
And all these are found on the same island, within your reach. So, if Phuket Thailand is a destination on your bucket list, we are here to help you reach all attractions by public transport. We have gathered information and created a complete guide of how to go around Phuket Thailand by public transportation.
Phuket Thailand bus transportation
You can take the public buses from Phuket Old Town to all the main beaches of the island, and it is going to be a fun ride in the open-sided buses with the wind blowing through your hair. The best part of this public transportation is that it is cheap, and also reliable, but the downside is that there are no bus routes to link the beach cities.
You can use the public bus to go to a beach and then take another transportation mean to another town beach, such as songthaews, but we’ll offer more details about them in the following rows.
Another benefit of the local buses in Phuket, Thailand, is the fact that you can find them from early morning to late afternoon, so you have lots of options. However, make sure you check the bus schedule, as you might find taxi drivers or tuk-tuk operators telling you the bus hours are over, and you might end up paying a more expensive ride.
Songthaew in Phuket
Songthaew in Phuket are pickup trucks converted for transportation, they are reconditioned and have benches added for passengers to sit. They also have a cover roof to keep shade and protect passengers.
When it comes to songthaews, it’s easy to know their destination as it is usually displayed on them. However, this transportation means has no scheduled stops, and the drive will just stop along the way to pick up or let people go down wherever he is asked to.
To get the songthaew, you just have to sit at the side of the road and wave when one with the desired destination approaches, it’s that simple and fun. However, songthaews will not help you travel around the island from one beach to another, just as in the case of buses.
Tip: Always have a map or a GPS with you if you travel by this transportation means in Phuket, as you might be dropped off in the middle of the city and not a bus station.
The Phuket tuk-tuks
The tuk-tuks in Phuket are different from the ones in other parts of Thailand: instead of 3 wheels, these have 4. They actually look like mini songthaews, but much funnier and cooler for tourists to use, just as another bucket list activity.
However, you will pay for this fun, if you are looking for it, as the tuk-tuks in Phuket are the most expensive transportation means. Sure, you can try to negotiate the price, but you should know that drivers have fixed the fees among themselves for their benefit. But if you want to have some fun, it’s worth taking the Phuket tuk-tuk once or twice.
Taxies in Phuket
As probably in any other destination on earth, you can’t miss the taxies. In Phuket, they are yellow bright and have the taxi sigh on top of the cars. These metered taxies might be also called expensive means of transportation in Phuket, Thailand, but generally, tuk-tuks are more expensive.
There are also non-metered taxies in Phuket, but these are generally only ordered by hotels and charge a flat fee, which is higher than in the case of metered taxies. Therefore, we suggest you avoid this type of transportation and use if only if necessary, let’s say just as a shuttle to or from the airport. But always make sure you know the fee in advance.
Motorbike taxies in Phuket
As in other parts of Thailand, motorbike taxies are quite common in Phuket. Particularly suited for solo travellers, motorbike taxies are a good means of transportation for short distances, and they are rather affordable. You will recognize the drivers from their vividly coloured vests and you can find them near beaches or popular attractions.
As a tip, we recommend you make sure you have settled the ride price before you start your journey and you can set a specific hour if you want your drive to come back and pick you up. And always remember to wear the helmet!
Ferries and boats in Phuket
Ferries and boats are rather common means of transportation in Phuket, Thailand, and the main pier is in Phuket City. Rassada Pier has speedboats and ferries coming and leaving every day, generally from early in the morning to late in the afternoon.
You can take a boat or a ferry from Rassada Pier to other popular destinations around Phuket island, such as Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Bulon or the Trang Islands. From here, you can also rent longboats to visit the surroundings of Phuket island or go fishing.
Inter-city buses in Phuket
Phuket island is connected with the mainland by boat, so it makes it accessible to nearby provinces and beyond. You can visit Phuket’s neighbouring destinations by bus starting from the Old Town Phuket City. You can travel to Krabi, Chumphon, Takua Pa, Phang Nga or Khao Lak with a government or a private bus, and the best part is that they leave day and night.
As a tip, we recommend booking VIP services in advance as this will guarantee a seat at the departure time you desire. You might find the departure bus you want fully booked if you don’t prepare in advance, so we recommend booking a couple of days before your trip.
All in all, there are lots of public transportation means in Phuket, Thailand. One resource to count on, you will not find yourself strained in Phuket, as there are so many ways you can go around, that you can choose the one best fitted for you just by following our mini-guide!