Ranong is easily accessed from Phuket through bus travel. This bus departs from a central Phuket bus terminal a couple of times a day. The vehicle has pretty standard seating, that slightly recline. It's air conditioned on board, and the bus even has a bathroom.
There is 1 operator that run from Phuket to Ranong, with 0 departures per day. If you decide to take a Minivan, you can take the Standard option.
There is 1 operator that run from Phuket to Ranong, with 0 departures per day. If you decide to take a Car, you can take the Standard option.
After enjoying a beach vacation in Phuket there's no better place to head to other than Ranong for a complete contrast. Set relatively close to the border with Myanmar, Ranong is revered as a trekking paradise with natural thermal springs and hidden waterfalls, such as Ngao Waterfall. Getting to Ranong from Phuket couldn't be easier. Located 301 kilometers (187 miles) north of Phuket, Ranong takes around five hours and 30 minutes to reach by bus.
The earliest bus departs Phuket for Ranong at just after 7.00 in the morning whereas the latest leaves just after 6.00pm. The best advice if you're thinking of taking the later bus service is to book accommodation in Ranong in advance. Then you won't be left stranded at the bus station at night with no place to go. Also, no matter which time you leave (there are 5 daily buses from Phuket to Ranong), always make sure to arrive at the bus station in good time to check in and put your luggage on board. This saves you a frantic rush and maybe even missing your ride.
There's basically only one bus type from Phuket to Ranong and that's the Express Bus that leaves from Phuket bus terminal. Conditions are very comfortable with air conditioning, reclining seats and WiFi access covering all bases on route. The onboard bathroom allows for comfort breaks along the journey; although the bus will usually make at least one rest stop so travelers can stretch their legs and maybe buy a few provisions. Express buses also have chargers for phones and iPads as well as a selection of snacks and drinks to recharge human batteries, too.
Seat prices are pretty reasonable for a five and a half hour journey and you shouldn't expect to pay more than US $12 for a single ticket. Sometimes you can get even cheaper tickets if you book for two people at the same time. There are usually five departures each day from Phuket to Ranong but it's a good idea to book tickets in advance, especially during high season which is from January to June.
Although many travelers boarding the early morning bus from Phuket to Ranong might well be nursing a sore head from one last beach party the night before, if you're staying awake there's plenty to see whilst traveling.
Glimpses of Andaman Sea and the sleepy coastal villages that lay alongside are often visible as you depart Phuket and head north. You'll also see lots of roadside Buddhist shrines, especially at the corners of hair-pin bends, as you slowly wind your way up and through the mountains. As you leave the coast and countryside behind your bus will embark on the lion's share of the trip via Thailand's Phet Kasem Road, otherwise known as Highway 4. This is where you'll find yourself amongst the continuous beeping and growling traffic heading north towards the border with Myanmar.
As you begin to get closer to Ranong you'll find the tropical forest covered Tenasserim Hills rising to the east. Although not exactly the highest of altitudes, these hills are as old as time itself and make for an exciting prelude to trekking trips in and around the Ranong region.
Taking a bus
Bus travel in Thailand has to be done at some point and the ride from Phuket to Ranong - 277 kilometers (172 miles) - takes around five hours and thirty minutes. There's only one bus type and that's Express. It has air conditioning and reclining seats.
There are approximately five departures each day with seats costing around US $11. Also on board you'll find a bathroom, and occasional Wifi access depending on reception in the hills and forests. Buses also have phone and iPad chargers as well as a basic selection of food and drink available to buy on board.
Most travelers will have just come from vacation on the beaches of Phuket and will be looking to enjoy a more rugged and rural way of life. The forests around Ranong are well known for their trekking trails to waterfalls and natural spas, and booking accommodation in advance is a good way to hit the ground running no sooner than you've stepped off at the bus station. Although the journey is quite lengthy it can whiz by in a flash, especially if you've not had much sleep the night before!
Best advice for getting some rest is to be prepared. Pack a sleep mask, wear comfy clothes and consider using ear plugs. Also, remember, the air conditioning will be on full blast so make sure to keep a warm and cozy sweater or hoodie close at hand so as to avoid frostbite! Chatting to fellow travelers is a great way to find out more about things to do in Ranong, so don't go to sleep too soon as you never know what hidden gems you'll uncover over the course of the ride north.
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