How to get to Koh Lanta from Phuket or Krabi

Last updated on August 9, 2023

I’ve put this post together because the question of how to get to Koh Lanta from Phuket is something I somewhat agonised over! This was mainly because we were travelling to Koh Lanta with kids, so safety, convenience and comfort mattered more than when travelling solo. But it’s also because there are quite a few options, so I needed to make sense of them all.

Luckily for you, I’ve done the legwork and also tried all three different modes of transport. So here’s a quick guide to how to get to Koh Lanta from Phuket and Krabi with the pros and cons for each option.

You’ll likely be arriving from either Krabi or Phuket, so I’ve focused on those two routes. And you have three modes of travel to choose from: car, ferry or speedboat. We tried all three.

I also have a complete family travel guide for Koh Lanta, with tips on where to stay and eat and all the best things to do. And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, here’s our guide to the best Koh Lanta hotels and the pros and cons of each area.

How to get to Koh Lanta from Phuket

Phuket to Koh Lanta speedboat

The fastest route from Phuket to Koh Lanta is the speedboat from Rassada Pier in Phuket to Saladan Pier in Koh Lanta. This takes around 1.5 hours. The boat goes via Koh Phi Phi, often stopping en route or requiring a change of boat. You can also book for just one leg of the journey to or from Phi Phi. The journey time from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi via speedboat is 45 minutes, and 30 minutes from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta.

If the weather is bad, the sea can be very rough, which results in a very bumpy ride that some people find uncomfortable. I read a lot of horrified reviews, which made us question doing the speedboat with kids. However, we were tempted by the speed, so we decided to try it for one leg of the journey, from Ko Phi Phi to Koh Lanta, so long as the weather looked fine.

In the end, we travelled on a very calm day and the journey was fine. It was pretty noisy, but our kids still managed to fall asleep for the journey, so it wasn’t that bad. Plus they loved being on a speedboat for the time they were awake. I’m prone to seasickness, but didn’t get ill on the journey.

The only downside to the speedboat was that we had to wait for about 40 minutes beyond our scheduled departure time for our boat to arrive and there wasn’t much shade where we were on Phi Phi so the kids got pretty irritable. We also brought our own lifejackets for the kids as they didn’t provide them.

I would definitely recommend the speedboat for the journey from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta. But I personally preferred getting the ferry from Phuket to Phi Phi because the more leisurely journey meant we could really enjoy all the stunning scenery. Plus it gave us a couple of hours to explore Phi Phi too.

I would also think twice about taking the speedboat in bad weather. In theory, they shouldn’t run on bad weather days, but if in doubt, perhaps opt for a ferry or taxi instead.

There are a few different speedboat providers and some have terrible reviews, saying they overfill the boats or drive dangerously. We went with Bundhaya speedboats who had by far the best reviews. And we booked through 12Go, which is super easy to use. Check the latest prices here.

The speedboat costs between 1,500 – 2,000 baht per person. Children under 3 travel for free.

Pros

  • Quickest route between the islands
  • Fun way to travel

Cons

  • More expensive than the ferry
  • Some may find it too noisy
  • Can be treacherous in bad weather
  • No toilets on board
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Phuket to Koh Lanta ferry

The ferry is a slightly slower option than the speedboat. In total, it takes 4 hours 15 minutes (as opposed to 1.5 hours on the speedboat). Like the speedboat, it goes via Phi Phi, so you have to either change boats or pick up more passengers there.

If you only take the take the ferry for one leg of the journey, it takes 2 hours from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi, and 1 hour from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta. I know this doesn’t add up to 4 hours 15, but the extra time accounts for the change of boat/wait time in Phi Phi.

The the ferry to Koh Lanta from Phuket is generally a much smoother ride than the speedboat, although it would still be rocky in stormy weather.

Another benefit of the ferry is that because it’s a slower journey, you have more opportunity to enjoy the incredible views. This is especially true en route to Koh Phi Phi from Phuket. The ferry makes a little photo stop close to Maya Bay where The Beach was filmed, giving you the chance to take it all in. Plus the view of the islands on the approach to Phi Phi is stunning.

View of Maya Bay from the ferry

You can also move around on the ferry (you have to stay seated on the speedboat), so you can stretch your legs, and spend some time on the top deck, getting the best views and photos. All these benefits made this the best way to get to Koh Lanta for us.

We went with Andaman Wave who had the best reviews. They have three different classes of travel on the ferry: standard, first and premium. We opted for premium as it was only marginally more expensive and it gave us access to an air-con lounge and the open-air top deck terrace, which had the very best views. The lounge itself had sofas, which made for an extra comfortable journey. Refreshments (coffee, soft drinks and pastries) are also included in the premium price.

