While usually the internal flights for Thailand can be found quite cheap, we struggled. We don’t know whether it was due to Chinese New Year or because we were just at the end of high season. So our alternative was travelling from Phuket to Bangkok by bus.
We had done plenty of bus travel before in Europe and even Thailand but something about spending 12 hours on a bus seemed a little daunting. Here is how we got on…
Booking Phuket To Bangkok By Bus
We decided to book online, mostly so we were prepared but also thought we could get a better rate. This isn’t always the case as when we got to the bus terminal to pick up our tickets the price was slightly lower. We did look at a tourist booth within Old Town and the lady wanted to charge us 913 Baht each, which we could have haggled down the price but booking online was cheaper and less fuss. Cora booked a one-way ticket from Phuket to Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok for x Baht per person.
We booked our tickets through 12GOAsia. After booking, we got a confirmation email as well as an email with the tickets attached. The bus departs from bus terminal 2. With booking online there was the option to cancel up to midnight of the day before.. the only money you wouldn’t get back was the administration fee which was 100 baht.
If you don’t have data there is WiFi at the bus terminal 2 you can connect to, it is a little difficult to get on. If not while you have WiFi download the tickets and take a screenshot on your phone or laptop.
It will state on your email that you need to collect your tickets from the desk. If you have come by bus from another destination you will want to walk into the building as if you are walking out the front door, before you do turn left and back on yourself. You can collect your tickets there.
Phuket Town to Bus Terminal 2
We were staying in Phuket old town opposite the bus terminal 1. We took the bus from bus terminal 1 to bus terminal 2 for 15 baht per person. The bus journey was roughly 15- 20 minutes drive. The bus is a bright pink bus that goes from Old Town, bus terminal 1 and then to bus terminal 2.
Bus Terminal 2
We arrived quite early planning to find a spot and work. When we couldn’t find anywhere to really sit for 6 hours we decided to ask the lovely lady at the ticket desk if we could switch your tickets to an earlier bus. We managed to get switched to a Phuket to Bangkok bus leaving at 3.30 pm with no extra cost. On your ticket they will write the bus number you need, your seat number and the time you leave.
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While in the bus station is a newer building and has quite a few small stalls with drinks, food and snacks while you wait. There is ample seating outside by the bus bays with some charging points for both USB and plugs on the pillars.
While we had only had breakfast we decided to try some of the food from the shops at the bus terminal. I chose to get a pad Thai which was 50 baht and you can eat in or take away.
The Bus From Phuket To Bangkok
Once the Phuket to Bangkok bus arrived and we went to get on, we were directed to a table where 2 people took our tickets and made notes. They will also put stickers on your luggage as to where you are getting off. The bus will state the number and where it is going in the front window. We got confused as to our ticket it stated we need to be at 2, we took this as the bus bay 2, but it meant bus number 2.
Seating And Comfort
They will then confirm your seat number and a man will come and show you where you are sat. If not the seats have numbers on the back so you can find them easy enough.The seating is quite generous in terms of leg room and the chairs also recline. And when I say recline they lay back quite far to enable you to sleep. It was quite a common thing for most of the passengers to recline all the way back and get comfortable.
Once you have boarded the bus there is a man that will come round and give you a snack each and a bottle of water. Along with this added treat, there was also a blanket laid over the headrest of each chair. There was also an overhead storage rack for smaller bags but ours were too big to fit in.
The bus does advertise free wifi but there actually wasn’t any. There are curtains along the windows to help shut out the sun but not all of them reach so you may need to pull along a curtain to cover your eyes. There is also a mesh elasticated pocket on the back of the seat in front of you which you can store your snacks and water in.
The journey itself was 12 hours with a stopover at half way. There is a toilet onboard but be prepared not to have a toilet roll or a running tap. We found travelling mostly at night was good as the time passed quickly as we slept all the way. When it hit the evening point through the journey the driver turned the lights off in the bus. Only putting them back on when we stopped for the break and when we arrived.
We stopped at halfway point to a large market hall with different sellers offering up food, snacks and drinks. We managed to pick up some toilet roll for 20 baht for the rest of the journey. There were toilets available but they were nothing like we were used to.
Making It To Bangkok
Once we arrived at Bangkok bus station there was a flood of people wanting to help you down and take you to a taxi. We ignored this and went straight to the bathroom. There are some officials with blue shirts and badges on if you need help. The bathrooms were located at the far side where the bus entered, along with a 7-eleven and some other shops.
There are other buses that will be for local travel as well as further travel into other parts of Thailand. The only other way out of the bus terminal is by taxi, the taxi line is stated by a sign and is the best place to get them from. Make sure you use a taxi with a meter so you are paying a fair price.
Be prepared with a map or address for your driver as our’s didn’t speak very good English and struggled. We managed to get him a phone number to call the hotel to direct him in the end.
Have you travelled from Phuket to Bangkok by bus? What was your experience like and would you recommend it as a cheap alternative to others? Let us know in the comments below.