Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Ban Phe.
The closest airport is U-Tapao (near Pattaya), about 45 kilometres west of Ban Phe. At time of writing, U-Tapao is serviced only from Bangkok or Ko Samui, by Bangkok Airways.
Air-con buses with toilets leave Bangkok's Ekkamai (Eastern) bus station roughly every hour from 06:00 to 18:30 daily, costing 173 baht. Buses do the reverse trip roughly every two hours from 05:00 to 18:00. The journey takes three and a half hours with little traffic, but can take over five hours if fighting through Bangkok's rush hours. Buses from Ekkamai drop passengers just east of the town centre in Ban Phe, directly across from Nuan Thip Pier, where you can catch a ferry to Ko Samet.
If you don't feel like waiting for a bus direct to Ban Phe, buses to Rayong town depart from Ekkamai station every 30 minutes. Rayong can also be reached from Bangkok's Morchit (Northern) bus station, and from the Suvarnabhumi airport transport centre. Once in Rayong, a shared songthaew can take you the remaining 20 kilometres to Ban Phe for 25 baht, departing roughly every 20 minutes until 18:00. In Ban Phe, songthaews to Rayong depart regularly from a stand on the main coastal road, just east of Nuan Thip pier and west of Municipal pier. You can also catch them as they roll through the town centre.
There is no direct regular bus from Pattaya (or anywhere else) to Ban Phe. However, regular buses do run from Pattaya to Rayong. Regular minibuses also run from Pattaya to Ban Phe.
A number of minibuses also depart from Ban Phe to various destinations. Several companies run from Bangkok's Victory Monument to Ban Phe and back, departing hourly from 06:00 to 18:00. These cost 200 baht and can be caught at various locations around Ban Phe, including a stand near Christie's in the town centre, another at Nuan Thip pier and another in front of Municipal pier. Minibuses to other destinations depart less frequently from a stand in front of Nuan Thip pier. Tickets for these can also be arranged through travel agents and resorts on Ko Samet. Destinations include:
Bangkok (Khao San Road): Departs at 10:00 and 13:30, costs 250 baht and takes around 4 hours.
Suvarnabhumi Airport: Departs at 10:30, 13:30 and 16:00, costs 500 baht and takes 3 hours.
Pattaya: Departs at 10:00, 13:30 and 17:00, costs 200 baht and takes 1.5 hours.
Trat / Ko Chang: Departs at 9:30 and 11:30, costs 250 baht and takes 3 hours.
Chanthaburi: Departs at 9:30, costs 250 baht and takes 2 hours.
Aranyaprathet (Cambodia border): Departs at 9:30, costs 500 baht and takes 4 hours.
Hat Lek (Cambodia border): Departs at 9:30, costs 500 baht and takes 3.5 hours.
Boats to Ko Samet leave from several different piers in Ban Phe, though some piers to the east of town are only for guests of certain resorts. If you prebook a midrange to high-end resort on Ko Samet, be sure to ask if they offer a free ferry service, and exactly where to catch it.
Most travellers hop on one of the ferries that depart from Nuan Thip pier or Ban Phe pier (located 200 metres west of Nuan Thip) and disembark at the main Nadan pier on Ko Samet's north coast. These supposedly run every hour from 08:00 to 17:00, though they only leave when they have 20 passengers so you might have to wait a bit longer. The cost is 70 baht one-way or 100 baht for a roundtrip ticket that never expires. It's a pleasant 30 to 40 minute cruise to the island.
Ferries also run direct from Nuan Thip pier to Ao Wong Duen, departing at 9:30, 13:30 and 17:00 (or when they have 7 passengers), and costing 90 baht one-way or 140 baht roundtrip.
With the exception of private resort ferries, Samet's lesser beaches are reached only by speedboat from Municipal Pier, which generally wait until they have at least four or five passengers before departing. Expect to pay around 500 baht roundtrip to Ao Phai or Ao Tubtim, 600 baht roundtrip to Ao Cho and 800 baht roundtrip to Ao Thian, Ao Wai or Ao Pakarang. Private speedboats can be chartered at any time for between 2,000 and 2,500 baht, or perhaps less if you're a haggler. It takes only 15 minutes to reach Nadan pier from Ban Phe by speedboat.
Note: never purchase national park tickets from travel agents in Ban Phe. These should only be purchased once on Ko Samet. See the Ko Samet orientation section for more info on what to expect once you get there.