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Transportation
- Getting There
- Getting Around
- Phuket Taxi

Transport on the island

Song-taews

There are few buses on Phuket, and the main from of transport from beach to town is the ‘song taew’ a truck converted to carry passengers in the back on two long beaches. They are usually colourful, with a sign on front showing where they are going. These vehicles leave from a set stop by the fresh product market in Phuket Town, reaching every major beach area on the island. They run approximately every hour but there are no fixed schedules, and they run when there are sufficient passengers. When leacing the beach areas to head back to town they usually cruise around the streets, slowly, picking up passengers. It is slow, but cheap, with the fare from Phuket town to Patong now set at just 25 THB per person.

Tuk-Tuks

If you want your own private taxi , look for a tuk tuk, a tiny mini-truck converted in the manner of the bigger song taew above to carry about four (or more) passengers. The uk tuk gets its name from the noise its little engine makes. There are fleets of these in all major tourist areas, and they will take you anywhere, for a price. The going rate for the relatively short ride between Patong and Phuket town can be as much as 450 THB, one way! You can attempt to bargain but don’t expect much movement on their prices and be aware that at night the price of tuk-tuks shoots up.

You can also rent one of these tuk-tuks for the day. Expect to pay around 2,000 THB or more. This can be a good way to get about the island if you prefer not to drive yourself.

Motorcycle taxis

These will be a new experience for many people and are a convenient, yet nerve wracking, way to get around. All fares must be negotiated before the ride.

These taxi riders are easily identified by their special coloured jackets identifying the location of their home base. Many have the word ‘taxi’ written in English on this jacket. Do not take a taxi from anyone who is not wearing one of these jackets.

Renting a motorcycle

Motorcycles, big and small, can be rented all over the island and are a popular choice for many tourists. Zipping around with the breeze in your hair is tempting for anyone but be careful, the hospitals here see a never ending stream of foreigners arriving with skin missing from arms and legs, or sometimes worse. The accident rate on Phuket is one of the highest in Thailand, with 90% of road accidents involving motorcycles.

Note that Thai law requires the driver to carry a valid license at all times, and all riders to were helmets – even though most Thais (including the police) ignore the regulations. The police occasionally enforce both laws, so beware.

The real danger here is this: NONE of the motorcycles rented here have insurance. If you rent one and cause damagevyou will be held fully responsible, with some greedy owners charging significantly more than the real cost of the damage. Be extremely cautious.

Renting your own car

Since Phuket is quite a large island, renting your own car can be one of the most pleasant ways to get around and it gives you freedom to go where and when you want.

Renting is easy private rental cars are easily found in every beach area, and major rental companies operate in most resorts. If renting private vehicles from the side of the road, beware: few of these vehicles have insurance, and this can prove disastrous in the event of an accident.

Renting a car allows you get off the island and see the beautiful, neighbouring provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi. The roads are good and the scenery spectacular, making for a great day out.

Regional buses

The long distance bus station is in Phuket town, directly across from the Royal City Hotel. From here both air-con tour buses and cheap, ‘orange crush’ buses leave for destinations north, south and east. There are regular services to Bangkok, Krabi, Surat Thani, Nakorn Srithammarat, Trang, Haad Yai and other minor provincial capitals.

Most of the tour buses to Bangkok leave around 5pm arriving in Bangkok about 6am the following morning. Tickets can be purchased either at the bus station or through travel agents.

Transport by boat

Regular ferry boat services from Phuket run only to the Phi Phi Islands, Koh Yao Noi and Krabi. There are unscheduled boats to Koh bon, Racha Yai and Koh Yao Yai. You can get to Koh Lanta by changing boats at Koh Phi Phi.

Most people get to the other smaller islands by renting their own speed boats or even by chartering yachts.

Whatever your chosen mode of transport may be, enjoy exploring the island, there is plenty to see and do, more than you might have realised. Happy hunting