the POSH guide
The best of Southeast Asia

Getting Around Phuket

Phuket is not so easy to get around even though its a very tourist oriented island. Since the 2004 tsunami, it's also gotten rather expensive to get around as well.

Airport Transfers

The airport is far away from most of the beaches. Many, if not all, hotels offer a pick up service, but check the charges before you order hotel transportation. We've seen hotels charge $40 or more for an airport pickup. See the Phuket airport transfers page for full details.

Getting Around Town

Songtaew
These are small pickups fitted with benches along the side of the bed. They operate like buses, picking up and dropping off passengers as they go along, except that they have no fixed route. You need to flag one down and find out if where you want to go is on his way before boarding in the back. These have almost disappeared from Phuket since the tsunami, to be replaced by small four-wheeled tuk-tuks.
Tuk Tuk
A whole new fleet of bright red four-wheeled micro-vans has appeared on the streets of Phuket since the tsunami. Unfortunately, these are the most expensive tuk-tuks in Thailand. A 10 minute trip from Patong to Karon will set you back at least $5. As with tuk-tuks elsewhere in Thailand, you must negotiate the price before getting in.
Taxi
Metered taxis were recently introduced to Phuket. However, they are mostly only available at the airport. There are no other locations around Phuket where you can readily find cabs, although you can call them. Note that many hotels will often deny that there are taxis on Phuket. The meter starts at 200 Baht (5.32 USD) and goes up according to time and distance.

In addition to the metered taxis, you'll also readily find unlicensed cabs waiting around the main tourist areas. They will often charge about the same rate you can negotiate with the tuk-tuks, but have air conditioning. However, keep in mind that these are unlicensed, and therefore uncontrolled, so there is some risk to using them.
Motorcycle
You can rent motorcycles from several places around town, and they make a great way to get around town, if you're able to ride. Note that helmets are required.
Car
There are a number of car rental agencies around town, including some of the international chains such as Budget, Avis and National. Driving in Phuket is not as difficult as Bangkok, but you'd still be well advised to rent a care with driver.
 

Travel Insurance
World Nomads travel insurance is designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and activities such as skiing and snowboarding.