No visit to Thailand is complete without spending time in one of the country’s top beach resort destinations followed by a visit to the capital city. Phuket has long been a favorite among tourists with its beautiful beaches contrasting against its mountainous and rainforested interior. Nightlife, dining, shopping and culture are all on offer here while Thailand’s capital, Bangkok has something for everyone too. With these being two of the country’s most popular destinations, it’s no surprise that traveling from one to the other is a very popular route, and the majority of people opt to take the bus from Phuket to Bangkok. Wondering whether the bus is a good idea? Read on to discover more information about this popular route.

Why Take a Bus from Phuket to Bangkok?

As Phuket to Bangkok is such a popular route, there are actually multiple ways that you could travel from one to the other, catering to all budgets. Phuket to Bangkok is not a short journey – by road, the distance is around 846 kilometers (529 miles), so traveling by bus does take a long time. There are direct flights from Phuket to Bangkok that will get you to the capital city much faster. The flight time is only a little over an hour but tickets are more than double the price of a standard bus ticket. Private taxis are also an option although these can be very costly, even when divided between several people, although they are the best if you want a tailored service.

Despite the alternatives, a bus from Phuket to Bangkok is so popular for a number of reasons – first is the affordability, as this is the cheapest way to go. Second is the flexibility as there are a number of buses to choose from every day. Third is the experience that bus travel offers, giving you views of the Thai countryside that you don’t get to see from thousands of feet in the sky, and it’s also a part of Thai culture, traveling by bus, as this is not just a service for tourists, it is popular with locals too.

Phuket to Bangkok Bus Times

Sombat Tour Company Bus
Sombat Tour Bus in Bangkok Southern Terminal going between Phuket and Bangkok © AtomLineAran /

There are three different bus companies you can choose from for a bus from Phuket to Bangkok, so this opens up your options for schedules and types of bus that you can travel on. On this route there are two types of bus – an Express and a VIP bus, which we’ll give more details on below. The three bus companies are Lignite, Sombat Tour, and Transport Co. Transport Co is actually owned and operated by the Thai government so you will find that, on the whole, they offer the cheapest bus tickets but their bus from Phuket to Bangkok may take longer than other buses as they may stop along the way in addition to a planned meal stop. The nice thing is that a free meal is included within the price of the ticket so this is a bonus for anyone traveling on a tight budget.

Bus Schedule From Phuket to Bangkok

Transport CoExpress15:30 to 05:57 (+1)14.5 hrsMo Chit Terminal
LigniteVIP or Express15:30 to 12:09 (+1)20.5 hrsSouthern Terminal
Sombat TourVIP15:40 to 04:25 (+1)13 hrsSouthern Terminal
Transport CoExpress17:00 to 07:27 (+1)14.5 hrsMo Chit Terminal
LigniteVIP17:00 to 13:39 (+1)20.5 hrsSouthern Terminal
Transport CoExpress18:00 to 08:27 (+1)14.5 hrsMo Chit Terminal

You will notice that all of these buses depart from Phuket in the afternoon and travel overnight, hence the +1 on the table indicating that it arrives he following day. This is good because it means you are not traveling right in the hottest time of the day. It also saves you the cost of a night’s accommodation. However, Thailand’s buses are notoriously cold because they have the air conditioning cranked up so high, so be sure to bring some warm and cozy clothes with you so you can have a sleep!

Express or VIP Bus from Phuket to Bangkok?

Phuket to Bangkok by Express Bus
An Express Bus with the standard 2+2 seating.

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to travel from Phuket to Bangkok, opt for an Express bus operated by Transport Co as these will save you a few dollars over the other options. There is also an Express bus operated by Lignite which is slightly more money.

An Express service is a regular bus with standard seating, usually with a walkway down the middle of the bus and a row of two seats on either side. There’s a reasonable amount of legroom on these and the seats are comfortable but can start feeling a little hard on longer journeys.

Bangkok to Chiang Rai VIP bus seating
A VIP Bus with the standard 2+1 seating.

On a VIP bus from Phuket to Bangkok you benefit from a lot more space. These are often (but not always) double decker buses with each level offering fewer seats than a standard bus (usually 3 to a row rather than 4) so that there is more legroom and space between the seats.

This allows you to recline your seat a long way – great for sleeping – and there are usually additional features such as a leg rest, maybe a personal screen and a charging port. VIP buses are more expensive but if you want a more comfortable ride and would like to sleep, these are the better option.

Phuket to Bangkok Bus Tickets

Phuket Bus Terminal 2
Phuket to Bangkok buses depart from Phuket Bus Terminal 2 © Pataporn Kuanui /

While it’s not essential to book bus tickets in advance, it is always recommended if you want to be sure you get a seat on the bus you want. You can buy tickets right at Phuket Bus Terminal 2 – this is where all of these Phuket to Bangkok buses depart from – however, you should try to buy at least a day or so in advance. Online booking is also possible and we would recommend using the travel website, 12Go because they sell tickets for all of the above-mentioned bus companies and bus types. It’s easy to compare the prices on their website and book the bus you want, with most of the departures giving instant confirmation, or at least confirmation within 24 hours.

We do recommend booking as far in advance as possible if you already know your travel plans, especially if you’re traveling across Thailand during their busy holiday and festival times as all modes of transport get booked up very quickly during these times. Without an advance booking you may find yourself having to wait a long time to find a bus with a seat available. There is a small booking fee for booking online with 12Go, but even if you booked direct with the bus companies you would have to pay an advance booking fee anyway. With the fee included, bus tickets from Phuket to Bangkok are currently priced at the following:

Ticket Prices Buses Phuket to Bangkok 12Go

Transport CoExpress Bus698 THB
LigniteExpress Bus727 THB
LigniteVIP Bus1,081 THB
Sombat TourVIP Bus1,223 THB

Cheapest Bus Tickets Phuket to Bangkok

Southern Terminal Bangkok bus to Phuket
Transport Co bus going between Phuket and Bangkok © AtomLineAran /

As you can see, the Express bus with Transport Co is easily the cheapest. You could also consider an Express service with Lignite, but remember that you do get a free meal included in the price of the Transport Co ticket. The VIP buses give you more comfort and services onboard, so these are best if you want to feel as comfortable as possible to arrive refreshed in Bangkok the next day.

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