Phuket To Koh Lanta: The Best And Fastest Ways To Travel

looking out to the pier phuket to koh lanta

Find out how exactly to travel from Phuket To Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta is one of my favorite spots in Thailand, though it’s likely you’ll be traveling there from Phuket as this is the gateway to Southern Thailand. So, let’s find out how to get from Phuket to Koh Lanta and what are the best ferry companies?


If you are traveling to Southern Thailand I highly recommend spending some time backpacking Koh Lanta. This little slice of paradise is quite different from nearby islands, with a more relaxed and chilled-back way of life. Though of course then you’ll need to figure out how exactly to travel from Phuket To Koh Lanta.

If you’re like me and Koh Lanta was the most Southern my adventures in Thailand would take me. Phuket allowed for an easy and simple starting point to travel to the island. Luckily it is super easy to get around Thailand and Phuket will connect you with not just the rest of Thailand, but the majority of Asia as well. This international hub commonly finds its way onto many backpacker itineraries. Whether you are wanting to travel to Northern Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, or Vietnam it will only be a short flight away.

Though before we get too ahead of ourselves we will need to figure out how exactly to travel from Phuket to Koh Lanta. Being on the mainland, surely you can drive? Though would it be quicker to take a boat? How do I buy tickets and are the boat companies actually safe? These are all things which I will cover in this guide on how to travel from Phuket to Koh Lanta.

Time Cost Highlight
Ferry 4 hours from $24 Afforable boat journey
Speed Boat 2 hours from $40 Fast journey
Bus 4 hours from $7 Cheapest way to travel

How To Get From Phuket To Koh Lanta


Phuket To Koh Lanta Distance

Depending on whether you decide to take a bus or a boat will alter the distance when traveling from Phuket to Koh Lanta.

If you are traveling on a boat then you will cross over the Andaman Sea, though being within a large cove-shaped piece, it is relatively sheltered. Though just be aware this isn’t the case all the time.

Overall the journey via boat is around 90 to 100 kilometers. Whether you are traveling by speedboat or ferry will change the time it actually takes. Though, in Thailand, you can’t rely on things to run on time. Therefore you are best to give yourself 2 to 3 hours to complete this journey. Also, these boats will usually stop in at Koh Phi Phi to drop off and pick up passengers. You may even find yourself wanting to spend a couple of days on this car-less island.

Now for our second option, by bus. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to take a direct bus from Phuket to Koh Lanta. Rather you will need to stop in the coastal town of Krabi. This is simply because there is not enough demand to make this a direct route.

The first part, Phuket to Krabi will take around 4 hours and cover around 160 kilometers. The second half of the journey, Krabi to Koh Lanta is only possible by boat. Though you may be wondering what is the point? Well in the monsoon season the seas can get pretty rough resulting in many ferry cancellations. Unlike a direct ferry from Phuket to Koh Lanta which travels in relatively open waters, the ferry from Krabi to Koh Lanta hugs the coastline the majority of the way. Making it an overall safer journey. This part takes around 3 hours.

heading and waiting to leave on the ferry from phuket to koh lanta
waiting for the ferry boat to depart Koh Lanta

Phuket To Koh Lanta Ferry

The easiest and simplest way to travel from Phuket to Koh Lanta is definitely by booking a ferry. This is what the majority of travelers will use. Though because of that, you can find yourself squished in like sardines.

I also found that the quality of ferries available was a lot worse down here than what you would find in the Gulf of Thailand, for example traveling from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao. On a lot of those journeys, you’ll have a nice big metal ship with padded seats. Though here I found all the ferries I took involved wooden boats that were on the smaller side. Sure they may have been multiple stories, but this was nothing compared to what I have seen before. I honestly found this quite strange as I felt the more luxurious travelers would be in the south, not those backpacking Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party. Maybe I just had bad luck?

Either way, you will at least have some choice seem it comes to deciding on a ferry company. This is important as the ferries in Thailand have quite a reputation of questionable safety standards. Whether this is not enough life jackets on board, or just venturing out in rough seas. I highly recommend reading reviews if you are worried about this.


Ferry Cost From Phuket To Koh Lanta

For the 4 hour journey from Phuket To Koh Lanta, you will find tickets generally start around $24.00. This is a pretty decent price as the journey does take quite a lot of time.

I highly recommend booking your tickets in advance, rather than pushing showing up at Rassada Pier on the day. This is especially so in the high season where it is pretty normal for these boats to get completely booked up a couple of days prior to departure. The only exception to this would be if you are traveling in the monsoon season which is also the low season. This is because you don’t have all those other travelers there all competing for one seat, and secondly, so you can make sure the weather is decent.

When it comes to actually booking a ferry, you can do so on the 12.Go Asia website from anywhere in the world. This means if you are on a strict itinerary you can book a month in advance.

