Baan Tai Travel Guide
Koh Phangan is getting better connected every year with the mainland and the rest of Thailand. Most visitors arrive in Thailand at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and then head south to the islands by airplane, train or bus. The quickest route (and most expensive) is still to catch the Bangkok Airways flight to Koh Samui and then to tke the 30 minute ferry over to Thongsala, Baan Tai or Haad Rin.
The more economical option is to buy a fly and ferry ticket from low-cost carriers that use airports on the mainland and combine with ferry companies.
The train is slightly cheaper and allows travellers to book cheap second class beds for the overnight journey. The cheapest option is the bus / ferry deal offered by the different ferry companies.
Once you arrive in Koh Phangan it is a very short taxi journey from the pier to any resort in Baan Tai. It is on the main road between the main town of Thongsala and the main tourist hub of Haad Rin. There are plenty of shared taxis (songthaew) plying the route. While many people use shared taxis during their stay in Baan Tai, plenty also rent mopeds to give them freedom of movement. Read below for more details.
The airlines currently connecting to Koh Phangan are:
- Bangkok Airways - One Way from Bangkok to Koh Samui costs about 4,000 Thai Baht. The flight takes just over 1 hour and the ferry to Koh Phangan takes 30 minutes
- Air Asia - Flies to Suratthani (the closest city on the mainland to Koh Phangan) and Nakhon Si Thammarat. The fly and ferry one way ticket about 1,500 Thai Baht. If you start from Bangkok at 07.00 you get to Thongsala pier by 15.30
- Nok Air - Also flies to Suratthani and uses the Lomparayah catamaran to transport customers to Thongsala. Again the combined ticket is about 1,500 Thai Baht and if you start early in the morning you arrive in Koh Phangan mid-afternoon the same day.
- Solar Air - Flies from Bangkok to Chumphon and then has transfers passengers by boat to Koh Phangan. A small 19 seat plane is used.
Until Koh Phangan Airport is completed the only way to get to Koh Phangan is by ferry. There are plenty of ferries running between Koh Phangan and the mainland as well as between Koh Phangan and the other islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao. You can find links to the timetables of the various companies down the side bar.
Although the ferries are usually reliable they can be delayed because of bad weather. Moreover, the English versions of the ferry companies' websites seem to often go down or get hacked. Here is a brief summary of the ferry companies:
- Lomprayah - Lomprayah has catamarans that go between Donsak (near Suratthani) and Koh Phangan as well as from farther north from Chumphon. These boats also visit Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Nang Yuan. Lomprayah costs slightly more than other ferries but are faster. Tickets to Koh Samui also include free transfers.
- Seatran - Seatran run services between Thongsala and Bangrak in Koh Samui (close to Koh Samui Airport) as well as between Thongsala and Suratthani.
- Raja Car Ferry - This is the only car ferry that goes to Koh Phangan. It leaves from Donsak on the mainland.
- Songserm - This company has a number of small ferries going between the islands and the mainland. Songserm is used by the budget buses that travel overnight from Bangkok.
The roads in Koh Phangan are getting better every year. The road through Baan Tai is in good condition. It is flat from Thongsala and all through Baan Tai until you get to a steep hill that marks the start of the Haad Rin peninsula. If you are on a moped be careful of this hill. Anybody riding pillion will normally have to get off.
The road from Baan Tai to Thong Nai Pan is now completed. It has made the journey by bike much safer. However, care should still be taken on the steep winding hills. There is a rough road from Thong Nai Pan Noi to Bottle Beach that should only be attempted by experienced drivers and riders. 4x4 is advised for this road.
The local government plans were to build a ring road around the coast. The new junta has recently rescinded this decision. The road stops at Bottle Beach, to get to the next beach (Chaloklum) by road you have to go back to Thongsala and take a west coast road.
Baan Tai is between Thongsala and Haad Rin. This means there is always a regular flow of shared taxis (or Songthaews) going along the road. You can flag them down and hop on. The prices are fixed. It is usually about 100 or 150 THB to get to either Thongsala or Haad Rin.
Most resorts run taxi services to Thongsala and to Haad Rin, especially when the Full Moon Party is on. Many lay on taxis to the other parties in Baan Tai.
It is also possible to hire private taxis. These cost about 1,000 Thai Baht.
If you have already booked Koh Phangan accommodation check with your resort whether they have a free pick up service on arrival.
It is hard to negotiate discounts with taxi drivers.
Motorbike and Car Hire
The big advantage of motorbike hire is that it gives you freedom of movement and can save you money if you would otherwise have to use taxis. The big disadvantage of motorbike hire is that you can't rent without handing over your passport. If you damage the bike expect a hefty bill to be paid in cash before your passport is returned. Some bike rental places are better than others but don't expect to pay 500 Baht for a small scratch. The police won't intervene in disputes.
Most people rent simple mopeds (both automatic and with gears) for 250 Thai Baht a day. You can get scrambler and more powerful bikes for 50 to 100 Thai Baht more.
Car hire is between 1,500 and 2,500 Thai Baht a day. You can get cheap jeeps as well as fairly new pick ups with 4 wheel drive. Again you will need to leave a passport as security. If insurance is offered then find out what type it is. For online booking of rental cars by multi national companies such as Avis where they provide insurance and don't take a passport it is necessary to book in Koh Samui and take the car ferry over to Koh Phangan. For more on this topic see Koh Phangan Car Rental.
Baan Tai Pier
Baan Tai pier is mostly used by fishing boats. There used to be a high speed ferry service between Koh Phangan and Koh Samui but it was discontinued.
It is possible to charter speed boats to go from Baan Tai to Maenam in Koh Samui. This might be your only option to get to Koh Phangan if you arrive at Koh Samui Airport after 5pm.
Some boat tours start at Baan Tai Pier.