Grand Buddhist temples, luxurious royal palaces, ancient ruins, floating markets, pristine beaches, lush green landscapes and…. elephants are the things that come to mind when hearing the place “Thailand.” Thailand is a Southeast Asian country and is known as the “Land of Smiles.” The Kingdom of Thailand consists of four regions and 32 cities with Bangkok being the capital.
Bangkok or Krungthep (in Thai) is the seat of economic activities and commercialization in the country. It is one of the travel hot spots in Asia. Huge buildings, busy nightlife, grand palaces, heritage parks and open markets are the natural sights in the capital.
Pro Tip: Be sure to get enough rest because you won’t want to stop touring in this place when you arrive.
On the other hand, Phuket is the second smallest province of Thailand, but it is also their largest island. It stretches for 49 km, so most tourists rarely feel it’s an island because it’s so enormous you won’t see any waters nearby.Phuket is a paradise for beach holies, adventurers and nature enthusiasts.
There are busy beaches, blissful laid-back beaches and high-end beaches catering to all types of people. Friendly and hospitable locals will warmly welcome you and guide you throughout your stay.
Pro Tip: Bring A LOT of sunblock bottles and make time to practice the Thai phrase “Khob Khun Mak” (pronounced as kòp kun mâak) for “thank you” because I’m sure you’ll be using it a lot for the locals.
So, getting down to business. If you’re looking for directions or modes of transportation from Bangkok to Phuket, then you came to the right place. We will arm you with information to help you reach the paradise island. This article will answer most of your questions, with some added tips (*wink*) so sit back, relax and read on.
Whether you’re going to Phuket for a vacation, to visit a relative, for a business trip or for whatever reason you have, you got four options for transportation- by train, bus, car, and plane.
Your choice of transportation will depend on how fast you want to get there, your comfort and convenience, your budget and whether you’re looking for an ‘adventure of a lifetime’ and thrill for discovering off the beaten tracks.
1. By Plane
Getting to Phuket from Bangkok by plane is the fastest, most convenient and can provide you with the most comfort. Domestic airlines like AirAsia, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Airways, and Orient Thai have daily flights from Bangkok to Phuket.
There are around 60 flights daily for this destination with the earliest flight leaving at 02:15 AM (via Thai Lion Air) and the latest at 11:59 PM (via Thai Airways). If you’re a little short on budget, opt for airlines such as Thai Lion & Thai AirAsia as they frequently offer the best and lowest deals according to farecompare.com. The travel time from Bangkok to Phuket is approximately an hour and a half.
Tip: If you are planning a trip from Bangkok to Phuket ahead of time, save money by reading articles about the best time to buy airline tickets.
2. By Bus
The cheapest way to get to Phuket is by a bus or train. But if you can afford to fly but want a taste of some adventure and sightseeing, then a long bus ride is perfect for you. Around 20 direct buses to Phuket depart daily starting at 6:00-7:00 AM from Bangkok’s Southern Terminal Station ( or Sai Tai).
You can opt to ride an air-conditioned or a non-air conditioned bus. Another option is to ride an overnight bus if you hate the heat and hassle of the morning rush. Take note that the last trip leaves at 7:00 PM.
If the Southern Terminal Station is too crowded, you can go to Khao San Road street in Central Bangkok to catch a bus to Phuket, though the fare here is a bit higher. They also have overnight buses. Travel time is about 12-14 hours so make sure to pack food and don’t forget your neck pillow!
Tip: Since many locals and tourists travel to Phuket daily, the non-air conditioned, as well as some air-conditioned buses, are jampacked leaving a standing-room to late passengers. Make sure to book your tickets a few days early.
3. By Train
Another money-saver mode of getting to Phuket is by train. Note that there is no direct train from Bangkok to Phuket. The only route is from Bangkok to Surat Thani then from Surat Thani to Phuket.
To do this, take a train going to Phun Phin Station (near Surat Thani) from the main Hua Lamphong Train Station located in the Pathum Wan District in Bangkok. It would take you approximately 12-14 hrs to reach Phun Phin.Long-distance trains usually travel at night and will allow you to sleep quite comfortably than in the bus.
What’s exciting about going on a long-distance train is you can choose which class you prefer. The first class consists of a lockable private air-conditioned 2-berth compartment with wash basin though most trains do not offer first-class.
The second class has two types: fan sleeper and air-con sleeper carriages. Lastly, the third class which only has bench seats. Since the journey would take very long hours, I suggest a first or second class rooms for comfortability. The train also serves hot meals at affordable prices.
Arriving at Surat Thani, head to Talat Mai Road for a ride to Phuket. You can ride a minivan, private bus or a public bus. The minivans and privates buses are the quickest options but charges almost twice as the public buses. There will be a few stops along the way for all three options.
Tips: Book your tickets early as the trains are swarming with people on weekends.
4. By Car
Did someone say road trip?? Yeesss! Heading to Phuket by car is probably the most exciting way to go. It will allow you to explore off-the-beaten paths, stop at mesmerizing sceneries and take photos along the way.
Driving in Thailand is quite pleasant due to its vehicle-friendly roads and British road signs. There are many car rental companies in Bangkok if you don’t want to drive yourself. But if you’re really into the thrill of discovering roads and places, then here’s the route from Phuket.net
“Take Highway 4 from Bangkok, passing through Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuapkhirikan, Chumphon, Ranong and Phang Nga. The highway between Ranong and Phang Nga is quite scenic with forest-covered mountains on one side and the Andaman Sea on the other.”
After Phang Nga, cross Sarasin Bridge and on the other side, you’ll be in downtown Phuket. The Trip will take about 10-12 hours, or more if you have frequent stops.
Tip: Before embarking on the journey, have your car thoroughly checked as it is an 862 km drive to Phuket. Bring a spare tire! You may also need some road map or download a virtual map on your smartphone. Lastly, pre-book your hotel (if you desire to rest from the 12-hr drive) before leaving.