You’ve spent a few days basking in the sun in Krabi, Thailand
looking up at the magnificent karsts that characterize this iconic area. But now you’re ready to say goodbye to the Andaman Coast and hello to the calm waters of island life in Thailand’s Gulf Coast.
How to Get from Krabi to Koh Samui
(And Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao)
**note: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao are three popular islands in the Gulf of Thailand. This guide will help you get there from Krabi or Phuket.
You could just hop on a flight to Koh Samui and catch an onward ferry from there, but you’d spend a lot more money, spend more time in the airport, and miss seeing all of the surrounding nature!
Traveling from Krabi to Koh Samui
...can be a painless jaunt or an all day seasick nightmare. Done the right way, you can get from one place to the other in under 5 hours, done the wrong way it can be a journey of 11 hours or more….
Put simply: Pay a few extra bucks (approx. $6 extra) for the convenience, safety, and comfort, and get to Koh Samui in a timely fashion.
If the weather is even slightly questionable then you should 100% pay extra. The faster boat will make all the difference on rough seas when minutes feel like hours.
After traveling extensively around Thailand we always recommend booking Lomprayah’s combo bus/ferry option. It is the slightly more expensive option, but Lomprayah just provides the best service for the money that you spend.
Lomprayah is the most reputable company that we’ve used (and we’re not getting paid to tell you this).
They run on time, and their service is great!
They have air conditioned busses, they make the fewest stops and transfers, and they have the fastest ferry around so you won’t be wasting any of your precious time standing around waiting forever for your next connection.
(Disclaimer: This is in no way a luxury transport, if you want luxury, your best bet is to fly to Koh Samui then ferry onward from there.)
The Duration: 4-7 hours based on destination
The Price: Krabi to Koh Samui 800 THB | Krabi to Koh Phangan 900 THB | Krabi to Koh Tao 1,100 THB
How To Book Your Tickets with Lomprayah
Option 1: Book your tickets online through Lomprayah’s Website. (Keep in mind, you’ll need to book at least 3 days in advance, if you book online.) Email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange transfer service from your hotel.
Option 2: Your next best option is to ask if your hotel or accommodation can arrange the booking for you. Arrange for transfer from your hotel. Most likely they can. Insist that they book with Lomprayah.
Option 3: Buy your tickets directly from the Lomprayah ticket office. This would be our number one option, but the bus station in Krabi isn’t conveniently located. Be sure to arrange transfer service from your hotel.
LAST RESORT (we do not recommend this option): Book through a travel agent. Insist that they book with Lomprayah.
If you’re already in Thailand then you’ve undoubtedly noticed the large number of “travel agents” about trying to sell you transport. Booking through these travel agents is the easiest way to get scammed.
We’ve heard countless stories from friends who (didn’t heed our warnings) ended up being sold tickets for different transport companies than the one they requested with random departure times.
They will tell you anything, including that “the ferry you want is sold out”. They’ll sell you whatever ticket makes them the most money.
Before you leave the counter, check that your ticket is for Lomprayah, and if it’s not, get your money back.
NOTE: Sometimes there will even be someone on the Lomprayah ferry trying to sell you a return trip (most likely with a different company,) beware! This actually happened to our friend.
Don’t buy from these people.
Here’s what you can expect when traveling
from coast to coast
Lomprayah will send a van to pick you up from your accommodation. You’ll need to arrange this with them in advance. Before dropping you at the Lomprayah bus station, they’ll collect a few other passengers from nearby hotels.
At the bus station, you’ll show your tickets and be given a sticker. Keep your sticker because you will need it to get onto the ferry later.
They’ll load your luggage into the bottom of the bus. Don’t worry, theft is quite rare on these Lomprayah busses. If you are carrying any expensive equipment, then it’s advisable to carry it on with you in a small backpack or bag, just in case.
The Lomprayah busses are air conditioned (so bring an extra layer) and relatively comfortable. We always try to get the front row on the top level for the ultimate window view and extra foot room. It’s also the most exhilarating way to ride.
You may or may not have a short rest stop along the way. If you do, you’ll have time to use the bathroom, and perhaps buy a few snacks.
Be sure to stock up on water, and snacks the night before your journey. You’ll be shocked by what they will be charging for the limited food choices during your journey.
Once you reach Tapee Pier in Surat Thani, you will have a short wait before boarding your ferry. Be sure to locate the correct boat to the proper destination. The Lomprayah boats are high speed catamarans, not slow bulky ferries.
Stack up your luggage where the dock workers instruct. They will sort everything by destination, then load everything onto the ferry together. Keep your important belongings like cash and documents or computer/camera equipment with you.
Lomprayah’s high speed catamarans can get you from Surat Thani to Koh Samui within two hours, another 45 minutes for Koh Phangan. The full ferry ride to Koh Tao should take just over 5 hours. Any of the other ferry services will add at least an additional hour.
If it’s raining, you’ll be especially thankful you spent a little extra on Lomprayah’s fast Catamaran.
Once you arrive to the Gulf Islands
At the pier, you’ll be met by an army of songthaew trucks (those are the shared ride trucks, pronounced: Song-Tao) and taxi drivers who will all be VERY eager to take you wherever you want to go on the island.
Your cheapest bet is to walk straight past them and negotiate a fare in town.
Don’t forget to negotiate with red truck drivers, and don’t negotiate with meter taxi drivers, let the meter do its job.
How to get from Phuket to Koh Samui
(and Koh Pha Ngan, and Koh Tao)
The process for getting from Phuket to Koh Samui is the same as above. The only difference is your starting point. You can buy your Lomprayah tickets from the office in Phuket.
You can follow the steps outlined above for buying Lomprayah Bus/Ferry Combo tickets.
The journey will be pretty much the same as the journey from Krabi, but with a slightly longer bus ride.
The Lomprayah van will pick you up from your accommodation in Phuket, you’ll board a bus that will take you all the way (with a quick pit stop) to the pier in Surat Thani.
You’ll then transfer to a Lomprayah Ferry which will Stop in Koh Samui, then Koh Phangan, and finally Koh Tao.
The Duration: 7-9 hours Based on destination
The Price: Phuket to Samui 1,300THB | Phuket to Phangan 1,400THB | Phuket to Koh Tao 1,500THB
For an easy smooth transfer: Always book the LOMPRAYAH bus/ferry combo ticket. Skip the travel agents (they’ll only try to scam you), and instead head straight for the Lomprayah ticket office in town.
We are not getting paid and haven’t gotten anything for free to write this. This is our own personal recommendation based on our own previous experiences, and experiences of friends.