I'm looking for some advice for how we should organise a bit of our itinerary. We're planning on spending a couple of nights in Bang Saphan before heading down to Krabi to spend some time on some of the islands in mid-December. I've been looking into it and originally thought that it would be a good idea to break the journey by staying the night in Surat Thani , but now i'm not sure whether it would be better to just head straight down to Krabi.
Can we go directly from Bang Saphan to Prunprin or do we need to go via Chumphon? Do any of you have the train time tables for the former if it is possible becasue i can't find anything on line!
Would we be better breaking the journey in Surat Thani or cracking straight on to Krabi and spending the extra night there.
Also, if we do decide to stop in Surat where on earth do we stay? I've looked extensively online (and i know they aren't all marketed, but i'd like to have soemthing sorted when we're only there for a night) and most of the places look like converted hospitals! We're not fussy, but like a little bit of authenticity / character!
#1 alexlazarus has been a member since 18/2/2008. Posts: 30
Rail timetables are here
Note that Bang Saphan isn't on any of these, so you'll be looking at a local local train to get to Chumphon, then onto a faster train, but you'd be better served probably to get the bus.
Unless you've got a particular interest in Surat, I'd be inclined to breeze through and push on to Krabi.
tend to agree on the Surat call. it is one of my least favourite places in Thailand.
also, watch out island hopping mid december. there will be high demand and expensive prices. Phi Phi will be particularly difficult. Lanta somewhat easier I imagine.
Thanks somtam and christof.
So, bus to Chumphon (1 / 2 hours?), train to Surat Thani (2.25 hours), bus to Krabi (2.5 hours) should put us in Krabi by 8pm at the latest?
Christof - we're planning on Jum / Lanta / Kradan and have reservations in each place. Do you think that we will need to reserve boat tickets though - we wil take the 'local' longtails to Jum, but what about JUm to Lanta and then Lanta to Kradan? And what about about the bus to Krabi?
Thanks again for your help,
#4 alexlazarus has been a member since 18/2/2008. Posts: 30
hey alex...sounds like you have your trip pretty sorted. the boats and buses side of your trip will be much easier to handle.
buses are notoriously difficult to book in thailand unless you go to the bus station and pay up front. However, the quantity and variety of governement buses is fantastic. after 10 years in Thailand i pretty much only use the government bus.
if travelling from bangkok then you go from the southern bus terminal. probably best to turn up at the bus station late afternoon and get one of the evevening buses which will get you into krabi the following morning.
HI Christof - pretty much! We've left a little room for plan changing but are very conscious that christmas and new year are not the right time to just rock up on an island and hope for the best! I'll be 5 months pregnant as well so like to know where i'm going!
We'll definately be going to Bang Saphan on the way down to Chumphon - it'll be good to break that journey (i hate long bus rides) and we loved the train last year, plus i dont really like the idea of heading straight to the isands without stopping for breath!
Would you recommend spending an extra night in Krabi or just stopping long enough to rest our heads?
#6 alexlazarus has been a member since 18/2/2008. Posts: 30
Oh, just checked on the travelfish page for buses out of Surat Thani and the last one to Krabi is 5pm - does anyone know if this is still the case? The train doesn't get into PrunPrin until 4.30pm, do we stand a chance of catching this?
It looks like we may have to stay in Surat afterall! Any idea of a decent place to stay...
#7 alexlazarus has been a member since 18/2/2008. Posts: 30
you might be able to get a minibus from surat to krabi at that time. surat is a hub for such transportation.
personally, i'm not a fan of "air-condtioned" mini buses in Thailand. although, facing a night in Surat sounds infinitely more painful.
Agree - definately prefer the gov. buses but i cant imagine that we'll get from the station into town and onto the last bus of the day within half an hour!
Do you, or anyone else for that matter (!), know if we can pick up a bus / mini-bus from PhunPhin without having to come into town? And if so, do they cost an arm and a leg - which to me means anything over 250 bht!
#9 alexlazarus has been a member since 18/2/2008. Posts: 30
I've just come back from a tour of the central/south coast. For what it's worth, I'd forget Bang Saphan especially if you're looking for beaches later. I've been there a couple of times, it's cute but I reckon both Prachuap KK and Chumphon are way more interesting.
BS looked a bit depressed on the beaches on both sides. PKK was quiet but has the draw of an excellent night market and very picturesque bay. First time in Chumphon was great, my fetish for small-medium provincial Thai towns was well satisfied here!
Anyway, if you do go to BS, the Suan Luang is well worth the extra for a very decent feed ... if you really like eating, PKK and Chumphon are the places to be.
I had a car this time, but have previously spent a lot of time standing on stations at PKK, BS and Ban Krut. The buses are actually much more efficent.
"we're planning on Jum / Lanta / Kradan and have reservations in each place. Do you think that we will need to reserve boat tickets though - we wil take the 'local' longtails to Jum, but what about JUm to Lanta and then Lanta to Kradan?"
Jum to Lanta - the Krabi -Lanta ferries always stop off the beaches of Jum and drop-off pick-up passengers. No matter how crowded they will fit you aboard. I don't think it is possible to book ahead.
Lanta to Kradan - the good news is that Tigerline is including a Kradan stop on its Lanta-Lipe run from this high season. I have booked Tigerline thru their website, but it wasn't necessary last December out of Lipe - they had plenty of spare seats.
You can also get a ride to Kradan on the Lanta-Trang islands snorkelling daytrip boats - you book these the day before from your accommodation on Lanta. These go Lanta-Ngai and then Muk-Kradan or Kradan-Muk depending on the tide. If Muk-Kradan you will get to swim in to the wonderful Emerald Cave.
Krabi-Jum. You mention taking the local longtails - I assume from the mainland Ban Kruad pier to the east of Jum. I have done this, it's interesting - BUT a bit time consuming getting there from Krabi by songthaew and then waiting for one of the longtail taxi boats to run.
It's sooo much simpler to use the afore-mentioned Krabi-Lanta ferry.
HI Fondo - thanks for your suggestions. Do you have any idea about schedule of buses from Chumphon to Surat Thani or direct to Krabi ? And any siggestions on where to stay?
Tezza - Thanks for your info on the islands. I;ve read so much already on your blog! Do you have any idea of prices of the Krabi - Lanta ferry (still 300 bht - seems pricey for half a journey!) and the Lanta - Kradan ferry?
Any other tips?
#12 alexlazarus has been a member since 18/2/2008. Posts: 30
All I can say is that I imagine there will be a bus to Krabi from Chumphon on Highway 4 via Ranong. It's a longer journey than via Suratthani - probably by 100+ km. I've searched to find someone on trip advisor is suggesting 7-8 hours Chumphon-Krabi - check that out.
Chumphon has a massive bus station! It blew me out at midnight on the way to Hadyai during the airport closure last year. The buses you want are probably early morning or evening departures from Bangkok
The Morakot in Chumphon is good. I just reviewed it on this site after a stay in the new building. They have a website but no prices that I can see ... we paid 700bt and then 800 for a bigger one second time.