Alternatively, you can book once you are in Phuket at one of the many travel agencies along the streets. The majority of accommodation providers in Thailand are usually more than happy to organize ferry boats and buses for you as required so this is another option. It may cost a couple of dollars more. Though the majority of the time they will also include transfers to the pier.

waiting for the ferry boat in koh lanta
at the ferry wharf in koh lanta

Speed Boat From Phuket To Koh Lanta

Taking a speed boat will be a quicker option, though it will be a few dollars more expensive than taking the ferry. I know the majority of backpackers generally take a ferry over a speedboat. Though this is because they aren’t fussed about how long it takes and will be wanting to save money.

If you are short on time then it would be well worth booking a speedboat from Phuket to Koh Lanta. This can be done in advance on websites such as 12.Go Asia or if you would like to book once you are in Phuket you will just need to visit one of the numerous travel agencies.


Phuket To Koh Lanta Bus

If you perhaps get seasick then you may prefer to take a bus or minivan from Phuket to Koh Lanta. Though due to the fact that Koh Lanta is actually an island, not attached to the mainland in any way. You will need to take a boat for some of the journeys.

The most popular route to do this would be to take a bus to the coastal town of Krabi. This will take around 4 hours and cost around $12.80 / 400 THB for a minivan transfer. If you are looking to go cheaper again you can take a local bus from Phuket Bus Terminal 2 to Krabi for just $6.40 / 200 THB.

Stopping off in Krabi for a couple of days is the perfect way to break up the journey. Head to the nearby town of Ao Nang and relax beachside. You can also check out the famous Railay Beach on a day trip.

Once your time in Krabi has come to an end you can head to Koh Lanta. The tickets can be purchased through any of the nearby travel agencies or at your accommodation.

You can either get a ticket from Krabi wharf to Koh Lanta or a minivan transfer to Hua Hin Pier and then a short ferry ride to Koh Lanta. Be aware the ferry from Krabi to Koh Lanta does not operate between June to October, so you will need to get the minivan transfer to Hua Hin. The distance between these two is so small, the ferry journey only takes around 20 minutes. Much quicker than the direct ferry from Phuket which can take 4 hours.

the van ferry from hua hin pier arriving in koh lanta
the car ferry from hua hin pier to koh lanta

Getting From Koh Lanta Wharf To Your Accommodation

Depending on where you are staying in Koh Lanta will decide how exactly to get from the wharf to your accommodation. If you are staying in the town then it should be a relatively easy walk to your accommodation. Though the majority of travelers stay quite spread out over the Western coastline.

You can either organize your transfer directly with your accommodation provider. Though it is super easy to just get off the ferry boat and find a ride. This is what myself and plenty of other travelers do. Typically you will be put into the back of a pickup truck or ute with the baggage surrounding you. Squeezed up the driver will begin to navigate the island, dropping each person off at their desired location.

Generally, the drivers charged a fixed price of $4.80 / 150 THB. Though be aware if you are staying quite a distance away (over 20 minutes) then I would expect to pay a higher price than this. The prices are no

Just be aware there are no fixed prices so it’s just generally whatever price the driver gives you. You may be able to haggle it down a small amount, but nothing considerable.

walking down one of the main streets in koh lanta
the typical ute you’ll be chucked in the back of to transfer to your accommodation from the wharf

Things To Do In Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is a super chill and relaxed island. There’s nothing better than just exploring somewhere at a more laid-back pace, and Koh Lanta has a lot to explore. This place is truly a nature lover paradise so let’s get into what there is on offer:


Lanta Animal Welfare

If you have been traveling for a while, like I had when I visited, this is the perfect chance to have a taste of home with some amazing animals. I mean there’s no better cure for homesickness than puppy and cat love! Lanta Animal Welfare was set up to help the dogs and cats here in Koh Lanta, whether that is by desexing or providing new homes.

Here you are able to take a tour of the facility and of course, meet all the residents. The animals each have their own personality and you will no doubt fall in love with one of them! Many of these animals will actually end up in different countries as travelers fall in love and move them to their homeland.

After the tour, you can even walk the dogs. You will be given a leash and a path to follow which the dog is comfortable walking. After visiting make sure you give a donation to help this amazing place up and running.


Mu Koh Lanta National Park

Mu Ko Lanta National Park is one of the most incredible spots on this island. Prepare yourself for some epic cliff views and steep hills. The drive here is absolutely amazing and the roads aren’t in half bad condition as well. The entry fee is $6.40 / 200 THB, but in my opinion, it is worth it.

You will need to pay for parking when you arrive, that’s another $0.64 /20 THB. Then make your way towards the beach. The beach on the left side of the lighthouse is beautifully sandy and the perfect spot for a dip, on the right-hand sand it is covered in large stones. Hike up to the lighthouse for some amazing views over the ocean.

