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How to Travel to Koh Tao from Bangkok

The island of Koh Tao stands out as a tropical haven for diving enthusiasts and beach loving tourists alike. For those starting their journey in the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, the route to Koh Tao is an adventure in itself. In this guide, we'll explore the various modes of transportation and offer tips to ensure a seamless journey from the heart of Thailand to the serene shores of Koh Tao.

Getting There:

  1. By Air:

  • Start your journey by booking a flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang International Airport (DMK). You may travel to Samui International Airport (USM), Chumpon Airport (CJM) , or Surat Thani airport (URT),

  • Upon arrival at your chosen airport, you can take a bus from the airport (they can easily help arrange this) to the appropriate pier. From there you will take a ferry to Koh Tao! There are multiple ferry services operating to Koh Tao. The most popular is the Lomprayah speedboat, but there are other options as well, which are slightly slower and cheaper.

  1. By Train:

  • You can take a train from Bangkok to Chumphon, a coastal town that serves as a gateway to Koh Tao. The train should arrive in the time to get to the morning ferry, however recently travelers have reported delays in the train, meaning they miss the morning ferry to Koh Tao and have to wait!

  • Trains used to depart from the Hua Lumphong Railway Station in Bangkok, but since 2023 there is a new train station where trains depart from: The Bang Sue Central Station. The journey takes around 8-9 hours.'

  • Once in Chumphon, you can take a bus/van to the ferry station of your choice (easy to do once you are there), and catch a ferry to Koh Tao from the pier.

  1. By Bus:

  • Choose an overnight bus for a budget-friendly option. Buses depart from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal and take you directly to the pier in Chumphon. A popular option is the Lomprayah Bus/Ferry ticket combo which is offered online or at many travel agents in Bangkok.

  • From Chumphon, board a ferry to Koh Tao. Easy!

Tips for a Smooth Journey:

  1. Booking in Advance:

  • Plan your journey by booking transportation tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Most all travel agents know that Koh Tao is a popular destination, and will make it very easy on you to book a combination bus/ferry or a train/ferry ticket. Many will also offer flights!

  • Online platforms and travel agencies in Bangkok can assist in securing tickets for flights, trains, buses, and ferries. The Lomprayah website can assist you in this regard.

  1. Flexible Itinerary:

  • Be flexible with your schedule, as weather conditions may affect boat departures. Check the weather forecast and consider a flexible travel window. There is a travel agency on Koh Tao called ‘Island Travel,’ which runs a popular facebook group. They will often post ferry cancellation information, as well as various updates on time tables.

  • Certain times of year the wind/waves can make for some rough seas! It might be worth taking a look at the weather report, or taking some motion sickness pills with you on your journey.

  1. Pack Light:

  • Traveling to Koh Tao often involves switching between modes of transportation. Pack light to make your journey more comfortable and manageable if possible.

  1. Stay Connected:

  • Ensure your phone has a reliable internet connection to stay updated on any changes to transportation schedules or weather conditions. Sometimes in the Gulf of Thailand you may lose service, but not always.

  1. Comfortable Attire:

  • Wear comfortable clothing and bring essentials like sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses for the journey. You might spend time waiting for transfers, so staying comfortable is key.

  1. Food Along the Journey:

  • The Bang Sue central station has many options for light snacking, but no full restaurant.

  • The night train has a restaurant and food options on board.

  • The Chumpon railway station will cook you a basic breakfast and sell you food/drinks when you arrive early in the morning!

  • Most airports do have some kind of food option but this varies.

  • The Lomprayah ferry does offer refreshments on board, downstairs, as well as at their ferry station.



It is certainly not too difficult to get to Koh Tao! And once you’ve arrived, you will appreciate the lack of large chain stores, the beautiful nature, and communal feel of the island. It isn’t too big, and getting from one end of Koh Tao to the other is a relatively quick and simple task, unlike on Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. The first trip to Thailand can be overwhelming, but once you take the journey once, you’ll be comfortable with just how easy and streamlined the trip can be. Then its just a matter of leaving, which is also easy! Its just a ferry ride away!

Final tip: Always pay the extra 100 THB to go to the VIP room of the Lomprayah ferry. It has very comfortable seats, air con, and is a great central place to relax for the 1.5-2 hour journey!

Will Ragsdale


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