If you are travelling from Koh Tao to Krabi (Or Ao Nang) by ferry and bus this post is for you! You will find out what is the best way to travel from Koh Tao to Krabi and how not to get scammed!
The typical Thailand backpacker’s trail will eventually lead you towards taking a trip from Koh Tao all the way to Krabi (or the other way around). You will be probably travelling to Ao Nang, Krabi town or even Koh Phi Phi or Railay. And if you are reading this, you are probably wondering what is the best way of getting from Koh Tao to Krabi and what is the experience of taking the night ferry.
You came to the right place!
Krabi is a must-visit province of Thailand boasting some of the most incredible beaches and landscapes. In this post, I will tell you what to expect from the Koh Tao to Krabi or Ao Nang journey. I will be covering the overnight ferry to Surat Thani, the bus journey to your destination in Krabi, how to book it and how not to get scammed.
Because I did!
I have been travelling for many years. I always follow my own advice and never get scammed.
Until this one journey. We all have to experience it at least once I guess.
The good thing is I lost 50Baht. Some travellers get scammed for much more than this. But it did hurt my ego. The savvy traveller, the blogger that gives the advice. Yes, I got scammed too. And I must say it was a crafty scam!
So here is everything you need to know before travelling from Koh Tao to Krabi (including Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta and Railay)
Table of Contents
How to Book a transfer from Koh Tao to Krabi or Ao Nang
The best way to book your Koh Tao to Krabi transfer is to book it online at least a day in advance. There are plenty of travel agencies in Koh Tao where you can get a ticket too. I recommend you book the transfer all the way to your final destination. The most popular companies are Lomprayah, Phantip and Koh Tao Booking Center.
The truth is that whichever company you book with, you will be taking the same ferry.
I strongly suggest you check the prices for both options – in the travel agency and online. Sometimes booking it online can be cheaper and sometimes more expensive. Check before booking!
Did you get your travel insurance yet? Travel Insurance will let you travel with the peace of mind knowing that no matter what, your unexpected medical or travel emergencies are covered. I use Heymondo for a few reasons. They have clear policies with no deductibles, the price is excellent for what they offer and the price doesn’t go up when you are over 30 years old. They have a dedicated, easy-to-use app and free assistance calls.
I can get a cover for a month or three months and I know I can travel with peace of mind and get the best product for my money.
Heymondo offers my readers 5% off so go ahead, and click on this link and get your quote.
You can of course book just a ferry to Surat Thani and then take a mini bus from Surat Thani to Krabi or Ao Nang. But you have to keep in mind that you will have to get from the ferry port to the bus station and then most of the minivans go to Krabi Town so unless this is where you are staying, you will have to plan your further journey.
I booked my transfer via 123GoAsia and I am happy I did. Everything was taken care of. Almost …
I boarded the overnight ferry and I was supposed to be picked up in Surat Thani, taken to the minivan and drove all the way to Ao Nang, where I was heading.
With me, there were folks going all the way to Koh Phi Phi and Railay, so if this is where you are heading, you can book your transfer all the way there as well.
You will be picked up in Surat Thani and then driven to Krabi Town first. Finally, you will have to change to another bus if you are travelling further after Krabi. If your final destination is Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta or Railey, the final boat will be also included in the price.
How Long Does it Take to get from Koh Tao to Krabi?
It takes around 13 hours to get to Krabi or Ao Nang from Koh Tao if you take a ferry and minibus service. This is why it’s recommended you opt for an overnight service.
If you are travelling to Koh Lanta or Koh Phi Phi the journey from Koh Tao will take around 14 to 15 hours.
The good thing is that all the transport is arranged and included in your ticket, and you will just have to change from one bus to another or from the ferry to the bus. It is a tiring journey, but the overnight ferry was one of the most comfortable travel sleeping arrangements I experienced in Thailand. So all in all, not too bad!
How was my experience of travelling from Koh Tao to Krabi overnight?
My ferry was leaving at 9 pm. You need to check in one hour before the departure so at 8 pm I went to the ticket office near the pier where I received a paper ticket. Around 8:30 pm I went to the ferry to check in and leave my luggage.
The boat leaves from Mae Haad Pier.
A few different ferry types operate this route and you can get any of those depending on the day and volume of the traffic. Some are bigger, some smaller, some more and some less comfortable.
It will be a surprise so don’t count too much on the picture of the comfortable bunk beds as this is not guaranteed.
I was travelling out of season so my boat was one of the small ones.
The sleeping deck of the ferry was basically a floor lined with mattresses. The mattresses were right next to each other so I can imagine that if the ferry was full it would be a very ‘intimate’ experience. Luckily the ferry was only a quarter full so as soon as we took off, we all spread around the deck.
