From Bangkok to Phuket: 3 best ways to get there bangkok vs phuket

bangkok vs phuket

Wrote Diana Bocco
Updated on April 14, 2023

Phuket has always been a magnet for beachgoers, but this popular island, 850 kilometers south of Bangkok, is also a popular destination for diving, snorkeling and, thanks to the many hilly viewpoints in the area, also hiking. The largest Thai island is also known for its nightlife, which attracts many tourists throughout the year.

Most international visitors to Thailand arrive in Bangkok first. Although you’ll find more frequent flights, trains and buses from Bangkok to Phuket during high season (November to March), there are always plenty of transport options for the rest of the year.

To choose the best one, it is important to keep in mind your main goal – you can get to Phuket faster, cheaper or with magnificent views along the way, depending on whether you fly or use land transport. Whatever your preference, here are the best ways to get from Bangkok to Phuket.

1. From Bangkok to Phuket by plane

Islands surrounding Koh Yao Noi, Phuket
Islands surrounding Koh Yao Noi, Phuket

Departure of flights from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport for Phuket International Airport several times a day and take only one hour. You can find one-way flights from Bangkok to Phuket at very reasonable prices during the weekday, but expect prices to be higher on weekends and high season.

Domestic airport in Bangkok –Don Mueang Airport– also offers flights to Phuket. All low-cost airlines fly from here, and during special promotions you may be able to find a flight for less than you would pay for lunch in Bangkok. Low-cost airlines fill up quickly, often have delays and don’t offer any extras (no drinks/food on board, no movies or entertainment and no checked bags) – but if you don’t mind a little inconvenience, this could be a very good way to get there to Phuket.

Phuket Airports are about 30 kilometers outside of town, so once you land, you’ll need to figure out how to get to your hotel. If you want comfort and speed, a taxi will get you to the hotel door in less than 45 minutes, but it won’t be exactly cheap. Shared transport options are cheaper and include a van and a public local bus – but note that the buses are not air-conditioned and take 90 minutes to reach the city.

Tips for saving money: Evening flights are cheaper and a good choice if you don’t mind sailing around Phuket at night. While May to October is Phuket’s rainy season, the months of June and July tend to see heavy but short rains (usually in the late afternoon) and plenty of sunshine the rest of the time. If you’re trying to save money, this is the best time to fly to Phuket as it’s considered low season and flights are heavily discounted.

2. From Bangkok to Phuket by train

A train in Thailand travels through a lush tunnel.
A train in Thailand travels through a lush tunnel.

Trains don’t run all the way from Bangkok to Phuket, but you can hop on one until you reach the city Suratthani and then transfer to the bus for the rest of the journey. A train ride takes you anywhere 8.5 to 12 hours, depending on which train you choose. Most of the trains are sleeper with air conditioning and you can choose between 1St and 2on class cards.

First class gives you a private cabin for two, while second class means sharing a carriage with many other passengers. There is also a cheaper train with only seats (no beds) – but it’s a long overnight journey, and the savings aren’t big enough to be worth the inconvenience. Also, while Thailand is generally safe, pickpockets are common in open carriages and foreigners are more of a target, so consider a private cabin if finances allow.

Tea bus ride from Surat Thani to Phuket is an additional four to five hours, but the buses are spacious and comfortable. Tea Travel company Phantip has modern buses that depart directly from Surat Thani train station to Phuket, so you don’t have to worry about getting into town for a connection.

Prices vary greatly throughout the year and sometimes by time of day, so check carefully before booking to choose the best option. You can see train times on the official website railway site or book directly online tourist agency. Note that if you do it this way you will need to book train and bus tickets separately, so allow plenty of time for transfers and delays.

Tips for saving money: Thai Railways also has a fan-only (meaning, no air-conditioning), no sleeper train that runs between Bangkok and Surat Thani once a day. If you think you can handle the journey without the cold air, you can get a cheaper ticket.

3. From Bangkok to Phuket by bus

Karon Temple Market in Phuket
Karon Temple Market in Phuket

It has both day and night buses from Bangkok to Phuket– they all offer air conditioning, snacks and drinks on board and free movies. Night buses are more popular and fill up quickly, so book well in advance, especially during high season.

Although there are no seat classes on the buses, you can choose between 1St class bus (usually called a VIP bus) and 2on class buses. Apart from the price, the main difference is the legroom and much more comfortable reclining seats in the VIP buses – an important consideration as the journey at least 14 hours long if you don’t run into traffic jams. VIP buses also offer single-row seating, so there’s no need to worry about a fellow passenger invading your personal space while you’re trying to sleep.

Buses to Phuket depart from or South Bus Terminal or North Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok, and they all stop halfway along the route for 30 minutes, so you can drink coffee or just stretch your legs. This is actually inconvenient if you’re on the night bus, but a welcome break if you’re taking the day bus. You can get tickets directly at the station or online via a tourist agency.

Note that while there are often food vendors on the trains, the buses do not sell snacks or drinks. You’ll need to bring more water with you or wait until you’re halfway there and the bus stops to buy something.

Tips for saving money: Day buses are cheaper, but keep in mind that if you take one, you’ll arrive in Phuket in the middle of the night – if that’s the case, make sure you have a room already booked and waiting. You don’t want to depend on a taxi driver to find you a place to sleep at the last minute.

Best time to visit Phuket – historical climate averages

Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Phuket, Thailand in °C
31 23 32 23 33 24 33 25 31 25 31 26 31 25 30 26 29 24 30 24 30 24 31 23
Average monthly total rainfall for Phuket, Thailand in mm.
36 31 38 163 348 213 264 262 419 305 208 51
Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Phuket, Thailand in °F
88 73 90 74 91 75 91 77 88 77 87 78 87 77 86 78 85 76 86 76 86 75 87 74
Average monthly total rainfall for Phuket, Thailand in inches.
1.4 1.2 1.5 6.4 14 8.4 10 10 17 12 8.2 2.0

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Exploring Phuket: Need ideas on what to see and do while in Phuket? See our article on top rated tourist attractions on Phuket Island for tips on choosing the best beaches, finding amazing viewpoints and day trips you don’t want to miss. If you need some pampering after a day in the sun, check out our list top rated resorts in phuket peek into tropical luxury.


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