Posted by CathJones on 27/5/2019 at 13:35
We want to get the ferry from Chumphon to Koh Phangan to arrive on the 26th July. I think the best option for us is the early morning ferry, but we are also considering a night crossing. Anyone have any advice or recommendations please ? How far in advance should we book our tickets ? Is it cheaper to book with a tour agent in Thailand rather than on line? If we go for the early morning crossing, is there a guest house close by that anyone could recommend please?
Thank you ,
#1 CathJones has been a member since 7/4/2019. Posts: 4
Posted by davelliot on 1/6/2019 at 03:28
You could also just buy the tickets on the day , the chances of the boat being completely full up are probably not that great . In the unlikely event that happened you could continue onto Surathani where you will definitely be able to get ferry to Ko Phangan.
#2 davelliot has been a member since 6/9/2017. Posts: 41
Posted by antoniamitchell on 4/6/2019 at 00:10
Just chiming in here, in addition to what Davelliot said:
If you do decide to buy tickets in advance, the easiest way is online (as you can do it whenever and wherever), but you usually pay a mark-up of a few dollars over the face value of the ticket, and the sites are not always the easiest to understand. For example, I was recently looking into options from Chumphon to the islands myself, and checked www.easybook.com. They offered me two routes:
1) From ChokaAnan Bus Station in Chumphon to Thong Sala Pier in Koh PhaNgan with KP, which takes 3.5 hours. Leaves at 5:15 or 6:00.
2) From Mattaphon Ferry Pier in Chumphon to Thong Sala with Songserm, which takes 5 hours and leaves at 7am.
So my immediate questions are: which pier does the bus one leave from? How big are the boats on each route (are we talking little speedboats? Big vehicle ferries?)? Why does one route take 50% longer than the other? So I'd have to do plenty of extra research to answer these questions to my satisfaction.
So, although I like to use these sites as part of my trip-planning research, I also like to check when I'm on the ground - stop by the bus or ferry terminal when I'm in the town the day before, see who the operators are on these routes, ask questions of them - or ask the staff at my hotel or guesthouse, who can often be pretty well informed on transport in the area.
Many hotels will also act as travel agents and happily organise tickets for their guests for a small mark up.
If you do decide to go to a normal travel agent (not your hotel), they again can be great sources of information, but do check out their reputation before you visit (ask other travellers who they had good experiences with, for example), as there are some less than reputable travel agents out there.
#3 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566
Posted by CathJones on 4/6/2019 at 08:17
Hi Both , Thank you for your advice . It is much appreciated !
Happy travels , Cath
#4 CathJones has been a member since 7/4/2019. Posts: 4
Posted by DLuek on 6/6/2019 at 04:31 TF writer
I'd still never book a ticket to any Thai island online, unless, perhaps, I was going at an absolute peak time like New Years, or doing an all-in flight/van/ferry deal through Nok Air, Air Asia, etc.
Near the train station in Chumphon town, Fame Tour and Guesthouse is a reliable source for tickets -- that is where I'd go.
In my experience, ferry tickets from local travel agencies tend to be sold at prices that are identical to those available online through ferry co. websites or third-party booking sites (which are essentially travel agencies anyway), or at desks at the piers, or even when paying on the boats, as happens sometimes. Ferry companies give travel agencies discounted rates so that they can make a living without charging tourists a higher price. This symbiotic relationship has existed for decades and has only recently been threatened by online booking sites. Of course, some greedy agents do add an extra 50 baht or whatever, so it's best to know the online prices. If wanting to arrange tickets beforehand, I usually call or email a local agency to let them know my plans.
Reasons to book through local agents: 1) You meet a local face to face who will give you instructions ("the van will come to your hotel" or "meet here first at 7am") and you can go find that person should there be a problem (not that I've ever had one). 2) Booking online, you get a computer-generated ticket rather than a hand-written one, and sites offering these tickets are often run out of Bangkok etc., so the commission does not stay around to help the local economy.
And, make no mistake, there is always a commission unless you "know someone" (ex. the travel agent is your in-law). The question is whether you pay the commission to a local travel agent, a third-party booking site, or the ferry company itself. Same goes for most tours; in fact, I've consistently found higher tour prices online than face-to-face at travel agencies.
As far as choosing the morning or night ferry out of Chumphon, it just depends on your preference. I'd go morning. Last I checked there were no guesthouses near Mattaphon Pier, which is at the mouth of the Thaphap River around 20 km east of Chumphon town. The closest are at nearby beaches like Haad Sairi but they're not walking distance. So again I'd suggest Fame Tour; you could stay in one of their cheap rooms or only book the ticket through them and stay at one of the other hotels nearby. To reserve tickets in advance, just email them (you can find their site through search).
#5 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,344
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