Travel

TRAVEL GUIDE: Phuket to Bangkok by BUS

Wandering around costs a lot of money so we’re trying to limit our spending as much as we can. I still have another 2 months worth of travelling left in Thailand and Indonesia so I’m being stingy when it comes to pretty much everything!

Traveling by Air vs Land

We looked at flights from Phuket to Bangkok and the cheapest one we found was 950 Baht (26USD) but the flight times weren’t in our favor plus the additional cost of airport transfer will definitely bump up the price. Another option was to travel by bus. Red and I looked at different websites where we can purchase coach tickets and the best deal we saw was from 12GOAsia. We didn’t buy it on the spot as we wanted to canvass around Patong if we can beat the price. Unfortunately, we didn’t find a cheaper deal so we bought the one we found online. One way express class from Phuket Town to Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok costs 650Baht (18USD) or 1025 Baht for VIP Bus per person plus 90Baht (2.50USD) booking fee. You could also book at the bus station but be sure to be an hour early to secure a seat!

Patong to Phuket Bus Terminal 2

Phuket Bus Terminal 2 is located at Phuket Town is which is more or less 40 minutes from Patong. As budget travellers, we refused to get a tuktuk or taxi to the bus terminal due to unreasonable prices so we opted for the local transportation. Although there is no proper allocated bus stop, the public buses usually pass by and stop at Thawewong (Beach) Road corner Bangla Road just beside the Police Station. When you see a blue bus (that looks like a school bus) that has Phuket Town–Patong signage in the upper windshield, be sure to flag them; the fare is 30 Baht to Phuket Town. From Phuket Town where the end of the route is, there are mini blue buses that pass by the Phuket Bus Terminal 2; the fare is 20 Baht and travel time is around 10 minutes. Tell the driver to drop you off at the bus station, you will know you are near if you have passed by Phuket Provincial Electricity Authority and when Super Cheap Market is within sight.

This is where the locals usually wait for the bus

Based on our experience, riding a public bus was pretty challenging. Red and I started to get worried because there were no public buses passing by Thawewong (beach) Road. One local must’ve seen the apprehension in our faces so he came up to us and started explaining that we just missed the bus and the next one should arrive in 30 minutes. We couldn’t understand him at first but we eventually got what he was explaining when he kept pointing at his watch. God bless you, good Samaritan! We waited for more or less 45 minutes (don’t depend on the timetable) for the public bus in Patong to Phuket town. Don’t expect first-class comfort with these buses because the drivers tend to take more passengers for what the bus can actually accommodate; be prepared to be squashed like sardines in a can. Also, don’t get freaked out when some passengers just cling on to the handlebars like monkeys instead of having a seat inside – that’s totally normal (and dangerous!) The whole thing felt like a mission because I was carrying my 17KG backpack as well as my 8KG side bag with a broken zipper!

Inside the bus going to Phuket Town

Mini buses in Phuket Town

Departure in Phuket Bus Terminal 2

Thankfully we made it to the terminal in one piece! The bus driver was kind enough to tell us we’ve arrived at the terminal, as we didn’t have a clue where it was. FYI: the terminal is located on the right hand side if you’re coming from Phuket Town. The terminal itself was satisfactory. We bought the tickets online so we have to get it validated to obtain the real paper tickets. There were several booths, each with a different company name so make sure you go to the right one.

Facade of Phuket Bus Terminal 2

When Red obtained the tickets, we still had half an hour to spare before the bus departs so we’ve decided to have a look around for a cheap restaurant. We found this small eatery just behind the bus stands and holy moly, they serve the best noodle soup I’ve ever had for 50 Baht (1.30USD)! I think it was soupy Pad Thai; boy I didn’t mind it even though the temperature was soaring high and I was sweating buckets!

Express Class Bus

We booked the express class because it was the cheapest air-conditioned bus we could find. The bus itself was pleasant; they provided a bottle of water, cupcake, pillow and blanket which were necessities considering it’s a long 12-hour journey! The seats were comfortable, enough legroom (for a short person like me) and the aircon was working perfectly although I got a little chilly later on the night. It also had the typical bus toilet, tiny and stinky. When we left the station, the bus operator started playing a film on the DVD player but unfortunately it was in Thai. I prefer travelling during the night because time goes a lot faster as well as you save a night from the accommodation.

Off we go!

Arriving in Bangkok

The bus arrived at Mo Chit Bus Station where there were several bus routes that go to every part of Thailand and to other neighboring countries as well. If you plan to stay in Bangkok, the only option to leave the terminal is to take the taxi which could be found in the main lobby/drop off point. Otherwise, you may opt to walk for 1.5km to Mo Chit BTS Sation passing through the Queen Sirikit Park.