From my previous travel experiences via boat in other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, I really didn’t hold out too much hope for boat trips in Thailand; in fact, I was pretty apprehensive.
However, once I’d undertaken the often-boring rigmarole process of booking our tickets from Phuket to Koh Lanta and being pleasantly surprised to discover just how unbelievably easy the whole process was, I actually began to get a little excited.
Excited; At the idea of traveling via boat in Thailand! Who’d have thought it?!
Once we’d received our ticket confirmation via email and we were all booked and ready to go, it was time to begin packing up our things and preparing for our departure to the next destination on our Thailand itinerary; Koh Lanta. We’d be traveling on the Satun Pakbara speed boat.
Pro tip: Remember to book your tickets online in advance (at least 24 hours before) of your intended departure to avoid disappointment. Try and book a few days in advance if you’re traveling in peak season as seats get booked up quickly!
Minivan transfer to the port
When traveling via boat before, my boyfriend and I had always had to arrange our own transfer to the ferry port, so the fact that our booking included a free transfer from our hotel in Phuket to the pier was a very warm welcome.
Our scheduled pick-up time was 11am, with the proposed boat departure time being 12:30pm, giving us ample time to get to the port and make our way onto the boat.
However, the minivan driver actually arrived 15 minutes early and even though we weren’t quite ready, we quickly rushed down and greeted the other passengers on the bus.
The 10-person minivan wasn’t anything special or out of the ordinary; it was quite literally what you’d expect from a minivan transfer service and it suited us perfectly.
Pier-ing at the view
We arrived at Rassada Pier in Phuket approximately 50 minutes after our pick-up and the whole process of checking in for our speed boat was incredibly smooth; arguably the easiest check-in process we’ve experienced so far in Asia!
We were provided with stickers for our t-shirts which stated where we were traveling to, as well as stickers for our bags and a boarding pass and ticket each. It did seem like quite a lot of unnecessary paper to me, so I don’t feel like I can complain too much about it.
There are lots of little cafés and food stalls to eat and drink at inside Rassada Pier and the toilets were also free, which is a definite relief when you don’t have much change to spare!
Right on time, we were called to the boarding “gate” to get on the boat that would take us on the 90-minute journey from Phuket to Koh Lanta.
I’m going to go all out and say that it was the best boat boarding experience we’ve had in Asia so far and I couldn’t be more grateful to the staff on hand who ensured everything ran smoothly.
We handed our bags over (which is no easy feat considering they weigh 15kg each!) and then made our way inside the boat.
There were, in fact, two boats: one headed straight for Koh Phi Phi and one for Lanta, but all the bags were placed on the Lanta boat, so we had to make a scheduled stop at Phi Phi briefly to hand everyone’s bags over.
If you’ve ever traveled via speed boat anywhere in Southeast Asia, I’m sure you’ll have experienced the tumultuous journey of getting from one place to another across the water, but thankfully we barely noticed this at all when traveling from Phuket to Koh Lanta.
Of course, there are certain instances when you’re almost thrown up into the air while going over a huge wave, but it was seriously nothing like we’d experienced when traversing by boat in Indonesia, for example.
The weather was stunning. Crystal clear blue skies and vibrant sunshine paved the way across the Andaman Sea to Koh Lanta.
There were approximately 28 people on the boat, but I think it could have easily fit 20 more people onboard. This is certainly not a complaint on my behalf however, as I’ve traveled on boats before that were quite literally packed to the rafters and it was not an enjoyable experience!
It took around one hour to reach Phi Phi island, where another 10 people boarded the boat and we were docked for all of 5 minutes before we set off again towards Koh Lanta.
Arriving in Koh Lanta at around 2:10pm, we were delighted that the estimated departure and arrival times were in fact wholly accurate for the most part.
On previous boat trips, we’ve discovered that you actually end up arriving up to an hour later than originally proposed so this was a welcome blessing for us as we were just eager to get to our accommodation in Lanta.
After a swift disembarkment from the boat, we’d finally arrived on Koh Lanta and made our way to the street where we spent the next 5 minutes haggling with local tuk tuk drivers for a fair price to our accommodation. In the end, we haggled with the driver and paid 250 baht ($8.22) for the two of us for a 20-minute journey!
If you know, you know!