While Phuket in Southern Thailand is certainly a destination in itself, visitors would be remiss if they didn’t venture a little further afield to explore some of the neighbours. I recently spent a couple of days in Ao Nang and found the ferry from Phuket to Krabi was the easiest way to get there. We chose Ao Nang Travel & Tour Co Ltd and booked our Phuket to Krabi ferry online a few weeks before our trip. I’m all about travelling in luxury for less, but there were no luxury options so I concentrated on securing the best ticket at the cheapest price. Read on for all the details …
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Booking A Cheap Ferry From Phuket To Krabi
While Thailand is often considered ‘cheap’ by many travellers, Phuket is one of Thailand’s more expensive destinations. Couple this with a pathetic exchange rate (AUD1 = THB22 when I travelled) and costs can start to add up. Transport can often account for a large slice of your travel budget so it pays to be savvy with your spending. Transport in Phuket, tuk tuks and taxis in particular, can run up to three times as much as you would pay in Bangkok. This is partly because Phuket has a low season and operators must make enough money in the high season to sustain them in lean times, but it is mostly because of the stranglehold the taxi ‘mafia’ has on Phuket. Territories are tightly defended which often means drivers return empty and charge you effectively double as a result. There is a maximum amount tuk tuk drivers can charge, but you are expected to negotiate a lower mutually acceptable price with your driver. Thankfully Phuket ferries don’t seem to have the same issues. I flew with Jetstar International to Phuket. The flight landed at 8pm and we departed first thing the next morning which didn’t leave much time to organise our ferry from Phuket to Krabi on arrival. I have booked ferry tickets in Phuket before (rather than online). In my experience the prices don’t differ dramatically between agents and they are largely unwilling to negotiate much. Despite this, I still found them better value than purchasing a last minute ticket at the pier. For all these reasons, I chose to book my ferry from Phuket to Krabi online. There are two locations in Krabi that the Phuket to Krabi ferry services; Ao Nang and Railay Beach. The ferry from Phuket to Krabi will take ~2½ to Ao Nang and ~3 hours to Railay Beach. In my search for the best value ticket, six sites stood out; Phuket Ferry, Direct Ferries, 12G0, Viator, Get Your Guide, Viator and Klook. I ruled out Direct Ferry straight away as their only option was a 9 hour convoluted journey with Phi Phi Cruiser. No thanks. 12GO was ~AUD$40, Viator was ~AUD$34 and Get Your Guide was ~AUD$33. Both Phuket Ferry and Klook were ~AUD$26. I booked with Klook because a) They were the cheapest for the same service; b) I have used them many times before and I trust them; c) they included a free hotel pick up in selected areas in Phuket (Patong, Kata, Karon and Phuket Town) and free drop off in selected areas in Ao Nang; and d) the Phuket Ferry website was super glitchy and I really couldn’t be bothered to deal with it. Booking with Klook was super easy. They take all major credit cards and issue an electronic voucher which can be printed if you prefer.
