Transportation on Phuket Island

In a new place, I love to discover the area. Whether this is on holiday or when we move to a new location. Sometimes it’s easy {Singapore was amazing with their public transport}, and sometimes it’s just plain difficult {I was unable to get around in Shanghai without a card in Chinese stating where I wanted to go to}. On first sight, Phuket seems to be an easy way to get around… The island has plenty of ways to get around, from motorbike to

The island has plenty of ways to get around, from motorbike to car, and tuk-tuk to bus. It seems so easy to just put up your hand and get around. Doesn’t it? Well I have come to the conclusion this is not really the way, and if it is, it’s probably too good to be true. Also, it can be pretty scary to drive around this part of the world – people drive fast, roads have hairpins and there are loads of potholes in them too. So be prepared when you get around here.

Here are a couple of the things I have experienced while being on the island:

Motorbike:

86. PhuketTransport_02

A motorbike can be rented at every corner of the street. Seriously I am not kidding. Prices range depending on season, but this is probably the cheapest way to get around if you want to drive yourself. It’s a great way to drive around and get to know all the places on the island, visit deserted beaches and go to amazing viewing points.
However, there is one big disadvantage about driving a motorbike here. Even though you can just walk in, give a copy of your passport and drive off, and even though the guy has let you pay for insurance, you’re probably not insured. Except when you have a motor driver’s license. If you’re Dutch like me, you have a motorbike driver’s license, however in Holland this is only valid up to 49cc. A motorbike in Thailand (as in several other places in SE Asia) has 150cc, for which you need a motor license. Also, if you do have a motor license, be sure to bring an international driver’s license.
If you don’t have either of these and you fall or get into an accident on Phuket Island, you won’t be insured. So make sure you have the proper documentation before you get on a motorbike here!
Don’t want to drive a motorbike, but want to experience getting around on one? Get a scooter taxi, they are super cheap and it’s less dangerous to drive with a pro! 😉

Taxi:

Taxi’s can be found everywhere and anywhere. Taxi stands are on about every street. You won’t be able to flag one down, so just find the closest stand or ask reception of your hotel to call them for you. Make sure to bargain for a good price, as most of the taxis don’t have a meter.
Prices range depending on high and low season, which is a bit strange in my opinion. When we just moved here I took a taxi every couple of days to go and play tennis in a village a couple of km down the coast. I had a taxi driver who would bring me there every single time, and every single time I had to pay THB300 (about US$10). However December came, and all of a sudden my rate went up to THB400. Reason being?! High season. Nothing had changed, same amount of KM’s and the oil prices hadn’t risen (even went down!). So here I was not excepting it. He said I could go to someone else, but that would not make a difference. So obviously I tried and tried with other taxi drivers, and they all had increased their rates to THB400!
Luckily the prices have stabilized a bit since the military took over. And we now can call a metered taxi {the first time I saw one, I got so excited!}, it just takes a while before they can come and fetch you…

Rent a car:

86. PhuketTransport_03

Renting a car is as easy as one-two-three. There are plenty of rental companies on the island, and who doesn’t want to explore the country in an air-conditioned car? Especially in the Phuket heat {ok ok put your hands down 😉 }. I think this is the perfect way to get around. Off course it’s a little more expensive than a motorbike, but if you’re with 3 people or more it’s definitely worth the money. Prices range per season.
Like the motorbike, do make sure you bring along your international driver’s license. And try to rent your car from a company instead of an individual, as the companies can give you the proper insurance, which an individual is unable to do.

Tuk-tuk:

Going to Thailand and not taking a ride in a tuk-tuk is impossible. Tuk-tuks are the way to get around in this country. However, here in Phuket they can get pretty pricey. It’s super important to bargain on the price. Still the problem is that the tuk-tuk drivers work together so they made a fixed price going to a specific location, which makes bargaining a bit tricky…
Even though it’s expensive, it’s probably still cheaper than taking a taxi. And compared to renting a car, the advantage is that you don’t have to drive yourself…

Local buses:

86. PhuketTransport_04

I have to say, I have never traveled by local bus here, but this is definitely a way to save some money. They run daily from early morning (around 8 am) to the afternoon (about 6 pm). And they drive around in loops. This is right away the disadvantage of the busses here. If you want to get from A to B, it can be very easy and take you about 10mins. But getting back from B to A, will take a while, as you need to go from C to Z first, and all of a sudden the 10min trip is taking you 1 hour!
There are some bus stops on the street, but normally you can flag the blue busses down. Most of the busses have the name of their destinations on the front. But if you are not sure, you can always ask the driver – their English is basic, but they do recognize when you tell them the location you want to go to.

So how do you get around in Phuket?

xxx Frei

2 thoughts on “Transportation on Phuket Island

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s