Bangkok To Koh Tao By Plane, Bus, Train Or Boat

Find out the simplest ad best ways to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao in Thailand. With no direct routes between the two places, there are so many options available from boats to planes to buses and more when figuring out how to get to Koh Tao. That’s why I will explain each to find the best for you!

Once you have gotten your city adventures out of your system it’s time to head south for some beautiful beaches. For many traveling south through Thailand, Koh Tao is the first beach they’ll come across, and trust me, it’s a perfect introduction. A picture-perfect island covered in white sand. Seriously what more could you want, welcome to paradise!

Though to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao is not the easiest journey. Being that Koh Tao is an island it is more difficult to travel to than if you were to have stuck to the mainland. Though there are plenty of options to help you travel there.

Bangkok to Koh Tao is actually 600 kilometers away from each other with unfortunately no direct routes! This means you’ll need to mix and match the different transport options to find one best suited for your journey from Bangkok to Koh Tao in Thailand.

Fly + Boat3 hoursfrom $120The fastest way to travel
Bus + Boat13 hoursfrom $50Cheap journey
Train + Boat15 hoursfrom $50Cheap journey, but long
Minivan + Boat12 hoursfrom $60Fast and affordable
Taxi + Boat12 hoursfrom $300Make lots of stops

Best Ways To Travel From Bangkok To Koh Tao: How To Get To Koh Tao

How I Book Cheap Transport In Thailand: 12Go Asia

the ferry pier in koh tao
lined up to catch the ferry on the journey from bangkok to koh tao

Fly From Bangkok To Koh Tao

Unfortunately, there is no airport on Koh Tao at this current time even though it is a bit of a tourist hot spot. Luckily there is an airport on the neighboring island of Koh Samui.

Luckily flights from Bangkok to Koh Samui are extremely easy to find and can be quite cheap as well. You will just need to get yourself from the city center to the airport. Be aware there are 2 different airports in Bangkok so make sure you head to the correct one. I have two guides, one from Khao San Road to Don Mueang Airport and one from Khao San Road to Suvarnabhumi Airport. Both let you know the cheapest and easiest ways to travel between the two places. This is definitely the quickest way to travel there and will have you checking off all the best things to do in Koh Tao in no time!

How To Get From Koh Samui Airport To Koh Tao

Once your flight has arrived you will then need to figure out how to get to Koh Tao. There are a few different options to get from the airport to the port where the ferry will pick you up:

There is a public bus between Koh Samui Airport and the port which leaves every hour. The cost is around 150thb. Though it depends on how long you want to wait around as to whether you should catch the bus.

Alternatively, you could also take a taxi. This would definitely be a good option if you have friends you could split the cost with. You will likely need to haggle for a decent price, 200-300thb.

Once you are at the port you can just visit one of the many ferry companies. It is best to shop around to compare prices and check if the ride is direct or if it also stops at Koh Phangan. The 2 main companies are Seatran Discovery and Lomprayah. Personally, I have only used Lomprayah while in Thailand and this is simply because they provided nothing but excellent service.

You shouldn’t need to book this trip in advance unless you are traveling in the high season of December and January. If you want to play it safe you can always book online at 12.Go Asia or direct on the Lomprayah website.

silk air in bangkok thailand plane
catching a plane to get to koh tao

Bus From Bangkok To Koh Tao

Unfortunately, if you wish to do the journey from Bangkok to Koh Tao by bus, this will be split up into two sections. The first is taking the bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani which is the main gateway to the tropical islands in the Gulf of Thailand. From there you can catch the ferry to Koh Tao. This journey is quite a large one in itself. You can either decide to do it all in one big hit and relax in Koh Tao once you arrive or alternatively you could break it up by spending a night in Surat Thani.

If you plan to do it all in one day then I definitely recommend using a tour company to book everything. I personally used Lomprayah and I will get into my experience a bit more below. Though it definitely made it a smooth journey and an easy transition getting between bus and boat.

Alternatively, you can do it with a DIY angle and plan everything yourself. It will make things a lot cheaper, though you will need to make sure to time things correctly. To be honest, doing it this way I would spend 1 night in Surat Thani between the bus and the boat. This is because delays are a common occurrence in Thailand. There could always be traffic or even an accident on the road which makes you late. You don’t want to miss your ferry and have that money go to waste.

