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Minibus from Penang/Butterworth to Surat Thani/Koh Samui?

Posted by bianco on 22/4/2010 at 07:07

So I’m trying to figure out the most efficient way to travel from Penang to Koh Samui. I’ve read elsewhere that I can book a Mini bus in Penang that will take me straight through to Samui. If this is true, about how much will it cost? About how long should a trip like this take?
Thanks!

#1 bianco has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 12

Posted by travellingsarah on 22/4/2010 at 18:27 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi. We did it the opposite way - well from Ko Phagnan to Penang, but still via Surat Thani, so this will give you an indication of the journey (it will just be a shorter ferry journey to Ko Samui).


We got a songthaew / taxi to the boat, had a 2 hour ferry ride to the mainland, then a bus for an hour or so to Surat Thani, then another songtheaw to the office, then an hour's wait before we got squashed onto a minibus which took us to nearer the border, we then swapped onto another minibus which took us through the border and to Penang. It took about 15 hours door to door and cost 1,100 Baht each (bought from our guesthouse in Ko Phangnan).

So it's convuluted and quite time-consuming but possible!

#2 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 679
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Posted by idreamofdurian on 23/4/2010 at 12:31 TF writer

there's lots of travel agencies in Penang , and someone will definitely offer transit all the way to Surat Thani (nearest city to the ferry point). I'd guess it's not more than 100 RM.

It's a lengthy journey (previous poster said it took her > 15 hours!!) which means that even if you leave Penang at 6 AM you would arrive at the pier much too late to get a ferry to the island - you'd have to overnight in Surat Thani.

You could also break it up from Penang --> Hat Yai and then Hat Yai --> Surat Thani.

#3 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by tezza on 23/4/2010 at 15:51

I did this many years ago. Travel agents in Chulia st can arrange - but I reckon most accomm places in Penang can do the same.

Thing is my trip got me to Surathani town pier well before the night boats left for the islands (around 2200 - 2300). Excellent way to get to/back from islands - cut the zzzzs on yer designtated matress and pillow while the boat chugs down-river and across the sea. Have repeated the trip several times since.
Transport waiting at the pier when you hit the island.

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Posted by idreamofdurian on 23/4/2010 at 16:02 TF writer

ah, forgot about the night ferries. Thanks tezza.

#5 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by bianco on 24/4/2010 at 00:11

Thanks all!

I did a 20 bus ride in Peru and it was exhausting! Stopping in hat yai sounds good. What if we took the 5am train to hat yai, spent the night, and then took a mini bus to Surat thani the next day. Worth it?

#6 bianco has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 12

Posted by travellingsarah on 24/4/2010 at 11:43 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

Personally I'm a fan of just doing it all in one go and getting it out of the way! But if you've got time and feel like a stop in Hat Yai, why not. I don't know where that would leave you with getting the ferry over to Samui though - it might mean you end up killing time in Surat Thani before the night ferry.

Another option is the 1420 train straight to Surat Thani (takes c. 9 hours), overnight there and get the morning ferry. I should think the train will be more comfortable than the minibuses.

#7 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 679
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Posted by idreamofdurian on 24/4/2010 at 15:16 TF writer

If they leave Hat Yai in the morning they should arrive at the pier outside Surat Thani with lots of time for an afternoon ferry and arrival on the island before dark. The night ferry is slower, but you do save on accommodation.

#8 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by bianco on 24/4/2010 at 23:24

Travellingsara- If the trip (door to door) was >15 hours, how long were you actually in the minibus? (Minus: border crossing, restroom stops, ferry, taxis etc...)

Idreamofdurian- i see your located in Singapore! We arrive in Singapore. What is the first thing we should eat when we get on the ground?

#9 bianco has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 12

Posted by travellingsarah on 25/4/2010 at 09:51 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

Eek.... I've got a reasonable memory but not sure how precise I can be. Something like this I think (it was last October). Remember I did it the opposite way to your trip:

Left hotel at 6am
Ferry from Koh Phangnan at 7am
2 hours on the ferry (9am)
About 1/2 hour wait at port (9.30am)
Maybe 1.5 hours on big bus to Surat Thani (11am)
Straight into a songtheaw for about 10 mins to the office
Waited at office for up to an hour (12am)
Into minibus to Hat Yai - I really can't remember how long this bit took but probably about 4-5 hours (4pm)
Straight into another minibus and an hour or so to the border (5pm)
Border crossing was pretty straightforward but took around an hour with the waiting for other people etc. (6pm)
Same bus down to Georgetown which took around 3 hours (9pm)

We actually arrived at 10ish so I've lost an hour there somewhere but you get the general idea! I don't remember having many rest stops whilst on the minibus but as the journey was broken up it didn't matter. Hope that helps.

#10 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 679
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Posted by idreamofdurian on 25/4/2010 at 18:16 TF writer

The food here is great and really diverse.

Classic Singapore dishes:

BBQ stingray with sambal (chili sauce)
black carrot cake (fried dough, turnip, and egg in soy sauce)
roti prata (flat bread with curry sauce)
rojak (fruit salad in tamarind & peanut sauce)
satay (meat skewers with peanut sauce and raw cucumber/onion)
Chili crab with mantau (fried buns) for soaking up the sauce)


If there's any Western foods you've been missing during your travels, Singapore's a great place to indulge. Also great Indian, Middle Eastern, Korean BBQ, Indonesian, etc. all available here.

#11 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by bianco on 30/4/2010 at 23:01

Sounds like we are going to take a minibus to Hat Yai, spend the night, then take a Minibus early next morning to Surat Thani. Its too bad you can't fly from Penang to Samui!

sara- thank you very much for putting in the time and effort!
durin- thanks for all the recommendations! The rojak sounds awesome!

#12 bianco has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 12

Posted by bianco on 30/4/2010 at 23:06

Sounds like we are going to take a minibus to Hat Yai, spend the night, then take a Minibus early next morning to Surat Thani. Its too bad you can't fly from Penang to Samui!

sara- thank you very much for putting in the time and effort!
durin- thanks for all the recommendations! The rojak sounds awesome!

#13 bianco has been a member since 27/3/2010. Posts: 12


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