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Toby Keps

Travelled to 12 countries / regions

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I backpacked across Thailand in winter 2019

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Asia > Thailand > Koh Tao > Useful Info
Submitted on Jan 09, 2020 Useful Info

Best way to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok, Thailand

  • Koh Tao is located 410km south of Bangkok in the Gulf of Thailand. It's actually very close to Koh Samui (70km away) and Koh Phan Ngan (45km away)
  • Unfortunately, there's no direct transportation between Bangkok and Koh Tao because there's no airport on Koh Tao island. Therefore, in order to get to Koh Tao, you must first fly, bus, or train to somewhere close by before taking a boat to the island
  • There are basically only 2 options you can choose from:
  1. Bangkok -> Koh Samui -> Koh Tao (this is the best option)
  2. Bangkok -> Chumphon -> Koh Tao (this is the cheaper option)
  • I will talk about each of these two options in detail below. But long story short, go with option 1 because this is the most popular way to get to Koh Tao so there is tons of frequencies and therefore flexibility. Option 2 is cheaper, but it takes longer and there's one exact sequence of transportation you must take in order to get to Koh Tao in one day


  • Option 1) Fly to Koh Samui + Boat to Koh TaoUser submitted photo of Koh Tao
  • Total travel time: 5.5-9 hours
  • Total cost: USD$130-$180
  • Step 1) Flight to Koh Samui: there are tons of daily direct flights from Bangkok to Koh Samui from as early as 6am to as late as 8:30pm. Most of the flights are out of Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), and are all operated by Bangkok Airways. Fares is about USD$110-$120 per person each way. Flight time is 1.5 hours so it's a very short flight. Read more details here. Because Bangkok Airways is the only airline flying this route, the best way to book your ticket is directly through their website. If you use websites like Skyscanner to find flights, you may notice that Thai Airways also flies to Koh Samui, but these are actually just codeshare flights operated by Bangkok Airways so it's better to book direct with Bangkok Airways
  • Step 2) Boat to Koh Tao: once you land in Koh Tao, you have 3 options to choose from for your boat to Koh Tao. Most people go with Seatran Discovery ferry because they have a booth at the airport itself selling tickets and their pier is the closest to the airport
  1. Seatran Discovery (best and most popular boat option): User submitted photo of Koh TaoSeatran has 3 ferries a day, departing at 8am, 1pm, and 4:30pm, from Bangrak Pier (located here, just 10 minutes by car from the airport). Travel time is 2-2.5 hours and fare is 600 baht ($20USD) per person. Seatran has a booth at the Samui airport where you can buy your ferry ticket, and if you purchase the ticket here they will give you a shared minivan ride to Bangrak Pier for free. If you can't find this booth, you can arrange your own taxi or shared van to go to the Bangrak Pier. A shared van will cost you 100 baht ($3.3USD), and a private taxi will cost you 400 baht ($13.5USD). The arrival pier on Koh Tao is Mae Haad Pier (located here). You can find the latest information on Seatran's website
  2. Songserm Ferries: User submitted photo of Koh TaoSongserm has 1 ferry a day, departing at 11:30 from Nathon Pier (located here) which is about 1 hour car ride from the airport. The cost is 500 baht ($16.5USD) per person each way and travel time is 3 hours 15 minutes, arriving at 2:45pm. A shared minivan from the airport to Nathon Pier costs 200 baht ($6.6USD) and a taxi costs 800 baht ($26.4USD). The arrival pier on Koh Tao is also Mae Haad Pier (located here). For the latest information check Songserm's website
  3. Lomprayah High Speed Catamaran: User submitted photo of Koh TaoLomprayah has 4 catamarans a day, departing at 8am and 12:30pm from Maenam Pier (located here), and 11:15am and 5:30pm from Nathon Pier (located here). Fare is 600-700 baht ($20-$23USD) per passenger each way. Travel time ranges from 1.5-3 hours. A shared van to Maenam pier costs 150 baht ($5USD), and a taxi costs 600 baht ($20USD). Arrival pier is also Mae Haad Pier (located here). For more information check Lomprayah's website


