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Chumphon : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Chumphon (ชุมพร) is a city and a province of the same name on the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. With its transport hub of Chumphon Airport in Pathio District, Chumphon is the gateway to the south and the islands of the Gulf of Thailand. Understand Chumphon Province is in the upper part of Southern […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Chumphon (ชุมพร) is a city and a province of the same name on the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. With its transport hub of Chumphon Airport in Pathio District, Chumphon is the gateway to the south and the islands of the Gulf of Thailand.

Understand

Chumphon Province is in the upper part of Southern Thailand. It is a gateway to the popular Gulf of Thailand islands of Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, Ko Tao, and Ko Khai. The province is symbolised by the Banyan tree often referred to as sacred in both Hindu and Buddhist teachings.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Chumphon

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Get in

The public bus service operates from two terminals. The main one is some 10 km out of town, and buses from Bangkok and most other places stop there. The other terminal is in town, and buses from there go to and from Hat Yai/Phuket/Ranong only. They stop at the distant terminal both coming and going.

The railway station is in the centre of Chumphon town or travelers may wish to alight at Pathio station 30 km north of Chumphon and nearby the airport.

Various ferry companies operate ferries to, or within reach of Chumphon, and/or a bus service into the centre of town. For those in the gulf islands wishing to return to Bangkok, Chumphon is more direct than returning via Surat Thani.

Fly to Chumphon

  • Chumphon Airport (is 30 km (19 mi) north of Chumphon City in Pathio District (alternative spelling, Pathiu)). It has direct daily flights connections with Bangkok’s Don Meueng Airport . Flights from Bangkok are around 50 minutes.

AirAsia and Nok Air operates multiple flights between Bangkok (Don Mueang, DMK) and Chumphon Airport, Pathio District, Chumphon (CJM).

Cheap Flights to Chumphon

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Khon Kaen

12.04.2021

15.04.2021

Tickets from 4 772

Chiang Rai

12.03.2021

14.03.2021

Tickets from 5 550

Airport services

The airport has transit agents for onward travel to Chumphon and the islands including Ko Tao and Ko Samui.

  • Organic Farm produce from Prince Chumphon KMITL University.
  • Chumphon Coffee and Gift Shop adjacent to departure gates offers lattes, cappuccino, and fruit smoothies.
  • Fame Tours and Services have a counter at arrivals hall offering transfer and hotel services.
  • Lomprayah has an counter at the airport offering direct connections to the pier for high speed catamaran transfer services Ko Tao, Ko Pha-ngan and onwards to Ko Samui. Songserm also have boats connections to the islands. In 2018 the Lomprayah High Speed catamaran service will move right next to the airport at its new private pier, Cape Pathiu, Chumko, Pathiu reducing transit times by several hours.
  • The TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand), Chumphon has a tourism information counter offering information on the region adjacent to the airline counters.

By bicycle

There are many smaller roads with little traffic north and south of Chumphon. The coastal road in Pathio District has dedicated bicycle lanes in a unique red bitumen. Chumphon has a bicycle shops where most parts and repairs can be made.

By car

From Bangkok, take either the Phutthamonthon-Nakhon Pathom-Phetchaburi route or the Thonburi-Pak Tho route (Hwy 35) then turn onto Hwy 4 (Phetkasem Road) at Pak Tho, passing through Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces before arriving at the Pathom Phon intersection. Take the left turn to go another 8 km into Chumphon via Hwy 4001.

Take a bus to Chumphon

The Transport Co. Ltd. provides air conditioned buses from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal, Borom Ratchonni Road to Chumphon daily. For information, call Tel. +66 24 355605, +66 24 351199. For Chumphon’s Bus Terminal, Tha Taphao Road, contact Tel. +66 77 502725, +66 77 511099.

Air conditioned buses from private operators:

  • Chok Anant Tour Co., Ltd. Tel. +66 2 4355027, +66 2 4357429 (Bangkok), and Tel. +66 77 511480, +66 77 511757 (Chumphon)
  • Suwannathi Tour Co., Ltd. Tel. +66 2 4355021, +66 2 4355026, +66 2 4355030 (Bangkok), and Tel. +66 77 51 1422, +66 77 501535, +66 77 511244 (Chumphon)

To get to and from these four bus terminals: a) The distant one: Several kilometres out of town in the middle of nowhere! This is the Southern Bus Terminal. Buses from Chokeanan Tour and Patchraporn Tour stop off in here, 16 km from Chumphon city, south along Hwy 41. To get into town from here, wait for a silver coloured minibus to turn up (ask at the bus station), and you will be taken into town for 50 Thai Baht, and dropped off any place you request.

