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BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

Brooklyn, New York
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2 posts
7 reviews
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BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

Do NOT sign up for the PMK airport shuttle. It's tempting because the rate is a third of what a taxi will cost but the shuttle service is an absolute scam. It took 2 hours for my husband and I to fly from Chiang Mai and 2 hours to get from the Phuket airport to our hotel in Kata Beach.

There is a desk for the PMK shuttle right outside the airport, where you pay and receive a ticket with your destination. They will not leave the airport until every inch of the shuttle van is occupied. We were told we were leaving in 10 minutes, but it took about 30. There is no communication between the driver and ticket coordinator, and the driver does nothing to keep track of where all of the passengers are headed.

We were told we'd be taken directly to our hotel but 20 minutes or so after leaving from the airport, the driver pulled up to a tourism office and all passengers were asked to step out of the van for ticket "validation." What really happens is that everyone is pressed to sign up and pay for various tours and hotels before getting back on the road to your intended destination. It was absolutely infuriating. The driver got out of the van, and joined us in the office, where he sat down and made himself comfortable for 20 minutes.

Pay for a taxi or make other arrangements. The PMK service is totally shady and a horrible way to start any visit to Phuket.

74 replies to this topic
Patong, Thailand
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85 posts
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1. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

What an awful way to start your holiday. I hope it got better.............

Phuket Town...
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62 posts
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2. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

I would suggest to use the metered-taxi where available from Phuket airport to you destination. This is where a reasonable price for all commutor.

Phuket, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Phuket, Kata Beach
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5,361 posts
26 reviews
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3. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

Yes, that is what happens with the shared minivans.

BTW, per person a third of a private taxi (a bit more even compared to a meter taxi), so for a couple the taxi's are just a bit more expensive.

Antipodes
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9,919 posts
119 reviews
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4. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

That trick is pointed out on the Airport Transfer FAQ, too bad you missed it first time around.

I've added your account of the situation to the page which the FAQ links to;

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g293920-s304/Phuket:T…

.

Brooklyn, New York
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2 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

Yes, we had every intention of using a metered taxi. However, we landed at around midnight and there was only one in the line who REFUSED to go on the meter. We waited around for a while but no other taxis showed up.

Phuket, Thailand
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1 post
3 reviews
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6. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

I was nearly killed by one of their drivers in a minivan who went through the red lights as I was driving my motorbike. He came at me at some speed and I thought F.... this is my end! I did use the F word as I was so frightened. The drivers response was to start yelling at me and to produce a baseball bat...Lovely! Lucky for him he drove on. I am Irish.

Oslo, Norway
1 post
2 reviews
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7. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

I took the shared airport shuttle from Phuket airport and payed 150 baht in October 2011 to Patong. The driver stopped at "tourism office", all passengers stepped out of the van and show hotel booking. We did not buy anything "tours" or other. The driver was kind of slow finding the hotells. But overall a good experience.

Queensland...
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2,908 posts
143 reviews
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8. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

Yes this has been going on for years. They also do the same when you join one of the shared vans after leaving the Phi Phi to Phuket ferry.

Good for people to be reminded to check out the FAQ section. CJ

Patong, Thailand
6 posts
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9. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

Your experience is not really typical of PMK but more typical of other minibus companies. I have used PMK about 20 times now and have never had the delays that you had. They leave when they have 10 or 12 people depending on the size of the vehicle. It would be uneconomical otherwise unless they charged a much higher price. The longest I have ever waited with PMK was 15 minutes because I got there just after the previous minibus left. They stop at the office after leaving the airport so the staff can work out the fastest drop off route. If other people traveling on your bus get involved with looking at or buying tours then they will delay your departure. I have never been pressed to sign up for a tour or hotel by PMK in fact last time I used them the whole "office experience" took no more than 5 minutes, the route was planned I we left before I had time to finish a cigarette. lol Every time I have used them the trip from the airport to Patong has taken a total of 45 minutes to 1 hour. No complaints and I will continue to use and recommend them.

I am aware of other companies who are not as reliable as PMK. There are many other companies who will try very hard to get people to buy tours or hotel rooms and there are some tourists who will be selfish enough to take an interest in them. I would not be so inconsiderate as to keep 10 other people waiting on the minibus while I discussed the possibility of going on a trip to Phi Phi Island.

Bangkok, Thailand
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15,864 posts
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10. Re: BEWARE: PMK airport shuttle

Odd that this first time poster's experience is very different to the many others who report a poor experience, so much so that its been mentioned in the Airport Transfer FAQs for quite a long time.

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