Fly, take a bus or travel by bus and train – these are the options you have to get from Phuket to Bangkok. The cheapest way is to take a bus leaving from Phuket Bus Terminal in Phuket Town. A bus ticket will cost you between THB600 and THB1000 depending on the bus class, and the 850 km overland journey will take from 12 to 14 hours. Combination bus-and-train journeys via Suratthani are longer (16 hours) but allow you to take a sleeper from Suratthani. Such combination tickets cost from THB1000 up. Finally, the fastest way to get to Bangkok is to fly. Flying time is 1.5 hour only but consider the time you need to get to and from the airports. In Bangkok, flights from Phuket arrive to both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airport – do check carefully where you flight is going. Airfare starts from THB1000 with low-cost airlines.
From Phuket to Bangkok by bus
The fastest, easiest and most convenient way to get to Bangkok from Phuket is by bus. There are a lot of direct buses heading to the capital any time of the day. We have no idea why choose bus+train journey instead, but if you wish, you can do it, too. You will spend more time and efforts, but – oh, yes – have the benefits of arriving in the centre of the capital (to Hua Lamphong train station) and sleeping in the horizontal position. For some, this may compensate.
Buses from Phuket to Bangkok leave regularly throughout the day from the recently constructed Bus Station 2 Bo-Ko-So Terminal which is located some four km to the north of the Phuket Town’s centre. They take from 13 up to 15 hours to arrive to Bangkok, either to the Southern bus terminal, Sai Tai Mai, which is located on Phutthamonthon Sai Road in Thonburi district on the western side of the Chao Phraya River, or to the Northern bus terminal, Morchit. Check in advance to which one your bus goes. You have a wide choice of 2nd class, express and VIP buses. VIP24 are more expensive but let you travel with much more comfort: there are 3 seats per row which leave you with more space for your legs and elbows. All buses provide snacks, air-conditioning and blankets and make several pit-spots along the route at large gas stations with convenience stores, cafes and toilets. Example fares are THB 664 for the express and THB 1023 for VIP24 (with Phuket Travel). Note that the same terminal in Phuket serves many other destinations, including Suratthani, Krabi or Koh Samui.
Tip: During the peak season it is highly recommended to book tickets in advance.
From Phuket to Bangkok by train
Though there is no railway line anywhere near Phuket, you still can make a combined bus+train journey from Phuket to Bangkok. The Thai southern railway line goes from Bangkok to Suratthani, and the closest railway station to Phuket is the one of Suratthani. It is located in the town of Phun Phin, some 220 km from Phuket. To get there, you will need to make a 4½ hour bus journey, so in most cases this is not an option to consider unless you wish to savour a bit of local life in Suratthani itself. The majority of buses are standard AC ones with prices around THB 230 per person. Book your bus ticket from Phuket to Suratthani here.
Trains from Phun Phin (Suratthani) to Bangkok arrive to Hua Lamphong Station. There is a morning 2nd class AC seats only which is also the fastest one covering the distance between Bangkok and Suratthani in 9 hours (and for THB 808). The rest of the batch are slower (up to 12 hours) and depart in the afternoon and in the evening at 4.40pm, 5.35pm, 6.37pm, 8.35pm, and 9.05pm. Even if slower than buses, trains offer the most comfortable ride, depending on which ticket you book. The top choice is an AC 1st class sleeper (the most convenient of which is #84 and #86 at 9.05pm and 6.37pm (both THB 1539). Second class sleepers are also air-conditioned and provide beds that fold out of your seating upon request or in the evening. These tickets cost from THB 948 to THB 968, and while they may not be as private as 1st class, they are still very comfortable. The fan sleeper carriage works pretty much the same as a normal sleeper but excludes air conditioning and gives you an arguable opportunity to take in countryside smells along the trip. Fan sleepers cost 708 THB per person.
Tip: As Suratthani serves as a base for further travel to the islands of the Gulf, as well as cities of Deep South and Andaman Coast, tickets do sell quickly. If you travel during the high season, consider buying tickets as much in advance as possible.
Note that a combination bus+train journey from Phuket to Bangkok takes longer than a direct bus from the island to the capital (not less than 15 hrs compared to 13 hours), but you can sleep with more comfort while travelling by railway. Both 1st and 2nd class AC carriages give you enough privacy, so a longer journey may proof a better choice at the end of the day.
Have you forgotten anything?
Before you say good-bye to this truly cosmopolitan resort, make sure you have not missed the brilliant opportunity to get acquainted with a bunch of southern islands which are easily accessable from Phuket. Here are some ideas on island hopping from Phuket.
From Phuket to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao
Lomprayah offers combined bus+ high speed ferry service from Phuket to the islands of the Gulf. The whole journey takes 6½ hrs to Koh Samui, 7½ hrs to Koh Phangan and 8¾ hrs to Koh Tao.
From Phuket to Koh Phi-Phi
During the peak season there are between 5 and 6 ferries a day linking Phuket to the pristine island of Phi-Phi. Though it gets more and more developed nowadays, the scenery fortunately remains just breath-taking.
From Phuket to Koh Lanta, the Trang islands and Koh Lipe
Ferries going from Phuket to Koh Lanta, the Trang islands and Koh Lipe connect through Koh Phi-Phi. Get ready to jump from one boat to another which is sometimes a bit of a nervous experience.
**Tip: If your are prone to seasickness, get the necessary medicine at hand.