It will take about 2.5 hours to drive to Ban Phe town using a private car.
The cost of transfer from Bangkok to Ban Phe Pier is approximately 2,500-3,000 baht per car/taxi.
The highway was in good condition and mostly we travelled between 100-120 km/hour. Although traffic was quite heavy getting out of Bangkok, it was pretty smooth flowing once we got out of Bangkok. Nearing Rayong, we found quite a few traffic lights which made the journey slower than we had expected.
(more details on how to get to Ban Phe & Samet are listed under my "Things to Do")
Note to Malaysians: By comparison to Malaysian expressways, the highways here are not as straight and because of the heavy vehicles, you won't be able to speed along quite so easilly. If you are taking the bus/coach, please be prepared to spend twice as long, around 4-5 hours on the coach for the same journey.
From Ban Phae there are several boats daily going on to Ko Samet. None of the boats I have seen look very stable - and they might actually not be so safe. Let's say it this way: aside from the handful of tourists (and a motorbike) there was one local lady on board - and she had taken and worn her own life-vest. I don't think the boat had any life-vests. On the way back we were offered a ride on a real boat by the owner of our cottages we had befriended. it was a much more pleasant ride - in particular since we ran into a storm and the sea got really choppy (to say the least). I'm quite glad we were not on one of the local fragile boats on that occasion
Catch a bus from BKK-Samet at Ekkamai Station. It costs less than 150THB. There is a new bus hourly but you may want to go before midday since it will take 3-4 hours to get there. Must remember that you will have to take a boat from the mainland to koh Samet. The last boat is around 4pm. Its a 30 mins ride.
*The boat schedule may be changed, so better check with travel agency.
I was a little scared to get a motorcycle after all ive only ridden a few times in my life. Well i shopped around and the first one i looked at was a auto, yes i was gonna be a wuss... he wanted 500 baht for the day and my passport, wellyou aint getting that, ok he wanted my ID well you aint getting that either. Then he said i can sign a contract and give a 1000 baht deposit. Forget that.. I walk further down and find another auto... 500 baht or something like that too... well he showed me his bargain bike, .... 250-350 i cant remember which... either way it was the cheapest probably on the island. It had been dropped a time or too before. So the guy gave me a run down on how to operate it and off i went.. also no deposit or anything... downside it had street tires... i highly recommend one with dirtbike tires... quite a few times it almost slipped out under me, but i got the skills to pay them bills.. or soemthing...... i didnt wreck, BE CAREFULL THOUGH!!!
We travelled from Pattaya to Koh Samet and believe we found the cheapest way to get there.
First, to Sukhumvit Road and catch the Rayong bus that passes frequently, this cost 60THB.
At Rayong bus station at the side of the ticket counters was a pick up bus which cost us 20THB to the pier and then we paid 50THB for the ferry which leaves when it has 20 customers. Total price 130THB.
Getting TO/AROUND: You can catch a air-con bus to Banpe Pier at Ekamai or Morchit Bus Station.The fare is about 157 baht and buses leaves regularly .The trip takes 3-4 hours depending on the trafic going out of Bangkok
In order to get to Ko Samet from Bangkok, you would firstly need to drive to the town of Ban Phe. There are several highways out of Bangkok and onto Ban Phe/Rayong area.
1) Take the highway to Pattaya using Highway No 34 (Bang Na Trat) (pay a combined toll of 60 baht), and from there it is about 60 km to BanPhe/Rayong on Highway 36.
2) The more direct route is to take the highway 34 from Bangkok to Chon Buri, and then Highway No. 344 (Ban Bung-Klaeng), then turn into Highways No. 331 and No. 36 to Ban Phe/Rayong.
When you get off the Ferry/Boat you will see these kind of trucks parked right there. To take you anywhere they charge 200 baht per person, doesnt matter how far you are going. To walk to the first and main beach (Hat Sai Kaew) takes 10-15 minutes from the dock. We walked and it wasnt a problem with the bags just to save money, so anyways, if you want to save money then no point in taking these, if you want to bounce around in the back of the truck then please yourself....the rides are super bouncy i hear.....
To get to Ko Samet, catch a boat from Ban Phe (or pier Phe). Tickets can be purchased at the counter at the pier.
A slow boat to Ko Samet costs about 60baht, and takes about 30 minutes. Boats will generally wait until most seats are taken before leaving. During peak seasons, they can get a bit crowded, so if you want a seat, get on the boat early.
Visitors will also need to purchase a National Park entry ticket, which costs 200baht for foriegners and 50baht for locals. If you can pass off as a Thai, keep silent and just hand over 50baht ;p You will pass an office where a uniformed guard will be collecting the payment, on the way to your place of accomodation, and not at the pier.
To get to Ban Phe from Bangkok, catch a bus from the Eastern Bus Terminal, which is next to the Ekamai BTS Station.
A bus for Ban Phe leaves hourly, with the first bus at 5am and the last bus at 7pm. The 3.5-hour journey to Ban Phe costs 124baht (one way).
The bus is air-conditioned and a small snack and drink will be provided. A movie will also be screened during the journey.
At Ban Phe, it is a short 3-minute walk to the pier. Those who've got time on their hands may wish to explore the nearby marketplace or grab something to eat at any of the surrounding eating places.
From Bangkok and back to Ban Phe, I have taken the bus, minibus, meter taxis but the last few years use Image limo who have safe drivers (in short supply in Thailand). Maybe not the cheapest but excellent service.
khao san to mbk (bus no.47, 7b)
mbk to ekkamae (train, 30b)
ekkamae to rayong (bus, 126b or 160b)
rayong to nadan pier (ferry, 50b)
Transport to the island is obviously by boat. took about 30 minutes or so. Can get very busy, so get a seat early, otherwise u could be standing for the whole time.