You could also hire a taxi or, the cheapest option: turn left from Saladaeng Road onto Prachauthit Road and walk about 300 m. On the right is a 7-Eleven and on the left is the in-town bus station. Continue another 200 m to the intersection of Pinijkadee Road on the right and walk along this for about 100 m. On the other side of the road are white songthaews which go regularly and stop at the bus station. Cost: 50 Thai Baht.

b) The bus terminal in-town: walk along Saladaeng Road, away from the railway station road, with the Fame Guest House on your left, for about 300 m. Turn left into Prachauthid Road and walk some 300 m and you will see a 7-Eleven on your right and a street opposite. On this street, which curves sharply left, there is a Yamaha dealer near the corner, and the bus terminal is instantly next to this. [This isn’t in-town bus terminal as such doesn’t exist This is Chok-Anant private station and Suwanathi Tour uses other place in-town]

c) The minibus terminal: This is on Krum Liang Road (the cheap eats road, at the left end of which is the railway station). Turn right onto it off Saladeng Road and walk about five minutes, looking up to your right. You will eventually see up an alley a series of minibuses which go regularly to Surat Thani and Hua Hin (every 45 minutes, these stop at Prachuat first). Allow 4 hours to get to Hua Hin as you have to switch in Prachuap. Fares to Prachuap, 170 Thai Baht, and then on to Hua Hin, another 90 Thai Baht.

Travel by train to Chumphon

The State Railway of Thailand provides daily rapid and express train services departing from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Railway Station. Further information, call Tel. 1690, +66 2 2204334, +66 2 2204444 or Chumphon Railway Station at Tel +66 77 511103. For the Thonburi Railway Station (Bangkok Noi), there are ordinary and rapid trains leaving for Chumphon daily. For information, call Tel +66 2 4113102, +66 2 6218701 Ext. 8285106.

Passengers may travel to either Chumphon Station or Pathio Station. Pathio Station is nearer to the airport and the fast developing transport hub.

If coming from Hua Hin: the fare for the basic non-air conditioned train will cost 49 Thai Baht and take about 5 hours. An air conditioned two-carriage train leaves a little earlier and is much quicker but must be booked in advance. Train leaves at 11:30 (there are others though).

There is a 3rd class train from Chumphon to Hatyai via Surat Thani every day at 6am. the fare to Hatyai is 99 Thai Baht.

Get around

Local public buses (Route: Chumphon–Sawi–Lang Suan) park in front of the Chumphon market, Tha Taphao Road from 06:00-18:00.

Motorbike taxis at railway station Taxis are available at the taxi stand which is opposite the Chumphon Bus Terminal. This is the terminal in town. From here buses go to Ranong, then Phuket (08:00, 10:00, 11:15). Pay on the bus. To Ranong 2.5 hours, and Phuket 7 hours (although the bus is usually an hour late arriving!) The bus goes first to the distant (10 km) terminal.

There are local songthaews but you need local knowledge as to where they are going. White and maybe red ones appear to go at some point to the distant bus terminal.

To orient yourself within the town: The railway station is on Krum Liang Road. If arriving via train, leave via the ticket office onto the road and walk past the three old steam locomotives mounted on display. After 200 m is the intersection with Saladaeng Road. Directly ahead on this same road is where the cheap eats are. Turn right into Saladaeng and this appears to be the main hotel strip. You will soon pass the Fame Guesthouse on your left, followed by Sri Chumpon (right), Suriwong (right) and Paradorn (left some 100 m along Soi 4).

See

  • The National Museum of Chumphon (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติชุมพร). W-Su, 09:00–16:00. Any trip to Chumphon should start from the national museum. Established in 1995 at Khao Samkaew, the museum provides a provincial overview ranging from prehistory through to the present. Even for those who are not overly interested in history, the museum’s attractive displays and media resources will fascinate and inform. The museum is divided into a ground floor and the upper floor.
  • Prince of Chumphon Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อกรมหลวงชุมพร), Moo 7 Hat Sai Ri (20 km from Chumphon city centre, on Hwy 4119 and 4098). This is a sacred place for the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces. At the shrine stands the monument of Admiral Phra Borommawong Thoe Kromluang Chumphon Khet Udomsak. The shrine is at the north site of Hat Sai Ri facing towards the sea. There is a museum with exhibits about the admiral’s biography and things which he used. A large torpedo-ship named the Royal Chumphon is also here. It is 68 m long and 6.6 m wide. This ship was decommissioned on 26 Nov 1975. The Royal Thai Navy turned the ship over to Chumphon Province in 1979. After that it was placed near this monument for the commemoration of the admiral.
  • Wat Chao Fa Sala Loi (วัดเจ้าฟ้าศาลาลอย) (About 8 km from town on the Chumphon–Ao Thung Wua Laen Road. To get there travel along an asphalt road for 6 km and continue the journey along a brick road for another 2 km). Luang Pho Song Chanthasaro, a famous religious teacher who passed away at the age of nearly 100 years, lived at this temple. His body still remains undecayed. This monk is revered by the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces.
  • Long Boat Racing Festival (Kurn Khon Ching Tong, ขึ้นโขนชิงธง) (Lang Suan District). People have been living near the Lang Suan River for a long time. Long boat racing consists of 32 rowers per long boat, and the goal is to get the victory by paddling fast to grab the red flag. The reward is cups from members of the royal family. This festival is happens every year on the first day of the waxing moon on the 11th lunar month or approximately October. There also are activities on the grounds.

