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Jesse McLaughlan

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Backpacked in Phuket in spring 2019

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Asia > Thailand > Phuket > Phuket International Airport > Useful Info
Updated on Nov 25, 2019 Useful Info

Best way to get into town (and beaches) from Phuket International Airport

  • Phuket International Airport (airport code: HKT) is located 28km north of the main town of Phuket, and 24km north of Patong Beach. While it's a little far, transportation is pretty convenient and there are many ways to get to town and the beaches

  • There are 4 ways to get in from the airport: 1) Shared minivan, 2) taxi, 3) airport bus, and 4) pre-arranged transfer. I personally think shared minivan is the best way to travel overall in terms of price and convenience. Below I'll talk in details about how to make use of each of these options


  • Option 1) Shared minivans: overall best optionUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • This is the best way to get into town from the airport. It's very convenient and very cheap. The only downside is that these are shared minivans, so you may have to wait some time for enough passengers before they leave the airport
  • Prices: 150 baht ($5USD) to Phuket town, 150 baht ($5USD) to Rassada Pier, 180 baht ($6USD) to Patong Beach, 200 baht ($6.6USD) to Kata Beach, and 200 baht ($6.6USD) to Karon Beach User submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • How to get a minivan: in the arrival hall (after you exit the baggage claim area) as well as outside the terminal building, you will see a bunch of signs for "TAXI/MINIBUS" offices, like this:User submitted photo of Phuket International AirportJust go to any one of these and their prices are all identical with one another and services are pretty much the same as well.
  • Boarding point: once you've got your ticket, the staff will direct you to the van
  • Drop off point: the minivans will drop you off at your hotel, very convenient
  • Payment is by cash only, so make sure you have enough baht on hand. There are tons of currency exchange places and ATMs in the arrival hall so it won't be difficult get cash
  • Travel time: 50-60 minutes to Phuket town center; 60-70 minutes to Patong Beach, 90-110 minutes to Kata Beach and Karon Beach


  • Option 2) Taxi: expensive but popularUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • Taxis is a lot more expensive than the minivans, but considering the distance travelled, it's not that bad. It's probably the most popular way for tourists to get into town, despite the high cost
  • Prices: 650 baht ($21.5USD) to Phuket town, 800 baht ($26.5USD) to Patong Beach, 1,000 baht ($33USD) Kata Beach, 1,000 baht ($33USD) to Karon BeachUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • How to get a taxi: exactly the same as how you get a minivan. After you exit the baggage claim area, you will see lots of offices and booths with giant "MINIBUS/TAXI" signs on top of them. Just approach any of these booths and get a taxi. The prices are all the same so it really doesn't matter which one you go toUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • Travel time: 40-50 minutes to Phuket town center; 50-60 minutes to Patong Beach, 80-100 minutes to Kata Beach and Karon Beach
  • Drop off point: at your hotel
  • Boarding point: once you buy your ticket at the booth the staff will direct you to the car


