I hate cabs with a passion. They might be convenient, but they’re also super expensive (yes, even in Thailand, compared to public transport) and every ride is one big negotiation.
Unfortunately, public transport in Phuket, Thailand, barely exists. There are buses, but they go at 20 km/h max and only to Phuket Town. So if you’re in one of the beaches (I was at Kata and Karon Beach), the only way to avoid a taxi or minivan to the airport is to take the public bus to Phuket Town and then another public bus from there. Right?
WRONG! There is a public, affordable bus that goes from Kata and Karon (and Rawai) Beaches directly to the airport!
It’s called Phuket Smart Bus and costs 170 THB one way per person(which is cheaper than 275 THB for a minibus or 800+THB for a taxi). Not only that, it’s faster too — it only took us about 90 minutes from Karon Beach to the airport.
You can find all the information here: https://phuketsmartbus.com/.
Important: they don’t have any change, so have your 170 THB ready in the proper bills.
I researched this manner excessively on Google, and didn’t find it at all. Not on TripAdvisor, not on Lonely Planet, nobody talks about this bus. But it is listed on Google Maps — and that triggered my intrigue.
Well, there you have it: a cheaper, faster, less-crowded and air-conditioned way to get to Phuket Airport from Karon, Kata, Rawai, and Patong.
This article is not sponsored; I just really enjoyed the service and wished I had known about it earlier.
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