Located some 70 km away from mainland Thailand, off the shores of Surat Thani, Koh Phangan is a jewel of an island in the Gulf of Thailand. The mostly hilly granite island boasts of lush tropical forests, miles of white sand beaches, and crystal-clear water peppered with amazing dive sites. It is the “home” of the legendary full moon parties that attract tens of thousands of revelers especially during the New Year.
Pattaya’s proximity to Vietnam made it the R&R spot of U.S. servicemen back in the days. The area still pulsates with excitement from sunrise to sunset, offering electrified nightlife and frenzied day activities. Pattaya is almost 900 kilometers away from Koh Phangan, and one may ask how to get to Koh Phangan from Pattaya. Well, there are several ways to travel from Pattaya to Koh Phangan – with some requiring over 15 hours of travel, and other means a little over 5 hours of commute.
Ferry at Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya
It takes about two hours to travel by ferry Pattaya’s Bali Hai Pier to Khao Takiab Pier in Hua Hin. The ferry is scheduled to sail for Hua Hin from Bali Hai at 10:00 a.m. daily and travels back to Pattaya at 1:00 p.m. Economy seat cost 1,250 Baht.
Upon arrival at Hua Hin, a 10-minute taxi ride to Lomprayah Ticket Office is necessary to buy the ticket to the 3rd leg of the commute to Koh Phangan via a catamaran. Travel time from Lomprayah to Koh Phangan is about 8 hours, and then another 38-minute taxi ride to the center of Koh Phangan. This trip is close to 12 hours (including transfer) and would cost about $65.
Mini Van to Khaosan Road
For those who wish to make a side trip to Khaosan Road before going to Koh Phangan, a 2-hour 30-minute commute to Khaosan Road in a minivan is an option. This service runs three times a day. From the Khaosan Road is a bus ride to Lomprayah bus station, then a catamaran ride to Koh Phangan. Travel time for this route is almost 15 hours, including an hour for transfer. The total ticket price for this route is about $75.
Bus to Hua Hin
Not everyone would like to spend hours on a catamaran going to Koh Phangan from Pattaya. For those who prefer long drives along the coastal towns of Ratchaburi, Prachuap Kriri Khan and Chumphon, this route may be best.
A once daily bus leaves from Pattaya to Hua Hin. The bus leaves at 11:00 a.m. and arrives at Hua Hin at around 4:30 p.m. Buses from Hua Hin to Prachuap Kriri Khan leave every 30 minutes. The travel time is 1 hour and 30 minutes. Upon arrival at Prachuap Kriri Khan, one must catch the bus to Chumphon. Travel time is about 3 hours, with a bus for Chumphon leaving on an hourly basis. From Chumphon to Koh Phangan is a 5-hour bus and ferry ride. If all goes according to schedule, bus and ferry travelers from Pattaya to Koh Phangan will arrive at around 6:00 a.m. of the following day. Travel time is almost 18 hours, at a cost of up to $82.
Bus to Koh Samui Pier
Taking route 393 to Koh Samui Nathon Pier will take 15 hours by bus. Arriving at Koh Samui Nathon Pier, one should take the ferry to Thong Sala Koh Phangan, a 30-minute ferry ride that is scheduled to convey passengers three times a day. From Thong Sala Koh Phangan is another 37-minute taxi ride to Koh Phangan proper. This route is also 17 hours long that costs from $47 to $75.
Fly to Koh Phangan
Not everyone can afford the long travel to Koh Phangan so a faster option is to fly to the island. From Pattaya, one should take the flight going to Koh Samui airport from Suvarnabhumi. From Koh Samui airport, one should take the 1 hour 30-minute bus ride to Thong Sala Koh Phangan, then the final taxi ride to Koh Phangan. Travel time for this route is over 7 hours, including 2 hours of transfer, at a cost of $136 up to $460.
A quicker flight route to Koh Phangan from Pattaya is to take bus line 138 to Sattahip, taxi to Utapao (UTM), fly to Koh Samui (USM), bus to Thong Sala Koh Phangan, then a taxi to Koh Phangan. This route is less than 6 hours long, including 2 hours of transfer. The cost is from $150 to $398.