You really don’t need to buy a package holiday when going to the Islands. Making your own way is a big part of why so many people choose Thailand as a holiday destination. The main factor in determining how to to travel around is how much time you have to spend here. With a two week holiday it does make sense to make the best of the frequent flights. A little planning ahead is always recommendable but if you find your ‘place’ here then it is nice to change your plans and not have to stick to a timetable. Getting around by Train, Boat & Bus is the most economical option and a fair bit slower but it does give you the chance of seeing the country if you have the time.
Flights from Bangkok are how the majority of tourists arrive in Ko Phangan via Samui Airport which also has flights to Hong Kong, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, Krabi & Trat. There’s more than a dozen daily flights from Bangkok to Samui which take about an hour and cost about ฿5000 each way. You’ll feel the Thai welcome on these flights especially if your just after arriving with a long-haul carrier. The Samui airport travel centre can then organize bus or private car transport to your accommodation. Or if you’re going straight on to Ko Phangan then the best option is a mini-bus (฿200) to Maenam beach for the Seatran Ferry or the high speed Lomprayah Catamaran (Both around ฿300). The 30min journey will bring you the pier at Thongsala where you get a taxi to the resort or walk 20 min along the beach.
The Lomprayah operates a service from Bangkok which by air-con bus to Chumporn and boat onto Ko Tao, Ko Phangan and finally Ko Samui which leaving on the evening will get you to Phangan the following morning for around ฿1300. Seatran operates a similar service with a slightly longer journey time.
ON KO PHANGAN
One of the reasons for Ban Tai’s great popularity is its easy accessibility and proximity the main towns. Ban Tai is located on the south-east coast of Koh Pha Ngan and is a popular place for folk who want to get away from the hubbub of Had Rin and Thong Sala, which still being near everything; whether you fancy a big night out or want to use the services in the islands capital. Koh Phangan’s primary concrete road runs through Ban Tai, thus it is easily reached by all means of road transport and it can also be got to by boat taxi from Had Rin and Thong Sala.
OFF KO PHANGAN
Coming from or heading on to Koh Samui we truly recommend ‘Cactus Bungalow‘ on Bophut beach. Jeff has been running this resort for 15 years now and he definitely knows a bit about Thailand and its culture. Try everything on the menu there.
Heading off diving on Koh Tao? Definitely check out Mark and Nicola on Koh Nangyuan, the smaller island just off Sairee Beach. Now working the ‘Easy Divers Nangyuan‘ Dive school there. You couldn’t possibly find better instructors for your first dive, or people who know the area better. They’ve had a old navy boat sunk there recently which is sure to make for a great wreck-dive.