Known as the Pearl of the Andaman, Phuket is blessed with beautiful, white sand sea shores and lush, forested hillsides. An idyllic tropical island dotted with swaying palm trees, glittering seas and vibrant towns makes Phuket a picture-perfect holiday destination. The climate is warm all year round, but April – May is the hottest period while September – October is hot and also the wettest period due to the southwest monsoon. The best time to visit Phuket is from December – March when temperatures are between 25 – 30 degrees Celsius and the humidity is relatively lower. Remember to keep your umbrella handy for the occasional thundershowers which offer much-needed relief from the heat and humidity.
The only airline operating a direct international flight from Australian cities to Phuket is Jetstar Airways. Other airline operators who fly this sector with layover options include Thai Airways, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Korean Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Bangkok Airways, and many more.
Airport Bus Phuket
Airport Bus Phuket provides services between the airport and Phuket Town every 60 – 90 minutes. The fare is approximately 120 THB (including a 20 THB charge for services and fees) and the ride takes 1 hour 20 minutes.
A metered taxi service is located outside the main terminal building. Average fare from the airport to Phuket Town will be 400 THB and the journey time varies between 30 – 40 minutes.
Car rental service is available at the north and south end of the arrivals hall. You can also book in advance and find some great deals on car rentals with momondo.
Public transport in Phuket is not very organised or convenient. However, most resort hotels offer shuttle bus services into Phuket Town and Jeeps and motorbikes can be hired from several local shops in Phuket and at the main beaches.
Metered taxis are relatively cheap and hassle-free but mostly available only at the airport. Fares are set at 50 THB for the first 2 kilometres and 7 THB per additional kilometre. However, most taxis seen on the island and in busy tourist areas are unlicensed and you must agree on the fare beforehand while stating your destination. Motorbike taxis are available everywhere on the island and fares usually start around 50 THB, but your total fare will depend on the distance and your bargaining skills. You can recognise the official drivers by their red or green vests with a white number on the back.
Tuk Tuks are red mini-vans seen all over Phuket and they are good for shorter travel of up to 30 minutes. Just like the taxis, you have to agree on a price beforehand while stating your destination.
The blue open-air buses called Song-thaews operate between Phuket Town and the beaches from 7 am to 6 pm at a frequency of approximately 30 minutes, and fares start at 15 THB. Since there are no designated bus stops, you will need to flag down the bus in the middle of the street. The air-conditioned “micro” buses mainly service the Phuket Town area and have a fixed fare of 10 THB.
Boats and Ferries
Boats can be hired to go to near-by islands and fishing sites from various points such as the Makham Pier, Chalong Bay and Rawai Beach. Prices range from 1,000 THB – 3,000 THB for the longtail boats and 8,000 THB – 25,000 THB for the speedboats. You can also opt for the ferries which can be booked through a tour agent and includes transfers to and from the pier.
Australian citizens do not need a visa to travel to Phuket or anywhere in Thailand for a stay of up to 30 days. For foreign nationals, please check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand website.
While shopping in Phuket, be sure to haggle for a reasonable price and remember that though the shops claim to sell high quality goods, many turn out to be of inferior quality.
Organised tours and excursions
Compare the prices and reviews of tour groups and agencies before signing up with any one of them. Several companies charge a significant amount but lack quality customer service and tend to cut corners on meals and drinks.
Tides on Phuket beaches can sometimes come in quite suddenly, hence, do not ignore the red flag signs when they are put up on the beaches. Some beaches have been invaded by dangerous jelly fish, hence, be careful while choosing which beaches to visit.