Travel from Bangkok to Phuket
Thailand is a major tourism hotspot and by far South East Asia’s most visited country. Millions of tourists from all over the world flock to Thailand each year to experience postcard-like beaches, thick jungles, exotic foods, its bustling nightlife and much more. Bangkok is also chosen by many as a base from where to start exploring other places in the region. Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island, just off Phang Nga province, and is one of the country’s most famous holiday destinations. The beaches are unbelievably beautiful, and have appeared in films like The Man with the Golden Gun, The Beach and several others. In recent years Phuket has become a destination in its own right and there are now many flights serving Phuket from the rest of Asia, Australia and even Europe during high season. Nevertheless many people still arrive to Phuket via Bangkok.
Obviously no other mode of transport can compare to the speed of flying. And given the amount of budget airline options, this makes it the most convenient way to travel from Bangkok to Phuket. For backpackers and others for whom getting there as quickly as possible is not a priority, we believe the VIP buses are best. Not only is it quicker than the combined rail&bus option, it is also cheaper and direct. Just make sure you buy your tickets from at the station or online, and be prepared for freezing temperatures.
1. Travel by Air
This is Thailand’s busiest domestic route and it is extremely competitive. It is best to use our flight comparison tool (opens a new window) and find the cheapest ticket. You can also buy a ticket on the airline’s website and even at the airport on the day of travel and may still find a good deal.
AirAsia is an airline known for its love of football (soccer)! They have sponsored teams like Queen’s Park Rangers in England, as well as the FA of Singapore and the Thai Premier League. In Malaysia, an AirAsia Football Club competes in one of the lower leagues.
Probably the most important decision you will have to make when travelling from Bangkok to Phuket by air is to choose which airport in Bangkok to fly from/to. Both are located about 30km (19mi) from the city centre.
BKK is the bigger one of the two and most international flights arrive to this airport, while HKT is used mainly for domestic flights. Both are well connected to the city although BKK has an edge with the impressive Airport Rail Link option. This is a high speed train that will take you to central Bangkok in little over 20min. Metered taxis are widely available at both airports and they are relatively cheap by western standards. We always feel more comfortable pre-booking a taxi, whether flying into Suvarnabhumi* or Don Mueang*. There are also free shuttle buses available between both airports (just show your flight ticket to the driver).
At present, the following airlines operate flights from Bangkok to Phuket:
There are more flights from DMK than BKK, so it is more likely that you will find a cheaper flight from this airport. Air Asia and Nok Air have a very aggressive pricing strategy on this route.
Thai Smile Air is a regional airline fully owned by Thai Airways and operates many internal flights. The best thing about Thai Smile is the flexibility of being the only airline to fly to both Bangkok airports from Phuket. Phuket Airport is located in the northern part of the island, about 32km (20mi) from Phuket city. There are metered taxis and public buses available. You can also book an airport transfer with our trusted partner here* and have a driver waiting for you at the airport when you arrive.
Our advice is to choose the airport that is easiest to get to from your accommodation in Bangkok and then pick a time when you want to travel. Once you have considered these two factors, choose your preferred airline. There is great competition between airlines on this route, so you are likely to find very good deals if you shop around.
2. Travel by Rail&Bus
Bangkok Hua Lamphong station
Phuket Bus Terminal
1270BHT/30GBP/36USD one way in second class
If you are going to book online, the only trustworthy site is 12go*. You can check timetables and fares on the Thai Railways website but you cannot buy tickets at present. Alternatively of course you can simply go to the station and buy the tickets at the counter or from the advance booking office if you are not travelling the same day. Make sure you ask for a combined train+bus ticket.
You may want to consider travelling first class for the rail part of the trip. The difference in price is just 500BHT/13GBP/15USD so you might as well travel comfortably.
There are no train stations in Phuket but you can buy a combined rail+bus ticket. On the first leg of the journey you will travel by train from Bangkok to Surat Thani. The journey takes about 12h on an overnight sleeper train so you arrive the following morning, and are transferred to a bus. From Surat Thani, it takes just 4h to reach Phuket. The modern bus fleet is air-conditioned and operated by Phantip.
3. Travel by Bus
Bangkok Southern Terminal (Sai Tai Mai)
Phuket Bus Terminal
Bus Express, Phuket Travel Service, Songserm Rungraung
1000THB/23GBP/29USD each way on a VIP coach, but there are cheaper, less comfortable options available.
If you are going to book your tickets online, you can use the website of 12go* where you can compare prices between different bus operators as well as airline and rail&coach options. Alternatively, you may want to book your tickets with BusOnlineTicket* or Easybook*. You can also buy tickets offline at the station terminal, over the telephone (if you speak Thai) or from tour companies. We recommend you avoid the latter and stick to the official channels as there are many eager “agents” willing to scam tourists in Thailand.Whatever you decide to do, we strongly recommend you book in advance if you are travelling during weekends and public holidays such as Songkran festival.
It is best to travel overnight, especially if you are travelling on a VIP coach, so you arrive the following morning in Phuket.
Despite the increasing number of low-cost airlines available, bus travel remains highly popular in Thailand. There are several daily coach services between Bangkok and Phuket. The journey takes about 12 hours and there is usually a stop along the way. If you choose a VIP service (recommended), you can expect reclining seats, a steward, tv entertainment, toilet and snacks. Many tourists usually complain the A/C is usually way too cold on board, so bring along a jacket and wear shoes, rather than sandals.
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