Phuket Songthaew Bus – Catching The Local Minibus in Phuket

by Mama Loves Phuket

The Phuket Songthaew Bus is a public transportation service in Phuket, Thailand. Songthaews (Song Taew or also known as Blue Buses) are a type of passenger vehicle that are commonly used for public transportation in many parts of Thailand. They are similar to mini-buses or vans with an open-air design and two wooden rows of seats facing each other.

The Songthaews used for the Phuket Songthaew Bus service are typically older vehicles made from converted trucks and may not have the same level of comfort or amenities as modern buses. However, they are generally well-maintained and safe to ride.

A Songthaew Bus in Phuket
Blue Songthaew buses lined up along the beach in Patong | Image credit Depositphotos/yocomon

Phuket Songthaew Bus Route

Songthaews typically operate on fixed routes, and passengers can flag them down from the side of the road – you don’t need to look for a designated bus stop.

  • From Phuket town, you’ll find them departing from Ranong Road (Next to Central Market; NB if you’re using Google Maps type: “Blue Songtheaw Station”, NOT Phuket Bus Terminal – that’s for big intercity buses to the rest of Thailand).
  • The bus routes include Patong, Chalong, Karon Beach Kata Beach, Kamala, Surin Beach Makham Bay, Nai Harn, Rawai, and Thalang.

So they are great for getting to and from Phuket Town to the beaches and vice versa, but they do not run up and down the coast between beach tows. For this, you will need to use the more comfortable but slightly pricier Phuket Smart Bus.

To get off the bus, simply press the buzzer or wait until it terminates.

Phuket Songthaew Bus Fares

The fares for the Blue Phuket Songthaew are typically lower than those for taxis or private transfers. The fare depends on the distance travelled and the specific route taken, but you’re looking at about 20-50 THB.

At last check, we found:

  • Fares to Patong, Karon, Kata and Ao Chalong – 30 THB
  • Rawai, Nai Harn – 35 THB
  • Kamala, Surin, Bang Tao – 50 THB

Phuket Songthaew Bus Schedule

The Phuket Songthaew Bus services do not operate to a fixed schedule, so you can expect at least a 20 to 30-minute wait between buses.

You can broadly find them operating 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Phuket Pink Buses

There are also “Pink Buses” or  Pho Thong which run on shorter routes close to Phuket Town. These buses operates daily 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. For the Pink Buses, the fee is only 5 THB per journey.

We understand these are all now being replaced with smaller electric vehicles – we’ll update you next time we’re in Phuket Town and spot one!

UPDATE MAY 2024: The Phuket Dragon Line has been launched for a trial period from 17 May 2024. This free EV bus service will operate daily aound Phuket Old Town from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily.

Overall, the Phuket Songthaew Bus service is a budget-friendly and convenient way to get around Phuket Island, especially for those who prefer to travel like a local. However, it may not be the most comfortable or reliable option for travellers who require a higher level of service or comfort level.

The Phuket Smart Bus makes a good alternative for travellers with children looking for safe, affordable and reliable public transportation, though you are limited to the singular route operated up and down the coast.

Alternatively, we would look at using rideshare services such as Grab or Bolt if you want a direct door-to-door service (which can work out quite affordable when travelling as a group).

Head back to our complete guide to how to get around Phuket

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© Mama Loves Phuket 2024

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