For the really popular tours, the tour companies usually uses the big tour buses and the big tour buses in thailand are really big! most are of the double decker capacity! these big tour buses means the cheapest tour fares for a particular tour as the buses can accomodate up to 60 people unlike the small tour vans where it can only have up to 18 people hence the cheaper price. the only disadvantage of the big tour buses is that the tour guides are really strict with schedules as they havea large group on their hands hence there is not much leeway on the time for activities like shopping or taking pictures and videos of the areas you are going. The Big Tour Bus is a favorite of the chinese, koreans and japanese tourists in phuket.
For a small group tour, most thai tour companies use a small tour van that can sit up to 15 to 18 people inside (the legroom is sometimes cramped!) and the vans used are usually toyota grandias, hyundai starex vans and more. the small tour vans go to all of the tour destinations in and around the phuket island area and also to Pha Nga Province and Krabi Province, where some of the attractions are located. like the big tour buses do! the only advantage of having a small group tour and tour van is that you have a little more alloted time to to more pictures or videos or go around the areas you would tour hence this is a better option than a big tour bus.
The bus from Phuket Town leaves Karon from in front of the 7/11 on Patak Rd every half hour. Buses are old blue trucks with bench seats along the sides of the back. They have Kata Karon Phuket written on the front and side of them. They cost 6obaht($1.80) per person. The trip takes about 45 min. Just jump inn the back and the driver will stop somewhere along the way and ask for the money. They stop at one of the main traffic circles (round abouts) in Phuket, the driver will point out the bus stop for the return just up the road. The stop is a 10-15 min walk to the main shopping center so take a map with you. There will be tuk tuk drivers at the bus stop offering to take you where ever you want to go. You can also get off the bus before the end 5min for the central festival and Big C but you need know where you are going, so go with some one who has been before. There is no bus from Karon to Patong, you will need to take a tuk tuk.
There are overnight buses (busstation is about 2-3 km east from the trainstation, off Siphunawat Rd.), you can buy the ticket in the bus station they ar very seldom completely full, or if you prefere daytime travel there are mini buses. Mini buses have offices opposite the trainstation (from where they leave), propably 20-30% more expensive as by bus. Prices for nightbuses are fixed, depend on the bus quality, for minibuses, up to 30%percent difference in different agencies, look around.
Thai Baht 25 to and from any where (Bus Terminal to Patong Beach)
Don't be confused if you see a Blue Lorry coming your way saying PATONG PHUKET PATONG these are also use as Bus for Transport.
Frequency 15 to 30 Minutes
Frequent departures from to Bangkok, it takes 12 hours and cost TB720.00 per way from Sai Tai Mai in Bangkok, Very comfortable ride with a midway stop for 15-20 minutes after six hours
The terminal is pretty basic and located in Old Phuket town, you can take publis bus to get to Patong Beach or Motorbike/TukTuk to any where for 50 ~ 100 Baht
There are only a few buses in Phuket and the main form of transport from beach to town is the song taew.
They are very colourful, with a sign showing where they are going. These buses leave from a stop by the fresh produce market in Phuket Town, then travel to every major beach area on the island.
It is slow but cheap way to get around with the fare from Phuket town to Patong now set at 20 Baht per person.
Individual owners of small motor bikes rent their services, carrying passengers, sort out youyr fare first!!
Renting your own car
The best way to get around and see the island is by far renting your own vehicle.
Roads are good in Phuket and the scenery is spectacular.
Car rental companies which offer full comprehensive insurance are:
National Car Rentals
Budget Car Rental
Why pay 400B and above to get to Phuket Town. Use the local bus service as we did, it costs 20B a person.
They look over sized sawngthaew and they leave from Thaweewong Road (beach road). Yo can flag one down and they will stop. Services stop at 5pm. They stop at the fountain circle roundabout.
You could take a bus from Patong Beach to Phuket Town for THB20. Frequency is about 30 mins but we do see at least two buses at the depot everytime. The departure point is just opposite Café Del Mar at the southern end of Patong Beach.
The bus will travel through town via Bangla Road and stopping along the way to pick up passengers before finally heading off across the hills to Phuket Town.
One of the cheapest mode of transportation from Airport to Patong Beach is to take the join minibus. Tickets are priced at THB150 and can be purchased at the counter upon exit of the arrival hall. You may also pay direct to the driver who will make purchase of the tickets on your behalf. The mini bus will depart when they have 10 passengers. Turn to your left and you will see a mini bus signage.
Although the price of THB150 is cheap compared to the price of a taxi, I would caution those in a hurry to pay the extra THB to have your own taxi to bring you direct to your destination. I would consider taking the join minibus as a tourist trap as they don’t even ask us where we were all going when we board.
Finally, we were all driven to a travel agent company where they gave an excuse that there were so many of us and need to check our tickets and make some rearrangements. So we were all asked to seat at the desk. The staff asked where we are going and have we booked our accommodations and tours. He tried to sell us accommodation and tour packages and we gave them the we are not interested look. We wasted half an hour of our time here where we have to wait for the rest to be brainwashed. Surprisingly, the rest were local Thais and they all signed up their packages either for tour or accommodations. Probably they were given locals prices.
If you want to get around cheap, i suggest you take the local transport. Just note that there is 2 bus stations in Phuket town. One runs within Phuket island and the other runs interstate. Make sure you check out where you should be.
1) Patong beach to Phuket town - 20 BHT. Busses runs every hour along patong beach.
2) Phuket town to Phuket Airport - 55 BHT. Busses runs every hour
at phuket bus terminal, it seems like there's no cheaper way to get to patong because drivers would approach you and refuse to tell you the options available. but there is. at the market, there's a vehicle there which the local people use. to patong beach it costs 20b only! waaay cheaper than 250b the driver charged us.
Air Asia has the best rates I have found in and around SE Asia and Thailand.
I usually fly last minute and 1-way (cause who knows where i'll want to go next) And have always gotten a great price with Air Asia.
Recently, I even booked the same day and got 1-way fare Phuket to BKK for $23 USD. the other low cost airlines are competitively priced as well, but, for me, Air Asia has larger routes (more cities serviced). I usually book online and they do offer better prices with advanced purchase. However, if and when you book the same day as travel or within 24 hours, you cannot do it online and must reserve a ticket on the phone and then pay for it at the ticket counter at the airport before check-in (2 separate counters at BKK and SIN)
The planes are well kept and free seating (like SouthWest in the states). Other great low-cost airlines: Nok Air, Bangkok Air, Tiger Air and JetStar Air ( Phuket or Bkk to Singapore), One Two Go by Orient Thai Air. .... all are great low cost carriers in and around Thailand.
1 thing to watch out for - all the Asia carriers (Thai Air included) have a 15 kg luggage limitation and charge 30-60 BHT per kg over. So your luggage could be more expensive then your person. If you are returning to an area and do not need all your baggage check with your hotel or storage at the airport for leaving it behind. Luggage Storage at BKK is 90 BHT per day (can add up fast) and is located in the International Terminal.
There are minibuses that go to the main tourist areas around Phuket. They will leave when the bus is almost full. The cost to get to the Karon Beach area from the airport is 180 baht. Usually, they will be able to drop you directly at your accommodation so make sure you have the address, especially if you are staying in the smaller guesthouses.
Bus Time Schedule from Phuket to Bangkok
Note: Time schedules may change. Please confirm at the bus station.
1. 6:30 am
2. 8:25 am
3. 10:55 am
4. 12:25 pm
5. 14:15 pm
6. 16:20 pm
7. 17:30 pm
8. 18:15 pm
9. 19:30 pm