Adventure seekers wanting to traverse from the picturesque coastal province of Trang in the Andaman Sea to the nearby islands have often grappled with elevated prices for hiring local long-tail boats or speedboats. However, the tide is about to change with the introduction of a new, affordable service by Samart Charoenrit’s Satun Pakbara Speed Boat Club Co Ltd. His company has geared up to offer regular speed-boat services to Ngai, Kradan, and Muk islands, commencing November 1.
As the Managing Director, Samart is well aware of the rising tourism tide, spurred in part by the government’s visa exemption bestowed on visitors from China and Kazakhstan. The new service is squarely aimed at this surge in tourists flocking to the azure waters of the Andaman. Notably, Samart is also the President of the Satun Provincial Tourism Council, privy to the changing patterns and demands in tourism.
The rejuvenated speed-boat route springs to life at Pak Meng Harbour, situated in Trang’s Sikao district, with boats circumnavigating through Koh Ngai, Koh Kradan, and Koh Muk, in that order before homeward bound. Comfortably accommodating up to 35 passengers, this new mode of transport plans to challenge the status quo, where tourists had to shell out massive sums for boat services to the island destinations.
Somchai Thaewkaew, an established tourism operator in Trang, helps us understand the financial relief this service may offer. Currently, getting to Koh Kradan with a long-tail boat from the mainland can deplete your wallet of a staggering 2,000-2,500 baht, while a speed boat requires a heftier expense of 8,000-12,000 baht. A typical tour boat charges 500 baht for a one-way trip per passenger. Somchai is optimistic that from next month, these new speed-boat services would make island hopping an economical adventure, especially for those aiming to tour Trang’s three sought-after islands.
True, we still await details, such as fare costs and timings, but what we do know is that Satun Pakbara Speed Boat Club is also set to roll out a mega service catering to 50 passengers, on the popular Phuket-Andaman Sea-Langkawi Island route. Starting October 20, passengers aboard this boat from Phuket can make stops at Phi Phi, Lanta, Ngai, Kradan, Muk, Bulon, and Lipe islands, before plying to Malaysia’s Langkawi Island. This new offering is sure to be a major draw for international tourists. Even though it’s early, one can almost feel the excitement of this upcoming service stirring up a wave of joy in travel enthusiasts.