While Bangkok, being the central hub of Thailand, attracts a number of tourists who are drawn to its bustling atmosphere and crowded areas, after a while, the rush of the masses starts to get old, and tourists begin to want to get away from it all and relax for a while. They look for quick getaways in times like these, which is where vacation islands like Koh Tao come in. Koh Tao has become a focal tourist attraction by itself.
With scenic views that offer a glimpse of paradise on Earth, Koh Tao provides every service one might need on the perfect vacation. The problem, however, arises when one considers ways to get there. You see, being far off into the waters and not having its own airport, Koh Tao is only accessible by boat. Many ask for the “direct option” to get there, but there is no direct option. No matter what option you take, you will end up on a ferry in the last leg of your journey to Koh Tao, so if you’re someone who tends to get seasick, come prepared.
Here’s our compilation of ways to reach Koh Tao from Bangkok.
Bangkok to Koh Tao By Train:
You can find trains that depart from Bangkok to Chumphon from 08:05 until 22:50. If you choose to get on one of the early afternoon trains (Train No# 171, 31, 37/45) then you’ll need to spend a night in Chumphon. If you need a place to stay nearby, then the Euro Boutique Hotel is at a walking distance of 850 meters from the railway station. Papa seafood is a place to eat directly opposite the train station where you can have your meals.
If you choose the trains that depart from Bangkok in the late afternoon (Train No# 169, 83,173/167), then be ready for a set of inconvenience. Why? Because you’ll arrive at Chumpon in the midnight, which means you’ll have to wait at the railway station or on the street for a few hours till the transfer service to Koh Tao arrives at 5:45. To avoid the whole hassle, you might want to take train #85 (It does stop by at Surat Thani), which is an overnight train that departs at 19:30 and arrives at 4:15, although it can sometimes be delayed. It has A/Cs and a restaurant car. The last train (No # 39/41) that leaves at 22:50 (without sleeper) arrive at Chumpon in the early morning at 5:50 am. Please note apart from the early morning (train 43) and late-night (39/41) all trains have sleepers.
- Train times from Bangkok to Chumphon.
Buy tickets for travel from Bangkok to Chumphon.
For the ferry from Chumpon to Koh Tao, you have two options that travel directly between the destination points: Songserm and Lomprayah High-Speed Ferry, both of which are highly recommended. Songserm is the cheaper of the two, though the journey will take around 3 hours.
- Times of joint bus and ferry services from Chumphon Railway Station to Koh Tao.
|Train Station||Koh Tao||Ticket||Company|
|05:45||08:45||฿ 700||KP Tripadvisor|
|06:00||09:45||฿ 500||KP Tripadvisor|
|11:45||15:15||฿ 700||KP Tripadvisor|
|21:30||05:00||฿ 500||KP Tripadvisor|
- Buy tickets for travel from Chumphon Railway Station to Koh Tao.
Bangkok to Koh Tao By Bus:
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, although there is no direct way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao, by bus and ferry is the most popular option. Many people can’t afford to take flights and turn to bus routes as a cheaper, more affordable, but lengthier alternative. The bus ride takes 7 whole hours and then drops you off directly at the pier at Chumpon. The Lomprayah bus is scheduled to depart Bangkok at two times: First 6:00, which arrives at Chumpon at 14:45, and the second bus that departs at 21:00, arrives at its destination at 8:45. You can grab Lomprayah bus at Khao San Road. Besides Lomprayah, Songserm another alternative which operates two air-conditioned buses daily fro Bangkok to Chumphon – 18:000 from Khao San Road and 19:00 from Hua Lamphong. Both reach next day 9:45 at Chumphon. Once you reach Chumphon, You can then transfer to a high-speed catamaran, which takes anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours to get you to Koh Tao. Or you can opt for a ferry, which is a bit slower and takes 3 hours.
At the moment, two two ferry companies that operate services from Chumphon railway station to Koh Tao.
- Lomprayah departs in morning 07:00 and 13:00.
- Songserm Express depart at 06:00 and takes about 3 hours.
Bangkok to Koh Tao By Flights:
Air travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao provides you with three different options and a bunch of airlines to choose from. Your choice will eventually be narrowed by your budget and any time constraints that you might have. But at the same time, you should also consider whether or not you want to see any other islands besides Koh Tao, as flights often lead your path through them.
You can take a flight to Koh Samui for the first option and then flag a ferry to Koh Tao. This is the quickest route to the island, with minimal transfers. You can check ferry schedule from Koh Samui to Koh Tao over here. Of course, with comfort comes the need to spend big bucks, which is why this is the priciest way to travel to Koh Tao. However, if you have been wanting to visit the island of Koh Samui, then you can make good of this opportunity and stay for a while before moving off to Koh Tao.
Your second flight option will be to land on Chumpon. Since this is a very small airport, it only handles flights with Nok Air from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. You will need to catch a bus to the pier from the airport and then a ferry to Koh Tao. This route is a relatively fast one and allows you to buy a combination ticket that will cover the costs of your entire journey.
For the third route, you can fly to Surat Thani and then catch a ferry to Koh Tao (schedule here). This way, you’ll have many options for a flight, such as Thai Airways, which flies from Suvarnabhumi, and Thai Lion Air, Thai AirAsia, and Nok Air, all of which fly in from Don Mueang. Though you’ll have more flight options, come prepared for a longer ferry journey, and your ferry will stop at Koh Samui and Koh Phangan along the way.
While ferries are involved in all journeys to Koh Tao, there is no direct ferry from Bangkok to Koh Tao. All boats that arrive on the island come from Chumpon, which is the mainland, Koh Phangan, or Koh Samui.
If you wish for cheaper ways to travel, then book your flight a few months or a week in advance. This will cut down the price of the ticket significantly. If you’re not able to do that, then trains and buses will provide you with a safe ride from Bangkok to Koh Tao. Before making a decision, be sure to consider your budget, comfort, and how much of a time limit you have.
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