Here are the best ways to get around Phuket:
The tuk tuks in Phuket are basically small red vans that can carry about 5 passengers, and they’re 4-wheeled as opposed to the 3-wheeled iconic tuk tuks you‘ll come across in Bangkok. Tuk tuks can be found all over Phuket, however they are more expensive than a taxi or bus. Fares in Patong are around 200 Baht (around AU$6.70) for any distance within Patong, but many drivers will try to charge more. In town you’ll have no problem catching one just about any time of the day or night.
Taxis in Phuket are readily available, just make sure they are using a meter before you get in and you’ll find them a cheaper and generally safer option than tuk tuks (while maybe not as much fun). Fares start at 50 Baht and go upwards in increments of 7 Baht depending on distance and time. It will be more difficult to hail a taxi from Patong because tuk tuk drivers capitalise on the market there, but they’re a good option to and from the airport and Phuket Town or even to book one for a day trip.
The cheapest mode of transport is surely ‘The Baht Bus’. These blue buses cover transport from most beaches to Phuket City, however they don’t run between Patong and other beaches. In Patong, they leave every 20 minutes until 6pm. Fares range from 10 to 30 Baht (roughly 33c to AU$1). These Blue Betties do not run on a timetable, so flag them down and hop on anywhere you can – just don’t expect comfort or punctuality.
Renting your own transport gives you the flexibility of discovering the Phuket region on your own without negotiating fares with tuk tuks, taxis or waiting for buses. The best place to hire a car is from Phuket International Airport. If you’re not keen on navigating Thai roads on your own, you can hire a car with a driver for a full day for around 3000 Baht (around AU$100).
Motorbike rental is readily available; however it’s recommended that you hold a motorbike licence. While fines aren’t high for not having a licence, unfortunately your travel insurance won’t cover you if you have a mishap.
The best way to get around Phuket’s nearby islands and bays is by longtail boat. Rent them at the beach closest to where you’re heading out on the water. The cost is dependent on the season, how many travelling and your bargaining skills. A trip should cost from 1000 to 2000 Baht (around $33 to $66) and will include the driver waiting while you are at your destination and also taking you back to the mainland.
For all the highrollers out there, you can take a bird’s eye view of Phuket or Phang Nga Bay via helicopter. Prices range from 4,900 Baht ($165) to 19,000 Baht ($633) for trips lasting from 10 minutes to 1 hour.