Phuket, Thailand – How to Arrive ? Where to Stay ? What to Visit ? – Page 1

Maps – Orientation

Map 1 : Distance from Bangkok

Map 2 : Overview of the Zone – Boat Transport

Map 3 : Phuket

Map 4 : Interactive Map

  1. Points in Red : Transport
  2. Points in Gray : Patong + Phuket Old Town
  3. Points in Blue : Tourist Attractions
  4. Points in Orange : Shows, Water Park
  5. Points in Green :  Beaches
  6. Points in Purple :  Big Shopping Centers

How is Phuket island ?

Yes, Phuket is an island. It is connected with a bridge to the mainland, in the north, but it is still an island.
Phuket is the biggest island of Thailand. About 50 Km long. Look at the Maps above. Phuket has its own airport, an international airport. Because of the big airport, there are a lot of flights and a lot of tourists. The general atmosphere at Phuket is one of a crowded place, with a lot of construction and with heavy traffic (there are also calm areas).

The 2 main spots of the island are “Patong Beach” and the “Old Town of Phuket”. See the Maps above for the location. The distance between Patong and Phuket Old City is 14 Km by the road. It takes around 30 minutes with the heavy traffic of the island.

  1. Patong is described on this page.
  2. The Old Town of Phuket is described on Page number 3 – What to Visit in Phuket.

There are a lot of beautiful beaches in Phuket. Many beaches have a form of a little bay, so they are very nice. Some of the beaches are just for visiting, but most of them are with hotels. See Page 2 : Where to Stay in Phuket. 

The main attraction of Phuket are the beaches themselves but there are also some nice attractions to visit like the old town and the Big Buddha on a mountain. There is also a lot of activity for children and adults like water parks and shows. See Page 3 for : What to see and do in Phuket. 

The busy area of Phuket is the south part (south of Patong, about half of the island). The north of the island is much calmer.

The beaches are located on the left side of the island.
The main pier is located on the right side of the island and the airport in the north. See the Maps above for the location.
Note that in the south of Thailand, there is a big community of Muslims so you will see a lot of nice mosques in Phuket and a lot of women with a scarf covering their hair and a lot of Halal food.

Is it worth to visit Phuket ?

Yes. The first impression may be negative (especially if you arrive to the crowded Patong), but on the second day, when you explore the island by moto, you will see that the place has some real nice areas. In addition, Phuket has the advantage of being a very developed island and it offers good services like 2 huge malls, a lot of foreign restaurants and a great nightlife. A lot of expatriates choose to live in Phuket (not in Patong but on the bottom part of the island). There are a lot of Russians living in different beaches.
Phuket may be more difficult “to swallow” on a first visit, because it is big and crowded and requires more time compared to smaller islands. If you are looking for calm, consider starting with another island.
If you are looking for active nightlife, then Phuket is great.

How to Arrive to Phuket ?

Option 1 for arriving to Phuket : By Flight

This is the most common way to arrive to Phuket. There is a big airport at the north of the island, Phuket Airport. The airport doesn’t have noise restrictions (like the airport in Koh Samui), so it can accommodate a lot of passengers.

It is an international airport, there are flights from all over the world to Phuket. Phuket airport has 2 terminals : An international terminal and a domestic terminal. You can walk between them, the distance is short.

Alternatively, you can arrive to Krabi airport and then by boat arrive to Phuket (see Map  2 above). You can also arrive to the more remote airport of Surat Thani, but this one is closer to Koh Samui on the other side of the mainland.

You can book Flights, Trains, Buses and Taxis inside Thailand with the site 12GoAsia. Choose the Origin city and Destination city and it will show you All the available Transports to destination.

Location of the Airport of Phuket

See location of Phuket Airport on the Maps above or on Google Maps.

How to arrive from the Airport to your Hotel ?

Travel Time : The airport is located on the north of the island and your hotel will probably be in the south of the island (see Page 2 : Zones to Stay in Phuket), so there is a travel of about 30 km. At day time, the traffic is intense and the travel to your hotel will take between 1 to 1.5 hours.

