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How To Get To Koh Phangan from Bangkok & Kuala Lumpur

In my latest articles on Thailand, I found myself repeating the same ‘How to get to…’ information and decided a standalone post was required! Getting to the islands can sometimes take time to get your head around if you’re new to Thailand, or even familiar with it. I lived in Pattaya for 2 years but recently spent hours Googling ‘Cheap and quick ways to get to Koh Phangan from Kuala Lumpur’. So in a bid to make it easier for you and save precious time, here are your options if coming from Bangkok or KL.

 


1. Fly to Koh Samui, then take a Ferry to Koh Phangan

This is by far the easiest route from anywhere, but pricier too. Flying to Samui is generally more expensive than other Thai or SE Asian destinations because cheaper airlines like Air Asia don’t fly there, sadly (Bangkok Airways own the Airport so have the monopoly.) For European standards it’s still affordable, but quite expensive in SE Asia. I always use Skyscanner when searching for the best flight options.

Those of you located in the west of the world- from London to New York- are likely to fly into Bangkok (BKK) and then take a connecting flight to Samui.

If you’re coming from Australia or flying with some US airlines, then you may have other stopover options like Kuala Lumpur (KL), Singapore or Hong Kong.

Tip: If you’ve never been to Thailand’s capital before, then I’d recommend making it an introductory stopover and staying a few nights. After the bustle of the city, the islands will seem even more relaxing and worth it!

From Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur

Flight prices from the two cities fluctuate slightly, sometimes BKK is pricer, sometimes KL. Recently I took a flight to Samui from Kuala Lumpur (which was far costlier than BKK) at 1500 MYR return (approx. £300 GBP.)

Exact Route & Tavel Time: 

  • Take a flight to Koh Samui, around 1h10
  • Then catch a cab from the airport to the pier (see below for pier info), between 10-30 minutes
  • After you’ll take a ferry to Koh Phangan, about 20-30 minutes
  • Total: approx. 2hrs.

Cost:

  • Bangkok Airways fly there for around £220 GBP return, p/p (approx. 9350 Thai baht.)
  • A cab to the pier (or can be brought as a combo with Ferry) is around £11 GBP return, p/p (approx. 500 Thai baht.)
  • The ferry from Samui: around £11 GBP return, p/p (approx. 470 Thai baht.)
  • Total: around £242 GBP return, p/p (approx. 10300 Thai baht.)

I booked my ferry to Samui from the pier, but purchases can also be made in advance through many hotels and local travel agents, or online through FerrySamui.com (they have most ferry options from Samui to KP.)

Koh Samui has a range of ferry ports. The quickest routes are with Lomprayah (departs from Maenam twice per day: 8am and 12.30pm) and Seatran (departs from Banrak three times a day: 8am, 1pm and 4.30pm), who only take between 20-30 mins. All of their ferries go to Koh Phangan’s main pier in Thongsala.

Note: Nathon is one of the busiest piers as boats are coming from Donsak (there’s many ferry operators departing from there too, not just Seatran)

If you want to get to the other pier in Koh Phangan located in Haad Rin (south-east coast), then a small boat called Haad Rin Queen takes you there from Big Buddha Pier in Samui. Currently there are four departures per day: 10.30am, 1pm, 4pm; 6.30pm and the journey takes around 50-60 mins. Tickets cost around 200THB  (£4 GBP) however bookings cannot be made online and I’m guessing need to be done from the pier. (Note: apparently this boat can get quite crowded.)


2. Fly to Surat Thani, then take a Ferry to Koh Phangan

Surat Thani is in the south of mainland Thailand and is the closest airport for getting to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. This option is a bit cheaper than flying to Samui, but the transfer times make it a lot longer.

Note: At the time of writing this, there are no direct flights from KL to Surat Thani. Most have a stopover in BKK and end up costing the same as if you were to fly to Samui.

From Bangkok only

Exact Route & Tavel Time: 

  • Take a flight to Surat Thani, around 1h10
  • Then catch a bus from the airport to Donsak pier, approx. 1.5hrs
  • After you’ll take a ferry to Koh Phangan, approx. 2.5 hrs.
  • Total: approx. 5h10.