There are toilets on the ferry, which is another benefit with young kids.

To be honest, the only downside to the ferry is that it takes longer than the speedboat, so you might want to choose the speedboat if strapped for time.

We didn’t do the transfer between ferries because we were getting the speedboat from Phi Phi, but this also looked a little treacherous and not for the faint of heart. See the photo below!

To get a ferry the whole way costs 900 baht in standard class. And from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi costs 500-1200 baht depending on which class you choose. We went with Andaman Wave because they had the best reviews, but they only offer the route from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi (they don’t continue onto Koh Lanta). To go the whole way, you could go with Ao Nang Ferries who only offer a standard class of travel. Both Andaman Wave and Ao Nang Ferries offer a free pick-up service from most major resort locations in Phuket.

We booked our ticket directly with Andaman Wave.

Pros

  • A smoother ride than the speedboat
  • You can walk around on board
  • Toilets onboard
  • Premium class on Andaman Wave offers extra comfort
  • More opportunity to enjoy the spectacular views

Cons

  • Slower than the speedboat
  • Changing boat at Phi Phi in the sea is a little treacherous with kids

Phuket to Koh Lanta by car

A final option is to travel by car or minivan all the way from Phuket to Koh Lanta. It’s not strictly a taxi all the way because it involves a car ferry crossing from Koh Lanta to the mainland, which takes about 25 minutes. This is include in the price of a taxi. Some hotels, like The Pimalai, offer a private transfer to the mainland via boat and you can get a taxi from there.

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The length of this journey will vary depending on where you’re travelling to and from in Koh Lanta and Phuket, and if you’re getting a private boat transfer or taking the ferry.

If doing a taxi all the way, travelling from northern Koh Lanta to northern Phuket is the shortest journey at about 4.5 hours, including the ferry. It would take an extra 1.5 hours if travelling to and from southern Koh Lanta and Phuket.

If you can get a private boat transfer, the journey is even shorter. For example, The Pimalai hotel transferred us to the mainland on a 30-minute speedboat journey. And then it took us just over 3 hours to drive from there to Phuket Airport. The total journey time was around 3 hours 45 minutes.

The Koh Lanta car ferry schedule runs from 6am-10pm every day.

A service station en route from Koh Lanta to Phuket

It’s important to consider your starting point and destination as in some cases, a taxi takes only marginally longer than the boat options. For example, if we’d travelled by speedboat on the way back to Phuket, our journey would still have taken at least 3 hours and that’s not accounting for wait times. This is because we’d have needed a 30-minute taxi to Koh Lanta pier from The Pimalai, a 1.5 hour speedboat from Koh Lanta to Phuket, and then a 1-hour taxi from Phuket pier to the airport. In this case, the boat and car option was the easiest.

On the contrary, on the way there, we were travelling from Phuket Old Town (5 minutes from Phuket’s Rassada pier) to Khlong Dao (10 minutes from Koh Lanta’s Saladan pier) so we didn’t need to add those extra drive times. In this case the ferry/speedboat was a quicker option.

The taxi route is also a good option during bad weather or if you have to get to the airport and don’t want to risk the boat being cancelled or delayed.

We also enjoyed the views along the drive from Koh Lanta to Phuket, getting to see the limestone mountains inland as opposed to in the sea. It worked well for us, crossing by sea on the way there and road on the way back as we got to see two different types of landscape.

The cost of travelling from Koh Lanta to Phuket by taxi is around 4,500 baht per car. Although expensive as a solo traveller, this can work out cheaper than the speedboat/ferry if travelling as a group.

It can sometimes cheaper to arrange a transfer directly through your hotel in Phuket/Koh Lanta, but you can also book privately with 12go. It’s worth checking both options. Check prices with 12go now.

Pros

  • Travel isn’t subject to weather conditions, so it’s more reliable
  • Can be a quicker options than the boat
  • Can be the cheapest option if carpooling

Cons

  • You don’t get to see Phi Phi
  • Can be a longer option, depending where you’re travelling from
  • More expensive if you’re travelling alone (cheaper if carpooling)

How to get to Koh Lanta from Krabi

To get to Koh Lanta from Krabi, you have the same three options: speedboat, ferry and taxi, but with different journey times. You don’t go via Phi Phi, but depending on where you start your journey, the boat may stop to collect passengers along the way at Railay Beach or Koh Jum.

Krabi to Koh Lanta speedboat

The speedboat from Ao Nang to Koh Lanta takes around 1.5 hours. It has the similar pros and cons to the journey from Phuket to Koh Lanta (see above). This is a more expensive option than the ferry at around 800 baht per person.

