Phuket International Airport
Phuket International Airport (airport code HKT) has recently been extended with a new international terminal to cope with the ever-rising numbers of visitors to Phuket, and is generally an efficient way to travel to or from Phuket.
PhuketSpace arrivals can expect to receive specific instructions vie email regarding how to get from the airport to their apartment.
We’d like your first taste of Phuket to be as smooth and hassle-free as the rest of your stay in Phuket should be!
Arriving and Leaving Phuket Airport
Firstly, try to get a window seat if you are flying into Phuket International Airport , as the view is superb, and a delightful introduction to Phuket. The runway lies from west to east, so depending on the wind direction, you could land from the Andaman sea side of the island, with your first idyllic beach beneath you as you come in to land. Alternatively, you could follow an approach path over Phang Nga Bay and its graphic limestone karsts, isolated green islets and multihued fishing boats.
Even though the airport ranks second in the country in terms of passenger and freight volume it is still quite a small-scale operation, and within minutes of landing you will be in the terminal, looking out to Mai Khao Beach (‘White Wood’) and Nai Yang Beach a few hundred metres to the west.
During the high season in Phuket (December – April), when several flights sometimes land one after the other, queues for immigration can sometimes be a little frustrating and perhaps more officials on their tea break than might be ideal, so you might need to be ready to wait in a queue for a while to get your passport stamped. Once through, it’s just a short stroll from immigration and customs to the luggage carousel and the front door.
Getting to your PhuketSpace apartment
Don’t bother! They’re expensive, and have a reputation for driving way too quickly. The faster they travel, the more fares they can make in one day. If speed and expense is your thing, you can buy tickets for this service on the ground floor, after baggage collection. The silver-grey vehicles are parked en masse directly opposite the terminal’s main doors.
Airport taxis are reliable and inexpensive. On arrival at Phuket airport, walk past the airport limousines and the assorted taxi touts, go out of the terminal building and turn right, and you’ll see meter taxis (red and yellow) lined up.
The meter should be running, but the eventual price should be around 500 or 600 baht to Rawai, or 300 to 400 baht to Phuket Town, including the 100 baht airport surcharge. Drivers are supposed to use their meters, but you may have to insist that the driver turns his meter on instead of bargaining and haggling for a price. Meters always work out cheaper! The charge is for the taxi, not per head.
The trip will usually take approximately 30 minutes to Phuket Town and around 50 minutes to Rawai Beach.
There is an hourly and inexpensive bus service as far as Phuket Town from 6.30 am to 9.30pm. You can buy tickets at 70 baht per person at a counter on the ground floor and the grey-red-and-black buses marked AIRPORT BUS are to be found outside in the parking lot. This is not a non-stop, express service: buses halt along the way for passengers to embark/disembark. You’ll then need to transfer to another mode of transportation in Phuket Town. All in all, not worth the hassle really!
One of the best ways to see Phuket is to hire a car and drive around. There are many scenic roads, particularly on the West Coast. It’s fun (though driving in Thailand can be a little hair-raising at times!), easy and inexpensive.
There are two car rental counters at Phuket International Airport where you can hire cars from Avis, Alamo, National and Hertz, plus a few local companies just outside the airport building. Make sure to take along your passport and driving license. If you plan to hire a car in Phuket, then doing so at the airport makes sense, with sensible pricing, and no taxi charges from/back to the airport.
There are four currency exchanges on the airport’s ground floor (and one in the departure hall) which can be besieged with new arrivals and don’t offer the best rates. You’re better to use one of the airport’s many ATM machines (there are seven in a row on the first floor) as the local charge for a transaction is minimal. Check with the bank in your home country to see what their charges are first. Make sure your card has a ‘Cirrus’ logo on the back, which is good for international transactions.
Duty Free On Arrival
Duty-free on arrival is located just after immigration. Bear in mind that wine is quite expensive in Thailand but local spirits are fairly cheap so you might want to go for a litre bottle of red or white.
Disabled People’s Facilities
Phuket International Airport has lifts, toilets and telephones adapted to disabled persons’ needs as well as designated parking spaces.
SIM Cards & Telephone Services
Pay-as-you-go SIM cards are for sale at the airport’s minimarts and if you go to the International Service Centre on the ground floor they will even set your mobile up for free. There are sometimes people waiting for you as you get off the plane to hand out local SIM cards for free. Either way, SIM cards are easy to obtain.
If you’re particularly desperate to access the internet at the airport, there’s a service on the first floor with rather optimistic prices – 100 baht, or US$ 3 for up to 15 minutes. There is currently no free WiFi at the airport, though the Thai Air business class lounge may have an open connection if you sit outside their corner of the terminal.
|Main phone number:||076 327230-7|
|Information counter||Ext. 1100,1111,1122|
|Security centre||Ext. 1191|
|First aid room||Ext. 1133|
|Tourism Authority of Thailand||327110|
|The Southern Tourism||Ext. 1284, 1285|
|Company Association ATTA||327154|
|Arrival Hall (first floor)||Ext. 1100|
There’s a brief directory of airline companies in Phuket, with address and contact information here.
Should you arrive late at night and prefer to delay your transfer to your PhuketSpace apartment until the following morning, you may prefer to stay at a hotel a few minutes from the airport for the night. We would suggest the Phuket Airport FLY Hotel – more details at www.phuketairporthotel.net.