Heading from Bangkok to Phuket? You’re in luck, this is a well-travelled route, so there are several options for getting from one to the other. Many visitors travelling to Phuket will land in Bangkok first, sometimes stopping over for a few days to take in the capital’s temples, eclectic nightlife, and cultural landmarks, or heading straight to Phuket.
It’s not hard to see why so many travellers flock to Phuket. It’s Thailand’s largest island, teeming with pristine beaches, snorkelling hotspots, incredible night markets, and so much more. The island is also very diverse – you’ll find backpackers partying on one side of the island, and families relaxing in beachside resorts on the other. So there is a way to get from Bangkok to Phuket to suit any traveller, whether you want to get there faster or cheaper. To help make your decision, here’s our handy guide on the best ways to get from Bangkok to Phuket.
Getting From Bangkok to Phuket
If you want to get to the tropical island as fast as you can, then travelling by plane is your best bet. It’s a direct flight taking up to 1 hour and 30 minutes, so you can be sipping cocktails on a white sand beach before you know it. Flights go from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport, landing at Phuket International Airport. Getting a flight for your preferred time won’t be a problem, there are loads departing daily, around two an hour. Don Muang Airport, Bangkok’s domestic airport, also flies to Phuket.
There isn’t much difference between the two airports. Don Muang carries budget airline Nok Air, which Bangkok International Airport doesn’t, but the prices are the same as Air Asia, which the international airport does carry. So, the distance and the price remain similar, if not a little cheaper at Bangkok International Airport. Either way, considering this is the more expensive option, it’s reasonably priced. But during the high season – December to March – prices will increase, so be sure to take this into account when planning your trip.
Phuket Airport is located just over 20 miles away from Phuket Town, and even further from Patong. Hopping in a taxi is the quickest and most convenient option, getting you from door to door. However, the prices can rack up, especially if you’re travelling alone or with one other person. You can book a shared shuttle that’ll be cheap, so it’s a good option if you’re on a budget. Bear in mind that the bus might not have air conditioning and extra stops along the way means it’ll take you longer to get to your destination.
The most affordable way to get from Bangkok to Phuket is by bus. There are a few options – a morning bus that gets you there that evening, a day bus that gets you there in the early hours of the morning, and a night bus that gets you there in the morning. Generally, most people tend to prefer the night buses. The journey can be anywhere between 12 to 17 hours, so if you don’t want to miss a whole day and instead sleep through the journey, then this could be the choice for you. Because they’re the most popular, they tend to fill up quickly, so be sure to book in advance.
The main benefit of getting a day bus is the price. They’re typically cheaper than the night buses, especially during the high season. You also get the added benefit of incredible views along the way. All buses have air conditioning and entertainment, so really, the only difference is time and price. But there are two types of buses, a 1st class bus and a 2nd class bus. A 1st class bus is known as a VIP bus, and they do cost more than the 2nd class bus. However, they’re typically much more comfortable and when you’re on a bus for up to 17 hours, comfort is key. There’s more legroom and reclining seats, especially important if you want to get some shut-eye. And VIP buses have single-row seats, so you don’t have to worry about having someone next to you if you don’t want to.
The buses from Bangkok to Phuket either leave from the Southern Bus Terminal or the Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal. The bus stops halfway so you can pick up some food, coffee, more water, or just stretch your legs.
Train & Bus
While there isn’t a direct train from Bangkok to Phuket, combining a train with a bus is a viable option. Travelling by rail tends to be more environmentally friendly, so if that’s something that’s important to you, then this is a good option. The train leaves Hualamphong Station in Bangkok ten times a day, taking between 8.75 and 12 hours. Like the buses, these tend to be sleeper trains, so you can relax in an air-conditioned carriage with plenty of room and beds.
There are some differences in the types of trains you can get. There’s a cheaper train that doesn’t have any beds, just seats, but we’re not sure if the discomfort is worth the savings. The Thai Railway also has a train with no beds and no air conditioning that goes from Bangkok to Surat Thani once a day. If you think you can stand up to 12 hours without cool air or a bed, you can get an even cheaper ticket. A regular train will have beds and AC – a 1st class ticket will get you a private two-person cabin, while a 2nd class ticket will mean sharing a carriage with other passengers. And one of the benefits of getting a train is the food. You can enjoy a delicious, traditional Thai meal while looking out at views you would have otherwise missed.
This mode of transport gives you the opportunity to visit Surat Thani, a quiet, coastal city. It translates to ‘City of Good People’, which is just lovely. Then, from Surat Thani, you can get a bus from the train station straight to Phuket, which takes up to 5 hours. Prices vary depending on the time and date, so be sure to research the best prices beforehand.