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Phuket Airport is the second-busiest tourism air hub in Thailand, giving access to the famous holiday island with its buzzing nightlife and great beaches. The complex is located 18 miles from Phuket Town, which is accessible by shared minibus, taxi and local bus service. Car hire in Phuket Airport is easily arranged, with self-drive a popular means of travel around the island and to nearby mainland sites of interest via a bridge linking the two shores.
Who to Book With
Phuket Airport offers five international car hire companies: Avis, Hertz, Budget, Sixt and Europcar, as well as the local Thai Rent a Car company, giving a wide choice of vehicles at competitive prices. Car hire desks are located in the Arrivals area, and advance booking in the high season is advised.
Need to Know Essentials
The following documents will need to be shown at vehicle collection:
- Your UK, EU or home country driver’s licence or an International Driving Permit
- The credit card used for the reservation
- Your passport confirming your ID
- Your booking confirmation slip
Driving on Phuket Island is on the left and should be undertaken with care as the standards of driving in Thailand are different than in the West. Local drivers tend to ignore traffic lanes and speed limits, resulting in a high number of accidents. Tuk-tuks, motorbike taxis and songthaew minibuses should be avoided. Parking regulations are confusing, with signs in Thai, although fines are minimal. Attended petrol stations are found across the country, with card payment accepted by the vast majority. Roads in general are in reasonable condition, although potholes are common, and drivers should watch out for street dogs and motorcycles travelling on the wrong side of the road.
Minibuses, airport taxis and public or private airport buses are the main means of public transport from the complex, although self-drive is the fastest and most convenient way to get away. There is no rail service on the island, and buses are the cheapest means of travel, with taxis the most expensive mode.
The use of official airport taxis or a private transfer booked in advance will avoid you being scammed by the crowds of taxi touts at the airport. Official taxis are yellow-and-red and are metered, although you’ll need to insist on meter usage or face bargaining for a fair price. The journey to Phuket Town takes around half an hour, with Patong Beach and Kata Beach transfers taking 40 minutes and 1 hour, respectively. A £2 airport levy is charged on top of the fare.
Phuket Airport to Phuket city centre is about £8
Phuket Airport to Patong Beach is about £12
Phuket Airport to Kata Beach is about £14
An hourly local government-owned bus service runs from the airport to Phuket Town between 06:30 and 21:30, but there are no bus services to the west coast of the island. The journey to town is lengthy as the bus stops regularly to let passengers off. Tickets costs around £1.50 and are available at the terminal’s ground floor booking desk. The bus stop is found in the parking lot, and the grey, red and black buses are modern and comfortable. Shared minivans can be pre-booked or hired at the counter in the Baggage Reclaim area, although you’ll have to endure a stop-off at a tourist company’s office.
Phuket Airport operates a single terminal and is at present undergoing expansion to cope with increasing passenger numbers. A plethora of seasonal charter and low-cost holiday flights, as well as full-service scheduled flights arrive from European destinations as far away as Moscow, Beijing, Australia, New Zealand and Finland. At present, there are no direct flights from the UK, with visitors normally breaking their journey in Bangkok.
Phuket Airport’s open-air parking lot is situated adjacent to the terminal and is used for both short-term and long-stay parking. Long term-parking is cheaper if pre-booked and short-term parking is charged on a reducing scale from around £0.15 for the first hour to the 24-hour rate of £1.50.
Wi-Fi internet access is found at the airport on the first floor and is charged at around £2 for 15 minutes.
An information desk is located on the landside ground floor of the terminal, with another in the International Arrivals hall.
Service Centre: +66 76 351 122
Accessibility for passengers with disabilities includes dedicated parking spaces close to the terminal, wheelchair access via an escalator, a designated seating area and adapted washrooms. A request for assistance should first be made to your airline.
Restaurants and Bars
Fast food outlets such as Burger King and Subway are found in the public areas, as is the Bill Bentley pub. In the airside Departures area there’s a Thai Airways restaurant serving good food in a comfortable setting. Burger King is also featured in the Departures lounge and cafés are found in both sections.
Coral Executive Lounge
Money and ATMs
There are five currency exchange outlets at the airport: four in the Arrivals hall and one in the Departures lounge. Seven ATMs are found in the public areas and airside.
The International Departures lounge holds four separate duty-free outlets selling perfume, wines and spirits, cigarettes and cosmetics, with another duty-free outlet set in the Arrivals area. In the public area are several shops offering books, newspapers, snacks, gifts and souvenirs.