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Getting around Phuket is pretty convenient, thanks to great infrastructure and various options for tourists and residents. If you’re based in a beach resort, you should be able to walk to the beach and the nearest entertainment venues easily. However, for those a little further away, here are some transportation options and tips:
1. Shuttle Buses
Many of our luxury rentals offer free shuttle buses to and from the beach, amenities, and attractions, which takes the stress out of traveling around the island. We also provide airport transfers as an extra service for anyone who needs it.
These are a pleasant and convenient transportation option in Phuket and tend to cost around 400+ THB in Phuket, rather than go by the meter price, so it is advisable to ask the price before setting off. It is worth asking a taxi driver for their number or other contact details, so you can call them whenever you need a taxi. A vacant taxi has a red “vacant” (“ว่าง”) sign in Thai in the front and can be flagged down anywhere. Thailand does not yet have Uber, but it does have Grab, which is a free mobile app you can download to get a taxi. Choose from a standard taxi, saloon limo or SUV limo and an available taxi will contact you and pick you up at your current location, or any other place that you specify.
3. Motorbike Taxis
A more exciting alternative to a metered taxi is a motorbike taxi. These can be flagged down anywhere and a price is agreed before you get on. Motorbike taxis can be a good option for short journeys.
4. Rental Motorbikes and Cars
There are motorbikes and cars for rent all over Phuket, making it convenient for you to get from your luxury villa or condo, to all the best places with your luggage. In Thailand, always drive on the left-hand side of the road, and remember that flashing lights in Thailand usually mean, “I’m coming through!” If you rent a motorbike, always wear a safety helmet, and make sure you have a valid Thai or international driving license and travel insurance that provides cover in the case of accidents. Also, be aware of slippery road conditions during the rainy season.
5. Local, Thai-Style, Travel Options
If you want to try some Thai-style travel in Phuket and save money, you can get from town to town on local buses. These can be more time-consuming than private taxis, but they’re cheap and will give you a taste of Thai life.
If you’re feeling adventurous, sample a “songteaw.” Smaller than buses, “songteaws” (literally, “song teaw” means “two lines” in Thai, which comes from the fact that the trucks have two benches in the back). These have similar routes to the buses and will stop anywhere along the way to their destination, which is usually displayed on the front. You can flag one down on the roadside and then get off at any point.
Tuk-tuks are the quintessential Thai-style way to travel and are a must-try for anyone new to Thailand. Tuk-tuks are usually 3-wheeled, but those in Phuket have 4 wheels, making them more stable and less hair-raising than the usual Bangkok tuk-tuks. A rule of thumb is to agree with the driver on a fare before getting into a tuk-tuk. Be aware that some tuk-tuk drivers may try to take you to a jewelry shop where they earn a commission on sales, though it’s easy to look and leave or just decline.
Whatever transport method you use, it’s always helpful to have Google maps or GPS open on your phone, in case you need it, especially if you’re using public transport. This way, if you get dropped off somewhere unfamiliar, you can always find your way.
A safety tip for those traveling alone in private taxis is to take a photo of your driver’s license and to text it to a friend before your journey starts. While Phuket is generally a safe place for lone travelers, it’s always good to err on the side of caution, as you would anywhere in the world.
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