There was no AC but there were plenty of fans so the space felt airy and fresh. Some larger boats will have AC.
To be honest I was just glad I could lie down. I took so many trips where I spent hours sitting on the bus or train that the sole fact that I could sleep in the horizontal position was awesome.
It takes around 6 to 7 hours and the ferry should arrive in Surat Thani around 5 am.
Now here is where the trouble started.
If you booked the transfer all the way to your final destination, you should have someone taking you from the pier in Surat Thani to the minibus. The minibus would not leave until 7 so they should take you to the office where you can wait.
And here is what actually happened:
As we left the boat we were surrounded by people who seemed like they worked for our tour agency asking us for tickets and final destinations. It was so realistic that I genuinely thought it was legit. They looked at my ticket and showed me the way to the songthaw/tuk-tuk-like taxi.
This should have been a warning sign already!
We all sat on that tuk-tuk taxi, in the rain, literally shoved into the seats. Then we stopped at some random ticket office and were asked to pay 50 baht. This surprised us as we had all already paid for the transfer upfront. After some heated arguments, and them telling us that if we don’t pay we dont go, we ended up paying and they dropped us at the actual office.
As we entered the office we tried to find out what had happened. It was me and a couple of other travellers going to Koh Phi Phi.
We were told by the office worker, that the transport from the pier to the office was free and we should have been collected by the Phantip (the agency I booked it with) worker wearing the branded t-shirt. It should have been a minivan, not a tuk-tuk. So basically we were scammed.
Those people pretended that they worked for Phantip, hurried us up before we realised, shoved us on that tuk-tuk and then demanded payment.
Now. The fact that we were not informed in any way that this could happen, that the ferry workers didn’t say anything and that we didnt see any other options available at the time is another matter. As I am writing this, I am even wondering if there was any other option as I didn’t see any other transport alternatives.
But again, it was 5 am, dark and raining. But it was every single one of us that fell for this scam.
We were told that they tried to ‘tell them’ to stop doing this. But now that I’m thinking about it, it is sketchy.
I will be happy to hear from you if you did this journey! let me know about your experience in the comments!
After that, everything went smoothly.
At 7 o’clock we were put into the bus to Krabi Town. We arrived in Krabi 3 hours later and changed into busses that finally were taking us to our final destination. I was put on the bus to Ao Nang and some others went on busses to Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta or Railey. If that is your journey, you will then have a boat provided to your final destination.
I was dropped in front of my hostel in Ao Nang.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad trip. I slept very well on the ferry. The buses were super comfy and I was dropped at my hostel 12 hours after I left Koh Tao.
Would I do it the same way next time? Yes! But I would inquire about the transport between the ferry port and the bus in Surat Thani. But to be frank, we couldn’t know.
So I am warning you!
How not to get scammed as I did!
So my advice is, before the trip from Koh Tao to Krabi, contact Laprayah or Phantip and ask them what to expect on your arrival in Surat Thani. If you are booking in Kh Tao agency, ask them specifically about this part of the journey. What type of transport is available and if it is free? And on your arrival in Surat Thani, demand a branded minivan.
Important tips and Things to know before travelling from Koh Tao to Krabi
Heading to Bangkok next?
Read my comprehensive guide to visiting Bangkok for the first time! And if you are not sure where to stay, this is my complete guide to the best areas to stay in Bangkok, especially if you are a solo traveller visiting for the first time.
And if you are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of using public transport in Bangkok, I got you covered too!
- If you are staying quite far from Koh Tao pier, book a transfer with a hotel pick-up. If you book it online, you will not have that option so inquire at your hotel or hostel. If you book it in town, you will be given the option for a hotel pick-up which is often free of charge. But please double-check!
- If you don’t want to go through all this and want to make it quick and painless you can book a ferry and then take a private taxi from Surat Thani. It will be more expensive but definitely more comfortable and quicker.
- Different transfer and ferry companies are running on different days and times but the experience is similar. Lomprayah seems to be the one that has been doing it since forever.
- There are pillows provided on the ferry but pretty small. No blanket was provided on mine. Take something you could use as an additional pillow and something you could cover yourself with in case the AC is on a full blast.
- Stock up on snacks and water before the journey. It’s a long one.
That’s it, my friends! I hope this Koh Tao to Krabi travel guide was helpful and now you can book the trip and not get scammed!
let me know how it went!
In the meantime, enjoy Thailand! And happy travels!
This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase the product or make a booking via one of my links, I will receive a small commission. Please know that I will never recommend or promote a product I don’t believe in or haven’t used. This way, you are supporting this blog at no extra cost to you. Thank you!