Why visit Thailand?
Thailand is one of the world's most beautiful countries, with over 300 gorgeous islands to enjoy! With secret snorkelling spots, restaurants on the beach, beautiful sunrises and sunsets and relaxing vibes, you will have an amazing time no matter where you end up spending your time.
Thai food is delicious and hugely varied — you will never have to eat the same dish twice because the cuisine changes as their location does. Thai people are very friendly, and if you are lucky enough to receive an invitation to taste their traditional cuisine in their home you should definitely accept the offer!
The country has three distinct seasons that allow tourists to visit all year round. The dry season is from November to February where temperatures range from 19-30 degrees celsius. The rainy season is from June to October, the temperature is about 26-32 degrees celsius (it should be noted that it only rains in short bursts and there are plenty of sunny days). From March to May is the hot season with 29-38 degrees celsius. Knowing what sort of weather to be prepared for means you can relax and enjoy the country at any time of year!
Water travel is ubiquitous in Thailand, and it's easy to see why, as the country has 3,219 kilometers of coastline and hundreds of islands in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Some of the large islands have airports, but most do not, so if you want to visit these magnificent places you will have to travel by ferry!
Getting around the coast and islands by boat is affordable, safe and comfortable. A lot of companies provide reliable and high-speed connections between all Thai destinations, and there are also international crossings available to the Malaysian island, Langkawi. Whether you are basing yourself at one location, or you're planning to go island hopping, there are a wide variety of options, including ferries, night ferries, catamarans, speedboats, and longtail boats. Wherever you're going, we can help you find a reliable and comfortable travel provider, and our excellent business partnerships make Duckferries the best place to book your ticket.
From Phuket to Krabi, from Koh Samui to Koh Pangan...
Island hopping is strongly recommended, and based on the length of your stay, you will probably have to decide whether you want to visit the islands in the Gulf of Thailand or in the Andaman Sea. Several of the islands are only accessible during high season, so double-check the time table before planning your island hopping route.
The Gulf of Thailand is massive and there are no ferry options that will take you directly from one side to the other, so we suggest dividing the island routes into two — one in the Surat Thani province and the other in the Trat province. If you are travelling via Cambodia, for example, the Trat route is ideal because it is on the border, whilst the Surat Thani province is home to popular Koh Samui island.
The Andaman Sea is ideal for island-hopping. The main islands are Koh Lipe, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi, and Phuket, but there are some smaller hidden gems as well: The peaceful Koh Yao Yai island situated only 40 minutes from Krabi by speedboat, or Koh Mook island, known for the Morakot Cave (Emerald Cave), snorkelling spots, beachside restaurant and beautiful sunsets.
We have sorted out a list of most popular islands and departure points to assist you with your better orientation. It's worth noting that finding the right place to catch your ferry can be a little confusing, as there are so many islands, with so many routes and different departure ports, but we have tried to collect all the information here to help you plan your trip easily.
Some of the smaller islands often have only one daily connection (depending on the season) so it is worth booking early to ensure you make the most of your time while on vacation. On the more popular routes, the ferry goes several times a day, but it's also worth booking in advance. All ferries leave according to a fixed timetable.
Gulf of Thailand
How to get to Koh Kood, Koh Mak, and Koh Chang
These Thai islands sit on the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand, with ferry piers close to the city of Trat for all three islands. It takes just 30 minutes from pier to the Koh Chang island, whilst Kod Kood is around 5 hours away. Koh Mak is between the two.
There are various destination points, so we recommend arranging accommodation first, and then selecting the ferry company that arrives closest to your chosen resort. Another option for this region is island-hopping by speedboat and catamaran!
How you choose to get to Trat depends on your budget: If you prefer comfort, you can go by car, for the fastest option fly to Trat airport (one hour from Bangkok), but the cheapest option is to catch the public bus.
How to get to Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Samui
The three largest islands in the Gulf of Thailand are situated off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus and are very popular tourist destinations, accessed from either Surat Thani or Chumphon on the mainland, by buying a bus & ferry combination ticket. Samui itself has an International Airport, so flying from Bangkok is the easiest option, although the bus or overnight train offer cheaper alternatives if travelling from elsewhere in Thailand.
Another money saving option is to take a night boat from Chumphon or Surat Thani to save on a night's accommodation elsewhere.
If you have your own transport, you can head directly to the port in Donsak.
How to get between Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi
These popular locations lie on the edge of the Andaman Sea, off the west coast of Thailand. The main departure/arrival port in Phuket is Rassada Pier in Phuket Town and is a one hour drive from Phuket Airport. In Krabi, you will find the main ferry pier (Klong Jirad Pier) in the south of Krabi Town, 30 minutes drive from Krabi Airport. Boats leave from Krabi about every 2 hours.
For Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi you can catch a ferry from Phuket, Krabi or Railay beach (Railay is not an island itself, but you do need to take a ferry from Ao Nang or Chaofa Pier to get there). Koh Lanta is accessible by car ferry from November to April, and another option is a private transfer from Krabi Airport, either to the pier in Krabi Town or in Ao Nang. Ferries primarily serve the main areas of Rassada Pier in Phuket and Koh Lanta, but there are usually several stops on the way so the trip from Phuket can be 4 hours long.
Phi Phi Islands are a group of six islands situated halfway between Phuket and Krabi. Journey time for ferries is about two hours from Phuket and 90 minutes from Krabi. Speedboats between Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta take 70 minutes.
How to get from Phuket to Krabi
You can get from Phuket to Krabi by ferry, bus, taxi, or rent a car. Travel time by either ferry or bus is 2.5 hours, but the bus will drop you off 12 km outside the city centre, so you will have to book a taxi for the last leg.
How to get to Koh Lipe
Koh Lipe is a Thai island paradise situated in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of northwestern Malaysia. There are several routes and services between four principal harbours in Thailand and one Malaysian island.
Coming from the north part of the Andaman Sea, you can take the ferry from Phuket (5.5 hours), Krabi (4.5 hours) and Koh Lanta island (3 hours). Another route is from Trang (2 hours 15 minutes).
If coming from the south of Thailand, you can catch a ferry from Pak Bara pier, in Satun province (1.5 hours).
How to get to Langkawi
Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah, is an island located in the South Andaman Sea, close to the Malaysian/Thai border and famous for its laid back atmosphere compared to other parts of Malaysia. There are two options to get there. The first is by plane from Kuala Lumpur, China, Singapore, Thailand, or Qatar to Langkawi International Airport. The other is by speedboat from Thailand, Koh Lipe, or the Malaysian ferry docks — either at the bus stand at Kuala Perlis (75 minutes), the Alor Setar ferry terminal in Kuala Kedah (1.5 hours), or in Penang (2 hours 45 min).
The ferry from Langkawi (Kuah Jetty) to Koh Lipe (Bundhaya Beach) sails 3 times a day, and takes 30 minutes. If you travel between Langkawi and anywhere in Thailand, be aware that the boat may make a stop off at Koh Lipe for immigration procedures.