Bus From Bangkok To Surat Thani

The first step will be getting a bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani. This can be booked via 12.Go Asia. This is the most popular transportation booking site in Southeast Asia and one I have used plenty of times.

There are quite a few different companies you can choose from, so check out the reviews. Though the journey itself takes around 10 hours no matter which company you choose. I find Thai buses to be very good quality and quite comfortable for long journeys. The price for the bus from Bangkok to Surat Thai costs $18.00 – $28.00 depending on which company you choose.

The majority of buses on this route are overnight journeys which save on the cost of accommodation. Though just make sure to check what time you’re chosen bus arrives at Surat Thani. Some choices arrive at 3 am and there is nothing worse than being dropped off in a new town, sleep-deprived, and nowhere to go.

Surat Thani To Koh Tao

Whether you’ve stayed a day in Surat Thani relaxing or heading straight to the island from the bus the next step is getting a boat to Koh Tao. There are plenty of ferry companies to choose from in Koh Tao. Though make sure to read reviews as they aren’t all well maintained and safety standards can be questionable.

Personally, I have always chosen Lomprayah and have had no issues. If you would also like to book with them you can do so directly on their website or over at 12.Go Asia. They have the booking option to either collect you from Surat Thani Airport or you can make your own way to Surat Thani Tapee Pier. Unless you’ve booked their overnight bus and boat service from Bangkok, the first boat departs at 11 am. The journey takes 1 and a half hours.

catching a ferry boat bangkok to koh tao
arriving at koh tao on the ferry

Lomprayah To Travel From Bangkok To Koh Tao

I booked via Lomprayah to head down South to Koh Tao from Bangkok and it was surprisingly a comfortable journey. Doing it this way is the fastest land option to get down to the islands taking close to 12 hours all up. Unfortunately, my trip was the day before Songkran which meant their main office was closed. Usually, it is located near the hostels on Khao San Road, which makes it super easy for travelers.

Once there you will need to complete some paperwork before boarding the bus. The bus we had was 2 stories, though a lot of the bottom story was taken up for luggage. Somehow we managed to snag ourselves the front seats on the second story. This meant that we had a little bit extra legroom and didn’t have the hassle of being surrounded by a heap of other people!

The bus heads off a bit later at around 9.45 pm. Though we were loaded onboard shortly after 9 pm so there was a bit of waiting around. A few hours outside of Bangkok we stop at a rather large cafeteria area and toilet. We take the chance to get off and stretch our legs for the remainder of the journey to Chumphon. Honestly, I don’t remember much of this journey as it was overnight and I was asleep. Definitely bring an eye mask with you as it makes such a difference!

It was about 5 am when we arrived at Chumphon at the Lomprayah Pier. It was a well-set-up area where the ferry departed from, but unfortunately at this time in the morning, everything was closed. I am not sure whether we made quite good time or it’s just like that, but there was quite a wait until the ferry boarded at 7 am.

We had a nice big ferry boat and we were all piled inside away from the rising sun. The journey from the pier to Koh Tao takes around 1 and a half to two hours so get comfortable. Remember to check with your accommodation in Koh Tao if early check-in is available as well! There is nothing worse than an overnight journey than having to wait 5+ hours to have a hot shower and clean yourself up.

Train And Boat From Bangkok To Koh Tao

You can also do a train and boat combo to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao. I often find train journeys a lot more comfortable than buses, especially since they offer berths where you can lay flat which makes a big difference. You can book your train tickets over at 12.Go Asia.

You can either take the train to Chumphon or Surat Thani and then catch the ferry to Koh Tao from either city. Chumphon is closer up the coast to Bangkok so it will mean less time on a train at 10 hours. On the opposite side, less time on the train means arriving earlier at your destination which isn’t a good thing if it’s an overnight journey. Though there are multiple train journeys and departure times you can choose from so make sure it works which your plans.

The journey from Bangkok to Surat Thani takes 13 hours so if you choose one of the overnight options you will arrive at slightly better times where it won’t be completely pitch black.

Whichever option you choose if is about the same distance to the Koh Tao from the piers in each city.

yellow train at surat thani train station thailand
the train at the station in bangkok

Shared Minivan From Bangkok To Koh Tao

Another option you have to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao is by taking a shared minivan. This is one of the more popular transport options for travelers in Thailand. Though in saying that it is far from the best.

