I still remember when Rob and I traveled to Koh Tao for the first time, somewhere between 2014 or 2015. It was love at first sight, and we went back a dozen times more, that I even lost count. One of the reasons is that getting to Koh Tao is relatively easy compared to other islands like Koh Lipe, and it’s not as busy and big as Phuket.
Koh Tao is located on the Gulf of Thailand, the island is part of the Chumphon Archipelago that includes Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. So if you’re having all the hassle to discover how to get to Koh Tao, you should visit the other two islands as well. On this Koh Tao travel guide, we talk about traveling between the three islands, and you will see how easy and fast it is.
Koh Tao is a diving and snorkeling paradise, which gives the island a unique chill-out vibe, and endless opportunities for activities. If you’re searching about how to get to Koh Tao, you probably know that already. So instead of talking about the island, let’s focus on getting there.
In case you need more travel inspiration, read here:
Below you will find all the information about how to get to Koh Tao from different places in Thailand, like Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, and even from Chiang Mai. But before we dive in each route, timetables and prices, there are a few things about traveling to Koh Tao that you need to know:
1st – There is no airport in Koh Tao.
2nd – You will need to travel via Surat Thani or Chumphon piers, or via Koh Samui Airport to get to Koh Tao. This means that if you are coming from Bangkok or any other destination in Thailand mainland or in the Andaman coast, you will need to combine different modes of transportation.
3rd – So, if you need to combine transportation like bus + ferry or flight + ferry, the most practical way to travel to Koh Tao is by purchasing the combined ticket, also called joint ticket. You will buy only one ticket that covers the whole trip, from A to B. The company will arrange all the transport, you only need to follow the instructions and keep the ticket with you all the time.
4th – All the boats, ferries and speedboats arrive and depart from Mae Haad Pier in KohTao.
5th – We recommend you booking your combination ticket or ferry to Koh Tao in advance, especially during the high season. The boats are big, but buses, vans, and overnight boats have limited spaces, so it’s better to guarantee your seat in advance. You can search and book your trip to Koh Tao using 12GoAsia or Bookaway websites.
Another option is to arrange transportation with your hotel’s reception. We’ve done that and got good and bad experiences. The price won’t be much different than booking it online.
Now let’s go to the fun part, how to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok and other destinations in Thailand.
How to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao
Bangkok is AMAZING! When you are done with all the awesome things to see in Bangkok you can travel to Koh Tao in many different ways. The distance between Koh Tao and Bangkok is 413km, and to cover it, you need to combine flight + bus/van + ferry, bus + ferry, or train + taxi + ferry.
The fastest way to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok is by flight.
The best option is to fly from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Koh Samui Airport and, from there, get a ferry to Koh Tao. There are many ferries throughout the day connecting Koh Samui and Koh Tao (we’re gonna talk about them later). The flight plus a taxi from the airport to the pier and the boat to Koh Tao will take approximately 6 hours. The price can vary a lot, but if money is not a problem, this is definitely the fastest way to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao.
The second fastest way is to fly from Bangkok Don Muang Airport to one of the airports in South Thailand and from there get a bus, taxi, or van to the pier, and then a ferry to Koh Tao. It sounds like a daunting task, but it’s not that hard. This journey can take from 7 to 9 hours, depending on where you will be flying to. Prices can vary a lot as well.
Our suggestion is to book your flight with a budget airline that offers a combined ticket, so you don’t need to worry about getting from the airport to the pier. AirAsia offers flights from Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani Airports, and NokAir flies from Bangkok to Chumphon Airport. The costs of the ticket will cover the flight, the transfer to the pier and the ferry to Koh Tao.
The cheapest way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao is by train + ferry.
The combination of train and ferry is the cheapest way to travel to Koh Tao from Bangkok. Ten trains depart from Bangkok to Chumphon train stationdaily, from 8 AM to 10 PM. The trip can take from 6 to 9 hours depending on the train you choose, and it can cost from 550 baht for 2nd class to 1,700 baht for the sleeper with A/C.
As you are traveling to Koh Tao, you need to plan your train journey accordingly to the ferry departures. There are three ferries from Chumphon to Koh Tao daily, and your best option is to get one of the overnight trains and buy the ferry ticket that includes the pick-up service at the Chumphon train station. The average price for the ferry is 600 baht. In total, to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao by train and ferry, it will take from 9 to 13 hours.
The most common way to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok is by bus.
