How Do You Get Around in Phuket? Advice from Locals

Whether you’re visiting Phuket for the first time or you’re returning after several years, you need to know the best ways to get around our island. After all, how else will you see and do all the things on your Phuket wish list?

For your visit to Phuket Elephant Nature Reserve, we make everything easy. If you don’t have your own means of transportation, you can include pick-up and drop-off for a small fee (฿500 per adult, ฿250 per child) when booking one of our ethical elephant activities in Phuket.

But what about all your other adventures? Scroll down to find our local insights about how to get around in Phuket. If you have questions for our team at any point, please just get in touch for the answers you need.

Car Rental in Phuket: Convenience, Comfort, and Freedom

For travellers seeking independence and flexibility, renting a car in Phuket is an excellent choice. Numerous rental agencies operate at Phuket International Airport, including Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Europcar, and Budget.

We recommend renting from a reputable international company as the prices are reasonable and you have the peace of mind that comes with a familiar name. Consider taking out the full coverage insurance if you’re unfamiliar with the Phuket driving experience. Remember, we drive on the left-hand side of the road!

Reserve your vehicle as soon as you know your travel dates, particularly if you’re visiting in high season, as you’ll have a wider range of cars to choose from.

When you have your own wheels, see how many of our picks for the best Thai food places in Phuket you can visit!

Phuket Motorbike Rental: Convenient and Quick, But Be Careful!

Adventurous souls often opt for motorbike rentals as they offer a more exciting way to explore Phuket’s scenic roads. Rental motorbikes and scooters are readily available, so it’s usually easy to find a good deal and an option you trust. It’s also much easier to find a place to park compared with a car!

However, safety is paramount. Always wear a helmet and adhere to local road rules. Driving in Phuket is challenging and requires constant attention and excellent skills. 

Unfortunately, accidents on motorbikes aren’t rare, and the insurance coverage provided isn’t always adequate. If you decide to take this route, we strongly recommend having your own travel insurance and an international driving license.

With either a motorbike or car rental, it’s much easier to get to the must-visit places around Phuket.

Tuk Tuks in Phuket: Embrace a Unique Experience

If you’re used to Bangkok’s famous blue Tuk Tuks, you won’t find them here. In Phuket, Tuk Tuks are four-wheeled Daihatsus that you access from the back. They’re also either red or yellow. These colours don’t mean anything, so don’t worry about catching a particular one.

Young travellers are especially keen on Tuk Tuks, especially those that have lights and sound systems that compete with nightclubs! However, these vehicles are fun to try as a new experience, and they’re ideal for travelling short distances.

In theory, there are official rates displayed on boards around the main beaches, but be sure to confirm your fare with the driver before getting in.

Phuket Smart Bus: Take the Long Route with Air Conditioning

For budget-conscious travellers without pressing time constraints, the Phuket Smart Bus is a gem. It travels along our island’s west coast in both directions between the airport and Rawai Beach. The Smart Bus route includes most of Phuket’s famous attractions, including:

  • Bangtao Beach
  • Boat Avenue and Laguna
  • Surin Beach
  • Patong Beach
  • Karon Beach
  • Kata Night Plaza
  • Rawai Beach

Of course, this option is more time-consuming compared with rental cars, taxis, and Tuk Tuks, but it’s cheap and the buses have air conditioning!

If you plan to use the Smart Bus throughout your stay, you can credit your Rabbit Card (which you buy when you first board the bus) at shops around our island.
Check out our blog What are 10 Cheap Things to Do in Phuket? for budget-friendly tips that won’t break the bank.


Phuket Blue Bus: The Oldest and Best-Known Local Bus

Known locally as songtaew, Phuket’s famous open-air blue buses are a more traditional mode of public transport on our island. But don’t worry, they have roofs! As you have probably already guessed, these buses are painted bright blue, so they’re easy to spot on the road.

While Blue Buses have destinations written in English on the outside, there are no designated stops along the way, so you can try and flag one down from the roadside if needed. However, you’ll have a much better chance of doing so if you’re in a busy area.

Songtaew typically shuttle between Phuket Town and a specific beach, or a small set of beaches.

Grab Taxi App: Arrange Pickups with Upfront Pricing

There’s no Uber in Thailand, so if you want a taxi service while you’re in Phuket, we recommend downloading the Grab app. Put simply, this is the Southeast Asian equivalent of Uber. Most importantly, it offers reliable and safe journeys with upfront pricing.

This is an easy and comfortable option, especially for longer journeys or late-night travels. But please note that Grab taxis cannot pick you up from the airport.

Remember to read our Visitor’s Guide to Phuket for more essential information that can help you make the most of your time here in paradise.

Private Van Rental with Driver in Phuket: Custom Convenience

Travelling in a group or with family? Opting for a private van rental with a driver might be the perfect choice. It offers both comfort and convenience, allowing you to explore Phuket at your own pace. 

Available for half- and full-day hire, you may be surprised at how affordable this option is. And with a local English-speaking driver, you can also enjoy some interesting insights along the way.

This option also allows you to create a custom itinerary based on your group’s interests and requests.

Looking for some family vacation inspiration? We think you’ll love our blog What is a Good Phuket Itinerary for a Family Holiday?

Book Your Ethical Elephant Activities in Phuket with PENR

Now you know how to get around in Phuket, it’s time to start planning what you’re going to do when you arrive! Our ethical, accredited, and sustainable sanctuary is here for all your Phuket elephant activities!

You can even meet the new member of our rescued elephant family, Nong Tang!

Please contact us if you have any questions for the PENR team.

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