First, why do you want to come to Khao Lak by road and rail? Is it cost, as it will be cheaper than flying from Bangkok to Phuket then by taxi to Khao Lak, which is by far the most popular way, but depending on which airline you choose perhaps not as much cheaper as you may think?
Is it perhaps because you think you will enjoy magnificent views through beautiful countryside, again that is not necessarily the case. The train from Bangkok to Surat Thani is overnight and is not the Orient Express. It is a local train with 3 classes. From Surat Thani to Khao Lak by road, either by public bus, mini-bus or taxi, is a long drive albeit with some lovely views.
In total it will take you upto about 12 hours. Flight from Bangkok to Phuket is about 75 minutes, then taxi from the airport to the Riverside about the same.
So I don't think rail/road is a bad idea but IMO it is not the best way, particularly if you have a fair amount of luggage with you.
Flights from Bangkok are with AirAsia (like RyanAir - but better!), Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways, both scheduled airlines and more expensive. Nok Air is a good value alternative but flies from the old Don Mueang airport so requires a transfer to there by taxi.
Taxi from Phuket to the Riverside will cost 1000 baht each way with Khao Lak based Cheaper than Hotel Taxis on firstname.lastname@example.org
For November my airasia ticket cost was really cheap1400bht, taxi are definitively getting more expensive than flights, and that is a nonsense. There should be a minivan shared service, even the extra expensive Samui airport has one....
And one third of the cost was extra baggage fee, they tend to charge a lot for every part of excessive kilos so better stay large....airplanes are brand new airbus, so new you can only hope the testing was done right...
IMO you'd be exhausted by the time you arrive, and what's the point of that? Grab a cheap flight to Phuket with Air Asia, or Nok Air.
Thanks everyone for your good advice.
Yes - I had thought that the sleeper train would be a fun experience and would allow me to see more of the country.
Also after spending a lot of time on planes for the rest of my travels, I thought it might make a pleasant change.
However, it sounds like I am setting myself up for an exhausting experience, when I could just spend the time on the beach !
Many thanks again for your guidance.
Better getting to the beach, having a massage, a cold beer, a sleep - jet lag, what jet lag!!!!
From the airport you can get the shuttle that goes to Phuket town but tell them you want to catch the Takuapa bus and they will drop you off at a bus stop along the main road. The bus passes by every hour and will drop you off anywhere along the main road in Khao Lak. This will cost you maximum 200 baht per person.
you can check Bangkok airways now 2,900 Baht round trip
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