Option 1 from the Airport : By Taxi

As soon as you will get out of the terminal, you will see Taxi offices that direct people to the taxis. The common price to Patong, for example, is about 800 Baht (price at the time of writing).

Theoretically, there are also shared Taxis (with a lot of publicity), but as soon as you will ask about it, the Taxi office will propose you a private taxi, so there are never 10 people to fill a shared Taxi.

Option 2 from the Airport : By Ride Sharing App

There is Grab and there is Bolt. The price may be a little bit lower than the regular Taxis. In some cases, you will reserve a car via Grab and a regular Taxi will arrive. At least the price is fixed via the Application at the reservation moment, so there are no surprises.

Option 3 from the Airport : By Bus

There is a bus line that runs along the main vertical road of Phuket and stops at the airport, Patong, Kata and Rawai beach. There is a second line that goes from the airport to Phuket Old Town. It is called Phuket Smart Bus. (see the itinerary).

Important Note : The bus starts from the domestic terminal and not from the international terminal. There is a short walking distance between the terminals (5 minutes).
If you arrive to the international terminal, the Taxi offices will not tell you about this bus (on the contrary, they will tell you that such bus doesn’t exist). The official airport information will give you correct information about the bus.

The frequency of the bus is about every half hour. Price : 100 Baht (price at the time of writing).
There may be also another company operating from the airport : Phuket Bus Express.
Note : Bus companies can terminate to exist and new ones can appear. Inform yourself at the “airport information” when you arrive (but not at the Taxi office counters !).

Option 2 for arriving to Phuket : By Boat

Look at Map 2 above. You may arrive to Phuket from Krabi area (Krabi town, Ao-Nang, Railay beach) or from Koh Phi Phi or from Koh Lanta. In that case you arrive by boat to the main Pier of Phuket.

The sail time between these islands is short, between 1 to 2 hours depending on the type of boat.

Location of the Pier in Phuket

Look at Maps 2, 3 and 4 above (or on Google Maps ). The main pier of Phuket is located on the right side of the island, near the old town. It is called Rassada pier. You can buy a boat ticket at the pier, in a travel agency office or online.

You can book Flights, Trains, Buses and Taxis inside Thailand with the site 12GoAsia. Choose the Origin city and Destination city and it will show you All the available Transports to destination.

Option 3 for arriving to Phuket : By Bus

There are a lot of buses in Thailand. There are buses to Phuket from Bangkok and other Thai locations. Some of the buses are night buses with some kind of beds.

You can book Flights, Trains, Buses and Taxis inside Thailand with the site 12GoAsia. Choose the Origin city and Destination city and it will show you All the available Transports to destination.

Option 4 for arriving to Phuket : By Train

The train line of Thailand passes near the right coast and not the left coast (Yes, there is more or less only 1 vertical train line in Thailand). The nearest train station to Phuket is in Surat Thani. From Surat Thani, you need to continue to Phuket by Bus or Taxi. The road distance between Surat Thani and Phuket is about 210 Km.

You can buy a train ticket at the train stations, at the travel agency or online.

You can book Flights, Trains, Buses and Taxis inside Thailand with the site 12GoAsia. Choose the Origin city and Destination city and it will show you All the available Transports to destination.

Option 5 for arriving to Phuket : By Taxi

Comfortable. If you share the taxi with other people, the price may be reasonable.

Option 6 for arriving to Phuket : By rented Car or Motorbike

It is easy to rent a car in Thailand. It is very easy to rent a motorbike in Thailand (but usually you use a motorbike for short distances).

Patong Beach – The Center of Gravity of Phuket

See location of Patong Beach on the Maps above or on Google Maps.
See the following Map of Patong Beach :

This is the most crowded beach on the island. Some people will describe the place as a Luna Park or a Bazaar. It has certainly a “sleazy” atmosphere.

