The Phuket Governor, Maitree Inthusut, has confirmed new rates for taxis operating in Phuket. Some of these rates have increased yet again from those proposed late last year. For example, Phuket International Airport to Patong Beach had been proposed at 650 Baht (up from the original 500 Baht one way), but that's now been increased to 800 Baht. That's US$27 / 21 Euros one way. Details and price list here: http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-taxi-fares-crackdown-offers-stick-less-carrot-17656/
Since there's a virtual lack of public transport on the island, I doubt if anyone will be able to negotiate a lower price as suggested in the report.
Thanks for the link - it's always good to keep up to date on this stuff.
General observation - what a rip off. The cost per km has to be more than twice Bangkok taxi prices. Maybe someone with more experience of the latter can comment.
- the airport "limo" services are now pretty competitive. This link seems to be kept up to date and gives some idea of prices - some are identical, some higher, some lower. Two points in the limos' favour:
1) they are more convenient than the taxis with two limo desks pretty close to the exit doors of ARRIVALS (the taxi desk us about 100m after turning right out the door and one time [pretty late at night] they told me there was a 40 minute wait.)
2) they are open to bargaining - a few years back the board at one limo counter showed Khao Lak was 1500 (the website showed 1200 btw so looks like the board is an ask). I waved 1000 at them and mentioned the taxi counter. It was accepted instantly. I'm a great fan of SHOW 'EM THE MONEY.
A couple of other things about the limo counter - after abt 2100 the bank currency exchange counter at Arrivals closes. Plenty of ATMs with the 150 baht Thai bank fee plus whatever your own bank charges. Last December I found the limo counter nearest the door was willing to give me 30baht to the Aussie dollar vs the 31.2 the closed bank counter was showing, way cheaper for me than the net return from any ATM withdrawal after fees.
- the "limos" aren't Mercs and Beemers. The least expensive are Corallas/Altises just like the taxis but cleaner than most.
- the airport shuttle buses are less expensive to the big 3 beaches but because they call into a travel agency west of Phuket town where they try to sell accommodation and trips, more time consuming. They used to also take people to Phuket town but my past few trips in shoulder and low season I've been told they were not running there. I seem to remember some fairly recent posts saying that there was a bit of a delay at the airport waiting for enough passengers even to the beaches - not sure what season. In the past these minibuses used to fill quickly - maybe fewer budget travellers these days.
Way back I used to get minibus tickets from the limo counter just inside the door of ARRIVALS but the past few trips they have told me the buses were "finished" (abt 2200) maybe hoping to sell me a limo ride - I went outside and plenty of minivans around, the ticket counter has been on the footpath about 20m to the right. Lots of associated dudes will show you the way.
Last I heard the minibuses were 150 baht - I'm arriving at the airport this Monday and will try to get an update.
btw they tend to pack them into these minivans and so comfort is usually way down on a taxi or limo.
- The cheapest option is the AIRPORT BUS which runs down to the OLD bus station right in town at Phuket town for 90baht. This is great for people staying in Phuket town - you can get a motorcycle taxi or normal taxi for a relatively low cost from the old bus station (eg I'd be reluctant to pay more than 50/100 respectively for anywhere around town). The bus is a bit time consuming though - taking an hour plus to get down to town plus any waiting time to its departure (and I've just noticed the new timetable has departures roughly 2-3 hours apart vs the old 60-90 minutes. Jeez I hate the upmarketing of Phuket - fewer cheapskates like me arriving at the airport).
Note the last bus from the airport is 2000 - hell my Monday flight gets in at 1930!
The airport bus is a small bus which waits under an awning or overhead section of road-ramp turn left out of the door of Arrivals veer left around corner of building - maybe 50m in total.
For cheapskates going to the beaches - public songthaews to the beaches (and not just the big 3) are now mostly leaving from the old bus station. But they are slow - for instance Patong is the closest and I once went from Phuket town markets (which is maybe the next major stop from the bus station) to Patong in about an hour. Not too many songthaews after dark btw - best bet then would be a motorcyle taxi. I haven't done a trip lately - I'd be thinking maybe 150 max to Patong but I'd start at 100. Long time Thai based farangs will probably scoff at my estimates as being too high.
The other major destination from the airport seems to be the pier for Phi Phi etc. This is about 3-4km from Phuket town OLD bus station so the cheapest option for people with plenty of time would be the Airport Bus plus a motorcycle taxi (for the latter I'd start at 70 and get leery about paying more than 100).
People are often in a hurry to make the afternoon ferries - you would be looking at a taxi or limo here. btw I'd be factoring in at least 40 minutes for the trip in early afternoon traffic.
Phuket is almost a write-off. Unless flights into there are way cheaper it's not a place I intend to visit ever again. There are flights into Krabi, Trang, Chumpon which gives you good access to the south and you can avoid all the rorts and large numbers of tourists.
True Leaonard - but for some of us Phuket is an international arrival point with flights way cheaper than into Bangkok.
