Leaving all those sandy beaches and crazy parties behind? Are you sure to have checked Koh Phangan’s neighbours before going back to Bangkok? Though all the three islands are so close to each other, the vibe and flavour of each of them differ greatly. Why not compare?
From Koh Phangan to Koh Samui
Koh Phangan lies within an easy reach from Koh Samui. Lomprayah and Seatran take sheer 20 minutes to get to the island; there are slower Songserm (30 min.) and Haad Rin Queen (50 min.) ferry boats, too. All the boats – except for Haad Rin Queen – arrive to Thong Sala Pier. Buy your ticket to Koh Samui either with Lomprayah or Seatran here.
From Koh Phangan to Koh Tao
There are three ferry companies serving this direction with Lomprayah and Seatran offering the fastest service (80 min.). Songserm covers the distance between Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in 1hr 50 min.
Travelling from Koh Phangan to the mainland
Lomprayah High Speed Catamaran calls to Koh Phangan twice a day on her way to Chumphon pier (at 8.30am and 1pm) and also twice a day when going in the opposite direction to Suratthani (at 7.15am and 12pm). Transit time is about 3 hrs and 2 hrs correspondingly. Seatran Discovery makes three journeys a day bringing passengers from Koh Phangan to Donsak pier in Suratthani via Koh Samui in 2½ hr. There are also other companies offering similar or slower service to the mainland:
Raja Ferry – 2½ hrs (four times a day). It is one of the cheapest options but do not expect much as the vessels are worn out and rather uncomfortable.
Songserm – 3½ hrs (twice a day)
Night ferry – from 6 to 7 hrs; daily; departing at 10pm from Koh Phangan. It is the slowest of all the ferries, but you can save an extra baht sleeping on the move.
Besides Lomprayah (20 min. to Koh Samui, 80 min to Koh Tao, both 4 times a day) and Songserm (30 min. to Koh Samui, 1hr 50 min to Koh Tao, both twice a day), there are two more companies which connect Koh Phangan to Koh Samui and Koh Tao: Seatran (20 min. to Koh Samui, 80 min to Koh Tao, both twice a day) and Haad Rin Queen (50 min. to Koh Samui, 4 times a day).
From Koh Phangan to Bangkok via Suratthani ferry + bus
Both Lomprayah and Seatran Discovery offer joint ticket for their ferry+bus journey to Bangkok with buses arriving to Khao San Road in Bangkok. The journey takes 12hrs with Lomprayah (THB 1250) and 14hrs with Seatran (THB 1000). It is a convenient option if you are planning to stay somewhere in the area while in Bangkok. Otherwise you can buy separate ferry and bus tickets for your journey. In Bangkok buses arrive to the Southern bus terminal. Buses for Bangkok depart regularly during the day both from Suratthani and Chumphon and take from 6½ hrs to 12 hrs to arrive.
From Koh Phangan to Bangkok via Suratthani ferry + bus + train
The last leg of your Koh Phangan–Bangkok journey can be done by train, as well. By far the most convenient connection is that of Lomprayah 12pm ferry and 6.37pm #86 night train from Suratthani arriving to Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok at 6.30am. The joint ticket ferry+bus+2nd class sleeper costs THB 1568; if you prefer a more plush 1st class sleeper, be ready to pay THB 2139. There is, though, three hour waiting time after you are picked up by bus at the pier and brought to Suratthani train station.
If you do not want to buy a joint ticket, there is a wide selection of trains heading to Bangkok from Suratthani, offering the full range of coaches, from the cheapest fan seats to the comfy AC 1st class sleepers leaving during the day.
Tip: The lower berths are the first to sell out. Book them as much in advance as possible. They are also considerably wider than the upper ones. If you are travelling with a baby, opt for the lower berths by all means.
Which train from Suratthani to Bangkok to choose?
Trains from Suratthani to Bangkok arrive to Hua Lamphong Station. There is a morning 2nd class AC seats only which is also the fastest one covering the distance between Bangkok and Suratthani in 9 hours (and for THB 808). The rest of the batch are slower (up to 12 hours) and depart in the afternoon and in the evening at 4.40pm, 5.35pm, 6.37pm, 8.35pm, and 9.05pm. Even if slower than buses, trains offer the most comfortable ride, depending on which ticket you book. The top choice is an AC 1st class sleeper (the most convenient of which is #84 and #86 at 9.05pm and 6.37pm (both THB 1539). Second class sleepers are also air-conditioned and provide beds that fold out of your seating upon request or in the evening. These tickets cost from THB 948 to THB 968, and while they may not be as private as 1st class, they are still very comfortable. The fan sleeper carriage works pretty much the same as a normal sleeper but excludes air conditioning and gives you an arguable opportunity to take in countryside smells along the trip. Fan sleepers cost 708 THB per person.