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Best way to drive to Samui? Which car ferry company? Pier?

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Hey all,

I live up North in Chiang Mai and am planning to drive down to Samui for a week or so in late July. But confused about the pier at which to catch a car ferry and what the times are.

 

Any recommendations here? We will be driving from Bangkok that day so hoping I can catch a car ferry before dark. But could use some pointers as Google is directing me to a bunch of dead links and passenger ferry sites.

 

Thanks!

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I did it last August from Nakhon Pathom. I used Raja ferry (rajaferryport.com). Booked online for return tickets. Used Google maps for last part of journey, it recognised the right dock for Raja ferries at Don Sak.. Delayed an hour on the way over for a 1pm slot, on time for the return at 6 am.

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Both car ferry companies, Seatran and Raja, departs from Don Sak, their piers are almost next to each other.

 

Both ferries sails every hour. If not booked in advance waiting time can be around two hours (plus/minus). If not changed then the first ferry is 6 am, and last ferry departs around 6 pm – or later, I think they both have a later ferry now – sailing time is 1½ hour. Both ferries have a kiosk selling refreshments and (instant) coffee.

 

Seatran docks at the Nathon pier, whilst Raja docks little further south at Lipa Noi pier.

 

When driving out of Surat Thani there are road signs with either "Don Sak" or "Koh amui"; and remember there is a left hard turn on route 401 after some 35 km pretty close to Don Sak – about 15-20 km after highway 44 ends, if you chose that instead of driving through  Surat Thani – continue on route 4142 another ca. 20 km, and you reach the car ferry piers at left, Seatran is the first one (turn left), Raja just continue.

 

I've been using both ferry lines, and find them quite equal; however locals seem to prefer Raja (government) ferry that also seem to have the majority of trucks and busses. Advanced booking – or VIP ticket – reduce waiting time.

🙂

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As petermik above on Seatran ferry. I used to live about 20 minutes drive from Donsak pier in an idyllic coastal town of Khanom, and this time of year there's no need to book beforehand, despite what the booking companies say, and if there's a longish vehicle queue (unlikely) ferries are plentiful during the day. Also very proficient; they know what they're doing. It takes about 20 minutes to board and 90 minutes to cross. 

 

From BKK, it's still a 6-700 kilometre trip, and if it was me, I'd start out at first light - and don't exceed 100kph on highway 4 as you could get stopped by the police. All in all though, a very scenic and straightforward route (providing conditions are dry - more rain in the south). 

 

Even if there's an unaccountable delay in crossing in the day you arrive, drive along to Khanom, where you'll find pleasant overnight accommodation overlooking the sea.

 

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Did it many times.

Nothing special to know, except that driving all the way from Chiangmai without stop is over stupid.

Wish you the best anyway, but never forget that we are supposed to be smarter than the locals...

 

 

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I always preferred to break up the Bangkok to Samui drive with an overnight stop somewhere, most people do it in one day but it is a hard push. If you go for one day straight through I would make a reservation (for a nonmember usually means prepayment) on the last or second to last ferry (I prefer SeaTrans, usually newer ferries) and know if you are late you may not get that money back. The two ferry piers are close together, if you get to one and its clear you wont make the next ferry you could Check the other one (but of course, would lose your place in the queue). Not making a reservation and staying the night in Khanom if you don’t make it is also a reasonable choice. I don’t know, but would guess that because of people like yourself driving long distances to get there that the first and especially the last ferries would be the busiest. On Samui you can go to the Seatrans office and prebook and pay for your return trip at a time of your choice.

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On ‎7‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 4:28 PM, stephenterry said:

As petermik above on Seatran ferry. I used to live about 20 minutes drive from Donsak pier in an idyllic coastal town of Khanom, and this time of year there's no need to book beforehand, despite what the booking companies say, and if there's a longish vehicle queue (unlikely) ferries are plentiful during the day. Also very proficient; they know what they're doing. It takes about 20 minutes to board and 90 minutes to cross. 

 

From BKK, it's still a 6-700 kilometre trip, and if it was me, I'd start out at first light - and don't exceed 100kph on highway 4 as you could get stopped by the police. All in all though, a very scenic and straightforward route (providing conditions are dry - more rain in the south). 

 

Even if there's an unaccountable delay in crossing in the day you arrive, drive along to Khanom, where you'll find pleasant overnight accommodation overlooking the sea.

 

You beat me to it. Definitely leave early to get there before the last ferry. Personally, I'd be looking to stay overnight somewhere and go over in the morning. Makes for a much more pleasant journey down.

Otherwise, you're driving around Samui in the dark.

There's nothing in Samui that is so much better than the gulf coast of the mainland. Some beautiful beaches to stay on. The accommodation rate will probably be a lot more acceptable than on Samui too.

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On ‎7‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 1:17 AM, grkt said:

Did it many times.

Nothing special to know, except that driving all the way from Chiangmai without stop is over stupid.

Wish you the best anyway, but never forget that we are supposed to be smarter than the locals...

 

 

He said in the OP that he is going from Bkk, not all the way from C M in one day.

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Raja also now have a late ferry at 10.30pm. As far as I know seatran finish at 7pm. Ferries every hour on the hour all day from 5am. 

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17 hours ago, smily said:

Raja also now have a late ferry at 10.30pm.

Assume this is just to Samui - not another late one to Phangan as well?

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BANGKOK 20 July 2018 04:05
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