Taking the minivan ferry from Koh Lanta to Krabi: A guest review

After spending four luxurious days in Koh Lanta doing very little apart from watching the sunset, lounging on the beach and consuming copious amounts of scrumptious food and drink, it was time yet again to pack up our bags and move on to our next Thailand destination.

Krabi is a popular hotspot in Thailand with tourists from all over the world and although we’d heard pretty decent reviews about it, we were actually only headed there to pave the way for our next transfer to Bangkok.

In the meantime, however, let’s see how our journey from Koh Lanta to Krabi compared with our boat experience from Phuket to Lanta!

Timing is everything

We booked our minivan transfer from Koh Lanta to Krabi via Bookaway for 12pm which meant that it was scheduled to arrive in Krabi at approximately 2pm.

Koh Lanta, Thailand
Koh Lanta

Considering I’m a huge control freak when it comes to timings with transport when travelling in Asia, and the fact that our overnight bus to Bangkok was scheduled for 5pm, we decided it was best to try and arrive in Krabi as early as we could.

I always prefer waiting around for a prolonged period of time, rather than having to rush around and panic at the thought of missing out on our next transfer!

Unfortunately, our journey to Krabi did not begin promptly as the minivan arrived 15 minutes late. Still, the bus already contained two couples so we could only presume that it had already been on a pick-up mission.

We had a slight issue with the driver not being able to confirm our booking as his English was very poor and trying to pronounce my name for confirmation proved to be quite the challenge.

However, it soon got sorted and so began the tricky task of performing a Tetris-like ensemble to get everyone’s bags to fit inside the van (a theme that continued with every new passenger that the van picked up).

Packed in like sardines

Once we’d gotten comfortable (or as comfortable as you can be in a small, poorly-air-conditioned minivan), the van was soon stopping again to pick up more passengers.

This continued for the next 45 minutes, whereby the van picked up 7 more passengers until the minivan was full to the brim.

Minivan to Krabi from Koh Lanta

And I do mean literally full.

Every single seat was occupied (even the front seat) and people had to place their huge suitcases and massive backpacks in the aisle of the van, as well as some on their laps.

Of course, this is definitely not the ideal way to travel and I would have thought that a tourist minivan would be more accommodating space-wise when it came to people’s belongings but unfortunately this wasn’t the case.

However, everyone made the best out of a bad situation and after asking the driver to turn down the air-con even cooler (it was reaching sauna-like temperatures at this point; exaggeration intended!), we were on our way to the top of Koh Lanta island.

Quickest ferry crossing ever?

From the Koh Lanta Pier, our minivan drove on to the Songserm Tran Service Company ferry at 1pm and within two minutes of driving on to the ferry, we’d set off.

It was a very smooth and simple process and the only thing that we had to do as passengers on board the van was to sit up and wait for the pier staff to peer in and count everyone.

Minivan ferry to Krabi from Koh Lanta

After that, it was plain sailing and it took just 12 minutes to get across the short strait from Koh Lanta Pier to Krabi Pier. 

Despite the ferry being quite large and slow, we’d soon made it to the other side and were on our way to everyone’s drop off points, which is incidentally where the experience started to decline again…

Language barriers

When travelling anywhere new that doesn’t share a common language with your mother tongue, it’s safe to say that it can prove to be quite an issue when it comes to communication.

This is an issue that we (and everyone else on the minivan) had with our driver. 

While he seemed like a nice enough man, his ability to communicate in English was pretty much non-existent which provided problems when everyone was trying to tell him their intended drop-off point.

I was actually surprised that he didn’t already have everyone’s drop-off locations written down as this is one of the first things you have to confirm when booking the transportation online.

Once the van had dropped off numerous people at Krabi airport, the driver brought out a member of airport staff to try and communicate with the rest of us passengers to determine where we were supposed to be dropped-off.

Phra Nang Cave, Railay Bay, Krabi
Phra Nang Cave, Railay Bay, Krabi

Disaster somewhat averted, we were back on the road again and made the short drive from Krabi Airport to Krabi Bus Terminal where we were kindly dropped off, ready to take our next transportation of the day.

We arrived at the Bus Terminal 30 minutes after we were supposed to, so I’m definitely glad that we booked the earlier van so that we had ample time to collect our tickets and grab a bite to eat before our overnight bus to Bangkok.

Overall, the journey from Koh Lanta to Krabi was an enjoyable enough experience. Despite the few issues with language barriers and cramped confinements, we made it to Krabi Bus Terminal with plenty of time to spare for our next bus journey! 

Chloe Dickenson

Chloe Dickenson

Full time traveller and digital nomad. Obsessed with garlic bread, potatoes and chocolate orange. Huge fan of eating, napping and New York City. Will likely never tire of travelling and determined to inspire as many people as possible to see the world!
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