Peter's Post: How to get from Phuket Airport to Patong Beach
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Who can we contact in Phuket for return transfers from the airport to our hotel in Patong Beach? I have seen on the internet that the fee for a single transfer is around 70 Thai baht (about R17) and thought we could ask the hotel to arrange it but we cannot. Can you suggest a company that can help or should we just try to bargain with taxis at the airport? - Linda van den Berg
There are a number of ways to get from Phuket Airport to Patong Beach. The low-cost bus service you mention will only get you to Phuket City and then you face the hassle (and haggle with taxis) of getting to Patong Beach, 20km away. I would not book in advance; I'd organise a transfer at the counter in the airport terminal, located just after you collect your luggage and before you reach the public arrivals hall. All prices are listed on a large board, with a seat in a minibus costing from 180-250 baht (R45-R60) per person and a private car to Patong Beach seating three to four people starting at around 750 baht (R180) per car. You pay at this counter and a representative will accompany you to the car (usually referred to as a limousine). It is a very slick operation. Be aware that some minibus drivers stop off at a travel office midway to Patong where they try to get you to book hotels or tours. Fortunately, the cars normally go directly to your hotel.
An alternative is to take one of the metered taxis that line up to the left of the terminal as you exit. This can cost you around 500 baht (R125) to Patong. However, you have to walk the gauntlet of independent taxi drivers to get to the booth and then you may have to haggle with the driver to put the meter on.
If you are determined to book in advance, you could ask your hotel to send a car to meet you, but the charge could be 1000-2000 baht (R250-R400). Overall, taking the organised limousine service from inside the terminal is the best bet.