The most common and practical way to go from Bangkok to Koh Tao is with Lomprayah High-Speed Catamaran company. They offer two services a day, 6 AM and 9 PM, departing from Khao San Road area and arriving in Koh Tao at 2:45 PM and 8:45 AM, respectively. The ticket costs 1,100 baht and includes the bus and ferry. This is the favorite option for backpackers and travelers who don’t want to face the hassle of going through airport security, boarding on flights, then getting a bus and ferry.
If you want to save time and money on accommodation, the bus from 9 PM is a good choice. The night bus is not super comfortable, but it’s doable. Rob has long legs, so for him, it’s a bit tight, for me it was ok. You’ll probably need to wait at the pier for the ferry to arrive, it can take between one to two hours. The bright side is that you can watch a beautiful sunrise.
You can travel by bus from Bangkok to Koh Tao by booking a regular bus to Chumphon or Surat Thani stations and from there get a taxi to one of the piers followed by a ferry to the island. We don’t really recommend this as you can easily miss the connections, the piers are far from the cities and getting a taxi driver that speaks good English can be challenging. Also, the price won’t be that different, so it’s not worth the hassle.
Note: we traveled from Bangkok to Koh Tao with Lomprayah and AirAsia, both were good and straight forward. Flying is easier because it was during the day and faster, but getting the bus from Khao San Road was fun, we met cool people and had a few beers before boarding.
How to travel from Koh Samui to Koh Tao
As we mentioned, Koh Samui and Koh Tao are neighboring islands. If you are planning to visit it, read our guide on how to get to Koh Samui, and then travel to Koh Tao is easy. There are three companies offering ferries from Koh Samui to Koh Tao: Lomprayah High-Speed Catamaran, Seatran Discovery, and Songserm.
Lomprayah has 2 departures daily, at 8 AM and 12:30 PM. The trip takes 1 hour and 45 minutes; tickets cost around 650 baht. This is the fastest ferry between the islands, if you’re prone to seasickness, I would say to avoid this option and travel with a traditional ferry.
Seatran Discovery offers three ferries per day at 10 AM, 1 PM, and 4:30 PM. The trip from Samui to Koh Tao takes 2 hours and costs around 650 baht.
Another option is catching the ferry at 11 AM with Songserm. This is the cheapest way to get from Koh Samui to Koh Tao, only 450 baht, but it’s also the longest one, 2 hours and a half.
Note: keep in mind that Koh Samui is a big island, and each company has its own pier. When planning your trip, allow time enough to leave your hotel and arrive at the pier with at least 30 minutes in advance. When booking your ferry check if they offer pick-up service, sometimes you pay 100 or 200 baht more and get everything sorted with one ticket.
How to travel from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao
Between Koh Tao and Koh Samui is the beautiful island of Koh Phangan famous for its Full Moon Party and yoga retreats. So you can guess that traveling from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao is easy, and the best way to cover the 46 km is by ferry.
Most of the ferries connecting Koh Samui to Koh Tao stop at Koh Phangan to drop and collect more passengers. The timetable for the ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao is:
Lomprayah High-Speed Catamarans depart from Koh Phagan at 8:30 AM, 1 PM, and 6:15 PM, and the trip takes 1 hour. The price is 500 baht, except for the ferry at 6:15 PM that costs 600 baht.
The Seatran Discovery ticket costs 500 baht, you can choose between three departure times: 8:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 5 PM. This trip takes 1 hour and a half.
The cheapest ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao is with Songserm, the ticket costs only 350 baht. The ferry departs at 12:30, and it’s a 2 hours trip.
Note: the good thing about traveling from Koh Phangan is that all the ferries depart from the same place, Thong Sala Pier.
How to get from Phuket to Koh Tao
Phuketis another incredible island. Located on the Andaman Sea, Phuket is literally on the opposite side of Koh Tao with a big chunk of land and sea in between. So how to get to Koh Tao from Phuket? There are a couple of ways of making this trip, and you can choose between the fastest, the cheaper, or the most common one.
The fastest way to get to Koh Tao from Phuket is by flight.
There are five direct flights from Phuket to Koh Samui daily, then you can get a ferry from Samui to Koh Tao, as we already explained. The flight takes about 1 hour, adding the ferry, you will probably arrive in Koh Tao in 3 or 4 hours. This is definitely the fastest way to get from Phuket to Koh Tao. Check the prices and book your flight here.
The cheapest way to travel from Phuket to Koh Tao is by bus + ferry.
You can take a bus from Phuket to Surat Thani and from there a ferry to Koh Tao (we’re going to talk about how to travel from Surat Thani to Koh Tao below). There are three buses per day connecting Phuket to Surat Thani, the trip takes about 4 hours and a half and costs between 200 to 300 baht.
