Phuket - Samba Walker was here:
Phuket international airport, IATA code HKT, is situated on Sanambin Road in the Phuket’s Talang district about 30 kilometers north of Phuket City.
- Phuket airport taxi
The stand for the red and yellow Phuket airport taxi company (PTM) is right outside the arrivals terminal in a brick kiosk marked Taxi Meter. There are fixed rates and payment is made to the kiosk attendant, not the driver. Approximate Phuket airport taxi rates:
- to Phuket town 400 baht*
- Patong area 550 baht*
- Kata beach Phuket 650 baht*
- Karon beach Phuket 650 baht*
*Add a 100 baht Phuket airport taxi surcharge to each of these fares.
Travel times range from a half hour to get to Phuket City and approximately an hour to Karon or Kata beach. Before pre-paying for a PTM taxi, check that your hotel, guesthouse or lodging hasn’t arranged to have you picked up. Hotels often provide a car or minivan – it may be labeled as a limousine service – though it’s not necessarily complementary. Hotel transport service rates can be higher than taxis.
There are airport transfer services by companies that operate online, through hotel booking agencies and at the airport. They’re cost effective for groups, when transporting lots of baggage or when a tour is desired. Cars and minivans are available. This type of Phuket car hire service can cost anywhere from 850 Baht for a one-way transfer from the Phuket airport to a hotel or around 1400 Baht for a 9 seat minivan. There are also luxury Mercedes with chaffers between 1450 – 3000 Baht, and half day car plus driver options for around 1200 Baht.
An affordable alternative, with a similar service, is to take one of the minivans that go from the airport to Phuket town, Patong, Karon beach and Kata beach. The trip is slower than when taking a private transfer or taxi, but it’s really cheap. Rates are between 100 and 200 baht to any of these 4 places. Just be prepared for lots of stops en route.
If you want to try driving on the left side of the road (which may be natural for travelers coming from the UK), then renting a car is a great way to see Phuket. You must be in possession of an international drivers permit, have a major credit card and be prepared to buy full insurance coverage. Two of the main Phuket car hire companies are Andaman Car Rent and Thai Rent A Car. For more Phuket car rentals go outside the terminal.
Phuket island is almost 900 kilometers from Bangkok city, and although it’s possible to make the journey by bus or car, crossing from the mainland onto the island via the Thao Thep Kasattri or the Sarasin bridges, an overland trip can take more than 13 hours. That’s why most travelers choose one of the many fast affordable flights from BKK to Phuket, with a flying time of just an hour and 25 minutes. Some of the best last minute flights from Phuket to Bangkok and vice versa are offered by Bangkok Airways, Air Asia and Nok Air – a low cost airline that flies to and from the Don Mueang Bangkok airport. Orient Thai Airlines also offers budget flights to the Phuket international airport from Don Mueang and three flights per day from Phuket to Bangkok, with last minute fares often under 1,700 baht (as of 2012).
It’s an international airport in the full sense of the word, with flights from Phuket to destinations around the world via Air Berlin, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Dragonair, Emirates, Finnair, Holidays Czech Airlines, I-Fly, Jetairfly, Jetstar Asia Airways, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways, Rossiya, SilkAir, Thai AirAsia, Tiger Airways, Transaero Airlines, Virgin Australia , XL Airways France and many others.
Phuket weather averages
Phuket weather ranges from 24°C to 34°C year-round. But like all Thailand, it’s affected by the South Asian monsoon, making it a bit too wet for comfort during 4 months of the year. April & May are really hot with rain up to 21 days/month; September & October (raining up to 23 days/month) is the lowest of all seasons in terms of visitors. The best weather Phuket offers sun-seekers is from December to March, which is the high season, and temperatures remain between 24°C & 34°C.Low Season in Phuket Thailand
The Phuket climate during summer holidays, June, July & August, delivers daily heavy showers, but with sunshine between cloudbursts. It’s seldom cooler than 21°C or hotter than 36°C, and because there are fewer tourists, it’s possible to get really cheap airfares to Phuket (from lots of international destinations). During this season, discounts for top resorts and hotels make a trip to Phuket very affordable. For example there’s a Kamala beach Phuket resort packages from Aquamarine that offer special low season incentives with significantly reduced rates. Royal Embassy Resort & Spa offers low season discounts that make a private suite apartment affordable. And speaking of getting pampered, a spa in Phuket can be the perfect way to pass a rainy day. Yes, Phuket is the heart of wellness and relaxing spas, and the Avista Phuket Resort & Spa is just one of the many Kata beach spas with discounts during Thailand’s low season.
