Phuket & Khao Lak OLD DO NOT USE, Thailand
When to go
Phuket is most alive from November to March. The endless sunshine sees crowds everywhere. Be prepared to pay significantly higher prices for rooms in this period, and make that dinner reservation early. When the lull hits during the monsoon season, expect slower service and more irregular opening hours at shops and eateries.
PlanesPhuket International Airport is Thailand’s second busiest (www.phuketairportonline.com). Charter flights connect to dozens of long-haul destinations but fewer scheduled airlines make it here. However | connecting flights from Bangkok and plenty of other domestic (Thai Airways | Bangkok Airways | Thai Air Asia | OneTwoGo) and regional (Malaysian Airlines | Korean Air | Air Asia | SilkAir | Tiger Airways) carriers arrive and depart with relentless regularity.
TrainsThere’s no rail service to Phuket. Buses travel from the Southern Bus Terminal in Thonburi, Bangkok, but the journey is a back-straining 14 hours. There are more costly and comfortable VIP buses, but it makes far more sense to hop on a one-hour no-frills flight.
AutomobilesNavigating around Phuket by car is manageable with the help of a decent map. Roads can be treacherous so don’t scrimp on insurance. Take the Thep Kasatri Road from the airport and follow the signs to Phuket town. Motorbike rental is a possibility – if you can stomach the 10 | 000 accidents a year statistic.
TaxisFlagging down cabs in Phuket is relatively hassle-free. Fares start at THB50 Three-wheeled tuk tuks are everywhere in Patong and Phuket Town, but are becoming ever more expensive. Feel free to negotiate for a round-trip rate if you’d like the tuk tuk to wait for you while you do some quick shopping/visiting tourist sites. Be prepared to pay upwards of THB150 an hour.