Phuket International Airport (HKT) is a small, fully-equipped, and rapidly growing, airport at the northern end of Phuket. It is second only to Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok, in terms of passenger throughput and is served by dozens of airlines from Asia and Europe.
Phuket Airport handles around 10 million passengers a year, many arrivals from overseas. Flights connect Phuket with Bangkok, Singapore, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Pattaya, and other Asian destinations, as well as direct with scheduled and charter flights from Europe.
Airlines serving Phuket include Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Silk Air and Malaysia Airlines, as well as budget carriers Air Asia, Nok Air, JetStar and Orient Thai.
Phuket Airport has three floors, with Arrivals on the ground floor and Departures on the second floor – both floors are separated into Domestic and International. The third floor is mainly for administration but also has a restaurant. A newer second terminal has taken pressure off the old one; however, this does not remedy the fact that the airport is too small now to comfortably handle busy times, and you should arrive at least 90 minutes before your flight.
Facilities at Phuket International Airport include currency exchange counters and ATMs, car hire booths, left luggage, lost and found, a post and telegraph office, tour service counter, Muslim prayer room, and information (tel: (076) 327 230-7). Facilities for disabled patrons are provided in the car park, plus there are also lifts and specially adapted toilets, along with telephones for the hearing-impaired.
In Departures, stores include a number of duty-free outlets and souvenir shops selling gifts, books and snacks. Additionally, you’ll find a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Burger King in Departures, as well as other coffee and snacking outlets. The restaurant is upstairs while televisions are located in both departure lounges.
Transport from Phuket Airport and Taxis
The airport is about 15 minutes by car from Bang Tao beach, 40 minutes to Phuket Town, and about the same for the main beach resort of Patong. The most convenient way to get to these destinations is by taxi, although the system lacks transparency and most arrivals fall for the pricier AOT Limousine service, which has counters in Arrivals. However, if you battle your way past the touts, through the doors, and follow the walkway to your right then you’ll find metered taxis, who may or may not agree to use their meter.
Rates to Patong Beach are no less than 500 baht, but usually tourists find themselves paying up to 1,000 baht for the 50-minute trip to Kata or Rawai. Considering the ‘mafia’ monopoly that exists, these drivers get away with the exorbitant rates. Travelling to Bang Tao, or nearby Nai Yang, can be as little as 250 baht per vehicle. Ultimately, a pre-arranged pick-up by your hotel is a much less stressful option.
A bus service provides cheaper transport (up to 85 baht), but unfortunately doesn’t go anywhere near the west coast beaches and terminates at the bus station in Phuket Town. It also only departs at hourly intervals, between 06:30 and 20:45 heading away from the airport, and 05:00 and 18:30 leaving Phuket Town. There are also shared minivans, with fares ranging between 100 and 180 baht (total cost to town is 800 baht per van with maximum of 10 people). Be aware, however, that they may make stop-offs at tour agencies, and getting to your destination can be slow and involve switching vehicles with a wait in between.
There is ample safe, albeit unshaded, parking outside Phuket Airport. The first 15 minutes free; first hour: 20 baht; two hours: 40 baht; three hours: 50 baht, four-six hours: 100 baht, seven-24 hours: 200 baht. It’s possible to park your car there for a few days if going on a short trip, too. Hire cars can be arranged at one of the two booths in Arrivals, although rates are always higher and it’s much better to book car hire online with car hire phuket airport a recommended choice.
Renting a car is a popular option, and it’s worthwhile having a car to explore the island and take trips to Krabi and beyond. These are available for hire from major car rental companies at the airport and are best booked online in advance using a car rental comparison site.
Phuket International Airport website: www.phuketairportonline.com.