Getting Around Phuket
Getting around Phuket is pretty easy and very cheap. There are plenty of options. Most of the beach resorts are close enough to the shops, bars and restaurants that you can walk, but if you’re looking to go further afield then you’d best consider catching a tuk-tuk, taxi, local bus or renting a motorbike. All have their advantages and disadvantages of course, but we really believe that exploring the area by motorbike is the best by far.
With a motorbike you have the freedom to go wherever you like, whenever you like. This is certainly the main benefit of renting a bike, plus in Phuket it is cheap to rent a motorbike, whether on a daily or weekly rate. The only downside to renting a motorbike is the safety side of things and the legalities.
Although almost anyone can rent a bike from a rental shop, if you do have an accident or get stopped by the Police, you will need to prove that you have either an international or Thai driving licence. Should you have an accident and not have the appropriate licence, your travel insurance company are highly unlikely to pay out should the need arise. Also, the unwritten road laws in Phuket can be a little over-whelming for some if you are an inexperienced driver. If you find yourself wanting to rent a motorbike, make sure you have the necessary licence and insurance before driving off into the sunset.
If you are wanting to travel short distances then a tuk tuk is a good choice. Tuk tuk’s are the small, short mini vans going around, which have an open back so you can easily hop-on and hop-off without any hassle.
Although the price of tuk tuk’s have gone up a little in price compared to recent years, they are still a cheap way to get about Phuket. For 50-100 baht you can easily get from one beach resort to the next without a problem, although occasionally some bartering skills are required. We suggest agreeing a price with the driver before you get on the tuk tuk, just to be sure. Normally you can see tuk tuk’s coming and going very few minutes so you’ll never have to wait around too long before catching a ride.
Bus & Songthaew
Buses are generally a low cost way of getting around Phuket. There are a couple of air conditioned buses that operate within the central areas. These bus routes are efficient, regular and have a fixed fee of just 10 baht. You can flag them down anywhere along their route, or wait at the designated bus stops. To get off anywhere along the route, simply press the buzzer.
Hop on a songthaew taxi to travel from beach to beach, or across Phuket. This is your cheapest option. These buses are normally blue and their destination is often displayed in English on the front of the bus. There are no bus stops as such so you’ll have to flag down the bus you want from the street. When you want to get off again, just press the buzzer.
There are a few areas which Songthaews pass through more often than others, which include Patong, Kata, Chalong, Kamala, Karon, Nai Harn, Nai Yang, Rawai, Surin and Thalang. The buses are every 30 minutes but times can vary and they run from 6am-6pm every day. Fares start from 20 baht.
Longtail Taxi Boat & Speed Boat
Longtail boats are the most enjoyable way of getting around Phuket. These small wooden boats can take you to hidden coves, beaches and offshore islands that are only accessible by boat. Boats can be hired for trips to nearby islands or fishing sites. The main areas for hiring are Chalong Pier and Rawai. Fares depend on the number of passengers, distance, length of time and type of vessel. Longtail boats are a lot cheaper than speedboats. However, they are slower and not as comfortable. On the plus side they do provide a more traditional Thai sea going experience which is by no means unpleasant. Whichever type of boat you choose, make sure you check with the driver that life vests are provided. Always agree on the price before starting your journey!