Phuket Airport: Good Things to Know about Phuket International Airport
Note that Phuket airport is going through a major upgrade and will be completed by July 2015. Extensions look massive and hopefully will solve many of the current issues such as parking.
Arriving at Phuket Airport - Everyone knows that the most stressful time for any traveler resides between the leaving home and arriving in a (satisfactory) hotel room. Everything in between is just a long list of things to worry about: taxi, luggage, lost passport, how far is the gate, why is the queue so long, etc. We can't predict everything, but at least we can give you few hints about Phuket International Airport.
On Arrival Be ready to queue... immigration is a lucky draw, the queue you are about to pick will always be the wrong one anyway. But think about this: even if it goes faster than you expect, your luggage hasn't arrived anyway! So take it easy, you'll get through eventually. Important point, there are 2 luggage claims: Domestic and International. If you did your immigration in Bangkok you will arrive at the Domestic terminal BUT your luggage are waiting in the International terminal. Since you are now aware of that fact, you will quickly spot the sign pointing to the right direction, and it's only 10 meters away out the door.
Getting from Phuket Airport to your Hotel: You booked your transfer in advance of course? If not you have 4 options.
The Local Bus:
Seriously? Phuket Airport is on Mai Khao Beach, 30 to 40 km from your hotel and you just did few thousand miles.
Easy, they are just outside the domestic gate. If you arrived from international, turn right past the customs (before stepping outside) and walk all the way to the end, you'll see the logos from far anyway. Better take an internationally known brand, and make sure you have your international license... later I'll tell you how fun it is to drive in Phuket! Rates for a Honda Jazz or Honda city start at 1,000 baht/day with insurance. You can rent a GPS for 100 Baht/day.
Other Points about Phuket Airport:- There are several ATM past the customs, all from well known banks, so safe to use and exchange rate is good. (I don't cover bad luck cases). - Hotel representatives are not allowed inside the Airport terminal so if you booked a transfer with your hotel, go straight outside and find your name. - Once you picked up your luggage, there is STILL one duty-free shop! Your last chance to pick a bottle of something...
There are two terminals, but the entrance is the same. Good Tip: if someone drops you, taxi or friend, at the departure terminal and you see a big queue outside the door waiting at the scanner (happens a lot if you leave at the same time as a big charter), ask your driver to drive DOWN at the ARRIVAL door... there is usually nobody there! Once in, walk either right or left to one of the elevators to reach the second floor. Then send me a thank you mail once home.