The island of Phuket is connected mainland by the Thao Thepkrasattri Bridge, it’s home some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, as well as many high-end beach resorts and restaurants. Meanwhile, Bangkok is Thailand’s capital city, situated on the mainland the city features vibrant street life, food, and festivals, as well as elaborate architecture and shrines.
However, if you want to visit both of these incredible Thailand destinations, how do you get from point A to B?
Travelling from Phuket to Bangkok can be achieved in a few different ways: by plane, by bus, or by rental vehicle. The best option depends on the size of your group, your trip’s budget, and your travel preferences. We’ve travelled by overnight bus, however, if you book your flights far enough in advance you can pay as little as $30 one-way and benefit from the convenience of a 1-hour flight.
A journey of over 500 miles, the trip from Phuket to Bangkok is no small one. There are several ways to make this journey, depending on your time frame, travel preferences, and budget. In this article, we’ve listed the various options for the journey below, to help you make an informed decision about your travel plans.
Flying from Phuket to Bangkok is perhaps the simplest, and is undoubtedly the fastest, route. Particularly for someone travelling alone, a flight between the two cities can be relatively inexpensive as well.
There are usually over a dozen options daily for direct flights from Phuket International Airport (HKT) to the New Bangkok International Airport (BKK) or Don Muang Airport (DMK) – both airports of which are located just outside of the city centre of Bangkok.
The flights depart at regular intervals between early in the morning and late in the evening; this makes a flight the most convenient option no matter what time of day you plan to make the trip.
A direct flight takes around one hour, and a one-way ticket costs between $18 and $60, on average, depending on airline and flight time. The most inexpensive flights are from the airline Thai VietJet Air, which offers the majority of the daily flights.
However, one thing to note when considering this option is transportation to and from the airport.
Phuket is 30 miles long and 13 miles wide, and so transportation to the airport will also have to be arranged. The price and logistics of this will, of course, vary depending on where in Phuket you are staying.
Many of the best beaches and resorts are along the western coast of the island, as is the airport. If you are staying in this part of the area, an easy commute to the airport might be another plus of flying. Many of these resorts and beaches in the area offer shuttles to the airport.
Luckily, when you arrive at either of the airports in Bangkok there’s a variety of transport methods that can get you from the airport to your hotel in under an hour. The cheapest is a combination of a bus and the BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System). However, if you arrive after around 9pm I’ve found that it’s often more convenient to get a taxi instead.
Another inexpensive option for travelling from Phuket to Bangkok is to take an 11 to 12-hour bus ride, which runs along the Malay Peninsula to Bangkok. These bus tickets are generally less expensive than airfare, though not significantly so. Tickets range from $19 to $30, depending on the time of departure.
One advantage of this form of travel is that it affords an extra opportunity to see the scenery of southern Thailand. The bus route makes its way along the western coast of the Malay Peninsula, along the Gulf of Thailand. You can sit back in your seat and watch the countryside and cities go by as you make your way to Bangkok.
This is also a convenient travel option from the south side of the island, as the Phuket Bus Terminal 2 is located in the southeastern corner of the island. Multiple bus trips leave each afternoon from the station.
Another convenient option for travelling, if you want to make the most of your time, is a night bus. This option is slightly more expensive, at $35 a ticket but removes the cost of a hotel at either side.
Designed for overnight trips with sleeping passengers, night bus gives you extra time to see the sights, as you get your 12-hour trip and a night’s sleep out of the way at once.
There’s a vast number of companies that run night buses from Phuket Bus Terminal 2 in southeastern Phuket to Bangkok, never the less I recommend booking online in advance for convenience.
Rental Car, Van, or Private Minibus
Depending on the size of your group, renting a car, van or a minibus could be a very cost-effective option. The Phuket airport offers several major rental car agencies, as does Phuket City. A car or minibus (depending on the size of your group) can be rented there and returned upon arrival in Bangkok.
The pricing is more expensive at face value ($100-$235 per day, depending on the size of the vehicle); however, if you are travelling with a large group, it could be a comparable cost to airline or bus tickets, if not less expensive.
There are several advantages to renting a car. First, the car could be rented at the start of your stay in Phuket, which would give you easy personal transportation throughout the island during your stay.
During your trip from Phuket to Bangkok, taking a rental car will enable you to stop along your route where you like, and for as long as you like. Much of the route is through beautiful national parks, which offer amazing views and hiking opportunities. The route also passes through multiple Thailand cities, including the famous beach resort town Hua Hin.
A rental also affords the privacy of your own transportation, as opposed to the community travel of a bus or airplane, which can get crowded at times.
Of course, along with this extra flexibility will come the responsibility of navigating and driving in Thailand, where local traffic and roads can sometimes be disorienting. Make sure you research and familiarize yourself with the route you will take from Phuket to Bangkok before you attempt the drive.
If you are driving over a few days, it might be a good idea to plan your stops and arrange hotels and hostels in advance.
There are multiple ways to get from Phuket to Bangkok, all within a day of travelling. For those travelling alone or in small groups, flying is likely the cheapest and most convenient route, though it doesn’t allow the opportunity to see the countryside.
Taking a bus, night bus or renting a car, van or minibus are all excellent options for a larger group and allow you more freedom to see the sights as you make your journey.
The price for any of these methods of travel depends on group size and time of travel, but there are many reasonable options to choose from. Whichever form of transportation you use, there will be plenty of beautiful and unique sites to see in Phuket and Bangkok, and along the way in between!