Phuket is one of Thailand’s most popular destinations. Because of its popularity, it is also very touristy and crowded. If you are not in for the crowds it is still a good hub to go to the surrounding islands. When you are planning to go from Bangkok to Phuket you’ll find out it’s actually pretty far away! It’s an almost 850km drive. There are three ways to get there: by bus, by train, or by airplane. Traveling by land is the most environmentally friendly and in most cases also the most budget-friendly option so in this blog we tell you everything you need to know about two options you have when traveling from Bangkok to Phuket: by train or bus.
Bangkok to Phuket by Bus or Train?
Firstly we want to show you some pros and cons of choosing between the bus or train. It’s both going to be a long ride, as we said above, it’s 846km from Bangkok to Phuket. The train ride will take a lot more time because the trains won’t go all the way to Phuket. If you go by train you’ll have to go to Surat Thani first and take a bus from there.
The Pro’s and Con’s
Travel by bus:
- This is the cheapest option
- Many busses and tour operators to choose from
- It’s the fastest option between the two.
- You’ll save a night of accommodation by traveling at night.
- There are no beds, just reclining seats
Travel by Train:
- Options for beds available for more comfort
- A stop in Surat Thani if you would like to visit this town
- You’ll save a night of accommodation when taking a night train
- More expensive
- If you don’t want to visit Surat Thani you still have to change over to a bus
- Slowest option between the two
Overview of Itineraries Bangkok to Phuket
Option 1. Bangkok to Phuket by Bus
Duration: 14 hours
Costs: $23 – $44 USD
Departs from: multiple locations
Step 1. Book a bus trip online or at a tourist office/hotel
Buses go directly to Phuket from Bangkok, without stops, and depart a few times a day. You can organize a bus trip to Phuket from almost everywhere in Bangkok. Most of the hotels and hostels can help you with it, or one of the many tour agencies. However, not all the companies are reliable so it’s best to use an operator with good reviews. The plus side of the many options is that you can choose an option close to where you are staying.
Things to keep in mind while booking the right bus:
- Departing station
- Is there a meal included or snacks and water only?
- Is it a reliable company
- Is it a VIP bus or an Express bus?
Step 2. Get to the bus station/place of departure
Busses leave from several stations. The easiest way to get there is by taxi or tuk-tuk if it’s close to your accommodation. If it’s further away you can also take a metro. The easiest way is to find a bus company which will depart close to your place of staying.
Step 3. Take a bus directly to Phuket
Most busses go directly to Phuket so you don’t have to change over. Once arrived you can take a taxi, songthaew, or tuk-tuk to the place where you are going to stay, or to the harbour if you are traveling to another island.
Option 2. Bangkok to Phuket by Train & Bus
Duration: 13hr + 4,5 hours
Costs: Train Bangkok – Surat Thani: $9 to $45 depending on comfort level
Bus Surat Thani – Phuket: $7
Departs from: Hua Lamphong station
To get to Phuket from Bangkok by train, you’ll have to make a stop in Surat Thani. From this town, you’ll then have to take a bus to Phuket. You can’t take a train directly to Phuket, so this isn’t the most ideal option but it is definitely possible.
Step 1. Go to Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok
In Bangkok, you’ll first have to go to Hua Lamphong station. Depending on where you are coming from you can take a taxi, tuk-tuk, metro, or even a boat. If you take the metro you’ll have to take the blue line to Lamphong Station. If you take the boat you have to get off at the Sawasdee pier and walk towards the station (1,1km, 15 minutes).
Step 2. Train to Surat Thani
From Hua Lamphong station, there are up to 10 trains heading from Bangkok to Surat Thani daily, but most of them will arrive late at night so we would recommend taking train 167 or 85 which will arrive in the morning. This way you have a night on the train which means you’ll save a night in a hotel, and can immediately transfer through to Phuket in the morning once you arrive in Surat Thani.
The 167 departs at 18:30 and arrives at 7:47 the next morning.
The 85 departs at 19:30 and arrives at 8:32 the next morning.
Step 3. Bus to Phuket
From Surat Thani’s train station you can take a Phantip Bus to Phuket, but it only leaves at 7:30 in the morning. So unless you’ll stay a night or two in Surat Thani this isn’t a good connection.
A better option might be taking a songthaew (modified pick-up) but it isn’t very comfortable.
Where to Stay in Phuket
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Depending if you make a stop in Surat Thani, you can choose between traveling from Bangkok to Phuket by bus or train, but if you are not planning to visit this town we would recommend going by bus. If you think that the journey is too long then there are also cheap flights available directly from Bangkok to Phuket. Have you ever done this journey? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!
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