After my four days of stay in Patong, I needed to go to Ao Nang in Krabi. I checked with a few travel agents in town who all advised me to book a seat in a mini van that would pick me up from my hotel in Patong and then drop me at the bus station in Krabi town, directly without any hassle and would cost me 650 THB. Of course it would be easy but then one can buy an air ticket between Bangkok and Krabi for about 700 THB and that made me think hard. 650 THB seemed too much. What was the other alternative. Some friendly staff in an Indian restaurant told me that there was a nice air-conditioned bus service between Phuket town and Krabi town and it did not cost much. But that would require me to first travel from Patong to Phuket town and then find the bus station in Phuket town. I estimated the cost of this bus trip. I would pay 30 THB for the bus ride from Patong to Phuket town, then some more money to a motor bike taxi to go to the bus station. A ticket for the A.C. bus from Phuket town to Krabi would cost approximately 150 THB. Another public bus ride from Krabi bus station to Ao Nang would cost 30 or 40 THB. My total expenditure as per this option was going to be within 250 THB and that would mean a cool saving of 400 THB. I was not carrying too much luggage anyway and was really ready for the cheaper bus journey.
Why The 650 THB Mini Bus From Patong Was Not Attractive
Yes, the cost was steep anyway but otherwise also this mini bus did not appeal to me. Look at the timings of the direct mini bus. There are two services each day of this mini bus. The morning mini bus starts from Kata – Karon at 6.40am, reaches Patong at 7.00am and Phuket town at 7.30am. From Phuket town it another takes 4 hours to reach Krabi Bus Station at 11.30am. For the onward trip to Ao Nang, one again needs to take another local bus. Its a total of 4 hours 30 minutes from Patong up to Krabi and then another 30 minutes to Ao Nang and the total cost would be 680 THB. The afternoon service starts from Kata Karon at 12.00pm, Patong at 12.30pm and the bus arrives in Krabi town at 4.30pm. The morning service was too early and the afternoon service would take me to Krabi town at 4.30pm leaving me with the anxiety of travelling further on my own to Ao Nang. If someone had said that the mini bus will take me directly to my hotel in Ao Nang, I would perhaps have considered this option.
The Cheaper Option
1. Bus From Patong To Phuket Town
I started from my hotel in Patong at 10.00am and walked to the Beach Road which was about a 10 minute walk away. The public bus from Patong to Phuket Town leaves every 30 minutes and can be boarded from anywhere on the Beach Road. They stop whenever they spot a passenger standing on the roadside. Carrying any number of bags on this bus is allowed free of charge. You just need to buy a ticket at 30 THB per person. The fare is displayed prominently in each bus. This ride will take anything between 30 to 45 minutes depending on how many times they stop on the way.
2. Motor Bike Taxi Or Tuk Tuk From Phuket Town To Phuket Bus Terminal
The Patong – Phuket Town bus drops you somewhere in a market area from where the options of Tuk Tuk or motor bike taxi are available to take you to the bus station. There is a 10 THB per person local bus too that goes to the bus station but finding that one will be hard for a first time tourist. I bargained with a motor bike taxi. He asked for 100 THB first and then came down to 70 THB. I tried bringing him down to 50 THB but he would not budge. So, I paid 70 THB and within 15 minutes was at the entry to Phuket Bus Terminal No. 2. When hiring transportation to Phuket Bus Terminal, just tell those people that you need to take a bus going to Krabi.
3. Phuket Bus Terminal No. 2
The bus terminal building has a small entrance but is quite big inside. Immediately after entering, one sees this ticketing area on the right side. Some staff of the bus companies are always shouting calling tourists towards their counters. Now wherever you plan to go from here, check with a couple of counters before you buy your ticket. Different bus companies have almost similar fares but some buses will leave earlier than others. I made the mistake of thinking there was only one bus service to Krabi. I was at the bus station at 11.30am but only got the ticket for the bus leaving at 1.30pm. The cost of one bus ticket from Phuket to Krabi was 145 THB when I bought it. I had walked over to a counter from where a lady was shouting Krabi-Krabi. Later I found out that at another ticket counter they were selling tickets for a 12.30pm bus to Krabi. Anyway, I spent those two hours reading an ebook on my tab.
There are some food stalls in the terminal that sell snacks, soft drinks, and water bottles. After some language hassle, I was able to buy plain slated peanuts from one of the stalls.
4. The Bus Ride To Krabi
The bus was air-conditioned, and had a small LCD TV on which they played Thai music videos the entire length of the trip. The seats were comfortable and the seat next to me was empty and so were many other seats in the bus. It was September and low season. Perhaps it will not be so easy to get a bus of one’s choice in the busy tourist season. The bus took three and a half hours to reach Krabi.
5. Public Bus From Krabi Bus Station To Ao Nang
I asked around for a ride to Ao Nang and a very determined travel agent almost tried to force me to hire a taxi at 350 THB. She kept saying there was no bus service. I had to walk around the bus station once before I spotted this small bus on which ‘Krabi Town – Ao Nang’ was written. It was like the Baht buses that we see in Pattaya. I was the only passenger and a little worried but the bus driver started almost immediately. He dropped me on the beach road in Ao Nang and asked for a fare of 40 THB. Perfect, I was in Ao Nang before dark and after seeking directions from an Indian restaurant was able to walk to my hotel – Ao Nang Goodwill Hotel. The journey from Patong to Ao Nang had taken some time and some vehicle changes on the way but nothing had been really difficult. I was happy to have learnt about this option and at the same time having saved some money too. Also Read: Phuket Airport to Patong/Kata/Karon By Mini Van & Bus