From Bangkok, you will not find a direct train service to Phuket Island. If you insist on getting there by railway,
- Take the train from Bangkok’s to Phun Phin railway station in Surat Thani, the gateway town to Phuket.
- From here, take regular bus that will take you to Phuket.
This is a long journey that can ideally be taken if you are on a budget.
- Make your way to Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal
- Choose between getting an air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned bus.
There are always buses going to Phuket everyday, so no need to book in advance unless you are coming during extremely popular holidays like Christmas.
Journey time is 12 hours. Air-con buses typically leave in the evening, so it becomes an overnight trip.
By Rented Car
- Rent a vehicle from reputable car company in Bangkok. Don’t rent a car without contract or insurance.
- Take Highway No.4 (also called Phetchakasem Road), passing through the towns of Surat Thani and Phang-nga.
Phuket Island is attached to the mainland via the Thep Krasattri Bridge or Sarasin Bridge.
Even with these instructions, I highly recommend that you bring a functional GPS-enable device with you.
Journey time is 12 hours and the distance to cover is 862 kilometers.
Final Thoughts on Transport
In my opinion, the best way to get to Phuket from Bangkok is taking a flight. Budget airlines like AirAsia often have promos and the prices are reasonable. If you want to save money, check out for flight sales way before your travel period. Don’t go through a travel agency, book it yourself. It pays to be proactive.
Flying is safe, convenient, saves you time. I have heard reports of buses from Bangkok to Phuket breaking down in the middle of the journey. You will not want to be in that position as you are in the mercy of the bus operators, which are sometimes dodgy. But the bus option is a great one for people who are on a tight budget.
The driving a rented car option can be fun and adventurous, provided that you have a good GPS system and an international license. The advantage of driving your own car into Phuket is that you can explore the big island more without worrying about transport. Public transport in Phuket is in the form of taxis and bemos, which are quite expensive, by Southeast Asia travel standards.