The challenge here is to get from Surat Thani bus station to the correct pier as there are different companies offering ferries to Koh Tao at different times of the day, and they departed from different piers. If you manage to plan your trip carefully and everything happens as planned, you can make from Phuket to Koh Tao by bus + ferry in 8 to 12 hours, depending on if you choose a ferry or an overnight boat. The price of the ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Tao can vary from 600 to 900 baht.
The best way to get from Phuket to Koh Tao is with Lomprayah bus + ferry service.
Lomprayah offers a direct service from Phuket to Koh Tao, including bus and ferry under one ticket. Plus, the bus goes straight to the company’s pier, so you don’t need to worry about anything. The bus departs from Phuket at 10 AM and arrives on the island at 7:15 PM, the ticket costs 1,300 baht for the whole journey.
Note: some of the buses to Koh Tao depart from Phuket Bus Station and others from the company’s office. Check the details carefully when buying your ticket and make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes in advance.
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How to travel from Krabi to Koh Tao
Like Phuket, Krabiis another fantastic beach destination located on the other side of Thailand, which means that you will face a long journey. Before we share our travel tips on how to get to Koh Tao from Krabi province, you need to know that the traveling time and costs can vary a little bit depending on your departure point, as it can be Krabi Town, AoNang Beach or Railay Beach.
The fastest way to get to Koh Tao from Krabi is by flight.
This is the most expensive and also the fastest way to travel from Krabi to Koh Tao, no surprise here. There is one daily flight from Krabi Airport to Koh Samui. It departs at 1:45 PM and arrives in Koh Samui 55 minutes later, making it possible to catch one of the late afternoon ferries to Koh Tao. The flight price can vary a lot; if you plan in advance, you might find a good deal. Search for the best flights from Krabi to Koh Samui here.
The cheapest option to travel from Krabi to Koh Tao is by bus + ferry.
You can take a bus or minivan from Krabi to Surat Thani and from there a ferry to the island. The road trip takes between 3 to 4 hours and costs from 250 to 350 baht depending on the pick-up and drop off point. From Surat Thani, you can choose the ferry schedule that suits you better. If you book all the tickets separately, this trip will cost around 1,000 baht and take from 7 to 9 hours. Another option is to book everything with the same company and travel with no stress.
The best way to go from Krabi to Koh Tao is by booking a combination ticket.
Three companies are offering the service between Krabi and Koh Tao, you can choose between Lomprayah, Songserm, and Seatran Discovery. They provide different departure points, so depending on where you are staying, one company might be better than others. Also, the travel time is different between them, as Lomprayah has the fastest ferry of all.
With Lomprayah, you can travel at 6:45 AM and 12:45 PM, departing from their office in Krabi town or Ao Nam Mao Pier. Tickets price is between 1,100 to 1,300 baht, and you will be in Koh Tao at 2:15 PM or 7:15 PM, respectively.
Seatran Discovery departs from their office in Krabi town at 11 AM and arrives on the island at 7 PM. The ticket starting price is 1,230 baht.
Songserm offers the cheapest combination ticket from Krabi to Koh Tao, only 900 baht. The bus leaves from Andaman Wave Master Bus Station at 7 AM and arrives in Koh Tao by 2 PM.
If you are planning to travel to Koh Tao from any destination in south Thailand like Koh Lipe, Hat Yai, Koh Lanta or Koh Phi Phi, you first need to get to Krabi. Read our guide to travel to Krabi and from there, you can follow the steps above.
Note: travel time is estimated, keep in mind that traveling in Thailand by bus and ferry is always subjected to delays because of traffic, bad weather, or rough sea. We made this journey by bus + ferry and got stuck in traffic for hours.
How to travel from Chiang Mai to Koh Tao
The best and fastest way to travel to Koh Tao from Chaing Mai is by a combination of flight + ferry or flight + bus + ferry via Bangkok.
It’s hard to predict the length and price of the journey as flight prices can vary a lot, and you can choose from so many options. In summary, to get to Koh Tao from Chiang Mai or any other destinations in the North, such as Chiang Rai or Pai, you can fly to Koh Samui, Surat Thani or Chumphon Airports, and from there get a ferry to Tao. Below you will find all the information about getting to Koh Tao from Chumphon and Surat Thani.
You can also fly to one of Bangkok’s airports and from there fly to Koh Samui, or you can get the bus + ferry that goes from Khao San Road to Koh Tao. If you prefer to travel by land, it’s possible to get a bus or train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, which will be a whole day or an overnight trip. Then you will need to face another day or night traveling from Bangkok to Koh Tao, which is pretty tiring, and it won’t be much cheaper than flying.
