Getting from Thailand’s mainland to the islands is simple, but can just as easily become a headache. Here is the information you need to make your vacation transportation smooth and relaxing.
Ferries between Phuket and Koh Phi Phi
A helpful piece of advice, book your tickets in advance either from http://www.phiphi-ferry.com/ or through one of the many agencies within the city. It will be much cheaper then buying at the port on the day of travel. A ticket from Phuket to Phi Phi will cost around 400 to 500 Thai baht with a return ticket being as cheap as 250 baht. Depending on where your hotel is located, you will need a ferry to either Tonsai (the main pier of Koh Phi Phi) or Leamtong (northern Koh Phi Phi). Be aware that only two of the four daily ferries go to Leamtong — book accordingly or be ready to pay for a longtail boat (water taxi).
If you do decide to buy tickets at the pier in Phuket on the day of be aware that there is one stand operated by the ferry company, while all the others are middle men. If one of the other companies even talks to you first they will demand a cut from the ferry company for “allowing” them to sell you the ticket — even if they do not sell the ticket you want to purchase (e.g. Leamtong pier, Koh Phi Phi).
Personal Warning: After we said “no” to the first man that came up and hassled us, asking for 900 baht per-person just to the main pier of Koh Phi Phi. We moved on to the ferry’s stand, where we were about to purchase our tickets — money already out and tickets already filled in — when the first man came up and wisphered in the ferry employee’s ear. All of a sudden we were denied to buy tickets from the ferry company, told to go back to the first stand (even though they could not sell us a ticket to Leamtong pier and wanted 400+ baht more per a ticket!). For the next hour we had to argue with the two companies, until finally, with the help of a Thai women and the threat of Tourist Police, we were able to purchase two tickets at a fair price from the ferry company.
On the boat from Phuket they will come around to sell return or transfer tickets. Usually they are cheaper than on-line, especially if they include a longtail boat (water taxi). However, you might be able to get tickets cheaper from an agency within Koh Phi Phi (most agencies are located with the city center around Tonsai pier). The pier and hotels tend to sell tickets at escalated prices.
Getting Around Koh Phi Phi
To travel between Leamtong and Tonsai pier by longboat taxi expect a fee of 800 baht (without bargaining) per boat ride. The hotels in the nothern beach area have a shuttle boat or ferry that comes four times a day to Leamtong (7 AM, 9 AM, 1 PM, & 2 PM) and back (10 AM, 12 PM, 3:30 PM, & 5 PM) for 200 baht per person. (Times are subject to change and hotel dependent.)
Hopping Around: Koh Phi Phi to Railay Beach
There is a ferry daily (only during high season) at 3:30 PM from Koh Phi Phi to Railay Beach. The tickets cost between 400-500 baht per a ticket. Check in advance that the ferry is operating during your stay.
Hopping Around: Railay Beach to Krabi
From Railay Beach to the mainland you can take longtail boat (water taxi) and from there a taxi to your destination (airport, etc.). Depending on what beach you leave from, packaged tickets of a longtail boat and taxi ride to the airport sell for 800 to 400 baht per person. The easiest and cheapest way to purchase tickets is through a tour agency. There are many on the small “main street” of Railay Beach island.
Getting around or between the islands is easy and offers a beautiful ride. Just remember to purchase tickets a day in advance to save money and spare yourself any hassles.