My friend and I are going to SE Asia. but we can't figure out the best, fastest, and cheapest way to get to Ko Phangan. How do we do this? We don't mind flying..but we don't know where to find tickets, and if we should get them now or when we get there or find a travel agent.....basically we are clueless at this point and we need some guidance....
#1 ib2mix has been a member since 29/3/2006. Posts: 2
You have quite a few options really. I'm planning on going to SEA soon too!
Anyway from my research so far, your cheaper (and longer) option is to go across the Friendship Bridge (either by taxi or bus) from Vientiane to Nong Khai. From there you can get a direct train into Bangkok, and then a connecting train to Surat Thani. From Surat Thani, you can get a ferry to Ko Pha Ngan (KPN). I've heard that you can purchase a train+ferry ticket to Ko Samui, but I'm not sure if that's available for KPN. This journey would take you quite a long time as the Nong Khai/Bangkok leg will take at least 10hrs; and the second Bangkok/Surat Thani leg is about the same. You would be looking at travelling for over 24 hrs with the train option. But then you would also be able to stop in Bangkok along the way to get some shopping done! :)
The faster, and slightly more expensive option is to get a direct flight from Vientiane to Bangkok (Thai airways and Laos airline both do it I think). KPN doesn't have an airport. From there you have 3 options: (1) take the train option from Bangkok as described above; (2) connecting flight with Bangkok Airways to Ko Samui and then a 45min ferry to KPN; or (3) connecting flight to Surat Thani and then a 3.5hr ferry to KPN.
Option (1) means you'll have a chance to look around Bangkok before moving on to KPN, whilst (2) and (3) is a quicker way to get to the island if you have the urge to hit the beaches straight away!!
Hope this helps!
#2 tennie has been a member since 6/4/2006. Posts: 17
P.S. you can easily book your flights online, or I'm sure ANY travel agent in your country would be able to help you with your Vientiane-Bangkok flight.
www.thaiair.com (the other day they were selling super cheap fares for about 2400 bahts.)
Air Asia flies from Bangkok to Surat Thani (www.airasia.com)
Bangkok Air flies direct to Ko Samui (www.bangkokair.com)
Trains in Thailand are booked thru the State Rail of Thailand.
#3 tennie has been a member since 6/4/2006. Posts: 17
we are planning to make a very similar trip, from vientiane to samui, in mid-July, and will be doing exactly what tennie suggests in option number one. we'll bus it from vientiane to nong khai, then hang out there for a day or two. after that, we'll take the overnight sleeper train from nong khai to bangkok. it is reasonably comfortable and inexpensive. we'll likely hang out in bangkok for a night or so, but it is also possible to take an overnight sleeper train the next night from bangkok to surat thani, then take a ferry to phangan (samui for us). if you do this, you can just get a day room near the hualamphong train station in bangkok, to have a place to put your stuff, relax, and shower up before hitting the rails again that evening.
we booked our train tickets through one of the travel agents that advertizes here on travelfish, and were very pleased with the service. they charge a fee for the booking of course, but for us travelling on the exact day we needed was worth the cost. have a good trip. cheers.
If you're planning on kicking up the feet in Nong Khai, give Mutmee Guesthouse a try - a top spot and please give Julian (the owner) our best.