How to ride the local bus in Phuket?
The Phuket Smart Bus is new and still trying to find its mark on the island. There are several ways to use Phuket local bus services. All are cheap and obviously all are slow but if you visiting Phuket with a small budget and if time is not an issue, you can save quit a bit of money by taking advantage of these bus options.
The Smart Bus
The new Smart Bus, which is the most interesting one for you, will take you from beach to beach, riding all the way from Phuket airport to Rawai beach and return. The Smart bus goes all the way from Phuket International Airport to Rawai beach and stop at 12 stations along the way, almost every beach on the west coast : Bangtao Beach, Surin Beach, Patong Beach, Karon and Kata Beach and finally Rawai.
The rate is incredibly cheap, from 50 baht for the shortest distance and 170 baht for the longest ride. Buy a refillable Smart Card onboard to pay the fare (fare cannot be paid directly in cash). Refill can be done in designated shops or restaurants around the island.
Smart Bus Itinerary
The list and map below list all the stops of the Smart Bus, but to give you a couple of important hints:
- Bangtao: at Boat Avenue
- Patong: on the way FROM the airport, the bus stops as Jungceylon shopping mall. On the way TO airport it stops on the beach at the start of Bangla road.
- Kamala: at BIG C and at Phuket Fantasea
- Karon: at the famous Karon Circle
- Kata: behind Club Med
Smart Bus Route Map
Smart Bus Price Table
Phuket Smart Bus Time Table
The Blue Bus (Song Taew)
The oldest and best known local bus is the Blue Bus (known as Song Taew). It often look more like a wooden truck than a bus as you know it. Those will only take you from Phuket town to a beach or a small set of beaches, but not between beaches.
That blue bus leaves roughly every 30 minutes from 6 am to 6 pm and a ride costs 30 to 50 baht. A typical trip from Phuket Town to Patong can last 50 to 60 minutes but you need to add the idle time waiting for a bus to arrive, plus the frequent traffic jams on the way. On the other hand it can be a fun experience at the bus is open an open air one and it really give you the ‘local feel’.
Location: Central Market, Ranong Road Phuket Town
Hours: 6am – 6 pm
Price: 30 to 50 baht
Itinerary: Phuket Town to beach or a set of beaches, and back
Blue Bus Routes
Patong Beach: 30 baht
Karon, Kata and Kata Noi: 30 baht
Kamala, Surin and Bang Tao: 40-50 baht
Rawai, Nai Harn: 35 baht
Chalong: 30 baht
The Pink Bus
The Pink Bus is also a converted truck that circulates only around Phuket town, using 4 different routes as indicated on the map. The fare is only 5 baht whatever route you use.