What do you mean there’s no airport on Koh Phi Phi?
Sorry folks. Believe it or not, the tiny archipelago just isn’t big enough to house a runway. And why spoil paradise with noisy aircraft engines? Not to mention the infrastructure and land clearing it would require. Oh, and there’s the small problem of those jagged limestone cliffs dominating the islands.
Below are a few of the major airports you’ll encounter on the way to Koh Phi Phi.
Phuket International Airport – HKT
Welcome to Phuket International Airport: chaos at the best of times, rage inducing at the worst. Love it or hate it, there’s little escaping the sizzling tourist hotpot of Phuket when commuting to Koh Phi Phi (alternatively, ferries run from Krabi and Koh Lanta).
As the second largest airport in Thailand, expect swelling crowds. Millions of locals and tourists pass through each year, and as any seasoned traveller knows, a busy airport is not a happy place. Disorganisation reigns, with planes arriving from around the country and selected international locations. Ten carriers run flights in and out of Phuket, so securing a seat will not be a problem.
Avoid Phuket’s airport taxi scam and book a ride beforehand with a reputable company. Shuttle busses are cheaper (and safer).
Ferries to Koh Phi Phi depart from Rassada Pier, about an hour’s drive from the airport (allow extra time to clear customs).
TIP: Immigration queues are lengthy. Take a novel (Game of Thrones is an appropriate length) or digital device to keep from assaulting your fellow passengers.
Terminal 1 – International flights (arrivals and departures)
Terminal 2 – Domestic flights (arrivals and departures)
Samui International Airport – USM
Superb design meets natural beauty at Thailand’s most stunning airport. Located in the region’s north, Samui International Airport showcases open-air architecture at its best. In fact, the whole setting feels more like a resort than an airport, and passengers are invited to dine and shop accordingly. Thatched rooves and palm tree pillars blend in perfectly with the surrounding coconut plantation and add a sense of serenity to the otherwise stressful experience of air travel.
Flights between Koh Samui and Phuket average 1 hour and a number arrive and depart daily. Vacationers making the journey are encouraged to book their return transfer at the airport on arrival. Choose between private taxi and shared minibus services.
Open-air, single level structure. Domestic and international terminals.
Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok) – BKK
Unsurprisingly, Suvarnabhumi Airport is the country’s largest and busiest. Just 30km east of Bangkok in Samut Prakan province, the flight from Bangkok to Phuket is a breeze, with the 420 miles (674kms) covered in under an hour and a half, making layovers unnecessary. If you arrive on the red eye, however, it’s ironically sensible to lodge at the affluent Novatel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel. Like all airport hotels, inflated rates are charged, but it will save a trip into Bangkok’s CBD, which could span more than an hour depending on traffic. The hotel is accessible via a 300-meter underground walkway. I.e. One less hotel/airport transfer to organize.
Level 1: Bus/taxi terminal
Level 2: Arrivals (including immigration, customs and baggage claim)
Level 3: Meeting Centre (shopping, food and lounging areas)
Level 4: Departures
Not departing from Bangkok or Koh Samui? The following airports offer services directly to Phuket:
- Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX)
- Hat Yai International Airport (HDY)
- Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport (DMK)
- Ubon Ratchathani Airport (UBP)
- Udon Thani International Airport (UTH)
For more information on how to get to Koh Phi Phi, read our traveling to Koh Phi Phi article.