What to do in Chumphon

Pathio Coast and Beaches (Near Chumphon Airport)
  • Ao Bo Mao Beach (Spring Tree Bay), Pathio District (30 km N of Chumphon City; 1 km from Chumphon Airport). A long white sand beach in Pathio near Chumphon Airport. From the beach you can rent boats to nearby the island of Ko Khai or simply relax and enjoy the moment. The beach has small resorts and seafood restaurants, but remains charming, quiet, and unspoiled with views to the headlands of Cape Pathio and Laem Thaen.
  • Ao Thung Makham (อ่าวทุ่งมะขาม), Pathio District. Amazing unspoiled white sand beaches with limestone rock formations separating the curved bays. About 5 km from Chumphon Airport and 35 km from Chumphon City.
  • 10.750599.40051 Coral Beach, Chumko, Pathio. A crescent-shaped, palm-fringed beach with large rocky headlands, it is one of the most beautiful in Thailand and is part of a giant clam sanctuary. Unknown to most tourists, this beach is quiet and often you may be the only ones there. About 15 minutes by car from Chumphon Airport. Currently, a major tourist resort is under construction consisting of 3 condomimiums and 10 pool villas. (updated Dec 2015)
  • Thung Wua Laen (Running Bull Beach), Pathio District (15 km north of Chumphon in Pathio, 10 km from Chumphon Airport). This white sand beach is the Chumphon’s key beach destination. Activities include diving, snorkelling, kayaking, kite surfing, beach sports, temple visits. The beach has numerous resorts, restaurants and beach bars but remains charming, quiet, and relatively unspoiled.
Chumphon City and surrounding areas
  • Mo Ku Chumphon National Park (National Park Visitors Centre), towards Hat Sai Ri (Take local bus from near post office or see local travel agent). Take the wooden bus to the fairly new and surprisingly modern visitors centre. Walk the boardwalks through the mangrove forests and over creeks. Ask at centre for other walks available. The actual national park area part of the Chumphon Archipelago in Chumphon Province is huge and takes in islands, reefs, beaches, jungle, mountain, creeks, ocean, and mangroves. You can stay overnight here. There’s a camping area, and bungalows on the Pong Pang Viewpoint go for 600 Thai Baht per night, and accommodate 2 people. Add 100 Thai Baht for each extra person. Dorm beds, with no bedding for 50 Thai Baht. There are also two restaurants. A good place to visit to make the best of your stay in Chumphon. 200 Thai Baht.
  • Hat Sai Ri (หาดทรายรี) (About 20 km (12 mi) along Hwy 4119 and 4098 with regular bus services from the town centre (take a songthaew from the square by the city pillar shrine)). This long smooth white sand and extensive beach is shaded by majestic pine trees and affords some spectacular views of nearby islands. Colourful boats lie berthed by the beach, which is lined with restaurants selling fresh seafood. For historical interest, a monument commemorating the late Admiral Prince of Chumphon is located nearby, complete with a well-preserved WWII warship. A hillside temple at the site offers a panoramic view of the entire area.
  • Khao Chao Mueang (เขาเจ้าเมือง) (About 2.4 km from Hat Sai Ri). The district’s highest observation point offering stunning views of the coast and far out into the distant archipelago. Are rivalled only by the peace and tranquillity offered by the secluded beach located at the base of the mountain, along with the beautiful coral lagoon fronting Ko Maprao.
  • Khao Phang Forest Park (วนอุทยานเขาพาง) (About 12 km south of the town, at km493 on Hwy 4). Khao Phang Forest Park is one of the province’s newest attractions. Within the national park, there are a great variety of tropical trees, making the park a shady and restful sojourn for nature lovers and a must for students of forestry. A hill, covering an area of about one square kilometre, is behind the park providing a commanding view of the entire area.
  • Ko Samet (เกาะเสม็ด) (Departures from Moo 1, Pak Nam, about 8 km (5.0 mi) from Chumphon. To get there, first, take a bus along Hwy 4119 (Chumphon-Pak Nam), about 17 km (11 mi). Then take the boat for 30 min to get there). Not the better-known Ko Samet off the east gulf coast near Rayong. One of a group of islands in Chumphon National Marine Park. There are beaches at the head, and the middle of this island. It is Chumphon’s largest island. This island is crowned with coconut trees making it a suitable place for spending holidays and relaxation.

Shopping in Chumphon

  • Tesco Lotus Express, Tha Taphao (city center). open 24 hours aday. (updated Mar 2017)

Eat

Pathio Beaches (Near Chumphon Airport)

  • Krua Lung Pod (Uncle Pod Restaurant) (Ao Bo Mao Beach, Spring Tree Bay, on the beach, 1.5 km from airport). Thai seafood restaurant on the beach. Sit in open sala facing Ko Khai. Extensive range of food with English menu.

