Previously, those wanting to buy ferry, boat and train tickets in advance had to go to a local travel agent. Thailand travel while quite good because of a decent nationwide infrastructure has always been mostly in private hands (the exception being the railway) and there has been slow movement to ‘join up the dots’. One huge step in the right direction is 12go.asia. It is an automated ticket booking system. You can not only check live updated timetables but also buy tickets. Please use the search box on Thong Nai Pan Magazine.
Boat timetables (updated May 2009)
Below are timetables and advice about travelling to and from Thong Nai Pan and Koh Phangan by boat. Also included are links to some of the main transport companies covering the major routes to and from Koh Phangan. Click on the travel map link on the right to see a map of boat routes.
There is a speed boat service between Maenam in Koh Samui and Bantai in Koh Phangan. Boats leave every 30 minutes from 9am to 5pm. The journey takes 12 minutes.
Travel agents in Koh Phangan raise the prices of boat/bus tickets a few days before and after every full moon party. This is purely to make more money. So it is advisable to buy your tickets directly at the piers in Tongsala. Don’t worry about booking in advance (except on the day of the Full Moon Parties) as there is always tickets available on the day.
Lomprayah uses a catamaran. It is the fastest ferry service available. Lomprayah sells combined bus and boat tickets to and from Bangkok. If you take the 1pm service from Tongsala in Koh Phangan it costs 900 THB. The earlier service (8.30am) costs 1,200 THB. All tickets from Bangkok to Koh Phangan cost 900 THB. Also the boat ticket from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui includes your onward journey to anywhere on Koh Samui, as does the tickets from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao and from Bangkok to Koh Tao. This is a great service because Koh Samui taxi drivers are crooks who would rather miss a fare than go on the meter. Interestingly Lomprayah doesn’t offer an onward taxi service in Koh Phangan.
telephone: +66 (0) 77 238411/2
Seatran sells combined bus/boat tickets between Bangkok and Koh Phangan. The boats they use are smaller than the Lomprayah catamarans. As with all the timetables published on this page, the services are liable to changes caused by bad weather which often delays boats.
telephone: + 66 (0) 77 238679
Songserm run fairly small boats between Suratthani and Koh Tao. There are a number of travel companies that run coaches to fit in with the Songserm boat service. Be careful about using these companies. Especially the really cheap combined tickets (as little as 600 THB for a ticket from Bangkok to Koh Phangan) sold in Khao San road. There are many reports of luggage being rifled through during the trip and people losing money, cameras etc. The companies selling tickets take no responsibility, the coach staff are in on the scam and the police do nothing to recover stolen goods. CARRY ALL YOUR MONEY AND VALUABLES WITH YOU. DON’T LEAVE ANYTHING VALUABLE IN YOUR MAIN BAGS.
telephone: + 66 (0) 77 377704
The Raga car ferry is the biggest vessel plying the route between Koh Phangan and the mainland. It leaves from Donsak on the mainland (see travel map) and takes 2.5 hours to get to Tongsala port in Koh Phnagan. The Raga is the only car ferry available. The bar on the ferry has now adopted the licensing laws of Bangkok, which means the bar often won’t sell you a cold beer.
telephone: (Donsak) + 66 (0) 77 4711513
(Koh Phangan) +66 (0) 77 3774523
more information: http://thongnaipan-magazine.com/boatinformationpart2.html
The Haad Rin Queen is a small boat that leaves Koh Phangan from Haad Rin, a beach in the south west of Koh Phangan famous for hosting Full Moon parties. It’s the cheapest boat (only 150 thb) and arrives at Big Buddha pier in Koh Samui.
telephone: +66 (0) 77 375113
more information: http://www.thongnaipan-magazine.com/boatinformationpart2.html
The Night boat leaves from Tongsala in Koh Phangan at 10pm and arrives at Suratthani at 4am the following morning. It’s a long crossing and the primary purpose of this boat is for those who need an early start (usually to do a Visa Run) or for those who don’t want to spend the night in Suratthani.
The Thong Nai Pan Express is a small boat that leaves Thong Nai Pan Noi at 9am and stops off at a few beaches on the east side of Koh Phangan before heading off to Koh Samui. It arrives at Meanam in Koh Samui 11am and then waits an hour before doing the return leg. The boat is important transport link for the more remote beaches on the east side such as Haad Thien and Than Sadet. It also goes to Haad Rin which makes it a good way to get back from the Full Moon Party. Due to the rough waters during the monsoon the boat service is suspended from during the monsoon.The monsoon is usually from October to late November but often varies.
Getting Stuck in Suratthani
Getting to Koh Phangan is not always possible in one day. Sometimes you can’t get to your destination by making good connections. If you arrive too late in Suratthani you will miss the last ferry to Koh Phangan. Check out this guide to hotels near Suratthani Airport to find a good place to stay near your next transport connection.