Bangkok to Phuket by bus and flights.
This is one hour by air for 900km and 12 hour by road, by train it’s not possible since there is no train, the train from Bangkok to the south and further to Malaysia runs along the east coast of southern Thailand that’s about 200km east of Phuket.
Thailand bus travel
is cheap and comfortable, an alternative is, use the aircraft, hire a car and to certain destinations take the train. At car rental is not possible to do a drop off at any destination it always needs to go back to the starting point or you pay a car rental employee to pick up and bring the car back. There are two routings possible, when coming from the north behind Chumphon are 2 roads could be taken, either through Surat Thani or through Ranong.
Since airfares are relatively low, usually below $ 100,- for one way with Air Asia, this could be even minimized by advanced booking but changing a ticket more or less costs the same as a new ticket. On public holidays (almost one every week) flight prices jump up. Bangkok to Phuket flights are the most convenient way between the two cities. If they try play games at Phuket Airport by telling there is no taxi and no bus (rather normal) go to the airport police and complain.
The people there are trying all kind of dirty tricks to get you into a private car or a very expensive limousine, this are mafia structures, the same is with the Tuk-Tuk’s elsewhere on the island.
A good idea could be Bangkok to Phuket by bus
from the southern Bangkok bus terminal behind the BTS terminal station at Wongwian Yai at the eastern side of the city. It takes around 12 hours and most buses start at around 4pm, 5pm and 6pm, there are several companies serving this route. A one way bus ticket from Phuket to Bangkok is from Baht 500,- / Baht 670,- (2011) for the regular with 32 seated, other are so called VIP buses with 24 seats, ticket for around Baht 940,-.
There are plenty attractions along the road which could make this trip a great one.
Since the distance by bus is rather long for road travel a interesting alternative could be to take the bus to Hua Hin, around 250km south east and stay there for a day or two. No need to worry about none schedule trips, e.g. at arriving at Hua Hin there are already taxis and motorbike taxis waiting which let you forget heavy luggage, a little tip will easy any problem it only needs to book the hotel the day before.
At Hua Hin hotel prices are rising from late Thursday, when the Bangkok crowd moved in until Monday. Even when no advance booking just take the taxi and get from one hotel to another until a orderly is found, all this is very easy in Thailand.
From Hua Hin it goes straight to the south via Prachuap Kiri Khan to Chumphon. At Chumphon the road splits into two directions to Phuket, one is via Ranong and the other is via Surat Thani. With the bus through Ranong it will take around 3 hours more as via Surat. Using the Surat direction is the right link when maybe Ko Samui or Ko Phangan is on the travel plan, both islands are reached via the the ferry link. It you intend to go to Ko Samui by airplane check first how much the current airport charges at Ko Samui are, that is a private airport owned by Bangkok Air and they have sometimes the highest airport fee in whole Asia.
Bangkok Air has a strategy
Bus from Bangkok.
to carve out the monopole on a certain rout and milk the foreigners badly, they also do this on the routing from Bangkok to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh where their airfare is usually two up to four times higher that Air Asia. Bangkok Air has the monopole on the Bangkok to Siem Reap route (that’s Angkor Wat) and they lets the pax bleed for that.
Actually there is a bus from Bangkok airport to the Cambodian border, every day at 7am and at weekends also in the afternoon and from there to Siem Reap, it just takes all around 5 hours, costs less than 20% of the Bangkok Air ticket and gives a good insight into the Cambodian countryside.
When taking the routing via Ranong do a stopover for 2 days and have a look around, Ranong has the biggest harbor on the Thai west coast, its a very busy fishery town. Also very convenient when the visa expires and it needs a visa run to Kawthaung, that’s the Myanmar city on the other side of the bay.
The road down from Ranong to Phuket
is via Khao Lak another top tourist destination in southern Thailand, there is a great scenery along the coast, when using the bus from Chumphon to Phuket via Ranong and Khao Lak it is possible to used the free WIFI in the bus. It is also very interesting to watch the people coming into and leaving the bus, many are Muslims.
Also at Khao Lak a stop would make sense and spend a day at one of the best Thailand National Parks, that is Khao Sok, tours are every day since it’s only around 100km distance. Probably the best Khao Lak day trip is an excursion to the Similan Islands, a Thailand National Marine Park with great islands, beaches and one of the top scuba diving destination on earth, its really worth a visit and here again go to the travel agent or the hotel reception and let them handle it, all this can be done within a day notice.They use speed boats to reach the archipelago quickly and stop at the best places and beaches, that includes some drinks and something to eat. There is also a dive ship leaving the pier close to Khao Lak every day with all necessary supply on board, also a ideal way to do a dive certification.
This Similan islands and underwater world are absolute top notch, that matches easily the Maldives and Seychelles and more. One of the most important is there is a working infrastructure around which really only breaks down at a Tsunami (the Khao Lak area had the highest fatality count in Thailand during the Tsunami) or heavy storm.
Clearly, this routing
could be a destination by itself, means the way is the target, since there so many great places along, easily reachable and good connected. Its the infrastructure, scenery, food, nightlife, water sports, National Parks, good hotel and resorts which makes Thailand a great travel destination and this is one part of it, other destinations at Thailand travel. About 100km south of Khao Lak is Phuket, a very important subject when doing road travel is, almost all roads are in good conditionsand the main through roads are always 4 or six lanes which makes moving over long.