Bangkok to Koh Tao – Ultimate Guide ✔️ Buses and Ferries

Want to know how to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao?

There’s a few ways to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok and each option involves taking a ferry for the last part of the journey. Several companies offer a combined ferry+bus ticket which is a popular and affordable option for most travelers to reach Koh Tao from Bangkok. You can even fly to Chumphon and then take a ferry to Koh Tao.

Tourists walking on pier to catch the ferry to Thailand Gulf Islands. Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui
The pier in Chumphon where the catamaran departs

Most tourists and travelers going from Bangkok to Koh Tao purchase all inclusive bus+ferry combo tickets. These tickets offer a hassle free experience because the bus goes directly to the pier where you’ll board a ferry or fast catamaran. view bus+ferry combo tickets

An infographic of the route from Bangkok to Koh Tao

Ferries to Koh Tao depart from the pier in Chumphon. It is first necessary to travel down to Chumphon from Bangkok and then take the ferry to Koh Tao from there. Travel time by ferry is 1 hour 45 minutes. The bus from Bangkok to Chumphon is approximately 6 hours.

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The cheapest way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao is to purchase a →bus+ferry all-inclusive ticket. The bus connects you directly to the pier in Chumphon, so there is no in between transfer that would otherwise waste time and add an unnecessary expense.

Tip: some combo tickets do the bus journey at night arriving early morning in Chumphon for the boat. If you’re on a budget this is the best option as you’ll save the cost of 1 night accommodation. check schedules here.

Bus Bangkok - Koh Tao ฿ 1,250–1,450 8h 45m – 19h
  •   Bus + Ferry 09:00
  •   Express 06:00, 21:00
Ferry Bangkok - Koh Tao ฿ 1,300–1,550 8h 45m – 16h
  •   VIP 06:00, 21:00
  •   Sleeper Boat 13:00

The fastest option would be to fly from Bangkok to Chumphon and then take a ferry to Koh Tao. However, due to waiting time and considering the ferry departure may not align with flight arrival in Chumphon, this option could end up being slower that the bus+ferry combo.

The view out the window of a plane over the wing

Another option is to take the train from Bangkok to Chumphon. From Chumphon train station you’d need to get to Tung Makham pier by taxi or transfer and take one of the boats to Koh Tao from there. Again, there is no combined tickets for this option. Train travel is slow and there will be waiting time between your arrival and the ferry departure. I would suggest this option only if you want a Thai railway experience and not for it’s practicality. It won’t work out much cheaper than the combo tickets either.

Below are the details for the 4 options for getting to Koh Tao from Bangkok. Some options are faster and more convenient while others are more affordable. Whichever option you choose, the trip from Bangkok to Koh Tao involves taking a ferry or catamaran for the last part of the journey.

Bus+Ferry – Best Bangkok to Koh Tao Option

Combined bus+ferry tickets from Bangkok to Tao are the preferred option for most travelers and first time tourists in Koh Tao. The combined tickets are affordable and cost less than ฿1400 ($40) for a 1 way ticket.

If you have planned travel dates, it is best to buy your tickets in advance as combined tickets are known to sell out. A lot of travel agencies in Bangkok offer this service so you can buy your tickets in person against a small agent fee. If you’re not in Bangkok or don’t want to waste time finding a reliable travel agent, the best option is to buy your tickets online. When buying tickets online you can view all available options and prices and have all the related details about the trip.

The meeting point for this journey begins in Soi Rambuttri (a street parallel with Khao San road). Make sure you are at the meeting point about 1 hour ahead of departure as you need to do check-in. You will get tags for any luggage that is going into the storage compartment. Also you’l be handed your boat tickets. For the bus you will get stickers that go on your shirt for the staff to identify your bus class (tourist or VIP) and seat number. These stickers are basically your ticket for the bus. Make sure you don’t lose them as they’re not very effective at staying in place.

The bus will travel down to Chumphon and travel time is around 8 hours including a break along the way. The journey ends at the pier in Chumphon where you’ll board the boat after showing the tickets previously given to you. Boat tickets have no seat number so make sure you don’t board last as there is a limited amount of seats in the air condition part.

