Koh Samui / Koh Phangan
If you decide to fly into Koh Samui (flights leave Bangkok every hour between 6.00 am and 10 pm) and you get here as well from Phuket, Singapore etc. or if you simply spend some days on Koh Samui or Koh Phangan before getting to Koh Tao, then this will be your route to Koh Tao.
At the moment there’s 3 companies who send ferries from Koh Samui via Koh Phangan to Koh Tao. The fastest of the three is the “Lomprayah” Highspeed Catamaran. If you arrive by plane or later than 12.00 pm, the closest, most convenient option though might be the “Seatran Discovery” link. It takes only a little longer, but operates their last boat leaving Koh Samui at 3.30 pm.
The “Songserm” ferry is your option, if time is not an issue. It takes a longer boat trip, but is popular for budget travelers, as tickets are a few Baht cheaper.
From Surat Thani
If you’re coming from the South, through Malaysia or Krabi, Phuket, etc. than the typical port for you will be Surat Thani to head over to Koh Tao. For years the only and still the traditional way to head over to Koh Tao is the Night Boat leaving Surat Thani around 11.00 pm and arriving on Koh Tao early next morning.
There is so many variations of night boats these days, from the traditional wooden ones that offer a mattress on the side to the ones that offer single bunks, Air-Con and a sundeck (not that you need it at night). Which one you catch depends on the weekdays, weather and other random decisions:)
Don’t miss out though, if you’re on it – the sunrise when getting close to Koh Tao is amazing!
To get to Koh Tao, you will catch the boat from either Chumphon, Surat Thani or Koh Samui. If you come from Bangkok then you’ll either travel over Land via Chumphon or by plane via Koh Samui.
Most people will be heading south from Bangkok to the mainland port of Chumphon.
For the budget & adventurous traveler: local buses leave every hour from the Southern Bus Terminal (“Sai Dai Mai”).
Alternatively there is the “Lomprayah” link, that operate a ‘tourist’ VIP bus service from Bangkok to Chumphon and then onto Koh Tao via their high speed catamaran. Their buses depart from Khao San Road. More infos, timetables & an online booking option here.
By Train …
Another option is to take the overnight Sleeper-Train from Bangkok to Chumphon. To date trains leave at 6.20 pm or 7.30 pm. Both of these will stop at the port city of Chumphon from where you need to catch one of the boat services.
The train station in Bangkok is called “Hualampong”.
Here you can not only get your train tickets, but as well the connecting ferry ticket, either for the “Lomprayah” High Speed Catamaran or “Songserm Ferry” (slightly cheaper, but takes twice as long). On arrival in Chumphon both companies will have a free pickup service for you already.
Alternatively, there is an afternoon connection around 2.45 pm which will get to Chumphon around 10.30 – 11.00 pm, which would give you the option of one night in Chumphon and then catching the boat the following day.
Night Boat from Chumphon
There’s as well a night boat from Chumphon, which might be perfect for you, if you arrive later than 12.00 pm to catch the last daytime Lomprayah. The time the boats leave is usually around 11.00 pm or 12.00 am, depending on the tide. Prebookings are not necessary.
Some general tips …:
Traveling in Thailand is easy. There’s a lot of Vouchers, other odd papers handed from one to the next person sometimes, but they all seem to bring you to the destination you want to go to. Here just a little collection of tips when it comes to reaching our little island:
- you can book boat & bus tickets to get here online – use it, if you know the dates to arrive anyways. On the flipside: you can easily arrange your way back from our island here with us. Who knows how long you wanna stay;)
- Train tickets cannot be booked online – the second class is the most popular to travel for both Westerners and Thai, so it sells out pretty quick. If you arrive a few days before your departure by train, arrange your tickets early. First class is usually a little easier in busy times like the Thai holidays (Songkhran mid April for example)
- Around Full Moon Parties: Check the calendar or if you’re planning to visit the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan yourself, make sure you book your boat ticket to Koh Tao in advance. Boats in our direction tend to be full the 2 days after.
- Keep your important belongings with you. Don’t let a lost passport or stolen Laptop spoil your holiday. Take important stuff with you in bus, train and boats. Don’t leave it unattended, like you wouldn’t do at home either
- Be patient – sometimes it takes an hour or so, before your travel continues – trust the Vouchers you just got or handed in 🙂 … being impatient just doesn’t work with Thai culture