Lonely Planet Writer

Phuket launches ‘smart bus’ airport service to 50 popular tourist destinations

If you’re travelling to Phuket, a bus service that has just been launched may be very useful. The new ‘smart bus’ service on the stunning Thai island offers transport from Phuket International Airport to 50 popular tourist destinations along the beach road.

Patong Beach, Phuket Island, Thailand. Image: John_Walker/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The new “blue route” will run from the airport to the south of the island at Rawai Beach. The 56km bus trip will take in destinations like Surin Beach, Kamala Beach, Patong Beach, Karon Beach and Kata Beach along the way. “Phuket is a world tourism destination drawing a large number of travellers, but still lacks proper public transportation,” Watchara Jaruariyanon from Phuket City Development said at the launch of the service. “To travel from the airport to Phuket town or to the beaches takes about one or two hours because of the traffic jams, which affects the tourism situation in Phuket. The smart bus is part of the longer-term solution for this. We only use brand new buses from Mercedes because we trust the quality of the engines and braking systems and [they] provide more space for luggage.”

Phuket begins a ‘smart bus’ service offering transport from airport to 50 popular tourist destinations. Image: aphotostory/Shutterstock

There will be 32 rounds of service running from 6am to 8pm daily and the estimated travel time for each trip is two to three hours. The new buses’ features include a safety control room, GPS, CCTV cameras, Wi-Fi, a USB port at each seat and a lift for disabled passengers. Fares range from Bt50 (US$1.60) through to Bt170 (US$5.43) and can be paid through Visa or Rabbit x Phuket Smartcard.

The beach road at Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand. Image: Gabe Torney/ManDood

This Rabbit x Phuket Smartcard can be bought on board with a starting price of Bt300 (US$9.58). The money in the card can also pay for other products and services with promotions and special discounts at various stores across Phuket.