The journey from Chumphon to Koh Tao takes around 1 hour 45 minutes. There is also a baggage limit of 20kg per person. Excess luggage will be charged at 20 THB per kg, not exceeding 30 kg. If you want to secure a place for a specific date, you can check available options and reserve here.

Minivan+Ferry

If you haven’t bought your bus+ferry tickets in advance and you don’t find any tickets available, then there’s always the option to go from Bangkok to Koh Tao via a combined minivan+ferry option. In short this option is the same as the bus+ferry option. However, in our experience of traveling in Thailand both by bus and even minivan, we suggest not taking the minivan option.

Besides not having comfortable leg room like a bus, minivans also don’t have a luggage compartment. That means you’ll be traveling for 6 hours in a cramped space along with all your and other passenger’s luggage. Baggage limit may also be less than 20kg due to the limited space.

Check available bus+ferry tickets here.

Flight+Ferry

The fastest option to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao would be by plane and then ferry.

This option begins by taking a flight from Suvarnabhumi airport to Chumphon airport. After landing you will need to take a taxi or book a transfer to Tung Makham pier which will take around 1 hour before catching the Lomprayah speed boat to Koh Tao. The combined travel time is a 1 hour flight, 1 hour travel from airport to pier and 1 hour 45 minutes speed boat to Koh Tao. However, when adding waiting times, plus being at the airport an hour or 2 in advance, this journey can take over 8 hours making the bus+ferry option still a better choice with less planning and more affordable.

Train+Ferry

Similar to the previous options, taking the train and ferry option to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao involves first getting to Chumphon. The trains to Chumphon depart from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Station in Bangkok. When you arrive in Chumphon train station you’ll then need to take a taxi or transfer to Tung Makham pier where you’ll take the ferry to Koh Tao.

There is no combined train+ferry ticket option so you will need to plan the logistics for this trip independently. And in order to minimize waiting time, consider arrival time in Chumphon and departure time of the speedboat to Koh Tao.

The best way to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao by train is to take the night train which departs Bangkok at 10:50 pm and arrives in Chumphon at 5:20 am. This train has sleeper options which are often sold out.

You will need to take a taxi to Tung Makham pier after arriving in Chumphon train station which takes 30 minutes. The first speed boat leaves at 7:00 am. Unless there are any train delays you should arrive at the pier by around 6:00 am. If you take this option just make sure you have booked your speedboat tickets in advance. Because if the tickets are all sold out, the alternative would be to take a slow 8 hour ferry from the Chumphon Ferry Pier and its only slightly cheaper than the speedboat.

Before You Go – Key Points

  • Baggage allowance for the ferry is 20kg. Excess luggage will be charged at 20 THB per kg, not exceeding 30 kg.
  • Never leave your personal belonging in your luggage in the bus storage compartment. Keep passport, cash, bank cards, expensive items such as jewelry and electronics in your carry on.
  • Changes and cancellations for combined tickets cannot be done later than 4 days before departure
  • Latest check-in is 30 minutes before departure. It is best to be at the meeting point a bit earlier to have everything sorted and not have to wait in a long check-in queue.
  • You must show your original online booking along with your passport.
  • Pets are not allowed.
  • There is a ฿20 ($0.40) fee to enter Koh Tao which is paid upon arrival or collected on the boat.
  • Pregnant women are advised not to travel by speedboat.
  • If you’re going from Bangkok to Koh Phangan then ↳read this article

Related article: Here are the best areas to stay in Koh Tao

Arriving in Koh Tao

Below are a few key points for when you arrive in Koh Tao and beyond. If you’ve still not planned your entire trip, first are a few points about where to stay followed by how to get your hotel when you arrive in Koh Tao.

Where to stay in Koh Tao

If you’re planning your Koh Tao itinerary, the section below covers the 3 main areas to stay on the island. All areas are well suited if you want to have restaurants, beach bars and entertainment nearby. The table gives you a quick overview of hotels and hostels which have been highly rated and thus are always in high demand.

