Frequent boats link the mainland towns of Chumphon or Surat Thani with the islands of Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, or Ko Tao. From Samui's Nathon Pier, the trip to Thong Sala, in Ko Pha Ngan, takes 45 minutes with the Songserm Express Boat and costs 250B. Contact them at their local office (tel. 07737-704); the Seatran vehicular ferry service is once daily, leaves from Bang Rak, takes longer, and is only slightly cheaper.
The fastest way to Ko Pha Ngan from Samui is by the twice-daily Lomprayah Catamaran (on Samui, tel. 07742-7765; on Ko Pha Ngan, tel. 07723-8412; www.lomprayah.com), which leaves from Wat Na Phra Larn on Maenam. The crossing takes about 20 minutes and costs 400B to 500B. Lomprayah also makes daily connections on to Ko Tao and back to the mainland at Chumphon (but not to Surat Thani). The Haad Rin Queen also runs a service four times daily from Big Buddha beach directly to Had Rin Pier that takes 50 minutes for 150B. Boats can also be chartered from Petcharat Marina at Samui's Big Buddha Beach (tel. 07742-5262) or Bophut Beach (rates are greatly inflated during Full Moon parties). You'll also find getting back to the mainland much cheaper than getting there, but exert caution between June and December, as freak storms have been known to put lives at risk.
The tourist police operate a small information kiosk on the north end of the ferry offices at Thong Sala pier; contact them at tel. 07737-7114 for info or 1155 in an emergency. There are branches of all the high street banks with ATMs both along the main street of Thong Sala and in Had Rin. For more information about the island, visit www.phangan.info; the website is a bit simple, but the information is current. On www.phanganist.com you’ll find listings of current events and Full Mood party schedules.
Motorbike rental on Ko Pha Ngan is available at most tour companies and resorts across the island (basic jeeps run from 1,000B; regular motorbikes run from 200B per day). However, the island roads aren’t as easy to navigate as they are in other parts of Thailand. Many interior roads, including the one to secluded Thong Nai Pan in the north, are hilly, muddy tracks, requiring off-road skills. (It’s not just the state of the roads, but also the inexperienced riders on the road, that are problematic.) Exercise caution, wear a helmet because it will keep you safe, and because it’s the law (officials are starting to enforce that law). Souped-up scooters are rented out for about 300B per day, but if you’re inexperienced in off-road biking, it’s much safer to stick to songtaews (communal pickups), which follow the main routes and cost from 50B to 100B, more at night or during party season. Avoid renting bikes during Full Moon party days.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.