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TUI operates direct flights from London Gatwick (LGW), Birmingham (BHX) and Manchester (MAN) from October to April. Services aren’t on a daily basis, but they do offer the advantage of the shortest flight time – 12 to 13 hours.
Language: Thai | Currency: Baht (฿) | Local time: UTC | Avg. Flight time: 17 hrs
Numerous airlines operate non-direct services from airports in the UK, including London Heathrow (LHR) and many regional airports, via hubs either in Europe or the Middle East (Etihad, Qatar Airways and Emirates being the principal operators here).
British Airways and Thai Airways offer services to Bangkok (BKK), and from there it’s just a short 90-minute hop to Phuket. There are regular services on this feeder route offered by a good choice of local airlines.
The quickest non-direct flights via Bangkok can take as little as 16 hours, but generally, the lower the fare, the longer the trip takes, with lengthy layovers in airports such as Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
For those not based near London, Manchester or Birmingham, it’s generally necessary to travel to the major hubs. However, Emirates flies to Dubai from Glasgow, for example, so this could be another connection choice depending on where you can fly to from your nearest airport.
The best time to visit Phuket is from November to February when rainfall is at a minimum and temperatures are slightly cooler – but it also means higher prices. The summer monsoon season starts in May and continues to October. Expect heavy downpours, almost-deserted beaches, and cheaper flight and hotel prices during this period.
The cheapest option into Phuket Town is the public bus – it takes approximately 90 minutes and operates every hour and a half or so from outside the terminal. There are also plenty of taxis available, along with shared minibus shuttles, with a service desk in Arrivals – make sure though that you agree on a price with the driver before you get in the vehicle. Expect to pay up to 500 Baht (£11) to get to Phuket Town, and around 650-1000 Baht (£15-£23) for resorts further afield.
If you choose to hire a car at the airport, most major international car hire firms are represented, along with a choice of reputable local operators.
British nationals do not need a visa for stays of up to 30 days, though passports must be valid for six months beyond the date of arrival. Note that British nationals can only enter Thailand twice a year when using a land border – but this restriction doesn’t apply to air travel.