But first ⤵

#1 Hostel in Koh TaoRevolution Koh Tao – $17 for bunk bed
Best Resort in Koh TaoThe Ava Resort – $155 night
Best Private villa in Koh TaoPhandara Luxury Pool Villas – $370+

for local vibe
Maehaad pier in Koh Tao

Maehaad

$$$NamePriceRating
$Nadapa Resort Koh Tao$228.5/10
$Sunrise Koh Tao$278.9/10
$Blue Wave House$339.2/10
$$Field.D house$528.9/10
$$Lücke Boutique Hotel – Adults Only$679.6/10
$$Big Tree Boutique Hotel amazing find!!$709.1/10
$$$Villa Seaview Garden x5 ppl$1259.0/10
$$$Viking House Villa Deluxe$2598.8/10
All prices are per night for 2 people. Please use price as a guideline as they may change depending on seasonality. →make sure to book in advance for best rates
for everything
Sairee beach is of the most popular areas for tourists to stay in Koh Tao. This image shows a famous bent palm tree on the beach

Sairee Beach

$$$NamePriceRating
$Sairee Cottage Resort$158.8/10
$Summer Guesthouse & Hostel$198.5/10
$Budchui Village 2$248.7/10
$$Wyh Hotels$468.6/10
$$DD Hut Bungalows$549.2/10
$$Simple Life Cliff View Resort$738.5/10
$$$Koh Tao Cabana Hotel$978.5/10
$$$Tao Island Boutique Hotel$1509.2/10
All prices are per night for 2 people. Please use price as a guideline as they may change depending on seasonality. →make sure to book in advance for best rates
# for relaxation
A aerial view of Chalok Baan. A beach surrounded by lush jungle

Chalok Baan Kao Bay

$$$NamePriceRating
$Koh Tao Tropicana Resort$197.9/10
$Chandra Hostel Kohtao$198.3/10
$Bubble Bungalow$218.4/10
$$The Ozo Kohtao$378.1/10
$$Greenery Resort$419.1/10
$$Ko Tao Resort Paradise Zone$469.0/10
$$$Koh Tao Relax Freedom Beach Resort$708.9/10
$$$View point Resort$799.0/10
All prices are per night for 2 people. Please use price as a guideline as they may change depending on seasonality. →make sure to book in advance for best rates

When you arrive in Koh Tao

The ferry to Koh Tao docks at Mae Haad pier. It’s busy and chaotic especially when the ferries arrive. You’ll get bombarded by tuk-tuk drivers to take you to your hotel. Just make sure you negotiate a price before taking a tuk-tuk. Else you’ll have to pay whatever the driver asks for when you arrive at your hotel.

Getting to hotel

When you arrive in Koh Tao you have a few options to make it to your hotel. If you’ve already booked an accommodation in Koh Tao, make sure to ask if they offer shuttle service. Some accommodation offer this service to their guests and if its an exclusive resort it will probably be free.

Another option which mostly applies if you have a backpack is to rent a scooter or motorcycle. There’s lots of shops to rent from in Maehaad, just make sure to check their reviews beforehand. Or in some cases you can even walk to your hotel or hostel as both Maehaad town and Sairee beach are within walking distance. Maybe not so much if you have a lot of luggage though.

The final option would be to travel by songtaew which is basically a pick-up truck with benches in the back. Let the driver know where you’re going and in some cases the driver make group others going in the same direction and you can split the cost. But in most you’ll need to negotiate a price.

Food

If you arrive hungry, stop for a sandwich at Da’s sandwiches right next to the pier. This guy makes the best sandwiches in Thailand (according to us).

Scooter Rental

To rent a scooter go to One Motorbike Rentals.The shop is a 2 minute walk South from the pier. If they don’t have any scooters the next best option is go to Oli’s Motorbike rental about 10 minutes from the pier.

Tours

The only way to do certain activities must be done by tour. One of them is this 7 hour tour that takes you snorkeling, and then to a viewpoint on a nearby island and also includes lunch.

You May also like….

If you’re traveling from Bangkok to other places, you may also consider these other popular routes listed below.

How to get from Bangkok to Pattaya – Bus | Train | Taxi

How to get from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi

How to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya

Popular day trips from Bangkok

HEY, just so you know…

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