Wednesday 13 November 2013

The Chaos that Greets New Arrivals at Phuket Airport (HKT)

Phuket Airport
Emerging from Phuket Airport upon arrival
Anyone who has flown to Phuket can attest to the chaotic ground transportation situation at the airport. Such a nasty welcome, on your way to paradise.

Phuket Airport Taxi Chaos

Much has been said about the aggressiveness of the taxi touts that descend upon new arrivals. Count yourself lucky if you are approached less than a dozen times.

There are metered taxis at the airport, and they are the only way to not get ripped off, but they are bafflingly hard to find.
Phuket Airport Metered Taxi Time
It's all smiles once you find the metered taxis at Phuket Airport
The situation is beyond ridiculous, but incredibly hard to change, as the folks responsible for Thailand tourism are finding out.

The New Phuket Airport Bus

Earlier this year, a new bus service was implemented, but it has been plagued with challenges, and is still having trouble getting off the ground. First, there were the protests and blockades by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers upset about the threat to their livelihoods. Then there were the 'mysterious' disappearance of signage at bus stops throughout the city (read more).

The challenges continue, with a lack of signage at the airport itself, oddly disputed by the airport authorities (read more).

Still, the new Phuket Airport Express Bus is good news. And we hope it overcomes these initial challenges to become an ongoing service travellers can count on.
Transportation Issues in Phuket: The Bigger Picture

These issues aren't limited to the airport. Interestingly, the European Union Ambassadors' List of Seven Phuket Needs include 4 relating to transportation:
  • An efficient and fairly priced public transport system in Phuket which is available to foreign tourists and residents alike.
  • Aon end to intimidatory and violent behavior by an element of tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.
  • An end to scams involving hiring of equipment such as jet skis or motorbikes.
  • Strict enforcement of road safety regulations.
Change is Coming

The good news is that there are a couple of changes coming before the end of the year:
  • Only metered taxis will be able to pick up at Phuket Airport (read more)
  • There are new licensing requirements for Phuket taxi and mini-van drivers (read more)
  • Phuket police have begun a new Phuket Care initiative (read more)
So, while it will take time to transform the transportation culture at Phuket Airport, it seems that change has begun...

Going to Phuket? If you notice changes, please let us know, we're interested!

Rental Car Counter @ Phuket Airport
Book your rental car ahead -
and don't fall for the fake insurance scam!
Other Transfer Options at Phuket Airport

There are other options for transfers from Phuket Airport, including:

Phuket Airport Private Transfers
Phuket Airport Shuttle Transfers
Phuket Airport Hotel Transfers
Phuket Airport Rental Cars
Other Thailand Transfers

Related reading: