colourful skies at sunset at Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand / Phuket Airport to Karon Beach

How to Get from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach

Are you planning on visiting Karon Beach, Phuket, and wondering how to get from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach? You’ve come to the right place!

There are five different ways you can get from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach. In this transportation guide, I will include the cheapest way, fastest way, and everything you need to know regarding getting to Karon Beach from Phuket International Airport.

From Phuket Airport to Karon Beach, it takes around 1 Hour and 10 minutes with a distance of 50 km.

Once you’re in Karon Beach, the area primarily consists of two main roads that intersect with Karon Circle, and everything in the Karon is nearby.

Overall, Karon is a walkable area, and to get around the area, you won’t need any sort of transportation unless you’re looking to visit other parts of Phuket!

If you plan to visit other areas in Phuket, you can use public transportation or take a taxi/Grab, tuk-tuk, or rent a scooter. Also, I should mention Kata Beach is conveniently nearby, so staying in Karon means you’ve got the option of either beach every day!

Phuket Smart Bus

views of mountains and the ocean from the interior of the Phuket Smart Bus

The cheapest way to get from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach is by using the Phuket Smart Bus.

This local bus travels throughout Phuket’s west coastline, stopping at all the main beach areas. It’s comfortable, has air conditioning, and has limited luggage room as well.

It costs 100 Baht (2.88 US) per person, and you must pay the driver in cash. If you don’t have cash arriving in Phuket, withdraw some at the airport ATMs.

As you board the Phuket Smart Bus, it will make stops along the way at different beach areas, such as Kamala Beach, Patong, and others, before arriving at Karon Beach.

There’s a section on the bus for your luggage; I’d recommend you keep an eye out for your luggage so no one accidentally takes it when deboarding at different beach areas.

Keep in mind that the luggage areas on the bus is quite limited. If you have lots of luggage, you’d be best off taking one of the other transportation methods mentioned below.

Phuket Smart Bus timetable showing both schedules
Credit: SmartBus

Once the bus arrives in Karon Beach, it will drop you off at Karon Circle; this is the center point of Karon and intersects the two main roads in the area. From there, you can make your way to your hotel.

If your plane is landing late or in the middle of the night, taking the bus from Phuket Airport won’t be an option for you because the last bus leaves Phuket Airport at 10:30 PM.

At times, the Phuket Smart Bus can get crowded because it’s the cheapest and only form of local transportation from Phuket Airport. So, if you’re traveling with a family or a group, it may be easier just to pre-book a private airport transfer instead.

Above is the Phuket Smart Bus timetable, though I recommend you check the official website for an updated schedule because they update the bus schedule every few months!

TIP: When staying in Karon Beach, if you’d like to visit the other beaches in Phuket, the Phuket Smart Bus is the best way to do it!

Grab or Bolt apps

bright green logo for Grab, the largest ride sharing company in Asia
Credit: Grab

Grab or Bolt are both ridesharing apps that are convenient and easy to use when getting around Phuket.

Here’s how to use either of them to leave Phuket Airport and get to Karon Beach. Once you’ve landed at Phuket Airport, you can pull up your app and order a car to pick you up.

No matter your party size, there are different vehicles available on Grab/Bolt to pick you up; there are vans available that can fit up to 12 passengers.

Prices for your private ride will vary by the type of vehicle, ride demand, and the time of day. Expect to pay around 850 to 1,200 Baht, which is around $25 – $35 US.

Both apps are great and easy to use. Grab is more reliable when trying to find a ride because there are always more drivers on Grab. But Bolt tends to be cheaper. From the airport, I’d recommend you use Grab for ease of arrival!

Important TIP: Grab or Bolt cars aren’t allowed to enter Phuket Airport, meaning you MUST leave the main airport and go to the Main Road to meet your Grab/Bolt driver.

Once you exit Phuket Airport, take a left and walk for a minute. You’ll then see the main road and walk there to meet up with your Grab or Bolt driver for pickup.

Private Airport Transfer

airport transfer service from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach offering many vehicle sizes for airport pickup
Credit: GetTransfer

The best and most convenient way to leave Phuket Airport to Karon Beach is by pre-booking a private airport transfer.

This way, you’ll have a driver waiting for you at the airport for your arrival with the vehicle of your choice, and once you arrive, you won’t have to do anything!

