Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Pakbara.
Most travellers headed to the islands book combined minibus/ferry tickets from Trang, Krabi, Phuket, Ko Lanta, Phang Nga or Hat Yai. On Lipe, you can book tickets to any of these places from travel agents, which is a good idea to ensure that you get a seat upon arrival in Pakbara.
Minibuses to Trang (200 baht), Krabi (450 baht), Ko Lanta (500 baht), Phang Nga (550 baht) and Phuket (650 baht) all depart between 11:30 and 12:00. Direct minibuses to Hat Yai depart at 11:00 and 15:00, and cost 150 baht to the city or 250 to the airport.
To reach Pakbara on your own, take a regular bus or minibus to La-Ngu from Trang, Satun or Hat Yai. These depart hourly from 05:30 to 17:00 and cost roughly 50 baht from Satun or 100 baht from Trang or Hat Yai. Once in La-Ngu, you can transfer directly to one of the orange songthaews (20 baht) that run to/from Pakbara Pier every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day.
To reach Satun
Take one of the orange songthaews mentioned above from a stand in front of the pier and transfer to a Satun-bound minibus or songthaew in La-Ngu. Tell the songthaew driver "Satun" and he'll know where to drop you.
To reach Ko Muk, Ko Kradan, Ko Ngai, Ko Libong or Ko Sukorn
Head first to Trang and make a transfer. Otherwise, you can book a private taxi to the respective pier for 1,500 to 2,000 baht and pay for the local ferries or private longtails on your own. Muk, Bulon, Kradan, Ngai and Lanta can all be reached via island-hopping speedboats from Lipe as well.
To reach Langkawi
First head to Satun and take one of the three daily ferries from Thammalung Pier. Langkawi can also be reached from Lipe, though it's a lot more expensive.
If heading elsewhere in Malaysia, go first to Satun or Hat Yai and make a transfer to cross the border. Agents on Lipe and in Pakbara will sell tickets all the way to Penang, Kuala Lumpur and even Singapore, but we'd avoid these as they entail several transfers and there's little accountability should something go wrong.
Boat tickets to the islands can be booked at any travel office across from the pier and other tourist hotspots in Southwest Thailand. You can book directly with boat operators (Bundhaya, Adang Sea, Satun Pakbara, Ploy Siam, etc.), which have their own offices and booths in town, but it won't be any cheaper. Once you have a ticket, walk straight over to the pier, where the English-speaking officials will collect an additional 20 baht fee and direct you to your boat.
In high season (November - April), speedboats depart Pakbara at 09:30, 11:00, 11:30, 14:30 and 15:30, cost 650 baht, and take around 90 minutes. In low season, two speedboats depart daily at 11:30, weather permitting. High season boats return from Lipe at 09:30, 13:30, 14:30 and 16:00. Additional departures may be available in peak season. If heading to Ko Adang or Ko Rawi, make a transfer on Lipe.
In high season, a speedboat departs at 11:00 and stops at Tarutao on its way to Lipe. The cost is 450 baht and the trip takes half an hour. Boats return from Tarutao at 10:30 and 14:30. Tarutao closes from April 15 to November 15.
Ko Bulon Lae
In high season, a speedboat departs at 12:30, costs 400 baht, and takes 30 minutes, returning from Bulon at 09:30. The only way to reach Bulon in low season is to charter a longtail boat for 1,500 baht.