- Phuket Airport
- Arriving at Phuket Airport
- On Arrival
- Airport Luggage Storage
- Getting from Phuket Airport to your Hotel:
- Airport Limousine:
- Taxi Meter:
- The Smart Bus
- Where to catch the Smart Bus at Phuket Airport
- Transfers by Shared Mini Bus:
- Rent a Car at Phuket Airport:
- Changing Money at Phuket Airport
- Leaving Phuket
- How early should I arrive at Phuket Airport
- Phuket Airport Map
- Phuket Airport Photos
Phuket Airport International and Domestic Terminals are now open too. The International terminal has been up and running for a while. Extensions are massive and despite a difficult start and long queues at the opening, it solved many of the past issues such as parking and crowded areas. Note that the Phuket International airport is located just next to the old terminal that has become the domestic terminal.
Arriving at Phuket Airport
Everyone knows that the most stressful time for any traveler resides between the leaving home and arriving in a (good) 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.
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 immigration queue goes faster than you expect, your luggage hasn’t arrived anyway! So take it easy, you’ll get through eventually. 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.
Important point if you haven’t visited Phuket recently: there are now 2 terminals, Domestic and International.
Airport Luggage Storage
If for some reason you don’t want to carry your luggage with you, you can leave it at the International terminal, near the Police counter. Price for 1 bag is 100 baht per day.
Getting from Phuket Airport to your Hotel:
You didn’t book your transfer in advance? No problem! It may even be a good thing since hotel transfers are ridiculously expensive. So once you got your suitcase out of the carousel and cleared both immigration and customs, you have 5 options.
Airport Limousines are the best way to reach your hotels, and not as expensive as you may think. Several counters are located right outside the baggage claims. Staff at counters might appear a bit pushy, but they are not, it’s just competition: if they don’t convince you, the next counter will (or might). It cost a bit more than taxi meter, but it’s hassle free (well most of the time) and prices are clearly displayed (expect 400 to 600 Baht but you get a nice new Camry.) Anyway, they are definitely way cheaper rthan hotel transfers.
Taxi-meters are outside the terminal and available 24 hours a day. As usual, make sure taxi turns on the meter but this doesn’t seem to be a problem in Phuket. Be informed that there is a 100 Baht surcharge for airport… Readers shared that a Phuket Airport – Patong by taxi meter cost 600 + 100 baht airport tax while it would cost 750 by limo. For the anecdote, taxis used to stop at their office on the way to your hotel and a travel agent would come to the car, trying to convince you to change hotel for all kinds of silly reasons, the real one being their commission of course. It doesn’t seem to happen often anymore, but if it does, just firmly refuse and ask to continue to your hotel.
Seriously? Phuket Airport is on Mai Khao Beach, 30 to 40 km from your hotel and you just did few thousand miles and you are carrying big suitcases! The Smart bus is cheap and stops at every beach but also very slow. It might be better to keep the Smart Bus to go from beach to beach once you settle down and you have plenty of time. In addition the bus will drop you in the middle of the beach and you still have to pull your heavy suitcase all the way to your hotel. Anyway if you really want to read about it, read about Phuket Smart Bus
Where to catch the Smart Bus at Phuket Airport
Probably the best option if you are on budget. Shared Mini buses can usually carry up to 10 people and costs around 200 baht per person. It might take a bit of time to fill-up the mini-van and if you are unlucky you will be the last to be dropped off.
Rent a Car at Phuket Airport:
Easy, they are just outside the domestic gate or at the ground floor of the international terminal. If you arrived from domestic, just walk outside, 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.
There are several ATM past the customs, all from well known banks and safe to use, and exchange rate is good. – Once you picked up your luggage, there is STILL one duty-free shop! Your last chance to pick a bottle of something. Read more about changing money in Phuket.
Again, there are two terminals but there located next to each other In the terminal, there is not much excitement here, especially since you are leaving. Proceeding to the check in counters is simple but time varies, like anywhere else. If you have time to waste there are several restaurants or pubs.
Then you also can pick between local counters, Subway or Burger King (often crowded). If you pass immigration and move inside international lounge, you’ll find… oh, surprise: Another Burger King! There are the unavoidable one duty free shops for perfumes, alcohol and cigarettes, but you can still find few interesting deals.
How early should I arrive at Phuket Airport
Theoretically you should be there 2 hours before for an international flight and 1 hour before for a domestic flight. But lately traffic is an additional factor… and it can easily add a good 30 minutes! Avoid the stress and leave your hotel as early as 30 minutes to 1 extra hour if it’s at rush hour which is 5 pm. (that makes 2.30 to 3 hours for international and 1.30 to 2 hours for domestic)
If you plan to leave your car for a domestic flight somewhere, it costs 200 baht per day and finding a parking spot can be stressful at certain hours, so allow extra time. Reaching the airport at the end of the afternoon as well… traffic is very unpredictable.
Some Distances from Phuket Airport:
to Patong: 37.7 km, 53 min
to Kata : 47.4 km, 1 hour
to Karon : 43.4 km, 1 hour
to Panwa : 43.9 km, 1 hour
to Bangtao : 21 km, 29 min
to Phuket Town : 32.8 km, 40 min
to Rawai : 48 km, 58 min
to Chalong : 40 km, 50 min
to Kamala : 27.6 km, 36 min
to Surin : 23.3 km, 29 min
to Mai Khao : 8 km, 18 min
Phuket Airport Map
Below is a map with Phuket main destinations starting from Phuket airport. You can select yours by disabling all others destinations.