After you’ve done a bit of exploration you should also be able to wander into the jungle and find some monkeys hanging out in the trees. It is best not to carry any food on you to avoid an attack. There is also a hiking trail you can do if you are feeling like another walk.

mu koh lanta national park looking out to sea
view from the cliffs at mu koh lanta national park

Koh Lanta Old Town

his place looks like it has just stopped in time. It’s a far cry for the modern concrete buildings in the main area. Park the motorbike up and go for a walk. Discover the old charm that Koh Lanta Old Town is full of.


Khao Mai Kaew Cave

Time to venture into the darkness at Khao Mai Kaew Cave. You need to hire a guide to enter so don’t worry you won’t be going in alone. Southeast Asia has some amazing cave networks and it’s worth exploring for those with an adventurous soul (if you’re heading to Laos I highly recommend Kong Lor Cave).

The tour of the cave takes 2 and a half hours. Throughout this time you will find yourself squeezing between rocks and exploring caverns. Be aware that if you are claustrophobic this isn’t the activity for you. You will be spending a lot of time underground and some areas are quite tight.

The entry fee to the cave is $9.60 / 300 THB. You will be provided with a headlamp so no need to worry about bringing a torch. Just be aware to wear covered shoes with good grip.


Check Out The Viewpoints

Viewpoint Hill: This is the incredible viewpoint on the very top of the island. You should be able to pull into one of the restaurants located here and grab a meal or a drink. The views on the east side of the island are just as beautiful, maybe even better than the west side!

Keep Hydrated: No, I am not talking about how hot it is and to look after yourself. One of the best things we did was just stop in and any and every restaurant which had an amazing view and grab a drink. It allowed up to take in our surroundings, appreciate the beautiful waters and meet some cool locals.

enjoying a cold drink by the ocean in koh lanta
one of the incredible view points alongside the coast of koh lanta

Khlong Chak Waterfall

If you love waterfalls then look no further than Khlong Chak Waterfall, also known as Klong Jak. This is one of those hidden gems where it’s actually free to enter. Though just be aware you will need to pay for parking which is $0.64 /20 THB for a motorbike.

Follow the pathway along a small stream and by a rather large dam that seems oddly out of place. The waterfall will come into view after about 25 minutes of hiking. Though within these 25 minutes you will discover the beauty of this island paradise as you find incredible plants and local insects who call this place home.

Be aware if you are visiting in the dry season the waterfall won’t be as impressive as it is during the wet season. In either season make sure you wear decent shoes as the track can get pretty muddy in parts.


Where To Stay In Koh Lanta?

Koh Lanta is quite a large spread out island with lots of little townships. You’ll find the majority of accommodation along the west coast where you can relax and watch the sunset from the beach.

Unfortunately, the accommodation I stayed in has since closed down. Though a similar option in a close price range is Cottage Hill At Lanta. For around $11.00 per night, you can find yourself a decent private room. They also have scooter hire onsite for just $6.38 / 200 THB per day.

I personally would much rather hire scooters from my accommodation rather than a rental shop on the side of the road. This is because this isn’t the accommodation’s only form of income and they rely on online reviews for future booking so it’s less likely you will be ripped off.

Koh Lanta also has an incredible amount of quite nice fancy beachside resorts. Unfortunately, this wasn’t in my budget, and if you’re reading this backpacking guide it’s unlikely to be in yours. Nevertheless, you can find 3 to 4-star resorts for just $20.00 per night. For such a small step up in price you get a lot more including a pool to relax in.

Here are my top picks for the backpacking Koh Lanta travel guide:

abyss hostel

Lanta Happy Hill

Picturesque bungalows in the jungle and a few minute’s walk from the beach. Starting from $14.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
baan rock inn

Relax Beach House

Cheap little bungalows meters away from the beach. Rooms starting from just $10.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
dearly hostel

Peaceful Resort Koh Lanta

A beautiful resort for just $20.00 per night. Enjoy the large modern and air-conditioned rooms.

BOOK NOW
tropicanna resort

Hub Of Joys Hostel

The most popular hostel in Koh Lanta. Dorm rooms starting from $8.00 per night including breakfast.

BOOK NOW

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Find out how exactly to travel from Phuket To Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta is one of my favorite spots in Thailand, though it's likely you'll be traveling there from Phuket as this is the gateway to Southern Thailand. So, let's find out how to get from Phuket to Koh Lanta and what are the best ferry companies?

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

Photo credit: “back to our hotel”  (CC BY 2.0) by IronyPoisoning. “Public Ferry-Vin” (CC BY 2.0) by Twentyfour Students. “Watching the large ferries” (CC BY 2.0) by IronyPoisoning

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