Chumphon Town

  • Day and early evening market, Thatapao Road (From Farang Bar turn right, it’s maybe 100 m). Good selection of lunches, fruit, and other produce. In the evening the locals come here for a snack and for takeaways. Some local desserts available too, look for the durian pieces in soy milk. Delicious!
  • Farang Bar, 69/36 Thatapao Road. English owned. Good for Western food great Thai food too. Farang Bar is also a basic guest house with 250 Thai Baht rooms, shared baths, and free Wi-Fi. The bar and restaurant get a steady stream of local expats as well as plenty of tourists on their way to the islands. The staff speak a fair amount of English. The offerings include extremely cold beer and amazing cocktails, excellent Western and Thai food. Ivor (the farang) can also provide advice regarding Ko Tao and arrange bookings for you if needed (i.e., he calls and reserves. He does not sell you tickets, unless you want him to).
  • Morning Market, Pracha Uthit Road through to Poramin Manka Road. Bustling early morning market, also has curry stalls and local prices are usually asked. There are often light trucks outside on Pracha Uthit Road piled high with seasonal fruits such as pineapple, rambutan, and durian.
  • Night Market, Krom Luang Road (Walk straight out from the rail station, past the vintage rail locomotives, and cross the intersection). The locals flock here in the evening to show off their pet dogs in the front basket of their motorcycles, to eat, and to collect takeaways. Massive selection of foods to choose from in a compact area. More expensive than the other markets but also more fun. Stalls with seasonal durian (whole or ready-to-eat) are on the right-hand side furthest from the rail station.

Drink

  • Papa’s Night Club (Opposite train station on right corner). 21:30-01:30. Good bands, DJ, and dancers. No cover charges. Can take your own spirits. 200 Thai Baht plus mixers.

Where to stay in Chumphon

  • Away Tusita Resort Chumphon
  • Chumphon Cabana Resort & Diving
  • Novotel Beach Resort & Golf Chumphon

Go next

  • Ko Tao – Known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand, its turquoise water is crystalline, coconut plantations cover much of the landscape, and many beaches are easily accessible by paved road.

There are several transportation options from Chumphon:

  • Ko Charoen Car Ferry – Boat leaves from Tha Yang Pier M-W-F at 23:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 5:00. From Ko Tao, a boat departs for Chumphon on Tu-Th-Sa. It arrives Tha Yang Pier at 5:00. The fare is 250 Thai Baht. For information, contact tel. +66 77 580030, +66 81 7970276.
  • Lomphraya Ferry – Boat leaves from Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 7:00 and 13:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 8:45 and 14:45. From Ko Tao boat departs for Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 22:00 and 15:00. It arrives at 23:30 and 16:30.
  • Songserm Ferry – Boat leaves from Tha Yang Pier daily at 7:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 9:45. From Ko Tao, the departure time for Chumphon is 14:30 and arrival is at 17:30. For information, contact Tel. +66 2 2807897, +66 77 456274.

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Former founder of Asiarooms.com and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu.

Southern Thailand

Phi Phi Island : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Ko Phi Phi (หมู่เกาะพีพี) is a small archipelago in Krabi Province, Southern Thailand. Understand Aerial photo of Ko Phi Phi Don The named islands are: Ko Phi Phi Don. The largest and only populated island.  Ko Phi Phi Leh. A smaller island to the south, popularised when parts of the movie The Beach were filmed […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Ko Phi Phi (หมู่เกาะพีพี) is a small archipelago in Krabi Province, Southern Thailand.

Understand

The named islands are:

  • Ko Phi Phi Don. The largest and only populated island.
  • Ko Phi Phi Leh. A smaller island to the south, popularised when parts of the movie The Beach were filmed there. Uninhabited apart from birds nest harvesters and a few Maya Bay wardens. Expect plenty of tourists during daylight hours, especially in Maya Bay, also known as “the beach”.
  • Bida Nok and Bida Nai. Two small adjacent limestone karst formations to the south of Phi Phi Leh, with near-vertical cliff walls rising from the sea.
  • Ko Mai Phai (Bamboo Island). A small low-lying islet to the north of Phi Phi Don with several good beaches.
  • Ko Yung (north of Ko Phi Phi Don). The island has a stone beach in the east and small sandy beaches at the foot of the hills. It is teeming with colourful coral reefs.

Most of the development of Phi Phi Don is in or around Ton Sai Village, which is on the low, sandy isthmus that joins the two hilly spurs that comprise the rest of the island. There are also other, quieter resorts on Long Beach, Laem (Cape) Thong, and at other less accessible areas of the island.

Ko Phi Phi was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, when the island’s entire infrastructure was nearly wiped out. Redevelopment was, however, swift, and building regulations in place to limit the height of new buildings to preserve the island’s stunning views.

While very laid back, many of the local islanders are Muslim. You will lose considerable respect if you walk around town in your skimpies (this applies to Buddhist areas of Thailand too!). While many thoughtless tourists do parade down Main Street in their Speedos or thong bikinis, to avoid offending your hosts, it’s best just to throw on a pair of shorts or a sarong. Similarly, going topless on the beach, while grudgingly tolerated by most locals, is also best avoided.

Stay with our Hotel Partners on Ko Phi Phi

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Climate & Weather

Weather in the region is tropical. There are only two seasons: the hot season from Jan-Apr, and the rainy season from May-Dec. Temperatures during the year average 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 89.6°F) and the yearly rainfall averages 2569 mm. Unlike in, say, Europe, the rain in this region comes down heavily over short periods.

History

From archaeological evidence, it is believed that the area was one of the oldest communities in Thailand, dating back to the prehistoric period. It is believed that this province may have taken its name after the meaning of “Krabi”, which means “sword”. This may have arisen from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city’s founding.

