I had just returned from a wonderful 5 days holiday in Phuket. One of the things which was kinda bugging me when I was planning for my trip was looking around for an affordable, reliable and fuss-free car rental service in Phuket. I was lucky enough to stumble upon one on the very last day before I flew off and wish to share my car renting experience in Phuket with like-minded travellers in this forum here.
I was looking around for a relatively new 1.5cc, auto 4-door sedan, such as the Honda City or Toyota Vios. Had practically surfed and enquired with all the more established rental cos.like Andaman car rent, David Car rent, Pure car rent etc etc....All of these cos. were charging anything fm 1200 - 1500 bahts/day for a car of these models. Some of their more common rental conditions were also kinda a put off for me, eg. requirement of a pre-paid deposit, payments only by credit cards (which I wasn't too keen on), forfeiture of deposit in the event of any cancellation of the reservations, delivery/collection charges if you are not collecting or dropping off the car at the airport itself etc.
Most of these cos.have a rental kiosk at the airport which I supposed is very convenient for first time travellers wishing to rent a car in Phuket. But then again their prices are pretty fixed coz of the space rental at the airport and they are not so open to negotiation when it comes to the rental rate.
However just after the exit from the airport (abt 500m away), there is a row of shop houses providing services like car rental and tours packages too. Their rates are very much more competitive than those at the airport and everything can be bargained for.
I found one such car rental there and called up the owner to check the rate. His opening rate at 1100 bahts for a new Honda City was already the lowest I had came across in my search for a rental car in Phuket. I bargained the rate down to 900bahts/day for a 4-days rental and was extremely pleased when he agreed.
Thats 3600 bahts for 4 days, and after deducting the cost of 1200 bahts for 2-ways airport taxis ride ( 600bahts one way each, to/fro airport to my hotel at Karon), I literally have the use of a car for my entire trip in Phuket at the grand total of only 2400 bahts. Means of transportations in getting around solved ! No need to depend on tuks tuks/taxis and have them spoil yr holiday mood by knowing that you are being slaughtered each time you need one to get around.
The car rental company I used was Thai Carrent & Tour Ltd. Both the bosses (Mr. Booncherd and Mr Aood) speaks passable English and are very very humble and friendly. All you need to do is to let them know when you will be arriving at the airport and they will send their staff to pick you up once you come out of the arrival hall. He will be holding up a card with your name on it and will drive you to their office just outside of the airport - a 3mins ride.
At the office the documentation process is extremely easy and fast. You show them yr driving licence and if you are paying by credit card, they will just record down your passport details and return it back to you. If you are paying by cash (like me), they will just made a copy of yr passport and will also hand it back to you. None of the nonsense that I heard some cos.have of insisting to keep your passport or such.
There's also an insurance form (first class coverage) to sign. Just a simple straight forward one-page document. In the worst possible accident scenarios, your liability is up to max.10,000 bahts. But if you are willing to fork out an additional 150bahts/day for coverage, then your max.liability will be lowered to 2000 bahts. Fair enuff but I didnt take up the offer coz I trust my own driving . Lol.
There's also a sort of handover form where any scratches/dents of the car you are taking over are marked, so that no dispute will arise later when returning the car. But I supposed this is just for formality sake, coz on the last day upon returning the car they didnt even bother to check at all. They were more concern in asking how your holiday in Phuket was and engaging in little small pleasant chit chats. But just to be on the cautious side, I made a show of taking pics of the car from all angles with my hp when I was collecting it. Not that it was needed tho. LOL !
The whole process takes less than 10 mins and they are even flexible enough to let you decide whether you wish to pay full upfront or partial payment, or full payment only upon returning the car. Very reassuring that, I must say.
The procedure for returning the car is also simple. You can either drop off the car at their office , whereby they wud then drive you into the airport to catch yr flight, or you can drop it off straight at the airport yrself. Choice is yours.
And with that, you have a set of wheel and off you go to explore Phuket to your heart's content !!
Drive safe folks !!~ :D