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Koh samui via Surat thani train station - WARNING FOR INDEPENDENT TRAVELLERS!

  • johnno

    Joined Travelfish
    18th December, 2009
    Posts: 20

    Having just got off the return ferry-bus-taxi combo leg of Koh samui trip I believe it's within my duty to warn fellow independent travellers about the rip-offs that are so blatantly practised by the locals! To cut the long story short, if you're heading to Samui/pha-ngan/tao islands via Surat thani train station, remember that the ferries leave from either the Don Sak or Ban don piers which are around 65k and 15k respectively from the actual train station (located in Phun pin). Check the web for specific ferry departure times but it would be most time/cost effective to depart from Ban don pier (day and night ferries available). To get to either of these piers, you have the options of taxi, motorbike taxi, bus and the sangthews (utes carrying couple of passengers in one go). Get the bus if possible (cheapest, especially when heading to Don sak pier), followed by sangthews, taxis and motorbike taxis. Now, here's the IMPORTANT part: DO NOT ACCEPT INITIAL QOUTES GIVEN BY THESE TAXIS/SANGTHEWS/MOTORBIKE TAXIS unless they are permanently displayed on some kind of boards/signs that can be viewed by the general public. From my unfortunate first hand experience (and as verifed by the local Thais later) it is safe to bargain the initial offer down to HALF. There are plenty of them about so don't worry if they say no. Also, try to book the ferries on your OWN at the actual pier when you actually get there! Fellow Samui travellers and I have been caught idling away our precious times waiting for lifts TO THE PIER all because we purchased so called "bus-ferry package"!!! IF POSSIBLE BUY THE FERRY TIX FROM THE ACTUAL MASTER OF THE SHIP (as was the case with night ferries departing from Ban don pier) or from the OFFICIAL TIX COUNTER and not from agents who don't give a $#@! about the most cost/time effcient ferry-bus combination (i.e via Ban don pier). There are plenty of ferries about departing from the piers so don't worry about not booking ahead! Same advice goes to the return leg of the journey (e.g. from Nathon pier in Ko samui). SO IN SUMMARY: 1. Bargain hard (I was lot happier tipping the honest Singaporean cab drivers who gave me back the extra amount after i miscalculated the fare - and their fares are far more expensive); 2. Try to ignore the agents and just DIY!!! (at least when it comes to just getting to the islands via what are really public transports); 3. Lonely planet guides ARE NOT bibles - use them as loose guides as there can be massive differences in what they say from what actually is - they should really regularly update their guides online!; 4. Ignore the pestering touts and help out the genuine/honest Thais not into TOUTING!!!; 5. Enjoy the not so relaxed atmosphere of popular Thai islands!

    #1 Posted: 7/1/2010 - 01:24

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  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1331
    Total reviews: 61

    Thanks for the heads up. Do you have any idea of the name(s) of the ferry company(ies) using the Ban Don pier in the daytime?

    #2 Posted: 7/1/2010 - 18:12

  • johnno

    Joined Travelfish
    18th December, 2009
    Posts: 20

    Sorry for the late reply. Just reactivated my account. I honestly do not know of the name/s of the ferry companies using Ban Don pier day time. Sorry.

    #3 Posted: 18/3/2013 - 02:53

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