The name Phi Phi (pronounced “pee pee”) originates from Malay, the original name for the islands were “Pulao Pi ah Pi”. The name refers to the mangrove wood found here.

Geography

Ko Phi Phi is considered to be one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the world (in fact, there are six islands in Phi Phi). They lie 50 km southeast of Phuket and are part of Had Nopparattara-Ko Phi Phi National Park which is home to an abundance of corals and amazing marine life. There are limestone mountains with cliffs, caves and long white sandy beaches. The national park covers a total area of 242,437 rai (about 39,000 hectares; 97,000 acres).

Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le are the largest and most well-known islands. The islands are surrounded by the Andaman Sea.

There are two villages on Ko Phi Phi under the administration of Ao Nang sub-district, Muang district, Krabi Province.

Get in

Note: Tourism to Ko Yoong in the Phi Phi island chain and Ko Tachai in the Similan Islands National Park was shut down permanently in 2016. Maya Bay (on Phi Phi Leh island in the Andaman Sea) is closed indefinitely (as of October 2018) to repair environmental damage caused by an glut of visitors.

By plane

Krabi International Airport , Tel. +66 75 636541-2, is about 10 km from the city limits, 15 km from the city centre, 40 km from Ao Nang, and 23 km from Had Yao.

Thai Airways operates daily direct flights from Bangkok, likewise Air Asia from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Bangkok Airways flies direct from Krabi and Ko Samui nearly every day of the week. Nok Air operates daily flights to Krabi from Bangkok (Don Mueang).

Air Asia has a special “Island Transfer” offering that includes a flight from Bangkok to Phuket, surface transport, and a ferry to Ko Phi Phi. It can be booked at their website.

  • Air Asia, Tel. +66 2 5159999.
  • Bangkok Airways, Tel. +66 2 6555555, +66 2 2655678.
  • Nok Air, Tel. +66 2 6272000 or 1318.
  • Thai Airways, Tel. 1566, +66 2 2800060, +66 2 6282000, +66 2 3561111, +66 75 701591–93.

The international departure tax extra charge is 700 Thai Baht but is included in most ticket prices. Domestic departure tax is included in the price of the flight.

National Car Rental and Budget Car Rental have branches at the airport. Motorcycle taxis are available outside the terminal.

Krabi Limousine (Tel. +66 75 692073) has a desk inside the terminal and provides “limousine taxi” (using large air-conditioned sedans) transport to Krabi for 500 Thai Baht, Phuket for 2,500 Thai Baht.

Air-conditioned airport bus service is 90 Thai Baht to Krabi. The bus service meets all incoming flights and serves most outgoing flights. A songthaew to Krabi town is 40 Thai Baht from the road near the airport. Going to the airport they will drop you right at the departure terminal.

By boat

Travelling to Ko Phi Phi by boat is how almost everyone arrives. Ferries leave from Phuket and Mainland Krabi daily (from Krabi, two ferries a day, 09:00, and 14:30, and from Phuket at 09:00, 11:00, and 14:30 (11:00 during high season only). Sailing time from Phuket or Krabi is 1.5-2 hours. Tickets can be purchased on the dock, from tourist offices, most local guesthouses and hotels or online at Phi Phi Ferry or Phuket Ferry (Online seems to be more expensive). There is a 20 Thai Baht per person fee required on the pier for “keeping Ko Phi Phi clean”. Unfortunately, there is still plenty of rubbish on the beaches.

Ticket prices:

  • From Ko Lanta: 350 Thai Baht.
  • From Krabi Town: 300 Thai Baht from PP Family, office right by the pier in town. Includes songthaew to the pier outside town. The normal passenger ferry does not leave from the centre of town any more, but from a new passenger port (Klong Jilard Pier Tel. +66 75 620052) about 3 km outside Krabi Town. Free taxi transfer to the pier should be included in the price of your ticket. Many times they’ll take you to a travel agent near the Chao Fah Pier and sell you additional accommodations or services. Only ever buy the ticket you need. Additional ferries are added during peak season.
  • From Ao Nang: 400 Thai Baht one way (including transfer from hotel to Noppharat Peir) 0930 and 1530.
  • From Phuket Airport: To Rassada Pier (Phuket) by meter taxi for around 500 Thai Baht. It’s about a 30 km drive and takes 45 minutes depending on traffic and climate.
  • From Phuket Pier (Rassada): 600 Thai Baht one-way/1,000 Thai Baht round trip when bought at the pier. It’s possible to get 300-350 Thai Baht one-way tickets as part of a deal with a guesthouse stay.

Ferries are all not of equal quality. Despite reports to the contrary, Andaman Wave Master will no longer take you for free to north Ko Phi Phi after the stop at Ton Sai pier (expect another 200 Thai Baht per person). Andaman Wave Master has also suffered a pretty big hit in customer service. Watch out for their Krabi representatives, who will offer to sell round-trip tickets at a discount with the option of changing the return destination to Phuket if you decide to take a different way back to the mainland. Representatives at both Ko Phi Phi and Phuket will refuse to refund or alter the tickets.

