New to this forum but had a look at many interesting posts.
We are going to Ko Samui from Bangkok (overnight train) and then returning Ko Samui, Surat Thani to Krabi and on to Ao Nang. There have been many discussions on various forum regarding Government Buses versus private companies. We would like to travel by BKS Government bus as we do not fancy being crammed in a minibus with a mad driver, etc. etc. Could someone give me directions to the bus station, and approx departures times/costs, and travel times, approx!! as I know they use thai time!!
Also is there an english BKS website to look at their schedules for the whole of Thailand. Have had couumication from Phantip Travel, but they seem expensive and have bad reviews. Which is the best ferry company to use and are their website reliable.
On route TO ko Samui, what is the best way to get from train station to pier for Ko Samui Ferry.
Here is a helpful website for Surat Thani (ST). You are correct to be concerned with scammers and touts. Read carefully about getting from the train station to ST bus stations. Decide what ferry is best for you and what port it leaves from. There are several options. Here are some ferry times/prices. I would chat with your fellow travelers at the ST train station. Just about every foreigner there is going to the islands. Find out what they paid for bus/boat tickets. If they are independent travelers as well, join up and figure out your best choice on getting to Samui.
After Samui, I would get back to ST on best ferry option for you. Then you need to get to the bus station that serves Krabi. I agree with your decision to avoid the minibus and the private buses the travel shops flog. The Thai people choose the gov't bus system, so should you. My best advice? Get as much metal around you as possible. Train is best, VIP gov't bus next, regular gov't buses, minibus, taxi and worse choice of all: motorbike (MB) taxis or rental MBs. Yes, MBs are fun, but there is a huge downside if you fall off, hit something or get hit.
Krabi has plenty to see/do and is one of the prettiest part of Tland IMO. This site may help with your planning. Click on 'transport' button for info on bus from ST. Good luck with your planning.
On any bus keep your valuables with you or near your seat within view. Do not put computers, money, passport, meds, jewelry in any checked in bag! When I am on a bus or train and use the overhead racks I prefer to have the bag forward of me so I can keep an eye on it. Have locks on your bags. So far I have been lucky using buses and trains for the 15 - 16 years.
Quick Google check might help too for Surat Thani.
great info and some great links.