Cost:

  • Thai Lion Air, Nok Air and Air Asia (the equivalent to Ryanair in Europe) fly there for around £40 GBP return, p/p (around 1700 Thai baht)
  • The bus and ferry is usually bought as a combo: around £20 GBP return, p/p (around 850 Thai baht)
  • Total: approx. £60 GBP return, p/p (around 2170 Thai baht)

There’s a few operators for the Bus-Ferry combo: Lomprayah (my preference), Seatran, Songserm, or Raja Ferry. Just check which times and prices work best for you. If the bus departs pretty much at the same time that your flight lands, then check with the company directly to see if you can make this bus. I’ve read online that buses usually wait for all passengers to board before heading off, particularly if the majority are on 1 or 2 flights.

Tip: Don’t deviate off piste and try to spend some time in Surat Thani city; there’s really not much to see and do.


3. Take a train to Surat Thani, then a Ferry to Koh Phangan

For those wanting a mini adventure and a low cost option, then this is for you! I did it once in my 20s and although it was an experience, I wouldn’t do it again in my 30’s…it’s more about comfort over cost these days! It sounded quite fun and adventurous to take a train, but I didn’t sleep a wink that night and as it was ‘overnight’ there was nothing to see, obviously.

Anyway, don’t take my account for it. You’ve got to do it once in your life.

Note: At the time of writing, there are no direct trains from KL to Surat Thani. There is a very roundabout route which is discussed in this forum (involving multiple changovers and at least 24 hours in transit), but I wouldn’t recommend it for holidayers and nor would I have a go!

From Bangkok only

Exact Route & Tavel Time: 

  • Take a train from Hua Lamphong (main BKK train station) to Surat Thani, approx. 11 hrs
  • Then catch a bus from the train station to Donsak pier, approx. 1.45hrs
  • After you’ll take a ferry to Koh Phangan, approx. 2.5 hrs.
  • Total: approx.15h15.

Cost:

  • A first class sleeper train (recommended for comfort and A/C) cost around £42 GBP return p/p (approx. 1790 THB)
  • The bus to the pier cost about £4.50 GBP return, p/p (approx. 190 Thai baht)
  • The ferry is around £11 GBP return, p/p (approx. 470 Thai baht)
  • Total: approx. £58 GBP return, p/p (around 2470 Thai baht)

Note: tickets can be booked 60 days in advance but not further ahead of time.  If possible, I would book train tickets a few days before during busy seasons to get the better seats. 

You can book individual or combo tickets for the train, bus and ferry using 12Go.Asia.com. For more comprehensive train information in Thailand, see The Man in Seat 61.


4. Take a bus to Surat Thani, then a Ferry to Koh Phangan

This option seems to take roughly the same time as the train and for about the same price. Personally, I’d suggest the train as a better option because it will probably be more comfortable.

Note: I haven’t done this route before but searched for buses via 12Go.Asia to receive the options below.

From Bangkok

Exact Route & Tavel Time: 

  • Take the bus from Bangkok to Donsak pier, approx. 11 hrs
  • Then catch a ferry, approx. 2.5 hrs.
  • Total: approx. 13h30.

Cost:

  • The bus cost from £41 GBP return p/p (approx. 1750 THB)
  • The ferry cost about £11 GBP return, p/p (approx. 470 Thai baht)
  • Total: approx. £52 GBP return, p/p (around 2220 Thai baht)
From Kuala Lumpur

From KL to Koh Phangan, 12Go.Asia didn’t show any direct route options. Therefore I had to do two searches:

  1. Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai, Thailand (bus)
  2. Hat Yai to Koh Phangan (bus & ferry combo)

Exact Route & Tavel Time: 

  • Take the KL bus to Hat Yai, approx. 9 hrs
  • Then take the bus & ferry combo from Hat Yai to KP, approx. 10 hrs.
  • Total: approx. 19hrs.

Cost:

  • The bus cost £35 GBP return p/p (approx. 1490 THB)
  • The bus & ferry combo is about £29 GBP return, p/p (approx. 1235 Thai baht)
  • Total: approx. £64 GBP return, p/p (around 2725 Thai baht)

I hope these options help! If you have any better suggestions or updates, please comment below.

 

Want more? Read:

Best Value For Money Hotels in Koh Phangan

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