Koh Phangan is easily accessed via Koh Samui Airport though it is slightly cheaper to fly to Suratthani. From Koh Samui a fast boat takes only 30-40 minutes whereas the journey from the mainland takes around 2-3 hours.
If you come overland from Bangkok, the overnight train is a popular option along with buses which are the most economic choice. Ferry services are frequent throughout the day from Koh Samui, Donsak and several boats also leave regularly from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan.
Most travel agencies will be able to sell an all-in-one ticket from Bangkok or many other destinations within Thailand direct to Koh Phangan which includes the bus and ferry.
Buses depart from Bangkok at around 7pm, arriving early morning in Suratthani in time for the first ferry to Koh Phangan. As a more convenient option consider buying a ticket on the well organised Government Bus which actually goes on the Raja Ferry and saves times and discomfort changing modes of transport.
There are also several other bus routes (mostly via mini-bus) linking Suratthani with other major destinations just ask the local travel agents for details.
Second Class (Air Con or Fan) Sleeper trains are the best as you get a table and sofa that turns into fairly spacious bed. The best beds are within First Class with a sink and double bunks in each room & are good if you are travelling with a lot baggage.
It is worth booking ahead with a travel agent as the train is a popular choice of transport and fills up quickly during peak periods. All trains for Koh Phangan stop at Surat Thani railway station which is a few miles out of town. Most trains arrive in the morning and guides take you to buses which transport you to the ferry port, approximately a 1 hour drive away.
If you arrive at the train station without an onward ferry ticket there are plenty of travel offices opposite the railway station, any of which can arrange the transfer to the pier.
If you are coming to Koh Phangan from the mainland, buses, trains and planes all stop around Surat Thani where you will be transferred to one of several Donsak jettys which is a 50 minute bus ride away. From Donsak, Raja (3 hours) car ferry has five services a day, Songserm Ferry Service runs two ferry’s daily (2½ hours), or hop on the Lomprayah Catamaran (1½ hours). Seatran offers 3 boats a day between the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. The Haad Rin Queen runs 4 ferries’s a day between Koh Samui and Koh Phangan but unlike the other operators does not arrive in Thongsala choosing to arrive in Haad Rin Koh Phangan. While coming from Surat Thani the Night Boat departs at 10.00pm which is a slow overnight trip arriving around 5-6am on Koh Phangan, so if you arrive later and don’t want to spend the night in a hotel this is a popular choice.