There is a walking street which is very animated at night with a lot of music from “girls bars”. It reminds a little bit the Go Go bars of Pattaya, but on a much smaller scale.

On the main road (parallel to the beach), there are a lot of restaurants. A lot of them are Indian and Turkish restaurants (also Middle eastern restaurants).

There are also authentic Italian restaurants with Italian owners in Patong, but they are located more inland, I describe these restaurants on Page 6 – Restaurants in Phuket.

There is a huge shopping center in Patong called Jungceylon. This mall is great, it even has massage chairs (payable). In fact the shopping center is composed of 3 shopping centers, each one with many shops, restaurants and cafés.

Parallel to the beach, there is a night market

Surprisingly, the beach itself is nice, there are hills on the sides (you wouldn’t expect a nice beach in Patong). The beach is full of activity.

Be careful that a parachute will not land on you.

Also the many jet-ski can lead to accidents.

Note that the beach of Patong, can be also very quiet, if you wake up early enough.

Where to Stay in Phuket ? – Hotels

See the potential zones to stay in Phuket with advantages and disadvantages, on Page number 2

Immigration Office – Extension of Visa

Note that there is also an immigration office near Krabi town.

How to Move in Phuket ?

Option 1 : By Motorbike (or rented car)

The best option to move on a Thai island. Phuket is big and a motorbike is very convenient to explore the attractions and the beaches. Compared to other islands, the heavy traffic of Phuket is a little bit frustrating. At sunset time, in high season, there is a lot of traffic from the south of the island towards Patong. It can even take 2 hours (even with a motorbike).

The usual price of renting a motorbike is 250 Baht per day (price at the time of writing). The common motorbike has an engine of 125 cc.

Note that there are controls by the traffic police in Phuket and that they like to give fines for those who don’t have an international driving license. Read about this issue on the main page of this website.

And also, tourists tend to do accidents with their motos (because some tourists lack the experience of driving a moto and others are drunk). Drive carefully.

The roads in Phuket are in good condition.

Option 2 : By Taxi or App Taxi

The distances are relatively big in Phuket and so the prices of Taxis are relatively elevated. A Taxi between Patong and Phuket Old Town, which is a distance of 14 Km (30 minutes) can cost 600 Baht (price at the time of writing).

You can use also the “ride share” applications like Grab and Bolt. It is convenient and may be cheaper than the Taxis on the streets.

There are no shared taxis in Phuket with a fixed price (like there is in Pattaya).

Most of the taxis in Phuket have a form of a Tuk-Tuk. They wait on the beaches and tourist attractions.

There are also sometimes information signs with the prices to different destinations.

Option 3 : By Public Transport

The bus service is not great in Phuket.
There is a vertical line bus that goes from the airport and till Rawai beach in the south, via Patong. See details on the website of Phuket Smart Bus. The frequency is not great. There is also a bus from the airport to Phuket Old Town and there is a bus between Patong and Phuket Old Town.

Use the directions of Google Maps (choose the “public transport” option for your destination), the Phuket buses are appearing.
There may be also another company operating in Phuket (starting from the airport) : Phuket Bus Express.

Option 4 : By Organized Tour

There are a lot of organized excursions in Phuket. You will see publicity in the travel agencies. They will transport you to the destination.

Option 5 : By foot

The zone where you stay may be big enough to comply all your needs (beach, nightlife and shops). You may choose to stay in your zone and not travel in the rest of Phuket (what a shame !)

How is the Climate in Phuket ?

Note : The climate in Phuket, Koh Phi-Phi and Koh-Lanta is quite similar. Also Krabi is very similar.


It is hot in this zone, all year round. At day time around 31 degrees Celsius. At night around 24 degrees celsius. You better have air-conditioning in your room.


Like in all Thailand, there is also in this zone a rainy season. The rainy season here is from April to December.

  • May to November : around 250 mm rain (the month of September is very rainy, around 400 mm rain).
  • April and November : around 150 mm rain.

Continue to Page 2 – Where to Stay in Phuket (best zones)

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