My Experience On The Phuket To Krabi Ferry
Our ferry from Phuket to Krabi was with Ao Nang Travel & Tour Co Ltd onboard the Ao Nang Princess. The ticket we booked with Klook included a free pick up from the Me Room in Phuket Town where we stayed. First impressions count and the driver that picked us up did not make a good one. He was right on time at 7.45am, but he so abrupt and unwelcoming we felt like a massive inconvenience rather that a valued customer. He was no more pleasant to the other six passengers our shared van picked up along the way. His very helpful instructions when we reached Phuket’s Rassada Pier were limited to ‘watch you head’ and ‘number 7’. Awesome. Thankfully things got much better after that. The staff at Kiosk 7 were infinitely more cheerful as they checked the passengers in. Tickets were collected and passengers were issued gate passes and colour coded stickers for their bodies and bags. Our ferry from Phuket to Krabi had three stops; Ao Nang, Railay Beach and Koh Lanta. Those getting off at Ao Nang were issued bright red stickers. The most popular time to depart Phuket is in the morning and vessels were moored three deep at the pier when we arrived. Our boat was on the outer edge and we had to clamber across two other boats to reach it. As I watched other passengers struggle with cumbersome luggage on the precarious route I was very glad I had my High Sierra rolling duffel. I simply unzipped the back, pulled out the backpack straps and slung it over my shoulders leaving my hands completely free. All luggage is stored on deck and may be inaccessible during the voyage so remove what you need before handing your bags to the crew. I always travel with a collapsible backpack that takes up virtually no room. I removed my laptop, our passports and some snacks and popped them in the surprisingly roomy backpack before handing over our luggage. The Ao Nang Princess has two cabins which are much the same and we chose to sit on the lower deck. The only entertainment is a small TV, but it was impossible to hear over the engines so I was glad to have internet reception on my AIS tourist SIM the whole way to Krabi. There are toilets and a small kiosk on board. While there are no outside seats some passengers chose to enjoy the sunshine standing on deck or sitting on the floor. Our ferry from Phuket to Krabi arrived in Ao Nanag 2h 15m later at 10.55am. Many of the passengers on board were disembarking here and it was a mad scramble to retrieve luggage from the high stacks of bags on deck. We stayed onboard and continued the journey on the ferry from Phuket to Koh Lanta. We returned to Ao Nang a few days later on the Koh Lanta to Krabi ferry.
Arriving At Ao Nang Pier Krabi
Ao Nang Pier Krabi is less hectic than Phuket. There is no arrival fee payable in Ao Nang (unlike Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta) which makes exiting a breeze. Helpful Ao Nang Travel & Tour Co Ltd staff are on hand to direct disoriented passengers. We were asked to walk past the pier to the car park around 100 metres away. There were heaps of Ao Nang Travel & Tour Vehicles around and staff were directing folks based on their destination. We stayed at Ananta Burin in the heart of Ao Nang and we were directed to the last vehicle in the row. It was the largest tuk tuk I have ever seen. We were the first to board and thought we had plenty of room. Wrong. Another 20 or so passengers and their luggage piled into the open air cabin which made it very cosy indeed. We were third to be dropped off on the short 10 minute drive into town, which was a blessing.
Alternative Options For Getting From Phuket to Krabi
If catching the ferry from Phuket to Krabi doesn’t appeal, there are alternatives. Unlike some of the other nearby destinations, Krabi is on the mainland which opens up the transport options. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Private Car
If Krabi was our first stop (rather than our second), I would have used a private car to alleviate the need to spend a night in Phuket Town on arrival. The journey from Phuket to Krabi by road is approximately 3 hours. A private car transfer from Phuket Airport to Krabi will cost you ~AUD$136 on Klook, ~AUD$170 on Viator, and ~AUD$116 on 12GO. If you are not coming from the airport, transfers are available from your Phuket hotel to your Ao Nang Hotel for ~AUD$143 on Klook, ~AUD$200 on Viator and ~AUD$158 on Get Your Guide. Pricing is somewhat more complicated on 12GO as the area in Phuket impacts. Check here for prices.
If time is not on our side, a speedboat could work. The only option I could find was on Tigerline, but the speedboat leaves from Ao Por Pier Phuket (not Rassada) and arrives at Railay Beach Krabi (not Ao Nang). The journey is around 45 minutes and ~AUD$66.
3. Public Bus
The public bus is only ฿200. That’s about the only thing it has going for it. Buses leave from the terminal in Phuket Town and drop off in Krabi Town. There are 11 buses per day, the journey takes about 4 hours and the buses are not really conducive to taking lots of luggage. While I believe there is a time to save, this is a compromise too far for me.
Have you been to Krabi? How did you get there? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.
Until Next Time …
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Disclosure Statement: This post is not sponsored. I paid for my ferry from Phuket to Krabi in full. The information in this article is based on my own personal experiences and has not been influenced in any way by the brand(s) featured. This post may contain affiliate links which if clicked may earn me a small commission on purchases at no extra cost to you.