Travel Information for Visitors from Bangkok to Koh Tao
If you are travelling from Bangkok to Koh Tao, there are multiple routes for you to choose from.
As Koh Tao is an island, all journeys will require you to travel part of the way by ferry boat, but you can choose to plan your trip based on your budget and the amount you want to spend.
Choosing the best travel route will depend on how much time you want to spend travelling or by your preferred method of transport.
The Fastest Way to Travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao
The fastest way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao is to fly to either Chumphon or Koh Samui before catching one of the many passenger ferries heading to Koh Tao.
Flights to Chumphon from Bangkok are operated by Air Asia or Nok Air and depart from Don Muang Airport (DMK).
The flight time is approximately 1h10min and the prices can range from 1,000THB to 3,000THB.
Flights to Koh Samui are operated by Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways and depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). Flights take 1h5min and prices start from 4,500THB.
Chumphon Airport Transfer to the Koh Tao Ferry Piers
Once you arrive in Chumphon, you will need to transfer to the ferry pier of your choice. Ferries are operated from Mattaphon Pier by Songserm and from Thung Makham Noi Pier by Lomprayah.
The journey to either pier will take just under an hour from the airport. Lomprayah offer a ticket which includes the transfer, however, if you opt to take the Songserm ferry you will need to arrange your own transfer.
The Songserm ferry departs for Koh Tao at 7am, takes 2h45min and costs 500THB for an adult and 250THB for a child.
The boats are standard ferries offering seats inside, which are air-conditioned, as well as out on the deck.
They have a small shop inside selling snacks and drinks, as well as a VIP seating area that you can upgrade to once you on on-board.
The Lomprayah ferry, which is a high speed catamaran-style boat, has two departures at 7am and 1pm.
The Lomprayah ferry from Chumphon to Koh Tao takes 1h30min and costs 600THB for an adult and 300THB for a child.
As with Songserm, they have seating inside with air-conditioning and outside on the deck, as well as a counter selling drinks, snacks and sandwiches. There are also AC VIP seating areas upstairs which costs an additional 100THB or 200THB.
Flights from Bangkok to Surat Thani Airport
It is also possible to fly to Surat Thani and then connect to a ferry to Koh Tao. Air Asia, Nok Airways and Thai Lion Air fly from Don Muang Airport, whilst Thai Airways and Thai Smile fly from Suvarnabhumi.
The flight time from Bangkok to Surat Thani is 1h10min and the price ranges from 1,500-2,300THB.
Ferry Boats from Surat Thani to Koh Tao
Both Seatran Discovery and Lomprayah operate ferries from Surat Thani and offer tickets that include a transfer from the airport to the boat pier.
Lomprayah ferry offers departures from Tapee Pier at 9am, which takes 5.25 hours to reach Koh Tao and 3:30pm, which takes 3.75 hours to reach Koh Tao.
The earlier journey is longer due to a 1-hour stop at Koh Phangan.
Seatran Discovery ferry offers departures from Talai Mai Road in the town centre at 9:30am and 12:30pm, with total journey times of 5.5 and 6 hours.
Whilst the actual ferry journey takes around 4 hours, the remainder of the time is required for the transfer to Donsak Pier from Surat Thani town centre.
Your entire trip to Koh Tao will take around 2 hours longer than flying to Chumphon or Koh Samui.
This is because the ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Tao stops in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan before arriving in Koh Tao and costs around 300THB more.
The Cheapest Way to Travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao
The cheapest way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao is to take a bus and ferry package, which is offered by both Lomprayah and Songserm Express.
The Lomprayah buses depart from Khao San Road at 6am and 9pm and cost 1,100THB per person.
The journey to Chumphon, which takes 6.5hours, goes via Hua Hin, to collect more passengers, before arriving at the Lomprayah pier in Chumphon in time for the ferry to Koh Tao.
The 6am bus connects to the 1pm ferry, whilst the 9pm bus will connect to the 7am ferry to Koh Tao.
The Songserm tickets cost 900THB for an adult and 750THB for a child. Buses depart at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm from Khao San Road and all connect to the 7am ferry.
Whichever bus you take, you will have a wait at the pier for the ferry, so this should be considered when you decide which route to book.
Bus & Ferry Routes from Bangkok to Koh Tao
As well as the bus and ferry package, there are additional options for booking the bus and ferry separately.
Multiple bus operators offer services from Sai Tai Mai Bus Terminal, which is in the South of Bangkok.
The companies offer 3 types of coaches – Express, VIP32 and VIP24. As would be expected, the VIP buses are more spacious and offer greater comfort.
Bus & Ferry Routes
A bus journey to Chumphon will take 7-8 hours and costs between 260 and 440THB, whilst the journey to Surat Thani takes around 10 hours and costs 450-750THB.
Train Travel Information from Bangkok to Koh Tao
If you want to see some of the countryside in Thailand as you travel, you can opt to go by train.
Trains depart from Bangkok’s main train station, Hua Lamphong, which is located in the centre of the city in Pathum Wan District.
To get to Koh Tao you can take a train to either Chumphon or Surat Thani, and there are 10 services a day to both cities.
Thai trains offer 4 different classes of travel – 1st class air-con, 2nd class air-con, 2nd class fan and 3rd class fan.
Whilst fan seats can usually be purchased on the day, tickets in the air-con sections can sell out days, or even weeks, in advance.
Booking online will also incur a surcharge of 250THB.
The trains to Chumphon from Bangkok take between 6 and 9.5 hours and the price ranges from 300-1,500THB.
Once you arrive in Chumphon you will need to transfer to the ferry pier, which takes 25-35 minutes, depending on which pier you need to get to.
For both Lomprayah and Songserm you can book a ticket for the ferry which includes a transfer from the train station.
Trains to Surat Thani from Bangkok take between 8.5 and 12 hours, depending on which service you take, and the ticket prices range from 500-1,600THB.
Surat Thani train station is actually located in Phunphin, which is approximately 15 minutes from Surat Thani town and 1.5 hours from the ferry piers.
Information for Night Boat Ferries to Koh Tao
From both Chumphon and Surat Thani, you can take an overnight ferry to Koh Tao, which is particularly useful if you chose to travel by train during the day.
From Chumphon, Talaysub operates an 11pm departure which takes 6 hours to reach Koh Tao and costs 350THB.
Ko Jaroen operate a night ferry from Surat Thani at 10pm that takes between 7 and 9 hours to reach Koh Tao, depending on the weather conditions.
The added benefit of taking a night ferry is that it removes the need for a hotel on that night so can help to keep your costs down if you are on a budget.
Overnight Trains from Bangkok to Chumphon & Surat Thani
Additionally, if you want to travel by train, but are not bothered about seeing the scenery, you can take an overnight sleeper train instead of a daytime service.
The overnight trains offer both 1st and 2nd class sleeper cabins allowing you to get some rest while you travel.
The 1st class sleepers provide 2-bed, lockable compartments, whilst the 2nd class sleepers offer bunks with curtains for privacy.
The beds in all the sleeper cabins will be set up for you by the staff and the 2nd class carriages get locked down at 10pm, providing increased security for the sleeping passengers.
The overnight trains will usually arrive into both Chumphon and Surat Thani early enough for you to transfer to the pier and take the first boat of the day to Koh Tao.
There are many routes you can take from Bangkok to Koh Tao. If you are short on time or prefer a more relaxed route, a modern transport infrastructure ensures there is a perfect choice for you.