Phuket Airport is in the North of Phuket peninsula, which is mildly inconvenient if your hostel is in Kata like mine was. The same goes if you stay in Pah Tong or Karon.
I read online that you could take a taxi for 800 baht (including a 100 baht airport tax), which takes about an hour. Or you can take an orange public bus to Phuket Town and then take another bus or taxi from there to Kata, which is anybody’s guess how long it takes.
Just a little tasty Corrine tidbit, I occasionally will plan things in such immense detail but then when the time comes, I’ll do something stupid. Irrational. Nonsensical. Once, I booked a flight with China Eastern Airlines and my friend told me to never, under any circumstances, order the seafood because his friends got violently ill from eating it. My friend could not stress this enough on a regular basis for the months leading up to our trip. No seafood, he says. Never the seafood. When it came time, when the flight attendant finally got to my seat and said “chicken or seafood”, I replied, “seafood please”.
Similarly, when I walked outside Phuket Airport, I saw some signs for a 200 baht minibus shuttle to Kata. I simply panicked and booked it for no reason. I had time. I could have shopped around. But no.
The mini-shuttle seats 12 people so you need to wait until it fills up before it will leave. You may think they wait for all people going to the same destination but you’d be wrong. It’s a mix. A potpourri of passengers. As is always the case, I saw a white public transport bus to Kata after I bought my non-refundable ticket. After waiting about 25 minutes, I asked the driver how long until we would be in Kata. Confidently, he says 1 hour 20. I wish I shared his enthusiasm.
Naturally, 30 min into the drive, we stopped by a travel agency to “check our tickets”. Meaning, we had to get off the minibus to give our accommodation addresses to the agents. Then, they pressured us to book (overpriced) tours with them. I said nope. After mental traffic, a random stop to pick up a couple who were in another minibus (don’t ask) and over 2 and a half hours later, I arrived in Kata. I was a tad irked.
I stayed in Sino Hostel, which was about a 6.5 in my books. It was clean but I have a few staple items I love in a hostel and having a shower/toilet combo is not one of them. I went to flush the toilet not realising that the nob centimetres away from the toilet flusher was the shower nob thing so I got drenched by the rain shower, fully clothed.
The travel agency inside the hostel was also a rip-off. From Kata to Phi Phi they offered 600 baht. When I bought my ticket, including the transfer to the ferry port, it cost 400 baht. I recommend the lovely lady on the street that I found on the main strip.
Kata, well Phuket in general (Pah Tong and Karon) wasn’t that great. I can say that with such authority because I never actually stepped foot in Pah Tong or Karon but I drove through them. Phuket was touristy and the beach in Kata was insanely crowded. If it were an ice cream flavour it would be vanilla. Bland and disappointing.
I wanted to see some sites while I was there so I paid 900 baht for a taxi to do so. I shopped around but taxi options, in general, are limited in Kata, especially for one person. There are mostly shuttle buses to the airport so I was hard-pressed trying to find one that would take me. After what seemed like minutes, because it was, the driver took me to Karon viewpoint and it was pretty okay. There is a bit of shrubbery in the way but if your camera has a good zoom I’m sure it would be a great pic. I then went to the big Buddha, which is a massive white marble Buddha on a hill. Since you need to drive there or hike for 2.5 + hours, there weren’t that many tourists there. There is the Buddha and a cute foliage walkway that has metal hearts. I bought one for 100 baht since the money went to finishing the Buddha construction. It took roughly 3.5 hours to do the round trip Kata- Karon viewpoint–big Buddha–Kata since there was traffic caused by road construction.
Afterwards, I got picked up at 13:00 to catch the 14:30 (actually 15:15) ferry from Phuket Town port to Koh Phi Phi. Weeeeeee