Transport in Phuket is complicated. You can take a taxi, tuk-tuk, public bus, Grab, Bold, or a motorbike. But because there are so many miles between places, everything is expensive or takes a long time. Because of this, tours are the best way to get around the island if you don’t have much time.
Transport in Phuket: How to move around the island
Grab and Bold, which are like Uber in Asia, are also available in Phuket. Taxis and Grab/Bolt cost a lot. A short trip can cost up to 600 baht, while it would only cost 300 baht in Bangkok.
Maybe it’s fine for people who will only stay for a short time and do a lot of sightseeing. But because transportation is so expensive, tourists can’t go to other beautiful parts of the island that aren’t near the tourist area. Have you thought about at least spending $20 per leg? It makes the trip more expensive!
We did a simple simulation: To the Grand Mercure hotel from Bangla Road. Walking takes 10 minutes and taking Grab costs 274 baht. It costs 555 baht to get from Kamala Beach to Patong Beach, which is a shorter trip than going from Bangkok’s temples to the airport. But the prices to go to the Big Buddha are out of this world.
There is a kind of taxi mafia on the island, and you can’t negotiate in your favor. Even app-based cars like Grab and Bold are pricey. Still, they are the fastest and safest way to get from one place to another.
About tuk-tuks in Phuket: Grab already has them. Most of the time, they cost less than taking a taxi.
Bus in Phuket
A public bus leaves Patong, goes through Karon, and ends up in Old Town. It runs every 45 minutes, costs 60 baht, and takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to get there. It’s like a truck that was changed. The Ocean View Bar is on the other side of the point.
There is also a route that goes along the beaches that are more popular with tourists. I would only use this bus to get around the island if it stops a lot and takes a long time.
How to get from Phuket airport to the hotel
For example, you can take a shared van from Phuket airport to a hotel in Patong Beach for 180 baht. Taxis cost 800 baht (a fixed fee) and Grab and Bolt cost around 650 baht at different times of the day.
Because it’s so far away, all of the other options take an average of 1 hour in traffic. There are also ways to get right to the pier, where boats leave for Koh Phi Phi.
You can book your transfer on 12Go, the same site we recommend for booking ferries, buses, and trains between islands in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
Motorcycle rental in Phuket
I don’t think renting motorbikes in Phuket is a good idea, and I’m especially afraid to say so. There are a lot of turns, ups, and downs, which makes the traffic confusing. Accidents are common. Among them are our readers.
Even if you have an international driving permit, you can’t use it in Thailand. Even the police can’t use it to stop you or fine you. They only work for people who rent and know what their options are. And there are many barriers, especially on the route to the Big Buddha.
You get a fine of 500 baht, which you must pay immediately, and you can ride your bike for two more days. If you don’t pay on time, your bike will be taken away. I don’t know how to make sense of it, but that’s also how things work in Chiang Mai.
“According to Thai law, drivers, to drive in Thailand, must carry a Thai driver’s license. Foreign driver’s licenses or international licenses are not accepted to drive in the country, not even in the case of passing tourists (except licenses issued by some neighboring countries of Thailand).”
And remember that if you don’t have a license and you get in an accident, your travel insurance might not cover it. Keep watching! And always make sure your helmet is on the right.
Avoid scams: Don’t leave your passport at the company where you rented the car. Take pictures and videos of the whole bike before you leave the store. Some stores will say you broke the bike and make you pay for it if they find out. Having your passport in their hands makes things even worse.
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