Thailand is one of the most popular tropical destinations worldwide, mainly because of its fine white sand beaches and stunning rural locations. Phuket province is located in the southern part of the country and sits on the Andaman Sea. World-renowned for its beautiful seascapes and incredible rural sites, Phuket has built a reputation for itself as a tourist hotspot, attracting thousands of travellers every year.
Phuket International Airport (HKT) is one of the busiest airport complexes in Thailand, serving millions of domestic and international travellers every year. As the main gateway to the island’s attractions, the International Airport is the travel hub of Phuket and Phang Nga Province.
Phuket International Airport
Located about 20 miles to the north of downtown Phuket, directly behind the beautiful Mai Khao Beach, Phuket International Airport is a vital link to Thailand’s tourism industry. It sits at an elevation of 25 meters above sea level, in one of the most stunning locations in Thailand. Conveniently situated about 50 minutes (by car) away from Phuket city, the passengers are treated to the unique views of the Andaman seascapes.
Before You Land
Phuket International Airport’s operations depend on the three terminals – an international terminal, a domestic terminal, and a smaller chartered flights terminal. In 2016, the airport underwent massive renovations, which saw the construction of the modern four-level international terminal that increased the airport’s capacity to 20 million passengers per year, up from 6.5 million.
Phuket Airport is a hub for Thai Airways, Thai AirAsia, Nok Air, and Bangkok Airways. About 50 other airlines operate to and from the airport; they include Etihad Airways, Air China, Hainan Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines. Phuket’s busiest international routes are between Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, and Doha.
When you arrive at the International terminal, you first pass through the immigration – and during peak seasons, you can expect to find long queues here. Although the lines are slow, you can speed up things by filling out your arrival card before reaching the immigration counter.
The terminal offers a wide range of resourceful facilities, including; multiple currency exchange counters, banks, small cafes, fast-food outlets, and duty-free shops. Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout the airport and is free of charge for the first two hours.
Two luggage conveyors serve the International arrivals at Phuket Airport, and travellers can trace lost property at the airport’s information counter. If you are looking to explore some duty-free shops before you head out to the hotel, you can drop off your luggage near the police counter for safekeeping at a fee of about 100 baht a day.
Changing Money at Phuket
There are currency exchange counters and ATMs spread out all over the arrival hall, making the money exchange process seamless and convenient. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that they get swamped whenever each flight lands. It’s always advisable to withdraw only enough to get you to your destination, where you can find better exchange rates.
Where to Dine
There is a wide variety of dining options spread out through domestic and international terminals’ arrival and departure sections. One of the most popular spots in the domestic terminal food court offers a wide array of local and foreign cuisines at pocket-friendly prices. Other spots worth checking out include:
- Yellow Orchid Restaurant – An authentic Thai dish restaurant with spectacular views of the runway and the Andaman Sea.
- Bill Bentley Pub – An English bar and restaurant with draft beer and large scrumptious burgers.
For frequent travellers looking to get an enhanced travel experience, Phuket Airport has several exclusive lounges.
Coral Executive Lounge: Although the lounge is temporarily closed due to the current travel restrictions impacting the country, the Coral Executive Lounge is a great spot to relax and read your favourite magazine. There is a wide selection of snacks and drinks at your disposal, and guests get a 3-hour maximum stay. Facilities offered include newspapers, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and Alcoholic beverages. To add to this, all travellers get a complimentary 15-minute neck and shoulder massage, including complimentary beer. The lounge is located on the 4th floor of Terminal 1 and the 2nd floor of Terminal 2.
Coral Premium Lounge: For an entrance fee of 1,800 baht, you can access the relaxed lounge at any time of the day. Situated on the 3rd floor of Terminal 1, the lounge features a private area with VIP services available upon request.
Coral First Class Lounge: For the ultimate lounging experience, you can access the Coral First Class lounge for an entrance fee of 2,700 baht. On top of the regular services offered, travellers can also get fast-track immigration and a wide range of many other VIP services for both arrivals and departures.
The airport provides several transportation options that are conveniently accessible at the terminal exit. These include public buses, taxis, rentals, and chauffeured vehicles.
Buses and Minivans: Phuket Smart Bus is the most reliable means of transport at the airport. It travels a single route from the airport to Rawai in the far south. Trips from the airport cost about 170 baht and leave in hourly intervals from 6 am – 9 pm. Alternatively, you can catch the Orange Airport Bus service to Phuket Town and get another bus to the beaches and beach resorts further down the road.