Check ticket options and prices on 12go.com.

Krabi to Koh Lanta Ferry

You can get a ferry to Koh Lanta from Ao Nang or Railay Beach. 

It takes around 2 hours and costs around 550 baht per person.

The ferry from Ao Nang stops at Railay and Koh Jum en route.

This option has the same pros and cons as travelling by ferry from Phuket, offering a slightly cheaper and smoother, albeit slower, option to the speedboat, and the chance to enjoy the views.

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Check ticket options and prices on 12go.com.

Krabi to Koh Lanta by car

The taxi journey from Krabi to Koh Lanta has the same pros and cons as the journey to and from Phuket. It still involves the ferry crossing, but the route from the mainland to Ao Nang is shorter at around 1 hour 15 minutes. This makes a total journey time of around 2-2.5 hours, depending on where you’re travelling from in Koh Lanta and Krabi.

When we travelled by car from Koh Lanta to Phuket, we passed by Krabi town. Our journey from the Pimalai to Krabi Town took 2 hours.

If you’re arriving to Krabi airport, travelling by car/minivan is the quickest option for getting to Koh Lanta. You can book a minivan or taxi direct from the airport and it only takes about 50 minutes to get to Hua Hin pier from where you get the car ferry over to Koh Lanta. You will be on the island in around 1.5 hours.

The taxi costs around 3,000 baht. You can book directly with your hotel or via 12go.com.

FAQ about how to get to Koh Lanta

Is it worth stopping at Koh Phi Phi?

If travelling from Phuket to Koh Lanta, you have the chance to stop at Koh Phi Phi en route. If you book the journey as one ticket, you’ll usually only stop to briefly change boats or pick up/drop off passengers. But if you book two separate tickets from Phuket to Phi Phi, and Phi Phi to Koh Lanta, you can give yourself some time to explore Phi Phi. You could just stay a couple of hours and see the area around the pier, or stay longer and explore more beautiful options further afield. You could even do an overnight stay.

We’d heard a lot of negative things about over-tourism on Phi Phi, so didn’t want to stay the night, but we booked a two-hour gap so we could have lunch there and see a bit of what it’s like. We were able to check in with our onward speedboat journey and leave our luggage with them, which made exploring easier.

To be honest, there isn’t a huge amount to see around the pier – it’s mostly souvenier shops, tour operators and restaurants (including an incongruous McDonalds and Burger King!), and it’s incredibly busy. But for us, it was a good opportunity to have lunch. And you can walk down the main lane and see a pretty beach within about 5 minutes. You’d need to stay longer to see some of the Phi Phi highlights though.

Tonsai Pier, Koh Phi Phi

I do, however, think it’s well worth taking the ferry to Koh Phi Phi instead of the speedboat. The views as we approached Ko Phi Phi were spectacular. Over-tourism has certainly, and tragically, put a big dent in the paradise islands’ beauty, but you can’t see that when you first approach from the water. And there’s no doubt these are some of the world’s most spectacular islands. The beauty of the giant limestone rocks against the turquoise sea is breathtaking. So yes, if you have the chance to travel from Phuket to Koh Lanta, I would definitely recommend going by boat so you can see these gorgeous islands.

Where do you fly into for Koh Lanta?

The best airports for travelling to Koh Lanta are Krabi and Phuket.

How to get to Koh Lanta from Bangkok?

The easiest option would be to get an internal flight to Phuket or Krabi and then travel from there, following the instructions in this post.

Can you drive to Koh Lanta?

Yes, but you need to get a 25-minute car ferry from Koh Lanta to the mainland.

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4 thoughts on “How to get to Koh Lanta from Phuket or Krabi”

  1. Hi there, I tried to comment today but not sure if it worked. Did you prebook the ferry to Phi Phi and then pre book the speedboat and hope the ferry got there on time, or just book the speedboat to Koh Lanta when you were there on the day? Thanks Laura

    Reply
    • We pre-booked and made sure to leave plenty of time in case it was late. We wanted to have a little wander around PhiPhi anyway. I think you could probably book a speedboat on the day. You definitely could when we were there, but might be different in high season.

      Reply
  2. The last time I was in Koh Lanta, in 2020 – pre Covid. I actually found your site and used your suggestions of the Bundhaya speedboat from Phuket across to Phi phi and on to Lanta. Super helpful!
    Heading on we went to Krabi – I’m sure it was possible to drive along a bridge off island? Is that right? I’m just confused as I realise your review doesn’t mention that and just wondered if you haven’t used it or chose not to for any reason?
    We will be travelling with our toddler in April and doing the same route again as before this time with a tiny in tow!

    Reply

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