Phuket International Airport is situated north of the island, so apart from the luxury hotels around this area, it’s likely you will need to get to the mid-island resorts of Patong, Karon and Kata. By taxi the trip to Surin will take about 30 minutes, to Patong about 40 min, Karon and Kata beaches around 50 minutes. The bus to Phuket Town takes one hour.
The airport itself is easy to get through and is small enough to make luggage collection quick and simple. The good news is that there are regular flights into Phuket from Bangkok alone and three of these operators are ‘no frills’ airlines. Phuket is also accessible internationally from and to Hong Kong, Singapore, Incheon (S. Korea) and Kuala Lumpur. It’s also possible to island hop from Koh Samui to Phuket using Bangkok Airways.
Having arrived, there are a number of ways of reaching your resort location. Needless to say, there are plenty of people outside the terminal building offering to help – at a price, of course.
Metered taxis are available, but there are not too many of them around. They are to the right as you come out of the arrivals building, at the far end.
To the left as you come out of arrivals, there are 8 seated mini vans which will take you to your hotel, but of course you have to stop at everyone else’s hotel as well.
There is also an Airport Bus but only goes to Phuket Town Bus Terminal. It does stop on the way but not at any of the coastal resorts. Journey time is one hour from the airport to Phuket Town.
The most widely used ‘taxis’ are bright red tuk tuks. These are not the 4 seated variety as in Bangkok but hold about 6-8 people. Unlike the meter taxi, arrange a price before getting in.
There are public buses, which are bright blue, with open sides. There aren’t any real schedules, but if you see one and want to get on, just wave – there are no official bus stops.
Traffic in Thailand is on the left side and all the major car rental companies have offices at the airport. An international driving license is required. There are enterprising companies immediately outside the arrivals hall with cards offering cars at cheaper rates. Jeeps are also available, make sure you see the car before paying, some have been around for a while.
When driving in Thailand, beware of motorbikes overtaking on the inside and /or on bends. Drive a little slower and keep an eye on the wing mirrors.
There are larger chain pharmacies such as Boots (Central Festival) and Watsons. Individual pharmacies are in most resorts in the main shopping areas.
Post offices are open from 8.30 am until 4.30 pm, but make sure your post is there by 3.30 pm, otherwise it waits until the next day. The main post office in Patong is on Beach Road and in Phuket Town is at Montri Road. There are post outlets in many of the major stores and supermarkets. Look for counters with the names of courier companies listed – you can still send with the Thai post service from these counters.
Country code: + 66
Area code: 076
Remember that an area code is needed even if you are within that city. So, if a call is made from Patong to Phuket, the prefix 076 is still required.
220V, 50 Hz. The general socket is a flat two pin, but there are some Thai appliances that have a third round pin. Many hotels, especially the older ones, have only the two pin socket so bringing an adapter is recommended.