With several vehicle types to choose from, no matter your party size, they’ll be able to accommodate you and your luggage, taking you straight to your hotel.

The price for a Private Airport Transfer to Karon Beach depends on your vehicle of choice. The cost should be around $30 to $35 US, and you’ll have plenty of room for luggage.

No matter when your plane lands or if you land late, your driver will be waiting for you; flight details will be asked during transfer booking. You can also request an English-speaking driver as a preference.

Taxi at Phuket Airport

Another way to leave Phuket Airport to Karon Beach is by taking one of the many taxis waiting at Phuket International Airport, eager to drive tourists anywhere on the island they need to go.

Taking a taxi from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach will cost you around 1,000 – 1,400 Baht / $28 – $40 US. It depends on the time of the day; drivers usually charge more at night, and it depends on the drivers asking price.

Something important to know about the taxis at Phuket Airport is that a taxi mafia controls departures from the airport. So the only vehicles allowed to leave the airport directly are taxis amongst those who cooperate with them.

It’s nothing to worry about, and taking a taxi is fine. What they do is they keep a tight control on taxi fare costs to leave Phuket Airport.

That’s why I mentioned if you’d like to take a Grab instead of a taxi, you must exit the airport and walk to the main road.

TIP: Sometimes, taxi drivers overcharge tourists to leave Phuket Airport, so stay firm on your price and be careful of taxi scams in Phuket!

empty streets along Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Rent a Car

For those visiting with a family or the adventurous type, renting a car at Phuket Airport is an excellent idea. Phuket is a large island, and having a car rental to explore other parts of the island is convenient.

The price for your vehicle rental will depend on the make and size. Make sure to get insurance with your rental; it’s better to be covered.

It’s straightforward and easy to drive around Phuket, so you won’t have trouble with directions when getting around. Also, the drive along the coastline and through the hills is quite picturesque, to say the least.

So, renting a car at Phuket Airport to drive to Karon Beach and keeping the rental for your visit is an excellent idea!

TIP: Make sure to check the car’s condition before driving off and take a quick video of the car to avoid complications when returning the vehicle to the shop.

old couple walking along the Karon Beach boardwalk in Phuket at sunset amongst clear skies and palm trees

Where to Stay in Karon Beach

Le Meridien Phuket: A stunning modern 5 Star beachfront resort with many amenities and a private beach area

Sugar Marina Resort: Located steps away from the popular Patak Rd, which is of several restaurants, bars, and shops, is Sugar Marina Resort—a quiet condo-style hotel with modern decor and finishes.

Best Western Phuket Ocean Resort: A beautiful resort that’s only a few minutes away from Karon Beach and near plenty of restaurants

JonoX Karon: Ultra modern hotel minutes away from the beach, beautiful rooftop pool, and very well-priced

Karon Sino Hostel: Budget-friendly hostel a short walk away from the beach, next to many restaurants

Phuket Airport to Karon Beach — Final Thoughts

Those are all the different ways to get from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach. Make sure to take note of the many tips I’ve shared when taking each transportation method mentioned!

For more info on getting around Phuket, including different areas and beaches and a list of the best things to do in Phuket, refer to my Phuket Guide!

Karon Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket. Its extensive shoreline offers plenty of space for visitors, and the water tends to be calmer here, perfect for all visitors. But make sure to visit some of Phuket’s other beaches as well!

Once you’re in Karon Beach, the best way to get around Phuket is by renting a scooter, but make sure to watch out for scams when borrowing one!

several beach lounge chairs, umbrellas with the sunset at Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

What is the cheapest transport from Phuket Airport?

The cheapest way is using the Phuket Smart Bus, which costs 100 Baht (2.88 US) per passenger and stops at all the main beach areas along Phuket’s west coastline.

How to get from the airport to Karon?

There are a few ways; you can take the Phuket Smart Bus, pre-book a private airport transfer, or use Grab/Taxi.

How much is a taxi from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach?

It should cost around 1,000 to 1,400 Baht, which is around $28 – $40 US.

You can always negotiate with the taxi driver to land at a fair price; they usually start higher.

Can I use Grab at Phuket Airport?

Yes, you can, but Grab taxis cannot enter the airport, so you must leave the airport and go to the main road to meet your Grab driver.

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