Note: there are two daily flights from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui Airport, at 9 AM and 12:50 PM. You will arrive in Koh Samui at 10:45 AM and 2:35 PM, plenty of time to catch one of the afternoon ferries to Tao.
How to travel from Chumphon to Koh Tao
Chumphon is a province in Southern Thailand, located a couple of hours from Hua Hin beach town. It’s famous for its coast and for being the getaway to Koh Tao. If you’re coming from Northern or Central Thailand, Chumphon is the first city on the coast that has passengers boats to the islands. It also has an airport and a train station, so if you are making your way to the Southern islands, this is a place you should consider for a connection.
The best way to go from Chumphon to Koh Tao:
The two companies offering ferries from Chumphon to Koh Tao depart from different piers, which can be a bit confusing. Both offer pick-up service at train and bus stations, and at Chumphon Airport, so you can book a bus + ferry directly with them. Keep in mind that depending on your departure point, the price can be 100 or 200 baht higher and the trip one hour longer.
Lomprayah has departures at 7 AM and 1 PM from Thung Makham Noi Pier, the trip takes 1 hour and 45 minutes and costs 600 baht.
The Songserm ferry leaves from Chumphon Matapon Pier at 7 AM and arrives on the island at 9:45 AM. The price is between 550 to 600 baht.
The cheapest way to travel from Chumphon to Koh Tao:
If you have time to spare and want to save one night worth in accommodation, you can take the overnight ferry from Chumphon to Koh Tao. The night boat to Koh Tao departs every day between 10:30 PM to midnight, depending on the tide, and will arrive at Mae Haad Pier 6 hours later.
The night ferry to Koh Tao is an experience itself. We traveled with it in the opposite direction, from Koh Tao to Chumphon, and it was way better than I expected. The boats are made to carry goods and passengers, they don’t look very nice from the outside, but I found it very clean and comfortable inside. After passing the cargo part, you will get into a big room with bunk beds, like a hostel. Find your bed, pack your things, and be ready for the night. If the weather is good, you’ll probably sleep the whole trip, as we did.
The price for the night boat from Chumphon to Koh Tao is 500 baht, and you get a bed to sleep, sweet. Keep in mind that you need to bring your water and food, as there is no restaurant or bar on board.
How to get from Surat Thani to Koh Tao
We mentioned Surat Thani so many times on this guide that you are probably curious to know where it is located, and how to go from there to Koh Tao. Surat Thani is the largest Southern province in Thailand, and it’s the connecting point from the destinations on the west coast as Krabi, Phi Phi, and Phuket to the islands on the Gulf of Thailand. Surat Thani city, the capital of the province, has an international airport making it the perfect place to fly in and then head to the islands. Now the awaited question: how to get from Surat Thani to Koh Tao?
The best way to go from Surat Thani to Koh Tao.
You can go directly to the pier to catch the ferry to Koh Tao or opt for the transfer from Surat Thani Airport. The price and the duration of the trip will change according to the start point, the longest and more expensive option would be from Surat Thani Airport to Koh Tao, which is offered by three companies.
Lomprayah High-Speed Catamaran has two departures daily at 8 AM and 2:30 PM, arriving on the island at 2:15 PM and 7:15 PM, respectively. The price can be from 900 to 1,200 baht.
Seatran Discovery has two departures from Surat Thani Airport, at 10:45 AM and 11:20 AM, both of them arrive on the island at 7 PM. Tickets can cost from 1,000 to 1,200 baht.
Songserm offers the cheapest option to travel from Surat Thani Airport to Koh Tao, only 900 baht. It departs at 7:30m AM, arriving at 2:30 PM.
The cheapest way to travel from Surat Thani to Koh Tao.
Like the route via Chumphon, you can also travel from Surat Thani to Koh Tao with a night boat. The trip takes about 8 hours, the overnight boat from Surat Thani to Koh Tao departs from 9 PM to 10:30 PM depending on the tides, and you must arrive 2 hours early for the checking. The price for the sleep boat to Koh Tao is 500 baht, including the trip and the bed, and you will arrive at the island around 6 AM.
You can choose your pick-up point when booking the night boat to Koh Tao. The company has vans that can get you at Surat Thani Airport or at the city center. Read the details when booking your ticket.
That’s a wrap! Now you know how to get to Koh Tao from almost everywhere in Thailand. Book your ticket in advance so you won’t have any surprises. If you need more info, check out our Thailand Guides here or drop us a message below. Happy Travels!
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