Located in the cool blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Phangan is an island paradise, consisting of secluded beaches, tropical rainforests, jungles and vast spans of untouched land. The island is growing in relevance and stature, not only in the western world but around the globe. Quickly becoming recognised as an island of opportunity, an increasing number of investors are travelling here, snapping up a great deal for the best return on investment. With a number of efficient and cheap transport options, getting to the island is a breeze.
The fastest method to the island is via air travel from Bangkok. As work on Koh Phangan’s first-ever airport is still to be completed, the airport on the neighbouring island of Koh Samui is closest. Bangkok Air is a popular option, with aircrafts flying into the airport over 40 times a day from destinations all over Southeast Asia. A flight to Koh Samui from Bangkok takes about an hour and costs 3,800+ Baht. The airport is conveniently close to Big Buddha pier, where travellers can catch a boat directly to Koh Phangan after landing.
The regional transport hub of Surat Thani is a little further away, on the mainland. Low-budget flights from carriers including Nok Air, Thai Lion Air and Air Asia fly to and from this airport several times a day. Flights cost approximately 800 – 2500 Baht and flying to Surat Thani provides an economical and quick method of reaching Koh Phangan. After landing, passengers can purchase a bus transfer and ferry ticket, around 500 Baht, to get to the island.
The State Railway of Thailand offers a comfortable journey from Bangkok to Surat Thani train station. This popular sleeper train service is a favourite amongst locals and tourists alike and consists of first- and second-class carriages. The journey takes around 12 hours, so a fresh blanket and pillows are provided for a comfortable ride. The first-class carriages are preferable options with large bunk beds, air conditioning and a personal sink. Second-class sleepers are also welcomed, with spacious beds and a choice of either air conditioning or fan. Once at the railway station, passengers can get a bus transfer to the pier (included in the ticket price) which takes approximately one hour, then catch the ferry to Koh Phangan.
The most economical transport to Koh Phangan is the bus service from Bangkok. Prices start from 800+ Baht and buses are clean and comfortable, with reclining seats and air conditioning. Passengers catch the bus at 19:00 in Bangkok and are driven directly to Surat Thani pier to catch the first morning boat to Koh Phangan.
Alternatively, travellers can opt for the government bus, transporting passengers from Bangkok all the way to the island. This 24-seat VIP bus leaves Bangkok in the evening, then boards directly onto the Raja ferry at Surat Thani pier to drop passengers off at Koh Phangan’s main town of Thong Sala. This option is slightly more expensive – just over 1200 Baht – but worth the extra money as the buses are modern, comfortable and direct, giving passengers peace of mind as they don’t have to change modes of transport on the journey.
Passengers who travel by bus, train or plane terminating in Surat Thani or Koh Samui will can catch a boat to complete the last stretch of their journey to Koh Phangan. Luckily, there are a number of boat services that operate daily, leaving from:
- Surat Thani Pier
The Songserm Express from Chumphon takes approximately three and a half hours to Koh Phangan, although there is only one crossing which leaves at 8am. If this time is not an option, the Lomprayah offers a high-speed crossing, leaving twice daily at 07:30 and 13:00 and costs around 1,000 Baht.
Alternatively, a 50-minute bus ride from here will take passengers to Donsak pier to catch the Raja ferry. This service operates five times daily, with the first boat leaving at 06:30 and the last boat departing at 18:00 and takes approximately three hours to Koh Phangan.
- Koh Samui
Visible from Koh Phangan, Koh Samui is just a short boat trip away. A number of boat services operate from different piers around the island so passengers can pick a service at their convenience. The high-speed Lomprayah service departs from Nathon pier at 08:00, 12:30 and 17:00 and arrives at Thong Sala pier just 20-30 minutes later. From Bangrak pier, the Seatran Discovery also takes 30 minutes and departs three times daily.
From Koh Samui’s Big Buddha pier, the Haad Rin Queen is the most frequent service to Koh Phangan and is the only boat that terminates in Haad Rin. The journey takes around 50 minutes and departs at 10:30, 13:00, 16:00 and 18:30.
- From Bangkok
Travellers may choose to catch the boat from Bangkok all the way down to the island. This is possibly the longest journey option and takes a total of 13 – 15 hours, but is also direct. The Lomprayah operates twice a day from Bangkok – at 06:00 and 21:00.
There are a number of travel and tour agents who can offer useful information for booking transport down to Koh Phangan. With numerous options available, it’s simply a case of selecting the one which is most suitable and within budget. Once travellers arrive, they will realise that the journey has been worth it and they can start looking for that perfect investment opportunity.