  • Option 3) Airport buses: slightly cheaper than minivansUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • There there three public buses you can take that are very cheap and that can take you from the airport to either Phuket town center (1st bus), or various beaches including Patong Beach, Kata Beach and Karon Beach (2nd and 3rd buses)
  • I don't recommend these buses because they're only slightly cheaper than minivans (by $1.5USD or so if you go to Phuket town, by $1USD if you go to Patong Beach, and no price difference if you go to Karon or Kata Beaches), and minivans are much more comfortable than the buses and will drop you off directly at your hotel
  • 1st bus: a government-run bus that takes you to Phuket town center (this bus ends in Phuket town center and does not go to Patong, Kata, or Karon beaches). This bus is commonly called the "orange bus" because it's brightly orange-colored
  • Fare: 100 baht ($3.3USD) per passenger each way. Payment is cash baht only
  • Departure point: this bus departs from Terminal 1 (domestic terminal) only, and it does not stop at Terminal 2 (international terminal) or Terminal X (charter terminal). In Terminal 1, once you leave the baggage claim area and exit the terminal building to the outside, turn left immediately and walk for about 1 minute until you get to the booth labeled "Airport Bus" that looks like this:User submitted photo of Phuket International AirportThis is where you buy ticket, but if you don't see it don't worry the bus stop is just across the street from this point.
  • Drop off point: the bus will drop you off at Phuket Bus Terminal 1, located here in the centre of Phuket town. Note that it does not stop at any of the piers, including Rassada pier, so if you need to get there then you must transfer at Bus Terminal 1
  • Schedule: 15 buses a day, first one leaves the airport at 7:30am and the last one leaves the airport at 9:30pm. Approximately once every hour
  • Travel time: 1 hour and 25 minutes to get to the final destination which is Phuket Bus Terminal 1
  • Official website: http://www.airportbusphuket.com. Check this site for the current schedule and price information. The site also has a route map that lets you see all the stops along the way, which can help you plan where you want to get off
  • The 1st bus is orange colored, like this:User submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • 2nd bus: a government-run bus that takes you to Patong Beach, Kata Beach, and Karon Beach. This bus does not stop at Phuket town center, so if that's where you need to go you must take the orange bus instead
  • Fare: 150 baht ($5USD) per passenger each way to Patong Beach, and 200 baht ($6.6USD) per passenger each way to Kata Beach and Karon Beach. Acceptable payment is cash baht only
  • Departure point: boarding point is Terminal 1 (domestic terminal) only. In fact it's the exact same boarding spot as the orange bus I've written above. Basically after you exit the domestic terminal building, turn left and walk for 1 minute and you'll see a booth labelled "Airport Bus". Or if you're lost just follow overhead signs for "Airport Bus"
  • Drop off point:
  • The bus makes various stops in Patong Beach, Kata Beach, and Karon Beach, primarily along the main waterfront roads where the hotels are concentrated. Check your hotel name with the driver for what the best stop is. If your stop is along the route, the bus driver will make a stop at your specific hotel
  • Again, this bus does not stop in Phuket town centre. However, it does get close to it. The closest stop to Phuket town centre is here
  • Schedule: 14 buses a day, with the first bus leaving the airport at 7:30am and the last bus leaving the airport at 8:00pm. Approximately once every hour
  • Travel time: 1 hour to Patong Beach, 90 minutes to Karon Beach and 105 minutes to Kata Beach
  • Official website: http://phuketairportbusexpress.net
  • This is what the 2nd bus (to Patong/Kata/Karon) looks like:User submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • 3rd bus: a public bus that runs along the coast and drops off at all the major beaches. This bus is called the "smart bus"
  • Fare: 170 baht ($5.6USD) per passenger each way regardless of distance. Ticket is bought on board with cash baht or a smart card called "Rabbit Card"
  • Departure point: departure point is the same as the 1st and 2nd buses I've detailed above. It's at the domestic terminal (Terminal 1); basically after you exit the terminal building on the arrival level (ground level), turn left and walk for about 1 minute and you will see thisUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • Drop off point: this bus runs largely along the west coast of Phuket and making stops at Nai Thon Beach, Surin Beach, Kamala Beach, Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, and finally Rawai BeachUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • Schedule: 16 buses everyday, one bus every hour on top of the hour; first bus leaves the airport at 6am and last one leaves the airport at 9pm (so 6am, 7am, 8am, etc. until 9pm)
  • Travel time: 1 hour to get to Patong Beach, and 1 hour 40 minutes to get to final stop at Rawai Beach
  • Official website: https://phuketsmartbus.com. Check the website for current schedule and prices
  • The smart bus looks like this:User submitted photo of Phuket International Airport


  • Option 4) Pre-arranged transfers: peace of mind and about the same price as taxisUser submitted photo of Phuket International Airport
  • You basically pre-book a car online, and supply your arrival flight information. This is not a super popular option but it can give you a peace of mind knowing that someone will be waiting for you at the airport with you name on a card
  • Price:
  • $20-$30USD for a standard 3-passenger sedan
  • $30-$40USD for an SUV or van that seats 4-10 people
  • Prices are the same regardless if you're going to Phuket town centre, Patong Beach, Kata Beach, or Karon Beach. So if you're going to the southern parts of the island, these pre-arranged transfers are actually cheaper than taxis on arrival
  • How to book: there are many websites you can book from, the most reputable ones are listed below. You'll need to use your credit card to reserve
  1. Klook: https://www.klook.com
  2. Viator: https://www.viator.com
  3. Phuket Shuttle: https://www.phuketshuttle.com