Can't get a flight from many countries into those other places you mention. So we have no choice but to land in Phuket and find the cheapest transport to our next spot.
btw it's good value to check the reader comments on the OP's link - hell good ol' ed is a touch tetchy.
Indeed there are a few international flights into Krabi. I once flew Singapore-Krabi on Air Asia but I'm not sure that option is available now. In December I talked to a woman on Ko Jum who had flown Sweden-Krabi direct. Maybe not so surprising when you see the number of Swedes on Lanta and islands nearby.
But unfortunately there are no direct Oz-Krabi flights. I take your point about flights into Bangkok but unfortunately I can only afford budget flights and there are no direct budget Sydney to Bangkok carriers. But Jetstar does Sydney-Phuket direct which can be excellent value when the specials are on - even better than say Air Asia via KL.
But all this is beside the point.
Phuket does seem to be pricing itself out of the market. But really the market is changing - becoming increasingly midrange and top-end.
I'm a great believer in the fact that prices can't be too high if the market will pay them. But okay, that goes out the window when a cartel is cutting competition. The Thais are real good at cartels and the authorities are complicit or weak. Which is something the ed in the link gets real spikey about - he pulls out the old boring biggot card when any of his readers makes a similar claim.
" Phuket does seem to be pricing itself out of the market. But really the market is changing - becoming increasingly midrange and top-end."
For those prices there are much better destinations IMO...ones that are not over-run with tourists, scammers, and a government that acts like a mafia state. Why people go on about Phuket is beyond me.
#8 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133
As long as HKT remains an attractive direct alternative to BKK transit for all those package tourists from Moscow, Amsterdam, Milan, Rome, Frankfurt, Zurich, Helsinki, Brussels, Saint-Petersburg, Vladivostok, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo, Stockholm, Budapest, Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Seoul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Delhi, Mumbai, Sydney, Perth, etc. the Phuket tuk tuk mafia will no doubt keep charging ridiculous fares. I mean how much does 21 Euro matter to Lars, Anika, their family of blonde spoilt kids when it comes to getting from the airport to the beach for a 10-day peak-season holiday in the sun?
Meanwhile the rest of us who are regulars can avoid those greedy bastards with a little ingenuity.
"Meanwhile the rest of us who are regulars can avoid those greedy bastards with a little ingenuity."
Is Phuket really worthwhile? All I see is bad news...taxi/jetski scams, people falling off of tall buildings, knife-wielding gangs of trans-genders, etc...if so, how is it possible to avoid those greedy bastards?
#10 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133
"Is Phuket really worthwhile?"
Well yeah, for those of us who simply use it as an entry point off the only elcheapo flights into the south from our overseas bases.
And it's also a good place for budget travellers seeking good value basic accommodation and for bargain seekers after good value mid-range accommodation - the huge amount of rooms etc makes prices very competitive, particularly in low or shoulder season (no cartels in accommodation baby). Phuket has better value accommodation than a lot of Andaman islands.
And as Bob suggests, budget travellers and bargain seekers "can avoid those greedy bastards with a little ingenuity."
I don't claim to be ingenious, but I made a few suggestions in #2.
Think also the north coast, especially Nai Yang & Mai Khao are badly under rated. While not excusing the mafia, if you're competent on a motorbike or happy to hire a cheap car, they're easily avoided.
Phuket Town also has some fab food. A little pricey perhaps, but excellent nonetheless.
Patong etc yeah, totally forgettable, but as already mentioned, use it for a cheap flight in, rent a bike for a few days, not a bad option for a start- or end- of trip side bit.
#12 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,773
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A lot of these tourists who are used to hotel prices of $150-300 in the pacific islands or in western countries can handle Phuket hotel prices of $80, 120, 150 up. They probably think it's cheap enough so they will keep coming.
For those prices I'd rather visit another country.
"Not really. You can access just as many things or alternative activities from Krabi but with cheaper prices and less people around."
Perhaps, but people have also said that Krabi has been over-touristed, and the locals have become correspondingly "crabby".
In the north there are nice, slightly out of the way spots, along the Burmese border in towns such as Mae Hong Son and Mae Sariang; they get a steady flow of western tourists but don't seem ruined by it as is Chiang Mai. There must be places like this in the south, but I've been unable to find them...other than in the border provinces which (due to the "ongoing security situation") may be the closest thing to an "untouched" Southern Thailand.
#15 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133
Krabi gets about 1/20th the number of tourists Phuket gets, though Krabi resort areas are smaller. Trang town and the trang islands only get a small stream of tourists so you haven't looked too hard. There are regular buses b/t Trang and Krabi, a train line and flights from Bangkok with Nok or Air Asia.
OK, I'll keep Trang in mind next time I'm in the region...thanks for the recommendation...
#17 squarethecircle has been a member since 19/10/2011. Posts: 133
US$27 for an hour trip airport to Patong. It's a definite rip when compared to BKK taxis BUT when it costs me 3 times that amount for a taxi ride from my place to the airport (Australia), it's still relatively cheap.
Anyway, you spend a thousand dollar to get there, US$27 is not a lot in the scheme of things.