Travelling from Phuket to Krabi and Koh Samui is probably the most popular tourist trail and itinerary in Southern Thailand. The whole area is quite spread out and you would need over 3 to 4 days to explore most of these locations. If you are planning to holiday for a longer period there is too much to see in this interesting part of Thailand.
Exploring Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui
I organized this trip towards the end of 2018 and explored many coastal Island around Phuket. During my stay in Phuket, I stayed at the Kata Beach area which is popular for large luxury resorts and a relatively quiet beach with breath-taking views. Kata beach was more cosier and fun and it commands good views of Crab Island. Karon beach is similarly popular with families, as it offers resort-style accommodation suitable for longer stays.
Staying at Alpina Nalina Resort at Kata Beach
Krabi is accessible from Phuket either by road, ferry or air. Ferry travel to Krabi is probably the most convenient way to travel as most locals use it for commute on regular basis.
How to catch Ferry from Krabi and How much does it cost?
The travel cost is around $25 and takes around 2.5 hours of travel time. Some ferry services have gone offline due to the COVID travel restriction imposed in Thailand in 2020-2021. The travel is opening up around 1st of July 2021 and will see resuming of services along these popular routes.
Alternatively, you can book a bus costing around $5 and driving time is approximately 2.5 hours. The Phuket Terminal 2 is located at Thepkasattri Road and handles traffic coming in and out of Phuket Island. Various bus services operate in this terminal with a different price based on comfort level and bus type. You can buy tickets from the ticketing terminal located at the bus station. Most bus bookings are automated and you can book tickets online as well.
Krabi is the Souther-most part of Thailand with over 160 long coastlines. The mainland area is popular for farming activities offering a mixed terrain of limestone formations, caves and flat land. These diverse landscapes offer plenty of outdoor activities ranging from trekking, rock climbing and jungle adventures. A number of group tours and activities are available through local operators.
Tours with Musement
I stayed in Krabi at PakaSai Resort which is located within walking distance from Nopparat Thara Beach. I enjoyed the night markets in Krabi that are located within the walking distance of the Beach.
Where to stay in Krabi
One of the most famous attractions in Krabi is Railay Beach. A hidden gem and most desirable location to visit is only accessibly by the boat. This location is located south of Ao Nang Beach and is accessible by renting a boat from one of many local operators along the coastline. With no road access or footpaths, Railay Beach offers a unique and peaceful environment for visitors. I really enjoyed this location and plan to visit again in the future.
Like many other places in Thailand, Buddha temples are located in Krabi as well. One of the most challenging as well as the scenic location is the Tiger Temple. 1260 Steps of stairs take you to the top of the mountain with an elevation of 300m. Watch out for the monkeys at the lower part of the stairs as they can be very aggressive at times.
Reaching the top of the mountains commands an impressive view of the Krabi region. A beautiful golden Buddha sits on the top of the mountain which has become the landmark of Krabi. This place was used by Buddhist monks for meditation and sightings of a giant tiger led to the naming of this place to Tiger Temple. The experience is very exhilarating and enjoyable as you reach the top of the mountain.
The driving distance from Karbi to Surat Thani is approximately 160 km and takes around 4 hours on the bus. The best is to start early in the morning. The scheduled times are 830 am, 11 am and 1 pm. Tickets can be bought online or at the bus station in Krabi. The Bus station in Krabi is located at 7/77 Sri Phang Nga Road, Krabi Yai Subdistrict, Mueang District, Krabi Province 81000 (075-663-503). GRAB - Ridesharing service is available in Krabi which is a cheap way of commute between various location.
There are three different kinds of bus services available in Krabi in various price ranges. The quality of service varies based on the price paid. The air-conditioned buses with a ferry connection to Koh Samui can cost around 600 Baht. This is probably the best option as you want to save time on the road on the ferry.
Surat Thani is not much of a tourist town and its significance is more from a transit city to many Island destinations including Koh Samui. There are four ferry services that operate between Surat Thani and Koh Samui including Songserm, Lomprayah, Seatran, and Raja Ferry.
It is recommended to buy a bus and ferry ticket together to save the hassle of switching terminals and jetty areas.
Koh Sumai stands out in natural beauty and beautiful beaches that are accessible all year round. There is plenty to do on the Island. I booked my hotel online therefore and got an amazing deal. Finding a room in Koh Samui during half-moon parties can be almost impossible. Therefore, it is recommended to plan ahead of time.
Driving around Koh Samui on a bike is definitely the best way to explore remote and off the beaten path locations on the Island. The scooters are available for rental at most places on the Island.
I rented a bike for a day from a local operator in Koh Samui and decided to do a loop of the Island. This is definitely the best way to explore some scenic locations and remote beaches on the Island. The total distance of the loop is 70km that can be done in a couple of hours. It is best to start early to make the best of your day.
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