Ko Tao to Krabi, Thailand - A boat, a bus and a taxi.

Random spit of land off of Ko Phangan, in transit.

Ko Tao, Thailand, is one of those places that you can’t really get to from anywhere. You have to make a few changes no matter which route you take. I think that is one of the main reasons that it is slightly less busy and retains its laid back feel compared to some of the other Thai islands. Don’t get me wrong, Ko Tao is still busy, but less so than other Thai islands. 

There are a few different ferry companies that journey to Ko Tao. Some slow, some “high speed.” I opted for the high speed which involved a large sized catamaran boat. The company I used was Lomprayah ferry. I chose them for one very specific reason, you can book online. I took them from Ko Samui to Ko Tao and then read all the negative comments after I arrived on Ko Tao. I immediately got worried about my second trip I had booked with them, from Ko Tao to Krabi (on the mainland). My first trip was just fine but still all the negative comments I read after my trip got in my head. 

Free for all heading to the boat. At this point I had already battled past loads of people and almost tossed someone in the drink.
I did not have problems on either one of my trips, luckily. I will say this, it is disorganized and sometimes no one knows what’s going on, but this is Southeast Asia and that's just the way it is. There is a cultural difference between the East and the West. They don't give you full information, just bits as you need it which drives Westerners crazy, we like to "know" what is going on. They can’t understand why we would want or need more information other than what is immediate to that moment. This could be remedied with better labeling overall, but don't expect it to be like the west, it won't be. Don’t expect the Lomprayah staff to be happy about giving you any information at all. 

When you board a Lomprayah Ferry it is a free for all. You take your ticket and sticker (that should be on you) and rush in a mass towards a gate that only fits one person at a time. Bottleneck! Then you walk down a long dock and either board at the front or the back depending on which type of luggage you have and where your final destination is. Depending on the ferry and your destination, bags might be kept inside or outside. Make sure your valuable and breakable stuff stays with you. Your bag will be manhandled, either when they are trying to squeeze them in or when they are taken off the deck from outside.  Backpacks are generally told to head for the rear and once inside are sent to the front to offload their packs inside the front. There is no porter service, so if you are unable or unwilling to carry your own bag, the boarding process is going to be much worse for you.

My trip from Ko Tao to Krabi ran remarkably on time for this area of the world. I was very surprised. I booked online and really had no idea what the route looked like because it was not listed anywhere. I asked the lady when I checked in and all she told me was that I had to change ferries at Ko Phangan. I’ve made a detailed list of the day in an effort to help other people taking this route.

Watching fishermen while waiting for the next ferry on Ko Phangan.

The route goes like this -

8:45 - Ko Tao - Check in starts at Ko Tao ticket window (not a moment before). You will be given a three part ticket and a sticker that says Krabi on it. Do not lose the sticker. It is how everyone will identify you the rest of the day. You must check in before they will let you on the boat. If you don't have a sticker and a ticket from the check-in, you can't get on, no matter what, even if you printed out your email ticket you have to go to the window.

9:40 - Departure from Ko Tao (scheduled 930) – Very full ferry, bags were inside, at the front, on the first floor deck. Get a seat as fast as you can.

11:00 - Arrival Ko Phangan – Disembark Ferry 1 with luggage - Wait one hour - Change ferries

12:00 - 2nd ferry arrives for you to change onto.

12:15 - Depart Ko Phangan – This ferry was much less crowded and the bags for Krabi were put outside on the front of the boat. 

13:00 - Stop Ko Samui – Some passengers depart.

14:00 - Arrival Donsak (on the mainland), buses will be waiting, each with a different destination. As you exit the boat, they tell you which one depending on your sticker.

14:20 - Depart Donsak on bus. Our bus was a very nice double decker with a toilet. The bus did not make any stops on this journey.

16:45 - Arrival Krabi - They let you off on the side of the road so you have to get a taxi into town, par for the course all over South East Asia. Taxis or tuk tuks will be waiting. It’s a scam that you can’t really do much about. It was a 50 baht taxi ride anywhere in town; they will drop you at your lodging.

Overall I had a good journey and was happy about that after I read all of the negative reviews. It seems a lot of those were during the monsoon season. I don't know how great any of these services really are, they are always overloaded, no matter what. All you can do is pick which you think is the best for your route and go for it.

Top Tip:  Even though the seas were mostly calm it, was pretty up and down. I think that is the nature of a catamaran. If you know you get motion-sick, I would opt for a regular boat and not a catamaran.

Cost: This journey cost me 900 baht, which at the time was equivalent to about $27.00 USD