Located just off the coast of Pattaya, Koh Larn is the nearest island to Bangkok, or at least it is the most accessible island when it comes to tourists. As it is easy enough to visit Koh Larn on a day-trip even, where travel from Bangkok to Koh Larn Island in Pattaya takes in-and-around 3 hours each way. Although I’d personally give it a night. For travel from Bangkok to Koh Larn, the best route is via the crossing at Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya, and buses and minivans leave from Bangkok’s ‘Eastern’ Ekamai Bus Station (found next to Ekamai BTS Skytrain) to reach the pier in Pattaya in under 2 hours. But there will be various advantages to both types of transport, where bigger buses have plenty of space for baggage, and they’re just a lot less cramped and more comfortable. But, if travelling light with just a small backpack, I would definitely go with the minivans, as they leave quicker, move faster, and they importantly drop passengers directly to Bali Hai pier in Pattaya. Otherwise, both minivans and buses cost around 150 Baht from Bangkok to Pattaya, give or take.
Travel to Bali Hai Pier (Pattaya)
Travel to Pattaya normally takes around 2 hours, but this often depends on the traffic when leaving Bangkok, although minivans should be around 30 minutes faster. The minivans will also drop passengers to they’re desired destination, at least within the central areas of Pattaya, and this includes Bali Hai Pier found just a stone’s throw from Pattaya’s notorious Walking Street. Otherwise the larger buses have only the one stop, at Pattaya’s bus terminal, meaning onward travel is necessary to reach Bali Hai Pier for the crossing to Koh Larn. Fortunately, the bus station has a connecting Songtaew hub (below left), and one-way travel to the Bali Hai Pier costs around 50 Baht per person. So, again, for travel from Bangkok to Koh Larn, the minivan option is best.
Boats from Pattaya to Koh Larn
There are then two options for travel from Pattaya to Koh Larn, with both speedboats and passenger ferries offering regular crossings to the island. And again each has their various although obvious benefits, where speedboats are faster, taking roughly 15 minutes each way, but are more expensive at around 200 to 300 Baht per person to travel to the main pier at Nabaan Pier (400 to 500 baht roundtrip). The more affordable option otherwise is the Koh Larn Ferry which costs 30 Baht each way, with the option of two different arrival ports, either Nabaan Pier or Tawaen Beach. And these two routes generally alternate every hour e.g 07:00AM Nabaan Pier, 08:00AM Tawaen Beach etc. Travel time to Koh Larn takes around 45 minutes.
Overnight on Koh Larn
Koh Larn is a relatively small island, meaning you can easily walk between the pier and the main beaches, so it really doesn’t matter which pier you arrive to, or where you choose to stay. There will always be cheap motorbike hire as well, or motorbike taxis to make travel on the island easier. Otherwise Tawaen Beach would be the most popular tourist beach on Koh Larn, where most of the hotels are found, although no accommodation is found on the actual beach. They are more inland. But hotels are relatively expensive on Koh Larn, when compared to Pattaya at least, which is due to limited availability with only 31 hotels listed on booking.com. You do need to book in advance.