You’ve spent the last 5 days in Bangkok. You’ve defeated your jet lag and gotten your bearings. You’ve seen the temples and the ping pong show. But now you’re fed up with the big Bangkok and ready to relax on the island paradise of Ko Pha Ngan.
How To Get To Koh Pha Ngan?
The easiest way to get to Koh Pha Ngan is to fly, and tickets can be found for as little as 50$.
The cheapest way to go is by bus but there’s nothing more uncomfortable than a 14 hour night bus.
That leaves one final option. Take the train. Not only is it budget friendly but it’s also the most adventurous, and my favorite way to go.
In the following guide, you’ll find out exactly how to get from Bangkok to Koh Pha Ngan by train.
Step 1: Taxi To Bangkok Hualumpong Station (15 mintues, 65 baht)
Trains depart to Surat Thani in Southern Thailand at both 6:30 and 7:30. So you’ll want to head to the station no later than 4:00pm. To get there, first find a metered taxi. Depending on traffic, Khao San Road to Bangkok’s Central Station should take around 15 to 20 minutes and will cost between 55-65 Baht. Although you can take local busses, the savings isn’t worth the time or energy.
Travel Tip: If you’re traveling during the high season you need to book your train ticket in advance. This means going to the train station a day or a few days before you want to travel.
Step 2: Train To Surat Thani (12 Hours, 680 Baht)
When you enter the station, head directly to the ticket booth and ask for a 2nd class fan only sleeper train to Surat Thani. You can choose from either a lower bunk, which costs a few baht more or an upper bunk. The advantage of the lower bunk is the window, which you can open to stay cool.
If you need a break from the heat, and are willing to spend a bit more, you can also ask for a 1st class air conditioned sleeper. Although it costs 1100 baht, it’s much quieter, cooler, and definitely a better nights rest. I always go second class though cause that’s where the backpacker party usually is.
The ticket agent will try and sell you a joint ticket to Koh Pha Ngan, which includes the connecting bus and high speed ferry. (least hassle) This boat gets you to Ko Pha Ngan in 1 ½ hours, while the slow boat takes 4 hours. If you get seasick, definitely take the fast boat (Lomprayah ferry company Joint Ticket Price= 1350 Baht). But if you want have an adventure, save money and hang out with locals, definitely take the slow boat (Raja ferry company/ Joint Ticket Price= 878 Baht).
For the latest fares and timetables see Thailand’s Railway Website.
Train Travel tip 1: Before getting on the train, pop into a convenience store for some water and snacks. Although you can buy food on the train, it’s always nice to have backup sustenance should you get hungry in the middle of the night.
Train Travel tip 2: If you’re small enough, it’s best to sleep with your bag in your bunk. Otherwise it’s a good idea to tie your bag on the bunk side rack with an intricate knot. Although these trains are relatively safe and generally filled with other backpackers, it’s better to play it safe.
Step 3: Bus To Don Sac Pier (1 ½ Hours, Included)
If you caught the 6:30pm night train, you should arrive in Surat Thani at around 6:30am. If you bought the joint ticket, a bus will arrive at the train station for you to take you to the boat.
If you didn’t buy any joint ticket and want to go the local way, you need to get a local bus into the center of town (20 min). Ask the driver to drop you at the Raja ferry company office in town, where you can buy a bus/ferry ticket.
Step 4: Slow Boat To Ko Pha Ngan (4 Hours, 210 Baht)
This is my favorite part of the journey. All you have to do now is enjoy the sea breeze, that soulful thai dude with an acoustic guitar and your cold beer.
Step 5: Taxi To Your Resort/Bungalow (15 min, 200 Baht)
You made it to Ko Pha Ngan! Welcome to paradise! The only thing left to do now is find a taxi to your bungalow.
First check out Koh Pha Ngan Hideouts and chose a place to stay. Then tell any one of the pick up truck taxi drivers the name of the resort. The standard price is 200 Baht/person. However, if you can manage to find a group of people who all want to go to your part of the island you may be able to haggle the driver down to 100 Baht/person.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can pick up a map, rent a scooter, and go yourself.
Remember to try and stay positive, take it as it comes, and enjoy the ride. Traveling isn’t just about arriving at your destination, but all the wild and crazy experiences you can have along the way. Plus when you finally do arrive on the island, it will be that much sweeter.