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Southern Thailand

Khao Lak : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Khao Lak (เขาหลัก) is a 20 km long strip of coastal resorts in Phang Nga Province on the Andaman Sea beaches of Southern Thailand, about 100 km north of Phuket Town. When the disastrous tsunami of 2004 struck South Asia, the Khao Lak region was the hardest-hit area in Thailand with over 4,000 fatalities, more […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Khao Lak (เขาหลัก) is a 20 km long strip of coastal resorts in Phang Nga Province on the Andaman Sea beaches of Southern Thailand, about 100 km north of Phuket Town. When the disastrous tsunami of 2004 struck South Asia, the Khao Lak region was the hardest-hit area in Thailand with over 4,000 fatalities, more than 3,000 more who were never accounted for, and thousands who were injured. It has since made an impressive recovery and is once again a popular tourism destination. Unlike Phuket, the many resorts in the Khao Lak area cater mainly to families and those looking for peace, quiet, and nature.

Understand

Khao Lak is a ~20 km stretch of lovely beaches along the Andaman Sea coastline set against a backdrop of jungle-covered mountains. The region is dotted with numerous resorts and tourist facilities.

The name “Khao Lak” translates as “Lak Mountain”. The mountain is the centerpiece of Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park.The headland formed as the mountain plunges into the sea near the southern end of the Khao Lak roughly marks the southern boundary of the Khao Lak region.

The attractions of Khao Lak are impressive and many, but they are not flashy. The expanses of lovely uncrowded parks, mountains, roads, and beaches, relatively unspoiled nature, easy access to great off-shore diving, accommodations ranging from luxury to basic, and an infrastructure that supports tourism, but not at the expense of local customs or the Thai way of life, appeal to an increasing number of visitors.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Khao Lak

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Compared with a place like Patong, Khao Lak can seem boring, especially during low season (Apr-Nov). If jet skis (forbidden in Khao Lak) or exotic nightlife and its associated attractions are the reason you’ve come to Thailand, Khao Lak is probably not the place for you. On the other hand, it’s an excellent vacation spot for people seeking to get off the treadmill, for family getaways, and for nature-lovers.

Films

Released in early-2013, The Impossible, a Spanish production (Spanish title: Lo Imposible), recounts the events of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Filmed on location in Khao Lak at the Orchid Beach Resort, it is the story of a family caught up in the events of 26 Dec 2004 and its aftermath. Starring Naomi Watts and Ewan MacGregor, the film incorporates stunning special effects recreating the tragic events of that day and the weeks following. Many Khao Lak residents participated in the filming as consultants or as extras.

Orientation, addresses, and navigation

The entire Khao Lak region straddles Phetkasem Road (ถนนเพชรเกษม, also Petchkasem Road or Thailand Route 4 (ทางหลวงแผ่นดินหมายเลข4), one of the four major highways in Thailand. At 1,274 km, it is the longest highway in Thailand, stretching from Bangkok to the Malaysian border.

The centre of the Khao Lak area is 37 km north of the Sarasin Bridge, gateway to Ko Phuket, 76 km north of Phuket International Airport, and 106 km north of Phuket City.

Driving north from Phuket, at km803 you will see a sign for Ban Khao Lak, a small village of little interest. Then, after climbing over Lak Mountain on a curvy road, you will descend into Bang La On, de facto heart of the Khao Lak region.

Khao Lak is laid out like a long strip mall. Early settlement patterns resulted in three population centres spaced out along the beaches. Since the 2004 tsunami, development in low-lying areas has tended to gravitate away from the beach, nearer to the highway.

The region hosts many resorts, scattered chiefly among three main urban areas, all containing businesses identifying themselves as “Khao Lak”. This can be confusing to visitors and it is useful to distinguish between the settlements.

From south to north the population centres are:

  • Bang La On
  • Bang Niang
  • Khuk Khak

Bang La On

Bang La On is the most tourist-oriented of the three main Khao Lak towns.

Stretching from km795 to km797, Bang La On is mistakenly called Khao Lak by most visitors. It has many shops, bars, restaurants and banks. Any given group of store fronts seems to consist of a souvenir shop, a tailor shop, a dive shop, a massage parlour, an eyewear shop, and a restaurant. Strolling along the short main town centre in the evening can be quite pleasant as there are pavements.

If you are travelling by bus and tell the conductor you are going to “Khao Lak”, Bang La On is where you will be let off the bus, near the Nang Thong Supermarket. This may be far from your intended destination, so try to be more specific if you are not staying near there.

Just south of the supermarket, Nang Thong Road leads to the town’s beach, Nang Thong.

Webcam: Just north of the Nang Thong Supermarket are the offices of Khao Lak Land Discovery, a local tour organiser. Their webcam is mounted on the roof of their building. It shows you a segment of Rte 4, roughly in the centre of Bang La On. Camera’s angle of view is to the southeast.

Bang Niang

A couple of kilometres north of Bang La On is Bang Niang. Bang Niang is more “Thai” and less “tourist” than Bang La On. The 7-Eleven at km793.3 roughly marks the town centre.

