Phangan Island Transport | Getting around on Koh Phangan in public transportation
On the subject of free transportation, many of the hotels will quite happily arrange transport for you between their property and where the ferry lands. Between this and the Songthaew service, you can see quite a bit of Koh Phangan without having to worry about a car hire.
We find the taxi service so convenient, we never bother with a car on Koh Phangan. Most of the meters are turned off, but the taxi drivers will turn them on at your request. You will occasionally find illegal taxis on the island, but not as many as in other destinations. These illegal taxis aren't metered, and are generally operated by people who are interested in making a little extra money with the family car. Don't be afraid if the police pull the taxi over and give them a ticket-the police will not concern themselves with you, and the taxi drivers believe it is all part of the price of making a little extra money on the side.
Even with the metered taxis, you will want to negotiate a price for the trip before you get into the cab. This will prevent the taxi driver from charging you what he thinks you can afford.
Note: Sometimes the driver will tell you that the hotel you wish to stay at is terrible, too expensive, or closed, and offer to take you to something much better. This is not necessarily true. The drivers are often given a percentage for every customer they bring into certain hotels and restaurants. Go to your planned hotel first before making any hasty decisions.
Most taxi drivers speak enough English to get you where you need to go.
Think of these as a cross between a pickup truck and a bus. They are the most convenient way to get to the beaches and in and out of the towns. You can flag one down pretty much any time you see one. Check the destination written on the front of the vehicle and make sure it is going where you want to go.
Do not rent a motorcycle unless you plan on dying soon. This is a bit blunt, but most of the fatalities on Koh Phangan roads are tourists that were riding motorcycles. There are places to rent on practically every corner at very low prices, but it really isn't worth it. Besides, the roads in Koh Phangan are still a work in progress, and even if you are an experienced motorbike driver, you won't enjoy yourself.
If you wish to experience Phan Ngan from a motorbike, take a motorcycle taxi. You can find young men with motorcycles that have passenger cars. They will be wearing cloth jackets. Take one of these. It is still something of a hair-raising experience, but you will have the comfort of knowing that you will get out of it alive.
What you think of as a limousine and what the average Thai thinks of as a limousine are not the same thing. Essentially, a "limousine" is an American style car that may or may not come with a driver. Check the regular taxi prices and see if the "limousine" is worth the expense.