Traveling to the island of Koh Pha Ngan (pronounced Koh Pan Yan) from Bangkok in the cheapest way can be a simple, but exhausting trip. Thousands of people head to Koh Pha Ngan every month for the famous Full Moon Party, so the route is a well-traveled one.
Booking a Ticket
I booked my all-in-one ticket through Travex C0., Ltd. which included the RT train-bus-boat ticket for 2,118 THB ($68.76 USD). Booking online was simple and the website is available in English. I also had my ticket delivered to a friend’s house in Bangkok so there was no delivery fee.
If you opt for having your ticket delivered to your hotel or a residence in Bangkok, there is no charge. If you opt for overseas delivery or cash on arrival, you will have to pay a small charge. I decided to take the overnight train and I chose the most inexpensive sleeping option: 2nd Class Sleeping Berth with Fan.
The Train Ride
The train ride was extremely long, but the views heading down south were absolutely stunning and being able to watch the sunrise from the train was unforgettable.The entire train journey takes about thirteen hours.
I slept in the 2nd Class Berth was actually turned out to be quite comfortable and spacious. Above my head there was a rotating ceiling fan that was shared by four people. The beds on the train were similar to bunk beds, where an overhead bed pulls out so one bed is hanging above a second bed. During the first couple of hours after departure and early the next morning, men walked around selling food to passengers.
Policemen and the train crew patrolled the cars all night long, which made me feel pretty safe.
The Bus Ride
Once you pull into the Surat Thani Station, head towards the exit at the rear of the train. There is a parking lot to the right side filled with buses waiting to drive you to the boat. If you did not pre-book tickets for the train-bus-boat, there are many companies waiting behind the buses who can sell you tickets.
When searching for your bus, make sure you check for the company and destination of the bus with the driver, as sometimes they are not clearly marked. The bus ride takes approximately one hour
The Boat Ride
The boat ride trip time could vary depending on the number of islands that your boat stops at before arriving to Koh Pha Ngan. Luckily my boat went straight from the Surat Thani area to Koh Pha Ngan, so the ride was around one and a half hours. The boat can get packed rather quickly since it is filled with bus loads of people, so try to get on the boat and grab a seat as quickly as possible.
For more expensive and quicker options visit the Travelfish Website.
*Please note: these prices reflect the cost of travel in 2012