I need to get from Khao Sok to Krabi town in early March but can't afford a taxi, at least not by myself, and want to avoid the famed minibus fiasco. My guesthouse owner presents the minibus as the only option. Does anyone know if there's a regular-size government bus, and where would I catch it? Thanks!
Maybe you could enlarge on the "famed minibus fiasco". I've used this transfer several times and it's worked out fine. I like the idea that the minibus picks up at most KS accommodation, saving a hike up to the main road, then takes good mountain roads on a quicker, more or less direct course towards Krabi rather than the > shaped route the main road buses take. Not to mention it usually drops at the piers in Krabi town/in town (the main road buses drop at the Krabi bus station maybe 4km east of town - no problems:frequent songthaews down to town/Ao Nang etc) - maybe even these days it drops at the airport?
But okay, you can avoid this. Go up to them main highway bus-stop about 2km from most accommodation - catch one of the roughly hourly buses heading for Phuket . Tell the conductor you want Krabi - the conductors are very reliable; he/she will put you out either at a big town bus station (the name of which I can't remember) on the mainland close to Phuket where you ask for a bus going to or thru Krabi - or at the Phuket security checkpoint as you approach the island from the mainland. Here you cross to the outgoing lanes and look out for a bus to Krabi, Trang, Surathani, Satun. The buses tend to crawl thru here and are on the lookout for passengers - they will stop and ask where you are heading. Most have destinations in English and Thai scipt on the front - but not all.
Sorry guys, I must have misinterpreted something! Really appreciated your comments and will take the minibus as you suggest.
Just fyi, the "fiasco" was a reference to this warning from a recent thread on Khao Sok:
"Be warned if you're taking a minivan on to Krabi . All the guest house owners lie about where it drops you off. It doesn't take you to downtown Krabi or the ferry terminal, but to a travel agency outside the town, where you are pressured to buy tickets to the islands. If you decline, they offer to take you into the ferry terminal for 50THB, but drop you at the old terminal, instead of the new one, and give the wrong times for the ferries to Lanta etc."
Mmmm - that's interesting. Each time I have come into Krabi , the van has called at the northern depot to start with, but it has then continued into town etc.
The old river pier is central to a lot of the accommodation in Krabi town - a good place to jump off for people staying in town. Maybe the writer saw the longtail boats and fishing boats, thought he/she was at the main pier and jumped out. I think the van would logically call in at the new pier about 3 km north west of town last so it could bring a load of people away from later incoming ferries and back to the depot.
For people going to the islands it's not a bad idea to buy ferry tickets away from the piers - in Phuket for instance it's considerably cheaper, with free transfers to the pier thrown in.
I haven't caught a ferry out of Krabi for some time so don't have current prices - it's good to have some idea of these, then people know if they are being couged. Perhaps a new thread on current prices would help.
Buying a combined van/ferry ticket at Sok itself is not a bad idea. Travel counters and most accommodation places can sell these
I'm currently looking at a photo of a destination board outside Khao Sok Track and Trail Travel in the main drag not far from the national park entry. Title MINI BUS TIMETABLE. It was shot in March 2011 and is thus not up to date but it shows:
Krabi - 0830-1030 300baht
Lanta - 0830-1330 650baht
PP - 0830-1600 750 baht
For 2 years ago, these seem pretty competitive prices.
I'v often bought these combined tickets before departing a place - always worked for me. The van company would be getting a slice of the ferry ticket and would have no reason to play hard ball.