  • Option 2) Fly/bus/train to Chumphon + Boat to Koh TaoUser submitted photo of Koh Tao
  • Total travel time: 7.5 hours minimum to up to 24 hours
  • Total cost: $70USD per person each way
  • I'm going to detail your options below, but to make it dead simple, the only way to make it to Koh Tao in 1 day is: take the 7:25am Nok Air flight from Don Mueang airport, arriving by around 8:45am. Then take the 10am minivan run by Lomprayah (the catamaran operator) to the Thung Makham Noi Pier, in time to catch the 1pm Lomprayah catamaran to get you to Koh Tao by 2:45pm (you buy a combined van + catamaran ticket from Lomprayah on its website). Any other way requires you to stay overnight in Chumphon
  • Step 1) Fly, bus or train to Chumphon
  • Fly (the only option allow you to get to Koh Tao in one day): there are 2 daily flights from Bangkok's Don Mueang airport (DMK) to Chumphon Airport (CJM), at 7:25am with Air Asia and 5:05pm with Nok Air. The one-way fare for both of these flights are around $40USD per person. Flight time is 1 hour 15 minutes. You can read here about how to get to DMK airport from central Bangkok
  • Train (the cheaper option): there are 12 daily trains from Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station (located here) to Chumphon Railway Station (located here). Fare is 510 baht ($17USD) for an air conditioned seat, and 600-670 baht for an air conditioned bed ($20-$22USD). You can buy tickets online at the official Thai Railway's ticketing site (https://www.thairailwayticket.com) or through a third party agency such as 12Go. I recommend going through the official site as the prices are cheaper there. It accepts Visa, Mastercard, JCB, and UnionPay. Here are the trains from Bangkok to Chumphon:
  • 8:05am departure -> 2:36pm arrival
  • 1pm departure -> 9:12pm arrival
  • 2:45pm departure -> 10:34pm arrival
  • 3:10pm departure -> 11:15pm arrival
  • 3:35pm departure -> 0:42am arrival
  • 5:05pm departure -> 1:16am arrival
  • 5:35pm departure -> 2:48am arrival
  • 6:30pm departure -> 3:18am arrival
  • 7:30pm departure -> 4:13am arrival
  • 10:50pm departure -> 5:49am arrival
  • Bus (don't recommend): there are at least 7 daily coach buses departing from Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal (located here) go Chumphon Suwannatee Station (located here). Fare ranges from $15-$20USD per passenger each way. Travel time is 6.5 hours. Departure times are at 9am, noon, 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm. The two operators are Suwannatee Tour and Krungsiam Tour. They don't really have websites, and as far as I know the only places you can book their tickets are 12Go and BusOnlineTicket. Of course you can also just go to the Southern Bus Terminal in person and buy your ticket there for Chumphon. This is what the coach bus looks like:User submitted photo of Koh Tao
  • Step 2) Boat to Koh Tao: once you get to Chumphon, you have two boat options to get to Koh Tao. Most people take the Lompraya option
  1. Lomprayah High Speed Catamaran: User submitted photo of Koh TaoLomprayah has 2 catamarans a day, departing at 7am and 1pm from Thung Makham Noi Pier (located here). Fare is 600 baht ($20) per passenger each way. Travel time ranges from 1 hour and 45 minutes. You can book a combined ticket from the airport to Koh Tao for 800 baht ($26.5) that includes shared minivan from the airport to the pier (the van leaves airport at 10am in time for the 1pm catamaran). If you arrived to Chumphon by train, you can book a combined fare from the train station to Koh Tao for 700 baht ($23) that includes the shared minivan from the train station to the pier (the van leaves the train station at 6am and 12pm/noon). There's no combined ticket available if you get to Chumphon by bus. Arrival pier on Koh Tao is Mae Haad Pier (located here). For more information check Lomprayah's website
  2. Songserm Ferries: User submitted photo of Koh TaoSongserm has 1 ferry a day, departing at 7am from Chumphon Pier (located here) which is about 1 hour car ride from the airport but you have to find your own way to the pier by taxi as Songserm does not sell combined tickets that include transfer from airport/train station/bus station to the pier. The ferry costs 500 baht ($16.5USD) per person each way and travel time is 2 hours 45 minutes, arriving at 9:45am. The arrival pier on Koh Tao is also Mae Haad Pier (located here). For the latest information check Songserm's website