Phuket beachesThe main Phuket beaches are:
- Patong beach Phuket
- Karon beach Phuket
- Kata beach Phuket
- Kata Noi beach Phuket
- Nai Harn beach Phuket
- Rawai beach Phuket
- Kamala beach Phuket
- Surin beach Phuket
- Bang Tao beach Phuket
with 2 kilometers of wide golden sand beaches near urban nightlife and a dozen of the top resorts. Patong’s Beach Road, with vendors, nightlife, bars, restaurants and open-air cafes goes all the way down to the edge of the Phuket Patong beach, making it the most vibrant area on the island.
three kilometers from Patong, but much more relaxed with 5 kilometers of white sand, laidback restaurants, lots of sun loungers and a more family-oriented ambiance.
over a kilometer of sandy beach situated just south of Karon. It’s a good place for surfing, renting Hobby Cats and getting a Thai massage. The Phuket Kata beach area is also known for the award winning Boathouse restaurant and beach resort.
a tiny beach just a couple minutes from Kata, but…way up above the bay (reached by taking hwy 4233 toward Rawai) is one of the island’s most spectacular lookout points and the site of the After Beach Bar Phuket lounge for reggae and panoramic sunsets over the Andaman Sea.
twenty minutes south of Patong beach with warm water and secluded areas surrounded by lush hillsides.
reached by taking hwy 4024. A local favorite filled with anchored boats and Thai families relaxing. Great for views and a taste of authentic Thai life – not for swimming, tanning or beachside lounging.
just north of Patong, famous on the island for the Kamala Beach Resort. It’s good for snorkeling and sunbathing. It’s quiet and ideal for relaxing without being interrupted by quiet as many vendors as on other Phuket beaches. The southern end of the Phuket Kamala beach has some good places for dinning that include Charoen Seafood Restaurant in the Kamala Dream Resort and the Diavolo Restaurant with a gorgeous wood terrace (part of Paresa Resort).
it’s such a great place to eat seafood and barbecued chicken satay that local Thais travel the half hour from Patong to Surin beach. It’s laidback and family oriented. Some of the island’s most exclusive resorts are north of Surin, at Pansea.
north of Surin, this is one of the longest Phuket beaches with about half a dozen of the islands hotel resorts situated along its shores. The activity this Phuket beach offers visitors is horseback riding from the Bang Tao Riding Club, adjacent the Laguna Beach Resort.
Phuket map according to the beaches
The Phuket map can be divided using the location of the best beach areas, although most of them are in the south of the western coastal area starting with Patong (which is 15 kilometers from Phuket Town). The area has 5 beaches, some with funky names like Paradise and Freedom beach, but the main one is Patong beach itself. The area has nightlife action from preppy dance clubs to dodgy go-go bars. Then there’s nearby Karon Phuket for relaxing, Kata and Kata Noi with no wild parties, just sand, sea, sun and a few umbrellas, and Nai Harn with Laem Promthep lookout. Southernmost Phuket has scenery, but not the best beaches for lounging. Rawai Beach is shallow, rocky and sometimes muddy, but the sights are exquisite, as are the seafood restaurants.
The least traveled areas are on the southern part of the map of Phuket include Cape Panwa, Khao Khat Beach and Ao Yon Beach. They’re good places for anyone wanting isolation within reach of Phuket Town, although the beaches aren’t good for lounging or swimming. Next, on Phuket maps of “where to relax in privacy” with sand underfoot, is the Kamala Phuket area, with beaches and what used to be a soporific fishing village, making it a favorite place for doing as little as possible.Following Phuket maps to isolation and tranquil seclusion
Following the natural order of a Phuket map and roadways along beach areas, travelling northward on the western side, after Kamala comes Surin, Laem Sing Beach and Pansea, then Bang Tao, Layan Beach and around to Nai Thon and the quiet sandy Banana Beach. There’s no glitzy nightlife, just quiet solitude. Notice on the map that Nai Yang Beach is near the airport and that the northern side is a national park – Sirinat National Park. This area is tranquil, especially around Mai Khao Beach (not for swimming) where a hike on the rocky shoreline to Sai Kaew can be an adventure, although the slopes are slippery. There’s also a nature trail amidst a Casuarina mangrove forest. Unfortunately, the area is no longer a refuge for giant leatherback turtles, and it’s not altogether an untouched tropical wilderness, but it is a protected reserve that’s peaceful. Enjoy eating local fare from locals who set up tables in front of their homes or shop for fresh produce from the Mai Khao village market.
Phuket nightlife consists of nightclubs with techno beats and lightshows, trendy dance clubs, open-air lounges with live music, spicy go-go bars with risqué girly shows and ladyboy extravaganzas. It’s all concentrated in the Patong area, with girly activity predominantly along Bangla Road (Soi Bangla).