Bang Niang is not much to look at, but is home to the intermittent outdoor market (“talat nat” ตลาดนัด) that takes place in the centre of the town just south of the 7-Eleven on M-W-Sa, from roughly 13:00 until dark. You will find the market area dusty on dry days and muddy on wet days, so dress down for a visit.

Bang Niang is, increasingly, a centre of Khao Lak’s nightlife as it is home to a significant number of the area’s most popular bars, discos, and cabarets.

Bang Niang Beach can be accessed by turning towards the sea at the 7-Eleven shop in town centre.

Khuk Khak

Heading north again from Bang Niang, a couple of kilometres will bring you to Khuk Khak. It is even more Thai and less farang than Bang Niang and is the regional centre for things like hardware, paint, kitchen equipment, etc., i.e., all the infrastructural ingredients that keep the resorts running.

It has the daily “fresh market” (“talat sot” ตลาดสด) and the area’s only real, albeit tiny, bus station.

Khuk Khak Beach can be reached by turning at the signpost just south of km790 or, better, turning at the JW Marriott Hotel sign (km789.1) and following the signs to the hotel, then proceeding past it to the beach.

North of Khuk Khak are Pakarang Beach and Pakarang Cape (km787), Pakweep Beach (km784), and Bang Sak Beach (km780). The latter beach is just ~18 km south of Takua Pa.

Pakarang Beach is a beautiful and quiet beach overlooking Cape Pakarang and Andaman Sea beyond. During the high season (November to February), as well as parts of the low season, meals can be bought from nearby food outlets and consumed in the series of huts that have been constructed close to the shore. The setting provides a perfect meditative antidote all year round to the bustle of the Khao Lak area in general.

Navigating Khao Lak can be confusing to visitors because many businesses use their mailing addresses in ads and a mailing address can be very misleading. Almost the entire Khao Lak region (except Ban Khao Lak itself) is located in the Khuk Khak Sub-district of the Takua Pa District of Phang Nga Province. Mailing addresses in the area include both the district and sub-district. Thus a typical address will read: “Moo 3/15, Khuk Khak, Takua Pa, Phang Nga”. This would lead visitors to think that the business is in Khuk Khak. In reality, the business could be located in Bang La On or Bang Niang or Khuk Khak or anywhere else in the Khuk Khak Sub-district. The mailing address is of absolutely no help in finding the business. Be careful when reading tourist brochures as many businesses do not go to the trouble of telling you their physical location.

Climate & Weather

The climate of the Khao Lak region is under the influence of two monsoon winds of a seasonal nature: a southwest monsoon and a northeast monsoon. The southwest monsoon starts in April when a stream of warm moist air from the Indian Ocean moves inland resulting in significant rain. It peaks in October, Khao Lak’s wettest month. Subsequent months, under the influence of prevailing northeast winds, are much drier.

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Southern Thailand

Ko Lanta : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Ko Lanta (เกาะลันตา) is an island off the Andaman Coast of Southern Thailand. Like many other destinations in Krabi Province, it is known for its diving and long white beaches. Contents 1 Understand 1.1 Orientation 1.2 Climate 1.3 Culture 2 Get in 2.1 By air 2.2 By passenger van 2.3 By car 2.4 By boat […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Ko Lanta (เกาะลันตา) is an island off the Andaman Coast of Southern Thailand. Like many other destinations in Krabi Province, it is known for its diving and long white beaches.

Understand

Ko Lanta consists of several islands, the two largest of which are Ko Lanta Noi (เกาะลันตาน้อย, “Small Lanta Island”) and Ko Lanta Yai (เกาะลันตาใหญ่, “Big Lanta Island”). However, Ko Lanta Yai is where all the tourist action is, so this article will refer to it simply as “Ko Lanta”.

Ko Lanta is popular with tourists seeking a holiday away from the parties. It’s popular with a significantly older crowd than nearby Ko Phi Phi: more walking on the beach and watching the sunset than drinking and dancing. However, there are plenty of bars and the longer term stayers are friendly and know how to party. It is also popular with families with young children, and of course, with divers. Ko Lanta can provide a party if you know where to look.

Ko Lanta is a little less well-known than Ko Phi Phi, which has become more commercialised and corporate, but it is hardly undiscovered: the several beaches on the west coast of Ko Lanta Yai are each strung with a line of resorts and bungalows, although the farther down the island you venture, the less this is true. And even when the island is at it fullest, there will be a quiet place for you to relax – the beaches are never full. Ko Lanta is especially popular with Swedish tourists: although the “tourist language” is English as it is in most places in Thailand, and you will find menus and so on are translated into English, expect the poolside language to be Swedish much of the time. However, there are still many English and Irish bars and restaurants.

Ko Lanta was hit by the tsunami in December 2004, which killed 20 people, but virtually all businesses are now operating normally again.

Visit our Resort Partners on Ko Lanta

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Orientation

The main island is 6 km wide and over 30 km long, and approximately 70 km from Krabi Town. The island has 9 attractive white sandy beaches and splendid scenery. Off the coast are more than 70 small islands and plenty with forest, coral reefs and sea life. The geography of the island is typically mangroves, coral rimmed beaches and rugged tree-covered hills.

