I am trying to figure the best way to get up to Krabi or Phuket from Penang?
Has anyone done this trip, if so did you train/bus it or did you fly?
It seems a little easier to fly and I don't mind paying the extra few dollars to save on time and hassle for this leg of the journey
Can anyone recommend a cheap airline?
Any help or advice would be appreciated.....
airasia.com.my, now has a really cheap flight from KL to phuket.. about RM180.. but no promo for flight from pg to phuket though.. Would recommend by air, any land transport is a painnnn...
Whoops, airasia.com... bus from pg to kl about 3 hours, cost rm30..
I'd probably vote for taking the bus up to Krabi, then take the ferry to Phuket. By the time you deal with getting to airports etc, it would probably be as simple and fast. Actually you can get the ferry from Ko Lanta to Phuket save you going all the way up to Krabi. You can also get an Airasia flight from Penang to Bangkok, then fly back down to Phuket.
One point to keep in mind if you go by bus (land crossing) you get less time on your visa (technically visa exemption) than if you go by air.
'Dodger' makes a good point. Do you need more than 15 days in Thailand? If so, it probably makes sense to fly KUL-KBV on Air Asia. If 15 days are enough, I would take the bus from Penang to Hat Yai, then on to Krabi via bus or minivan. I would spend a few days in the Krabi area before heading for Phuket. Railay Beach is certainly worth a day trip. Railay is the perfect place to island hop the hundreds of islands offshore. Then take a ferry over to Phi Phi. I would guess you will want to visit Phi Phi as well as Phuket.
Good luck with your planning.
[ Edit: Edited on 03-Apr-2011, at 16:23 by vegasmike6 ]
Thanks for that great info...
I actually think I'm going to just bus to Krabi from Hat Yai and then island hop from there. To be honest I don't think we will go to Phuket, the islands and Krabi will be enough.
Is it easy to catch the bus up to Krabi? I believe it's around 4 hours?
From Krabi is it easy to get to Railay Beach via boat? I checked it out and it looks an amazing beach and easy access point to Phi Phi
I did this trip many years ago via train. I think you need to get over to Butterworth for better travel options. Any travel shop in Penang will sell you a ticket for the minivan ride up to Hat Yai (HY). Here is one visitors account of that trip. I took the minivan from HY to Penang. Same thing. A driver that had a death wish to save a few minutes. This is why I took the train back to HY.
My rule of thumb is to get as much metal around you as possible. The train is safest, then large bus, minivan, taxi, motorbike is the worst option. In Thailand, there are basically 2 types of buses. Tourist buses and gov't run or sanctioned buses. The travel shops will book you on the tourist bus. The Thai people use the gov't bus system, so should you. It is much safer and you will have a better experience. They leave from a bus station, not from a travel shop. Choose the A/C or VIP bus when you have a choice.
Once you are in Butterworth, I would check my options. Take the train if the departure times work for you. If not, check the bus station for full size buses going up to HY. Last resort should be the minivan.
Once in HY, you can decide if you want another 4 hours up to Krabi or stay overnight. Again, any travel shop will sell you a minivan seat to Krabi. Don't do it. Get yourself over to the bus station and take a full sized bus to Krabi. Safer, cheaper, more comfortable. You will book the bus to Phuket. It stops in Krabi on the way. Once in Krabi, the bus station is a 4 kms from town. There will be baht buses waiting to run everyone into town. They basically leave when full. Just get in and chat with others. It is a fixed fare to anywhere in town, 10 baht. Krabi has plenty of choices in accommodation. Long tail boats leave for Railay Beach all day long. Or go over to Ao Nang Beach first. You can take a boat from there to Railay.
Good luck with your planning.
[ Edit: Edited on 04-Apr-2011, at 01:28 by vegasmike6 ]
Thank's for taking the time and giving me some great info - my planning is going along nicely. I had to make a few changes though as I realised I'm going to be in Thailand for more than 15 days so need to fly in to get that 30 day visa.
So I have booked a flight from KL (malaysia) to Krabi through airasia - it mean's I will miss out on Penang but flights from there were really expensive. Also means I get more time in Thailand which is the focus of the trip.
We're going to island hop in Krabi to the places you suggested; Ao Nang beach, Railay, Phi Phi, etc. Then head up to the National Park north of Krabi then across to Surat Thani to island hop from there. From there we head up to Bangkok and Chang Mai.
Depending how cheap and adventurous you wana be, when you land in Krabi, don't be plied into getting into one of the taxis, but walk out of the airport (its a small airport) and cross the street. There is a food stand there where the songthaews stop (covered pick up truck with seats in the back). You can get a ride into town for a fraction of the cost of the taxi and its a great experience in meeting the locals.
From Krabi you can also go up to the town of Phang Nga, there's a few things to do here including a boat trip to see the Muslim floating fishing village, and James Bond Island.
When you say you are going to the National Park do you mean Khoa Sok? Its an awesome park and Chiaw Lan Lake is probably one of my best times in Thailand.
If you go to my profile and filter the pictures for Thailand, you'll find pics of all the above.
Lets see if this works. Thai pics ah nope, get you to my page, but you still have to filter for the Thai pics
Ok this thread is really making me think I need to go back to Thailand.