Currently, the only bookable option to get you from Koh Phangan to Khao Sok is to use the bus-ferry option. This service departs once a day, and offers a personal pick up from any hotel. Both vehicles are air conditioned, but only the ferry may have a bathroom on board.
Khao Sok National Park is known for ancient rainforests and extraordinarily diverse wildlife. And while it can seem like a hassle and somewhat complicated to get to, it’s absolutely worth it for this slice of paradise in southern Thailand.
You’ll want to explore the old, majestic bamboo forests, the massive limestone karsts, and the lake that will take your breath away.
Because of Thailand’s weather, you have to visit the park in the dry season, November-April. Even in the dry season, it’ll still rain every day and make for some muddy hikes, but it’s the best time to visit Khao Sok.
Many things are closed during the rainy season, which runs May-October. This makes visiting Khao Sok National Park and the surrounding area very difficult. You could still go, but activities may be limited, and transportation between Koh Phangan and Khao Sok could be hard to come by.
So, you may be wondering, “How do I get from Koh Phangan to Khao Sok?”
Getting into the heart of central Thailand from Koh Phangan is relatively straightforward because there is only one way. It’s a combination of a ferry + bus or taxi.
Despite the fact this is not the busiest route, it’s quickly becoming more popular. The great news is that Koh Phangan to Khao Sok reviews are pretty positive. Even though it seems a little daunting, getting to explore the untouched nature of this natural park is absolutely worth it.
The ferry ride between Koh Phangan and Surat Thani is pretty standard for any ferry ride in Thailand. The Gulf of Thailand is beautiful, so you can choose to sit outside and take in the views, soaking up some sunshine, or sit inside the boat and enjoy the AC.
The bus ride will take you through some of central Thailand's beautiful landscapes, especially as you get closer to the national park.
Getting off the island and into Khao Sok National Park can be tricky.
Even though the distance from Koh Phangan to Khao Sok is only 107 km (about 66 miles), you’ll have to travel from the Gulf of Thailand into the middle of the Thai peninsula.
It is also important to note that Khao Sok National Park is divided into two parts: Khlong Sok Town and Cheow Lan Lake.
Khlong Sok Town is the easiest part of the park to reach and most likely where any bus will drop you off. It’s a small town, but they have plenty of guest houses, ATMs, restaurants, and even a few bars.
It's a decent place to spend a few nights and a good base to explore the park.
Cheow Lan Lake is located 65 km (about 40 miles) even further away. This is what you may imagine the Khao Sok to look like. There are stunning lakes and adorable bungalows, and you can get completely off the grid.
Bus + Ferry
The best way to get from Koh Phangan to Khao Sok is to take the bus + ferry. The nice thing about this option is that the transfer schedules with the bus and ferry are aligned, so there is no risk of missing your connection.
There are a few choices for the bus + ferry combination: high-speed bus + ferry and standard bus + ferry.
High-speed bus + ferry (10 pax)
Lomprayah operates this route and has a few departures per day. The earliest you can leave is 7:20 am and takes approximately seven hours. At $30 per person, it is a very reasonable price, especially because you’ll have no more than ten people in your van.
The ferry ride takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. It has indoor and open-air seating options, which is great for people prone to seasickness.
The ferry also has bathrooms and places to purchase water and snacks.
Once you arrive in Surat Thani on the mainland, you’ll be transferred over to the high-speed minivan for the remainder of your journey. These vans are relatively comfortable and should have working air conditioning.
However, legroom will be limited, and it can feel like quite a long drive. As there are no toilets in the van, the driver will stop and give you a chance to stretch your legs.
High-speed bus + ferry (44 pax)
Another option is to take a similar ferry, but a much bigger bus. This option costs a little less than the other high-speed bus option at about $25. This bus has a toilet on board.
You can also cancel or change your ticket for free up to 24 hours before you depart, which is excellent for those people whose travel plans are constantly changing.
Songserm is company that operates this route. They offer two departure times. One at 7:00 am, arriving at 14:30. And one at 12:00 pm arriving at 19:00.
The bus will drop you off at your hotel in Khao Sok, which is great after a long day of traveling.
Standard bus + ferry
This is the best way to travel from Koh Phangan and Khao Sok because it’s the fastest. It only takes between 5-6 hours compared to other companies 7.
The standard bus + ferry option is run by Lomprayah, a very well-known company in Thailand. They use a catamaran for this route between Thong Sala Pier and Tapee Pier. The boat has indoor and outdoor seating available. The catamaran is simply an alternative boat to use and is part of the standard bus + ferry route. There is AC and a bathroom on boad, making the two-and-a-half-hour journey reasonably comfortable.
Once you arrive in Surat Thani, you will be transferred to a van to take you the rest of the way. This option costs about $28 per person and has three departure times per day: 7:20 am, 12 pm, and 14: 30 pm.
Bus Ferry + Bus
Another way to get from Koh Phangan to Khao Sok is to take a bus ferry and then a second bus from the mainland.
Lomprayah operates one bus ferry from Koh Phangan to Surat Thani Airport per day at 11 am. It costs about $28 and takes 3 hours and 15 minutes.
You can take another bus for the remaining two hours of your journey from the airport – it costs around $9.The problem with this option is that you may end up waiting for your bus at the airport for a few hours since there are only a few options per day.
Ferry + Taxi
One final option for transport from Koh Phangan to Khao Sok is a ferry + taxi combination. This may be a good fit for you if you hate waiting around for transfers or if you prefer to travel in smaller groups and avoid large crowds of tourists.
You will need to take a ferry to the mainland and then a taxi from Tapee or Don Sak Pier for the remaining 183 km (about 114 miles) to Khao Sok. The taxi ride alone would be quite costly, ranging anywhere from $70 to $100.
However, this option may be for you if you are traveling with a group of people who could split the cost or prefer to set your own schedule.
Pro Tip: It could be challenging to find a taxi willing to make this trip if they don’t return passengers. So, you should book something ahead of time.
It really doesn’t matter which option you choose to get from Koh Phangan to Khao Sok. You’ll be delighted that you made the trip. The longer journey means you’ll have fewer crowds to fight with and more of the stunning park to yourself.
Khao Sok National Park is one of Thailand`s greatest sites, with untouched jungles, massive limestone formations, rare animals & plants and a man-made lake.
Tubing in Khao Sok is an overall fun activity, just make sure you don’t actsilly. Read on to find out how our day went from good to stupid.
Find out here everything you need to know about how to get from Koh Phangan to Khao Sok using the Lomprayah bus and ferry service.