As more of our friends plan their vacations, we’ve been getting asked more travel questions.
“What’s the best way to get to Thailand?”
“What’s the cheapest way to get to Thailand?”
“How should I plan my trip to get to you?”.
If you’re planning on visiting the beautiful tropical island of Koh Phangan in Thailand. Here’s our suggestions.
If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll most likely have to fly into Bangkok Airport first, then get a transfer over to your final destination within Thailand.
The Cheapest Way- Surat Thani
If you’re looking for the most budget friendly way to get to Koh Phangan, fly into Bangkok, then fly to Surat Thani. The cost for us to go from Los Angeles to Bangkok was only about $450 (one way), then from Bangkok Airport to Surat Thani Airport was about $25 (one way). Couple of airlines to check out for budget travel are Air Asia and Nok Air.
Once you arrive in Surat Thani, you’ll book a bus and ferry transfer over to Koh Phangan. We used Raja Ferry. There’s no need to book tickets ahead of time. Once you arrive at the airport, you simply walk up to the ferry kiosk and ask for a ticket to get to Koh Phangan. You’ll be given a ticket for a bus ride and one for the ferry which will cost around 500 Baht (approx. $14).
Expect about 5 hours travel time from Surat Thani Airport. Bus ride to Donsak Pier (about 1.5 hours) and ferry boat ride (about 2.5 hours).
Once you’re off of the ferry, there will be taxis lined up asking you where you need to go. Easy peasy.
From your home city in U.S. –> Bangkok Airport (BKK) –> Surat Thani Airport (URT) –> Bus ride to the pier (Donsak Pier if going on Raja Ferry) –> Ferry ride to Koh Phangan
Most Direct and Easiest Way – Koh Samui
The most direct, easiest, and hassle-free way to Koh Phangan is to fly to the island of Koh Samui then take a short ferry ride over to Koh Phangan.
It’s likely that you’ll need to fly into Bangkok Airport first, then fly to Koh Samui, but if you’re lucky, you may find some flights that fly direct to Koh Samui.
You will want to check Bangkok Air for flights.
From Ko Samui airport, go to the taxi/ferry table. They will be able to arrange for a minibus or a taxi to take you to the pier for the next ferry going to Koh Phangan.
The ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Phangnan usually takes somewhere between 30 minutes to 50 minutes and the ferry ticket will be around 200-300 Baht. (Tip: if you’re on a fast boat , I suggest you hold off on eating any food. It can be a very bumpy ride so it’s best to wait in case of motion sickness.)
From your home city in U.S. –> Bangkok Airport (BKK) –> Ko Samui Airport (USM) –> Taxi ride to the pier –> Ferry ride to Koh Phangan.
Other Travel Options to Koh Phangan
By Bus from Bangkok
Overnight buses leave Khaosan Road in the evening about 6pm and in the next morning arrive at Surat Thani, then take a boat. Bus and boat combo tickets can be arranged by travel agencies on Khaosan Road for about 700-900 Baht all the way to Koh Phangan.
By Train from Bangkok
An overnight train from Bangkok has a bed, and is a comfortable way to get Koh Phangan. Trains stop early morning at Surat Thani. Then, buy a bus and boat ticket to Koh Phangan. Train tickets from Surat Thani back to Bangkok should be reserved in advance especially in high season.
Check the latest prices and schedules via the service link on the website of The State Railway of Thailand.
Once you make it to Koh Phangan, there will be taxis waiting for you at the pier. Tell a driver that you want to go. It’s a good idea to have the name of the resort and the name of the beach handy. It’s not a big island, so the drivers are pretty familiar with all of the resorts, but in case they don’t recognize your resort’s name, it’s good to tell them which beach or neighborhood the resort is located in.
Depending on where you’re going, the taxi fare can range. If the distance is fairly close, about 150 baht to 300 baht. If on the other side of the island, possibly up to 500 or 600 baht.
Visa Information for Visiting Thailand
If you’re coming from the U.S. (or one of the G8 countries), you will automatically get a 30 day stay in Thailand as a Tourist without having to apply for a separate visa. If you end up staying longer than 30 days, you have the option to extend that initial 30 days easily at the Immigration Officee on Ko Samui. You will be granted an extra 30 days and the fee will be about 1900 baht (about $55).
For those of you interested in getting an extended Tourist Visa, it’s a good idea to check at the Thai embassy in your city. We got our Multiple Entry 6 Month Visa from Portland, Oregon.
Ali & Johnny