A paved road runs along the beaches from the northern part of the island almost all the way to the southern tip. The last 8 km leading to the headquarters of the Mu Ko Lanta National Park in the south are quite hilly and aren’t yet paved so can become quite tricky to negotiate if it rains. The landscape is dominated by a series of mountains covered with rainforest. To the east is an old settlement.

Ban Saladan (near Saladan pier, approximately 3 km from Klong Dao Beach) — is the tourist centre of Ko Lanta. Facilities include inexpensive and easy to find transport, diving trips, banking and shopping.

Climate

Weather in the region is tropical and there are two basic monsoons:

During the months of November – April the island experiences the dry monsoon, northeasterly prevailing winds come overland and bring dry air. Temperatures rise during March/April and it get’s quite arid and dusty on the island after many months of no rain.

May – October is the wet monsoon season, where southwesterly winds bring wetter weather from the indian ocean. Around April the season changes and the increase in rain helps revitalise the island to its tropical lushness, everything regrows and the cool wet spells brings relief from the heat of the dry season.

Temperatures during the year average 25ºC to 32ºC (77ºF to 89.6ºF) and the yearly rainfall averages 2569 mm. Unlike in say Europe, the rain in this region comes down heavily and quickly over short periods. The sea stays at a warm 29°C all year round.

Culture

Krabi and Ko Lanta are a melange of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas is Muslim. Most of the people speak with a thick southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand.

With this kind of mixture, Krabi is always celebrating something be it part of Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese or Thai-Islamic tradition.

The unique lifestyle of the Chao-Le (sea-gypsy) in Ko Lanta particularly is well-worth seeing, a life-style that has been almost completely unaffected by the booming tourism on the island.

Get in

By air

The nearest airports are Krabi, Trang and Phuket. Krabi and Trang have direct road and boat connections to Ko Lanta, and are the best options if you’re only visiting Ko Lanta. Flying into Phuket is a better option if you’re intending to spend time in Phuket and nearby islands, or, since Phuket has many more international flights, if you don’t want to have to organize a domestic flight to Krabi or Trang from Bangkok. As an alternative to Bangkok, there are daily flights to Krabi directly to and from Singapore, as well as Kuala Lumpur.

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There is scheduled van service from Krabi Airport taking roughly 2.5 hours, 250 Thai Baht if prearranged and 400-500 Thai Baht if arranging it at the airport (2016). When going back to the airport from the island, van can be booked via any tourist office for 250-300 Thai Baht, departs every round hour in the morning.

Private vans and taxis can be chartered to Ko Lanta for about 2,000 Thai Baht per vehicle (2,500 Thai Baht if you are going to the south end of Ko Lanta).

Air Asia and Nok Air have a special “Island Transfer” offering that includes a flight from Bangkok to Krabi, surface transport to the port, and a ferry to Ko Lanta. It can all be booked at their websites for additional price: Air Asia 470 Thai Baht, Nok Air 900 Thai Baht (2016).

Alternative to passenger van is an express transfer – the quickest albeit much more expensive way to get from Krabi Airport (2,045 Thai Baht per person) and Phuket Airport (3,350 Baht per person) to Ko Lanta. It is a combination of minivan and speedboat travel. If you arrive early you will not have to wait for the ferry and if you arrive late at these airports you can still arrive on Ko Lanta the same day. From Krabi airport a 45 minute air conditioned minivan to the first car ferry port. You then go on board the speedboat which then takes you on a stunning boat ride across the water along the coastline of Ko Lanta. The journey takes around 15 minutes depending on weather and conditions. You will arrive directly in Saladan (alternately written as Sala Dan) on Ko Lanta, where you are then transferred to your hotel by car. That means the total journey time should be 1.5 to 2 hours. This eliminates the waiting time at the car ferry and also if you are going from Ko Lanta to one of these airports allows you more time to enjoy your visit.

By passenger van

There is a minivan service that runs between Krabi Town and Ko Lanta, However it must be booked in advance through your hotel or someone local, the cost is 400 Thai Baht per person. Book early as it fills up quickly. It will pickup and drop off at the airport. You should factor in 3-4 hours to get from Ko Lanta to the airport, since the minivan will pickup and drop off other people along the way.

Vans going to Ao Nang cost 450 Thai Baht (2016), 3 hours, number of vans greatly varies during a year.

By car

The distance from Bangkok to Krabi is approx 950 km or about 12 hr by car.

  • Route 1: Phetburi-Prachuap Khiri Khan-Chumphon-Phang Nga-Krabi = 946 km.
  • Route 2: Phetburi-Prachuap Khiri Khan-Chumphon (Hwy 41) to Chaiya (Surat Thani)-Krabi (Viangsra) – Hwy 4035 – Krabi (Ao Luk) and along Hwy 4 again = 814 km.

Ko Lanta does not have roads connecting it directly to the mainland, but is served by car ferries. Take Rte 4206 off Hwy 4 about 20 km southeast of Krabi airport. Drive to the end of the road, where there is a car ferry from Baan Hua Hin to Ko Lanta Noi. From the pier here, turn right and follow the “ferry” signs to the second car ferry to Ko Lanta Yai. Ferries operate 07:00-22:00.

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Thai Covid-19
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