Bus Express are a specialist bus company who exclusively run a service between Bangkok and Phuket. The service runs between Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal ( Sai Tai Mai) and Phuket Bus Terminal 2 (located in Phuket town, where Thoranee Thong intersects with Thepkrasattri Road).
Routes served by Bus Express
The company runs a daily schedule of six departures every day in both directions. They offer both a cheaper Express and plushier VIP24 service (24 seats only), and the journey duration is around 14 hours.
From Bangkok to Phuket, only one of the six departures is in the morning at 6.40am (Express). The remaining five departures are all overnight services, with one leaving at 3.30pm (Express), two at 5.30pm (Express and VIP), one at 6.30pm (Express), and the final departure is at 8.30pm (VIP).
Even if there is a wide choice of overnight departures, try to book them at least a couple of days in advance as Bangkok–Phuket route is one of the most popular in the country and is sold out quickly even during weekdays and low season period.
From Phuket to Bangkok, there's also only one morning departure at 6.30am (Express), two departures in the afternoon at 1.30pm (Express) and 3.30pm Express), one at 5.00pm (VIP), and two final departures at 6.30pm (Express and VIP).
Keep in mind
As mentioned above, Bus Express offers both an Express and a VIP service. The Express is adequate if you are on a budget (although less adequate than that of other operators!), with a ticket costing around THB650, whilst the VIP service costs around THB1,000.
All the buses have air-con, on board toilets, stewards and provide snacks and water. Meals are served at the stop or in the beginning of your journey in the form of a lunch box containing some rice and curry and are included into ticket price.
If you can afford, do opt for a VIP24 as it is the most comfortable type of buses found in Thailand with only three seats per row instead of usual four resulting in more legroom.
However, the reviews of the service are generally more negative than Phuket Central. Similarly to Phuket Central, the VIP service receives more favourable reviews than the Express service.
Positives about the services provided include co-operative staff, comfortable buses and a nice meal at the stopover (VIP bus only).
Also, the service is generally on time and is considered by a number of customers to be generally good value when taking into account the price of the ticket.
As with Phuket Central, a number of improvements to the service have been suggested. One of the top complaints is that the bus is very cold, so it's essential that you take some warm clothes to wear.
There have also been several cases of the bus stopping on numerous occasions along the way, not stopping at all or for too short a time, and also some late arrivals.
The driving style sometimes leaves much to be desired, the seats are uncomfortable and in some buses, the seats are cracked or do not recline for sleeping.
To our great surprise, travellers often complain about buses being late and making numerous stops en-route. While it can happen, especially if you travel during holiday periods or long weekends, it is quite uncommon for buses in Thailand in general to arrive much later that the schedule states.
Air-conditioning is almost always an issue people complain of. Do have some warm clothes at hand –sweaters or light jackets are great, hoodies are even better; but pashminas do a good job, too.
Toilets are sometimes smelly. Unfortunately, it often happens on long distance routes; so try to get a seat as far as possible from the toilet and use those at the bathroom stops.