These minivans are usually packed to the brim with travelers. And what does every traveler have, a bag! Trust me all the bags won’t fit in the back and you will end up covered in other people’s belongings. It certainly does not make for a comfortable journey and when it’s a long one like Bangkok to Koh Tao I wouldn’t recommend it. Also because it isn’t run by one particular company there isn’t really any responsibility taken so you can get random surprises such as having to swap vans halfway etc.

The one plus side of taking a minivan is speed. This is one of the quickest ways to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao as they will be able to zoom in and out of the traffic. If this is your first experience in a minivan you may be scared, but if you are traveling Southeast Asia for a while you will get used to it.

If you decide that taking a minivan will be the best choice for you the way you can book this trip is through a local travel agency. This is best to be done when you are physically in Bangkok and you will be able to book for the next day. Your ticket will include the cost of a minivan and a ferry.

Private Taxi From Bangkok To Koh Tao

The final option to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao is by hiring a private car or a taxi to take you. This is a good choice if you aren’t on a budget and perhaps want to spend the night at one of the coastal cities such as Surat Thani. You will need to book this journey in two parts. Firstly is the private car and secondly is the ferry journey. It is unlikely you will be able to book both at the same time.

Like above your best option will be visiting a travel agency when you are in Bangkok. There is absolutely plenty around, especially if you are staying in the Khao San Road area so shop around. Make sure to haggle for a decent price as well.

Where To Stay In Koh Tao?

Unless you have a rather large budget for Thailand it’s likely you will be staying in the main township in Koh Tao. This is where I stayed and where you will find the more affordable accommodation.

Sairee Beach: Sairee Beach is one of the more popular places to stay in Koh Tao simply because this is where the majority of accommodation options are located. There are some quaint bungalows here as well as a handful of hostels for backpackers on a budget.

Mae Haad: Mae Haad is the main area of Koh Tao and where all the ferries depart from. There isn’t too much of a nice beach here due to boat pollution. I stayed in this area on my first trip to Koh Tao and found the options quite limited. There are more hostels here as well as a few affordable resorts. I stayed in Baan Rock Inn for $20.00 per night which I shared with my partner.

Chalok Baan Kao: Away from the township in a more peaceful location is the area of Chalok Baan Kao. Here you will find more affordable beachfront bungalows. This is definitely an area for backpackers who want to be more in nature and the seaside without having to pay ridiculous prices.

Ao Thian Og: If budget isn’t a limit for you, it’s likely you will be staying in Ao Thian Og. This is a super-luxurious area with some of Koh Tao’s best resorts and hotels. A night here will cost you a few hundred dollars.

Here are my top picks:

Savage Hostel Koh Tao

Savage Hostel Koh Tao

A more luxe hostel with a pool in a great location! Pod style dorms start from $16.00 per night.

Wonderland Jungle Hostel

Wonderland Jungle Hostel

The perfect glampacker hostel located in the jungle.Enjoy the social atmosphere from $18.00 per night.

Wind Beach Resort

Wind Beach Resort

My favorite resort in Koh Tao right on the beach in a great location. Prices start from $70.00 per night.

Sairee Sairee Guesthouse

Sairee Sairee Guesthouse

A more affordable option in Sairee Beach. Private rooms start from $50.00 per night.


Things To Do In Koh Tao

Get PADI Certified

One of the most popular things to do in Koh Tao and why many people travel here is to get PADI certified. Koh Tao is known as one of the cheapest places to get your PADI license in the world. As a result, it attracts thousands of backpackers every year looking to gain some new skills exploring life under the water. It can cost as little as $300.00 to become certified here.

Snorkeling Tour

One of the most popular things to do is to take a snorkeling tour in Koh Tao. You will visit the famous Koh Nang Yuan, Mango Bay, Hin Wong Bay, Aow Leuk, and Sharks Bay. There will be a variety of underwater life to explore which plenty of coral reef systems to check out.

Ang Thong Marine Park

If you snorkeled all of the beaches while in Koh Tao why not head out a bit further afield on a day trip to Ang Thong Marine Park. It is made up of 42 separate islands and is one of the best spots to snorkel in the Gulf of Thailand. Prices generally start around $30.00 for the day trip on a group tour.

Pub Crawl

Being such a small island with relatively limited things to do, partaking in the famous Koh Tao pub crawl has become a bit of an institution for backpackers in Thailand. It a pretty cheap thing to do here and you will also receive a free teeshirt or singlet. You will also meet a bunch of new people.

How I Book Cheap Transport In Thailand: 12Go Asia


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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

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