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Getting away

Phuket
By Air
The international airport is 32km north of Phuket Town. Taxis charge 400 baht from Phuket Town, 500 baht from Ao Chalong and 200-300 baht from the Yacht Haven (which is only 10-15 minutes away). Going the other way, you can get a shared mini-bus to Phuket Town, 180 baht per person, which is suitable for those who want to get off at the Boat Lagoon, or take it to Phuket Town and then take a taxi/tuk-tuk to Ao Chalong.

Within Thailand
Thai Airways (076 327 144) has about a dozen flights a day to Bangkok (2,625 baht), as well as one direct flight daily to Had Yai (1,180 baht) and Surat Thani. Bangkok Airways (076 225 033-5) has four flights a day to Bangkok, two flights a day to Koh Samui, and one to Pataya (via Samui). Note that it doesn't matter from whom you buy a domestic ticket, since they are not discounted by agents.

To Malaysia
Malaysia Airlines has two flights and Thai Airways one flight daily from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur. There is no direct flight to Langkawi or Penang. In January 2004, the Malaysian discount airline Air Asia will be launching a new Langkawi-Phuket service. (See Getting to Langkawi below.)

International
Thailand is a good place to buy discount airfares to many parts of the world. There are reputable travel agencies in Phuket Town, Ao Chalong, and at the beach resorts. Shop around. A number of airlines fly overseas direct from Phuket, especially during the high tourist season, but for most international destinations the likely departure point will be Bangkok.

By Bus
The long-haul bus depot in Phuket Town is just off the north side of Phang Nga Road, about 300 metres east of Montri Road. Book tickets several days in advance from travel agencies or at the depot. There are a variety of different types of buses and prices to almost every destination. Prices below are for first-class aircon or the best available bus, unless specified.

Night buses depart for Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (885km) every half hour or so, from 1515 to 1900. It's a reasonably comfortable 13-hour ride (first-class aircon 486 baht, VIP 755 baht), some buses include dinner. Non-aircon ordinary buses are cheaper, from about 320 baht, but it's a long dusty ride. There is one first-class aircon day bus, leaving at 0600.

If you are at the Yacht Haven, when you buy your ticket specify you want to board the bus at the stop in Muang Mai, a 10-minute taxi ride (200 baht) south of the marina. Long-distance buses will stop there for booked passengers.

Other destinations include Had Yai (290 baht, six hours), Krabi (117 baht, three hours), Trang (190 baht, five hours), Satun (275 baht, 8 hours), Surat Thani (170 baht, five hours), Takuapa (non-air only, 54 baht, three hours) and Ranong (185 baht, five hours).

Aircon mini-buses also service many destinations in southern Thailand. These are a little more expensive, but usually quicker than buses. They leave from offices on Montri Road, north of Phang Nga Road.

By Train
Thai trains are a wonderful way to see the country and to meet Thais. Unfortunately, there is no direct rail service to Phuket. The closest station is at Phun Phin, 14km west of Surat Thani, five hours by bus from Phuket. The rail journey to Bangkok takes about 12 hours from Phun Phin.

Getting to Langkawi
Since there's currently no direct air or sea link, you have two choices, both taking the better part of a day. Take the first morning bus to Satun (0815, 275 baht, 7-8 hours). If you are lucky, you will get into Satun a bit early and be able to catch a taxi to Tamalang Pier (10km, about 40 baht) for the ferry to Langkawi (220 baht, four a day — 0830, 1000, 1400 and 1600 — but you'll catch the last one, touch wood). Otherwise you will have to spend the night in town and take a morning ferry.

Quicker is to fly to Had Yai, take a shared taxi from the airport to the mini-bus station for the two-hour run to Satun. Some mini-buses go right to Tamalang Pier, some stop in Satun. If it stops in Satun, the mini-bus will drop you at the song taew stop for Tamalang (10-20 baht), but if you have bags it's easier to take a taxi.

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Yachting guide to Phuket, Langkawi & the Andaman Sea
© 2003-05 8north.com

Waypoints
Andaman Sea
Weather
Tides
Regattas

Phuket
Basics
Getting around
Away by land, air
Boatwork
Boatyards
Chandlery, etc
Charter/Broker
Clearance
Communications
Health care
Marinas
Mooring
Provisioning
Visa runs
Yacht support

Langkawi
Basics
Getting around
Away by land, air
Boatwork
Boatyards
Chandlery, etc
Charter/Broker
Clearance
Communications
Health care
Marinas
Mooring
Provisioning
Visa runs