Arriving at Phuket Airport
Phuket Transport | Airport transfers on Phuket Island
Phuket International Airport (HKT) is a small efficient international airport with a simple layout. Arriving here on Phuket is straight-forward and easy. Most flights come down from Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok but there are other direct flights from Hong Kong, Singapore, KL, Europe and the Middle East.
Bangkok Phuket is the main route bringing people to Phuket International Airport. There are 12 flights a day from Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok, 2 from Singapore, Hong Kong and KL. Long haul flights from Australia, Scandinavia, Germany, Russia, Korea, Taiwan arrive every week.
Phuket Immigration and customs
The immigration procedures are usually quite fast although they can get backed up if a couple of larger aircraft land at the same time. If there is a delay, remember to keep cool, calm and collected, you've little to no chance of speeding up officials so you might as well relax.
Always remember to check your stamp in your passport when it's handed back to you. Mistakes aren't made very often but they do happen (incorrect date of departure). It's far simpler to have corrections made there and then rather than later.
Clearing customs is usually a simple process with very few, if any, incoming passengers being subjected to a check, the deterrent for bringing illegal items into Thailand are severe enough to prevent most from even trying.
At Phuket Airport, just after immigration there is a small Duty Free shop selling the usual basics, if your a fan of wine it's a good idea to grab a bottle as wine is quite pricy in Phuket, cigarettes and local are reasonably prices on the island so you only need to buy these as a matter of convenience, the biggest saving will be on the wine.
Getting to your Hotel from Phuket Airport
By far the easiest and best option to get to your hotel is to pre-book your airport transfer when reserving your accommodation. If you've already done this, you'll find someone waiting just outside the arrivals hall with your name on a placard. There are definite surges of people passing through and the area can get quite crowed so take your time and look carefully. The driver will know what flight you were on and will wait for you so remember your on holiday, relax and take your time.
If you haven't pre booked a hotel transfer, you still have a few options; airport limousine, airport meter taxi, and shared minibus.
Limousines are the more expensive option, but less hassle. Just go straight to the limousine booking desk inside the arrivals hall and they will organise everything for you. Airport limousines are usually comfortable large saloons and silver in colour. They are infamous on Phuket for driving very fast and quite aggressively, the faster they get there and back the more trips they make and the more trips equals more money! If you find yourself going at warp speed you can politely ask the driver to slow down by saying "Cha Cha khrap" (if your male) or "Cha Cha kha" (if your female).
The meter taxis charge an 'airport surcharge' + what's on the meter. There is a taxi stand just outside, to the right of the main building. The taxis are two tone (red and yellow) and are supposed to automatically use their meters but you will probably have to insist that the driver turns his meter on instead of bargaining and haggling for a price. Expect to pay between 400 THB to 600 THB depending where on Phuket you're going.
Shared mini buses are even cheaper but less reliable. You will end up stopping at several hotels along the way which can be very time consuming and exhausting after a long flight. Unless you're on a very tight budget, it's recommend you avoid the minibuses. The sooner you get to your hotel the sooner your holiday can start.
Whichever option you choose, don't be tempted by the touts outside the arrivals hall shouting 'taxi' from all directions. Their vehicles are usually unlicensed and uninsured. By the time you land at Phuket Airport the average visitor has been on the go for at least 10 hours, your tired, in and unfamiliar place in a foreign land which is why we strongly advise to book your hotel transfer in advance so all you have to do is catch your flight and let us do the rest.
General Warning (and a final reason to book in advance)
It's also been reported that some (not all) Limousine and taxi meter drivers at the airport will try to inform you that the hotel you have booked is closed or may even stop off at various hotel booking 'agents' along the route and try to get you to change your hotel booking! This is a fairly common and simple scam (throughout Asia) to get you to go to a hotel where they earn commission.
Even if you don't have an advanced hotel booking, if you have a hotel in mind that you want to go to it's often easier to just say you already have a booking. The best solution though is to actually have made your booking in advance.
Last Updated: 08 Feb 2012