Jump to content
BANGKOK 19 March 2019 02:32
Sign in to follow this  
webfact

Seatran: The always faithful ferry

Recommended Posts

The always faithful ferry

By Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul 
THE NATION

 

7955017b089558f495658d13c35c6573-sld.jpe

One of two major ferryboat services plying Thai waters, Seatran Ferry has been in business for 30 years.

 

Among the Gulf islands, book passage with Seatran, which has been riding the waves for 30 years

 

It’s not so much fear of flying over open water that puts bums on the seats of ferryboats to get from Surat Thani to Koh Samui and back. It’s all about the bloody convenience and, well sure, the vastly cheaper fare.

 

Seatran Ferry, which has been in business for 30 years – not counting a brief hiatus that ended in 2002 – gets its passengers from Donsak Pier in Surat Thani to Nathon Pier on Samui Island in 120 minutes. Its boats are chugging back and forth every day from 5am to 7.30pm.

 

71a6670bc858de588b579f99ffe1175d.jpeg

 

Up to 600 people and 80 vehicles can fit on the ferry. Passengers pay Bt150 each and another Bt400 to Bt470 if they have a vehicle, the rate varying with vehicle size.

Note that you cannot take your car to Samui on a plane – unless you’re very rich or very well connected.

 

47275e7172eb8b9fe2906d3626a03917.jpeg

 

“Ferryboat services are being used more and more by Thai and foreign tourists,” says Seatran general manager Benjawan Tanphaibul. 

 

“There’s a rumour about a new concessionaire who’s going to jump-start the business, but it isn’t easy because of the huge investment and high maintenance costs involved.

 

691d1fb1e79f10bb009856f12cc9d98c.jpeg

 

“Sustaining our business requires continual improvements in service, with many fine experiences, as well as maintenance. We have our own shipyard with inspections and maintenance checks every two years,” she says.

 

One of the “fine experiences” Benjawan refers to is an auspicious pre-cruise van drive to Wat Donsak, home to the world’s largest statue of revered monk Luang Phor Thuat (1582-1682).

 

69f906ec97b76ab3299a1cddaa8c01de.jpeg

 

On boarding the ferry, passengers tend to spread out according to personal preference. Some take up positions at the stern to enjoy the views of the Gulf and the islands. Others grab a seat indoors to read or chat or take a nap. I was in a group holding “frequent traveller” cards and we had our own private space.

 

Boredom doesn’t seem to be a factor on the journey, not with a coffeeshop, a well-stocked mini-mart and a place to get your feet massaged for 45 minutes for Bt300. 

 

924651940d3f44ede31474cefcd70118.jpeg

 

“Our passengers can feel safe because we have all the basic equipment, such as lifejackets and life rafts,” says Benjawan. “We’re registered as a ‘coastal ship’ so we don’t need to have dinghies. It’s only a 34-kilometre crossing, so rescue vessels could reach us quickly if there were an emergency.”

 

On arrival on Koh Samui, we ride another van up into the hills, to the Fair House Beach Resort & Hotel. There’s a stop along the way at Lad Koh Viewpoint, between Chaweng and Lamai beaches. It offers a wonderful vista, making you appreciate the island’s incredible natural beauty. 

 

095257f058e182be26f34037348a7c5b.jpeg

 

A walk down to the beach and a hop across rocks being attacked by tumultuous waves affords more great photos. We make plans to return the next day and catch what promises to be a stunning sunrise.

 

Waking early the next morning, we’re ready for another ferry ride, this one on the high-speed, 200-passenger Seatran Discovery from Samui’s Bangrak Pier to Koh Phangan. The ride, naturally popular with revellers headed to the monthly full-moon parties on Rin Beach, takes 30 minutes and costs Bt350. 

 

c2cd5e0ad45caa98a2adc9e75160fa52.jpeg

 

From there you can get to Koh Tao on yet another ferry, but that trip takes up to three hours.

 

Koh Phangan has another attraction that surely tops a rave party. Than Sadet Waterfall National Park is so named – it means “he visited” – because the visitor was King Rama V, who came in 1889 to see the waterfall. He was impressed enough to have the royal monogram inscribed prominently on a rock, where it still can be seen.

 

641a202c72dd6c6a658b9d11eee97e96.jpeg

 

And then there’s the Yang Na Yai tree with a circumference of 14.6 metres a height of 53.5 metres. A sign erected by the Department of Rural Roads in 2013 puts the tree’s age at about 400 years. 

 

Our jaws were still slack when we reached Mae Haad Beach in time for low tide, when it’s possible to walk over to little Koh Ma on sand that’s “ocean floor” the rest of the day. 

 

6fd6b65dea731dfa257259308c5a0e86.jpeg

 

Apart from the “separated sea”, visitors come for the beautiful white sand of the beach itself, the sunsets viewed over Koh Ma and some of the best snorkelling and diving on Koh Phangan. 

 

Foreigners swimming in the clear waters off the beach could be seen from the Koh Raham Restaurant & Beach Bar perched on a small rocky outcrop, a nice spot for a coffee break.

 

7ca9b115b8d8b1dafd1aa74b0c8c5851.jpeg

 

Back on Samui, time was rewardingly spent at the Phra Yai Market near Nathon Pier and the Bophut Fisherman’s Village, a walking street packed with tourists struggling to decide what to buy and where to eat. There’s a lot on offer.

 

At Hinta Hinyai you hear the story of an elderly couple killed in a storm during a sea journey. There’s a shrine to Guan Yu, the Chinese god of war who espoused not just bravery and courage but also honesty, loyalty, gratitude and ethical behaviour.

 

36c9bddf996735bffc7f034c44f6ffa3.jpeg

 

And at the restaurant Wang Sarai there is a to-die-for dish among the Hainanese treats called moo kho, which got its name from a technique in food preservation but now, happily, is another memory to be preserved.

 

8a721f7c911e76318ef5b08a4288c8e4.jpeg

 

Off on a sea cruise

 

There are three ways to book passage on the Seatran Ferry. Get a membership card so you can use the Call Centre (077 950 559). Otherwise, visit the Seatran Ferry Office or go online to www.SeatranFerry.com. 

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30364480

 

thenation_logo.jpg

-- © Copyright The Nation 2019-03-11
  • Like 1
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, it's a 'coastal ship' so it doesn't need dinghies, and anyway the trip is only 34 km, so rescue vessels can reach the ship quickly in case of emergency.

Most reassuring.

People have been known to drown within seconds, in puddles on dry land.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much do these advertisements cost? 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<deleted> I have a dive boat & travel less than 34 KM & carry less than 600 & I need both life vests & life boats

How come this ageing monolith gets away without both of these things ?????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So now we get sponsored advertising here instead of news.

By the way how much were you paid for this 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...