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Travelling like the locals

Travelling like the locals

We all know Phuket roads can be manic, and getting tuk-tuks or taxis can range from expensive to downright extortionate. But there are some other options available to get around if you know where to look.

By Alasdair Forbes

Monday 5 November 2012, 04:23PM



The pink buses in Phuket Town


There are two routes.


Route 1: From Big C on the bypass, turns right at Tesco Lotus and meanders through town in a generally southerly direction, finally ending up at Phuket Vocational College in Saphan Hin.


Route 2: Starts at Super Cheap shopping mall then takes a swing round the south of To Seh mountain– past Phuket Provincial Hall before joining Chao Fa Reast Rd. It takes a couple of jinks bfore finishing at the fruit market on Chao Fah Rd.


Tickets are 10 baht and the buses leaves every 10 minutes or so. I stress the “or so”. If you are in a hurry to make an appointment with an anally retentive client or potential employer, best to get a cab or tuk-tuk or, easier yet, a motorbike taxi.





Airport buses and local buses


There is a designated airport bus which leaves the Phang Nga Rd bus terminal in Phuket Town every 60 or 90 minutes It takes about an hour and a half to get to the airport. The service from Pkt Town runs from 7am to 6:30pm, and in the other direction from 6:30 am to 8pm. For details visit It costs B85 for the ful distance, one way.

Buses to Patong, Rawai, etc can be taken from the Phuket Fresh Market (Talaad Sod). These will move at the end of April to the Phang Nga Rd terminal, but will all still call at the market. Most operate with Phuket Town as their central hub. So if you want to get from Patong to Rawai for example, you’ll probably have to go through Phuket Town. Leave plenty of time and enjoy the scenery drifting slowly past. It costs around B50 one way, depending on where you want to go. The cross-island buses leave around four times per hour, but don’t count on this. It will depend on your destination, the age of the bus and the mood the driver’s in.





How do I know what to look for?

The buses around town are bright pink wooden songthaews; pretty hard to miss. Airport buses are more modern minibuses with aircon, and are bright yellow with a black stripe. The cross-island buses are blue open-air buses, usually also the old wooden style with benches running from back to front.





How much will it cost?

OrBorJor buses cost B10, or free for students in uniform, no matter how far you want to go (which can make a pretty cheap scenic tour around Phuket Town). The airport bus is B85 per person one way..


How often do they leave?

OrBorJor buses leave approximately every 10 minutes, although can be less than reliable. Airport buses leave every hour or 90 minutes, and have a fixed timetable on their website at





How long will it take?

Well, we’re not talking rocket-propelled, and your driver won’t be Fernando Alonso. You get what you pay for, maybe it’s just best to leave it at that.


Do I need to speak Thai?

Obviously it will help. But if you know how to say exactly where you want to go, you can probably manage the rest by yourself. Just make sure you carry small change because drivers will not appreciate having to change large notes.




That’s it for today. Talk to you again tomorrow


That’s it for this week. Join me on Monday for a brand new topic.


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