How do I get to Phuket?
This may seem like an easy question to answer, but many people ask us about travel arrangements for flights, buses, ferries, taxis etc., so this page will give you some more information and web links to make your travels in Thailand much easier. Note that schedules are subject to change so you are advised to double check before making any bookings!
Phuket International Airport
Phuket International Airport is in the North of Phuket Island, and the distance from the major tourist beaches (Patong, Karon, Kata) surprises many people. It may take 1 hour or more by taxi to reach your hotel or our office. The closest beaches are Nai Yang and Bang Tao, where you find some of the most luxurious hotels in Phuket. The JW Marriott is also very close to the airport, but a long way from Sunrise Divers shop! The airport has a domestic and an international terminal.
From the airport, you have 3 choices to reach your hotel or our office. There are official airport limousine taxis, which are booked in the arrivals hall and cost about 1000 Baht. Meter Taxis wait outside the hall to the right and are a couple of hundred Baht cheaper. Official airport minibuses are also available and leave when they are full, to all the major beaches. Minibus costs about 180 Baht per person (price depends on destination). We are also happy to book a private taxi for our diving customers, which costs 1200 Baht, or a minibus for 2000 Baht.
Phuket International Airport Web Links
Flights to Phuket
Phuket Airport is the second largest in Thailand in terms of passenger volume. There are direct flights from Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Australia, the middle East and in the high season charter flights from Europe. Most other international flights arrive via Bangkok. Thai Airways is the largest Thai airline, but there are others. From Bangkok there are at least 20 daily flights, but advance bookings are a very good idea in the peak season (December/January) and in mid April at the time of the Songkran Festival or at Chinese New Year.
Thai Airline Web Links
Where to Stay in Phuket?
There is plenty of information on the web about hotels in Phuket. It is big business and there are hundreds upon hundreds of hotels to suit all budgets, though the backpacker market is in short supply! More hotels are still being built, and supply is beginning to overtake demand, especially in the “low” season from May – September, where hotel prices are extremely low.
Sunrise Divers is not a hotel booking agent, though we can give plenty of information and can help book a few hotels here in Karon Beach. If you plan to dive with us, it makes sense to stay close to us! The following page may help.
Coming to Phuket from Phi Phi or Krabi
There is a regular ferry service connecting Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi. The morning ferries from Phi Phi start about 8:30am, with some afternoon ferries at about 1:30pm. Ferry tickets are booked at local travel agents. You can get a ferry from Krabi to Phuket via Phi Phi, though it will be quicker to take a minibus, which you can book locally in Krabi (about 3 hours). A ferry from Koh Lanta is also available.
There are several ferry terminals in Phuket Town, about 45 minutes from here – you will need to take a taxi from the terminal, which should be about 300 Baht, or you may be able to arrange transfers to/from the terminal when you buy the ticket. Please note – we do not sell ferry tickets.
Buses to/from Phuket
In Thailand, there are several types of bus, ranging from 2nd class non-aircon up to VIP buses with hostess service. From Bangkok, it is wise to book a VIP bus, which will take about 12 hours, costing about 750 Baht. Most hotels and guesthouses in Bangkok can help you with bus tickets. Flying is much quicker, but the buses are much cheaper! Travel agents will also sell tickets for the VIP buses. Tickets for the normal buses are usually bought at the bus station. The Phuket long distance bus station is in Phuket Town.
Take the Train to/from Phuket
Train lovers will be disappointed to hear that there are no trains in Phuket. To reach Phuket by train from Bangkok you can get as far as Surat Thani via Chumphon, and will need to bus it from there, about 200km from Phuket.
Car Hire in Phuket
Taxis and tuk tuks are plentiful in Phuket and useful if you just want a quick ride between beaches or to Phuket Town or the Central Shopping Mall for example. Some people say they are all a rip off, but the local bus service, while cheap, is slow and does not go between beaches. Average tuk tuk fares from Karon will be about 400 Baht to Patong, 500 to Phuket Town. Some people like to negotiate with a tuk tuk for an all day hire and drive around the island a bit. We think car hire is a better option, or motorbike hire. Roads are good, just be aware that people here do not drive like they do “at home”, especially the bikes. There are lots and lots of scooters, and they will drive on both sides of the road, pull out of junctions without looking, drive the wrong way etc.. Just keep an eye on them and it’s safe. Renting a car means total freedom to explore Phuket island and find some of the more out of the way places. We’d suggest using a big hire company such as Hertz or Avis, who both have offices at Phuket Airport.
Where do I find Sunrise Divers?
If you have any questions about how to reach us, please ask! Our office is in Karon Beach, Phuket at Karon Plaza next door to the Karon Place Hotel. We can be contacted by email ([email protected]) or telephone (call 076 398040 from inside Thailand) or mobile 08 4626 4646. Please note that we do not book flights, buses or ferries! You can find us very easily on Google Maps.
More Phuket Information
Sunrise Divers manager Jamie has been in Phuket since 1999 and started a Phuket blog in 2006 which has hundreds of pages of information about things to do, places to visit, temples, festivals, viewpoints, hotels, day trips and more – have a look @ Jamie’s Phuket Blog.
A Final Word or 2
Sunrise Divers wishes you happy travels and happy diving. Hopefully this Phuket tourist information will make your life easier. We hope to see you in Thailand for some great diving in the near future.
A note about spelling – Phuket is the most commonly used spelling, though people sometimes get it wrong and write Puhket, Phucket, Puket or Fuket. Phuket is pronounced with a hard P, something like Poo-Ket, not with an F sound. The same goes for Phi Phi (pronounced Pee-Pee) and Phang Nga (Pang-Nga).