- Patong Bangla Road Phuket
- Laidback nightlife in Kata Phuket
- Nighttime elegance on Kata Beach – Mom Tri’s Boathouse
- Nightlife in Phuket Town (or Phuket City)
The attractions on Bangla Road Phuket include naughty specialties as well as bars and clubs catering to assorted fantasies, mostly playfully erotic, or with a glimpse into the world of ladyboys. Several streets connect to Bangla Road; Soi Crocodile is one such area, especially for Katoey – Thai for transvestite (ladyboy). Nightlife in Phuket also offers places like Aussie Bar, Hollywood Disco, Secret, Sharky Bar, Crazy Horse, Dreams Bar, Moulin Rouge, Seduction, Roxy A Go Go, and Banana Disco – not actually on Bangla Road, but nearby on Thawiwong Road. Get directions using the Sambawalker Phuket map app.
Some of the most relaxed nightlife in Phuket is along Kata beach, although it’s just ten minutes from Patong. For sunsets and breathtaking views, go up above into the hills and look down upon the beach and lush vegetation while eating seafood and jammin to Bob Marley at The After Beach Bar lookout lounge. Follow Sambawalker directions using the Phuket mobile map app to get there using hwy 4233. Another Kata Phuket highlight that’s actually “on” the beach, is Ska Bar. Again it’s in keeping with the easy-going atmosphere of the area, with Bob Marley, low lights and uninterrupted views of the sea and night sky. It’s at the farthest south tip of Kata beach.
Although not technically a night spot, Mom Tri’s Boathouse merits a second mention as a venue for evening cocktails, dinner and drinks, or simply sipping wine. The Boathouse Wine & Grill offers an exquisite beachfront atmosphere and some of the island’s finest cuisine; Sunset Lounge is a chic place for cocktails; Beachfront Bar offers a collection of prized vintages from an award winning wine cellar.
If you’re wondering why it’s sometimes called Phuket Town and other times Phuket City, there’s no mistake. It’s been correct to say “town” until it was pronounced a “city” in 2004. But long before being given status as a city, it was a hub for island nightlife.
- Ladyboy extravaganza
- Jazz bar & live music
- Trendy Phuket clubs
- Sports bar
- Local Thai hangouts
- Phuket pubs
There are more than pubs, bars and nightclubs, but also one of the top ladyboy cabaret shows, called Simon Star Cabaret, which is less risqué and more fun-lovng than other similar type shows.
Saunter over to Soi Rommanee near Dibuk Road, and take in a little jazz at Glastnost or indulge in an old-world live singing performance at Buddy Café on Soi Nimit. Rockin Angels Bar also offers improvised live music sessions in a funky friendly atmosphere.
There are trendy clubs like Kor Tor Mor with Thai pop, glitzy Fantasia, near Montree Road, or T2 with techno and Thai favorite for dancing.
Continuing onto Phang Nga Road is a sports bar replete with pool table called Roxy Bar. Patong Beach. And near Soi Kepsup is the popular Champs Sports Bar that offers pool tables and darts. Although only open till midnight, Bar 8 Degree in the Millennium Resort is an upscale place to watch sports and play pool. And it’s worth the short trip to Karon to play snooker at Anchor Bar.
Beside the Phuket Merlin Hotel is the Blue Marina, mostly for a youngish Thai crowd, but sometimes offering live music concerts worth attending. Rat-U-Thit Road has a bit of everything with Rock City for the young local Thais, Baya Beach Night Club that’s a bit more laidback, and Tai Pan disco-bar-pub that gets local expats and Thais. Then there’s the former Margarita Bar – now called Red Hot, with music, pool, and shows. For anyone wanting a glimpse into a genuine local Thai activity, go to Soi Sai Namyen and witness a Muay Thai match; despite the violence, it comes with a unique musical program.
Amongst Phuket pubs, Timber Rock, near the Merlin Hotel, is one of the most popular with nightly live music. Molly Malone’s in Patong offers exactly what you expect: Irish Kilkenny favorites and music. Scruffy Murphy’s, down from Bangla along the beach, has Guinness, a live band and a laidback pub atmosphere replete with happy hour.
For those who fancy they can sing, there’s Ba Lé Restaurant & Karaoke (also spelled as Bale Karaoke), on Tilok Utis 1 Road, with a public audience in the alfresco bar area or private rooms for friends. The food is good, but nothing exceptional, and there are lots of tropical cocktails, but the ambiance is what’s really unique. There’s a large wooden deck with rustic stool and tables near ponds although everything faces the stage area, which at night is illuminated with coloured lights. The private karaoke booths are nothing special, the real action is in the bar and stage area outside. It’s easy to find. You can’t miss the massive black and white signage all around the building.