Taxis: The taxi stand is situated right outside the international terminal building. The fares are considerably higher than the buses, but the ride is much faster and more comfortable. Fares to Phuket Town can range between 500 baht to 1,000 Baht and 1,100 baht to 1,500 baht for Kata or Karon beaches.
Car rentals: If you fancy yourself a little more freedom and happen to own an international driver’s permit, you can get a rental right in the arrivals hall. Driving yourself around the islands cuts down your waiting time and allows you to discover more on the island.
Chauffeured vehicles: right outside baggage claim, you’ll notice several counters for airport limousine services. They are more expensive than most other means but offer a personalized travel experience with a personal chauffeur. Depending on the distance and car you pick, expect to pay anywhere between 500 to 6,000 baht.
Aleenta Phuket Resort your driver will meet and greet you on arrival and help you with your luggage to the resorts shuttle bus.
Where to Shop
Thailand’s travel retail giant, King Power, holds a monopoly over shopping options in Phuket. Situated 30 kilometers away from the airport, the massive complex houses an extensive array of duty-free shops, including the world’s leading brands in electronics, fashion, sportswear, wine, perfumery, and beauty. A complimentary shuttle service is available to all travellers, making it convenient to travel from Phuket International Airport.
Phuket Airport Place – SHA Plus
Right in the heart of Phuket International Airport, Phuket Airport Place is one of the most convenient spots to discover and experience Phuket. The 2.5-star hotel is located 40 kilometres away from the city centre, offering seamless access to popular destinations all across the island.
Phuket Airport Place is committed to its customer’s comfort, offering their guests beyond average services and a wide range of amenities. All rooms get free Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping, free bottled water, complimentary tea, flat-screen TV, and 24/7 customer support.
Phuket Airport Place offers a broad range of recreational facilities, including a plush well-maintained golf course garden (within 3 KM) and a swimming pool. There is a convenience store on-site, an ATM (6-minute walk away), and a Hospital 7 kilometres away.
My Place Phuket Airport Mansion
Another option is the My Place Phuket Airport Mansion for travellers visiting Phuket. Thirty-four kilometres away from the city centre, the hotel is conveniently located near many local points of interest. The quiet, chill, and relaxed 10-room hotel are just minutes away from Phuket Airport, providing a hassle-free stay for any tourist.
Some of the amenities offered at the hotel include a 24-hour front desk, free Wi-Fi, and express check-in and check-out. All rooms spread over the three floors are equipped with a flat-screen TV and air conditioning.
From Himaphan Boutique Resort, travellers can get to explore all the city of Phuket has to offer. If you enjoy a peaceful, relaxing vacation, the resort is the ideal spot for your stay. The rooms have stunning views of the serene tropical gardens below and come with large windows, private patios, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Guests can also cool off at the outdoor pool or enjoy local cuisines at the on-site restaurant.
BS Airport at Phuket
If you are looking for affordable accommodation, BS Airport is the ideal location. Beautiful decor graces the interiors of each of the 25 rooms in the hotel to give the guests a relaxed, memorable lodging experience. All rooms come with free Wi-Fi, a minifridge, a flat-screen television, and a coffee maker. Guests looking to experience the beautiful local surroundings can rent a loaner bike on-site.
Banyan Tree Phuket (SHA Plus)
Banyan Tree Phuket is a 5-star resort consistently listed amongst the top resorts all over Asia and the world. The property is part of Laguna Phuket and is Asia’s first integrated resort. The resort offers six unique dining venues, award-winning cuisines, an ATM, and a convenience store. However, guests also get convenient access to more than 30 nearby restaurants, bars, spas, a wedding chapel, and a world-class golf course.
Attractions near Phuket International Airport
Phuket airport is strategically located nearby several must-see attractions that are worth visiting if you have the time. Some of the most popular destinations that are a taxi ride away include;
Mai Khao Beach
The 11-kilometer beach is the longest beach in Phuket and one of the most romantic beaches you can explore with your lover. Located within Sirinat National Park, the beach is only 16-minutes away from the airport and is commonly referred to as the ‘Airport Beach.’ On the southern end of the beach, travellers enjoy the unforgettable sights of airplanes swooping incredibly low on their way to land.
Sirinat National Park
The Sirinat National Park is located in the northwest part of Phuket Island and has sections on both the land and sea. There are several beaches inside the 26-square-mile coastal park, including Nai Thon, Sai Kaeo, Nai Yang, and Mai Khao. The park is widely acclaimed for its fine white sand beaches and sea turtle nesting areas. This is the perfect place for a stroll beside the sea or through the lush tropical forests.