The beautiful island of Koh Phangan is best known as being the host of the Full Moon Party, yet this island is not just a place for partying. With quieter corners, gorgeous beaches, great food and friendly people, Koh Phangan is your typical Thai island, set in the Gulf of Thailand, and close to the larger Koh Samui.
Location of Thong Sala Pier
As a popular destination, Koh Phangan has two arrival points: the main ferry pier and port at Thong Sala, and another pier near the southern tip of the island, at Haad Rin. Haad Rin is the location of the Full Moon Party, so you might expect this to be the more commonly used of the two piers, but this isn’t the case; Thong Sala Pier is where the majority of boats arrive.
Thong Sala Pier is situated on the western coast of Koh Phangan, making it slightly closer to the mainland ferry port at Donsak. This may be one reason why Thong Sala has developed into the bigger pier and port, but it’s more likely because it is located right by the main town on Koh Phangan, also named Thong Sala. Another reason is that this port area doesn’t only handle passenger boats but container boats too, bringing supplies to the island. So, the port area is actually home to three piers, one designed for those larger passenger and container ships, and the other two meant more for the smaller ferries and dive boats.
If you’re arriving by boat to Thong Sala Pier, where you go from here will depend on your plans. There will always be waiting taxis and songthaews right by the pier to pick you up and take you wherever you want to go. They usually have signs with a destination, and a fixed price, however, these guys will charge you more than a taxi you have picked up just down the road. The best advice is to walk away from the pier a little way towards the roundabout where there is a taxi station and you will save some money as prices will be lower here. Of course, if you have a bunch of luggage and don’t really want to walk, by all means, take one of the taxis waiting at the pier, as the difference in price is not going to be excessive after all!
Many arriving tourists will head to places like Haad Rin, but Thong Sala itself is a nice place to spend some time, or to base yourself while on the island. If you arranged a guesthouse or hotel in advance, they may well have offered a pickup service that you can make use of.
Ferry Services and Destinations
Traveling between Thong Sala and Surat Thani
The most popular route from the mainland to Koh Phangan, is Surat Thani to Thong Sala Pier. Surat Thani is one of the larger towns on the eastern coast of Southern Thailand so it’s a great setting off point to get to the islands of the Gulf of Thailand. Equally, Surat Thani is well connected to Bangkok and numerous other destinations, so it makes sense to make this your mainland departure point.
Traveling between Thong Sala and Chumphon
Surat Thani is not the only connecting town with services to Thong Sala Pier though. Another major setting off point is Chumphon. Chumphon is further north than Surat Thani, so it’s closer to Bangkok if you’re coming from there, but further away from Koh Phangan, so there’s a pay-off to choose – either a longer initial journey south to Surat Thani and a shorter ferry, or a shorter drive to Chumphon and then a longer ferry.
|Koh Phangan - Chumphon ฿ 900–1,200 3h 15m – 5h 45m|
Traveling between Thong Sala and Koh Samui
Thong Sala Pier is also connected to many of the islands in the Gulf of Thailand. It is closest to Koh Samui, and ferries dart between these two islands regularly. In fact, some services from the mainland will travel via Koh Samui first.
|Koh Phangan - Koh Samui ฿ 200–450 20m – 2h 30m|
Other destinations from Thong Sala Pier
There are also ferries from Thong Sala Pier to places like Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat (on the mainland), and Koh Tao. In fact, when you add in connections via somewhere like Koh Samui, or bus transfers included in an all inclusive ticket, you can practically get to any popular tourist destination in Southern Thailand from Thong Sala Pier!
Depending on popularity, the number of sailings to and from Thong Sala to each of these places varies, and there will be differences depending on the time of year too. Usually around each Full Moon Party it’s not unusual to see extra boats put on to manage the number of passengers trying to get to Koh Phangan, but even so, booking in advance during these very popular times is highly recommended so that you’re not waiting around for a boat with availability. You can easily book online after all, using a service like 12Go. They have ferry tickets from Surat Thani as well as island connections, and they offer all inclusive tickets if you want your full journey taken care of from start to finish.
Facilities at Thong Sala Pier
Although Thong Sala Pier is really quite large compared to many of Thailand’s other island pier destinations, there is not actually much in the way of facilities at the pier itself. This is not a major problem though, because the town of Thong Sala is very close by. Within just a few minutes’ walk you will find shops and services, such as a 7-Eleven, coffee shops and bakeries, and some bars and restaurants. There are also a few grocery stores and a Saturday Walking Street Market.
Other facilities such as an ATM and currency exchange are close by. You’ll just need to do a little planning ahead if you need to use these services before going to Thong Sala Pier, or after you have arrived on the island. For this reason, staying a night in Thong Sala is always a good idea if you need to stock up on anything as there are better shops here, in the main town, and prices may be a little cheaper than in places like Haad Rin.
How many Ferry terminals are there on Koh Phangan?
Koh Phangan has two arrival points: the main ferry pier and port at Thong Sala, and another pier near the southern tip of the island, at Haad Rin.
How do I get from Surat Thani to Thong Sala Pier?
You have loads of options for getting from Surat Thani to Thong Sala Pier, departing from the airport, city hotels, the railway station, or city center as there are combined tickets to be purchased online for the bus and ferry from all of these departure points. Depending on whether you take a high-speed ferry or a regular one, the journey will be between 2.5 and 5 hours 15 minutes.
How much does a Ferry cost from Thong Sala Pier to Koh Samui?
The average price is around 350 THB to go from Thong Sala Pier to Koh Samui by High Speed Ferry or Speedboat with a trip duration of 30-45 minutes. A slow 1.5 hour Ferry cost from 220 THB.
How much does a Ferry cost from Thong Sala Pier to Surat Thani?
The average price is around 500 THB to go from Thong Sala Pier to Surat Thani by Ferry. But the quickest option at 2.5 hours is 700 THB.
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