Logistics: Getting to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao from Bangkok or Krabi
Island hopping in Thailand couldn’t be easier! Especially between three of the most popular islands – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. There’s several different ways you can get to these places, we’ll be telling you about the budget backpacker way.
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Also read: Guide to Koh Phangan Full Moon Party
1. Bangkok to Koh Tao
Sleeper Bus from Khao San Road to Ferry Point
We booked our bus/ ferry combo tickets through 12.go.asia. Other options are to book through the Lomprayah website, or head to the office at the top of Khao San Road. You’ll start the journey from this office, so booking through them will also make you familiar with their location (super easy to find if you don’t visit prior to travel day). Ticket prices were between 800Bhat & 1,400Bhat depending on departure time.
Rock up to the office with you tickets and check in. You’ll be given A LOT of stickers!! It felt a bit like a school trip. Lots of travellers milling about covered in coloured stickers depending on their final destination. Follow the crowds of backpackers to the sleeper buses where you’ll be herded onto the correct bus like cattle. Have your stickers showing and the drivers will usher you in the right direction. There’ll be one rest stop on the way to the ferry point and the journey is ~10-12hours.
Surat Thani Ferry Point to Koh Samui/ Koh Tao/ Koh Phangan
The sleeper buses will drop you at the ferry point (most likely still in the middle of the night). You’ll probably have to sit around and wait for boarding to be announced. There’s a shop and cafe at the ferry point, although you may have to wait for it to open. The ferries are pretty modern, however you’re not going to be able to judge the sea. Keep your fingers crossed for calm waters! It was very rough when we left and we felt pretty sea sick all day, but it’s worth it! The ferry will make several stops, just listen out for announcements. That’s what makes this trip so easy! Once you’ve finished your time on one island, hop back on the ferry and travel to the next!
2. Krabi to Koh Samui
Booking your tickets
Again, Lomprayah is the most reputable and reliable company. It may be a little more expensive than other companies on offer but you’ll be guaranteed a smooth journey. Your hostel/ hotel can book your tickets for you (insist on a Lomprayah transfer service, not their own services). Alternatively, you can book directly at the Lomprayah ticket office at Krabi bus station – make sure you organise a transfer! Krabi to Koh Samui will cost you ~800THB. (Krabi to Koh Phangan 900 THB | Krabi to Koh Tao 1,100 THB).
Minivan/bus from Krabi to Pier
Lomprayah will send a van to pick you up from your accommodation (arrange this when buying tickets). Before dropping you at the Lomprayah bus station, they’ll collect a few other passengers from nearby hotels.
At the bus station (hut), you’ll show your tickets, and be given another sticker. Keep your sticker because you will need it to get onto the ferry later. Lomprayah busses are air conditioned (so bring an extra layer) and pretty comfortable. The bus journey is ~3 hours to the pier.
Ferry to Koh Samui
You’ll be dropped at Tapee Pier in Surat Thani, where you may have to wait for a bit to board the ferry. You’ll be shown where to go when they’re ready to board.
Staff will show you where to stack your luggage. They will sort everything by destination, then load everything onto the ferry together. Keep your important belongings (cash/ documents/ electronics) with you.
Lomprayah’s high speed catamarans can get you from Surat Thani to Koh Samui within two hours.
We were spending Christmas in Koh Samui and had a week or so gap after visiting Koh Tao so decided to check out Krabi for a few days before Koh Samui. Ideally you should hop from Bangkok – Koh Tao – Koh Phangan – Koh Samui – Krabi (main land) – Bangkok. Even if you don’t follow a straight line through each place, travelling back and forth is super easy from each island.