Getting to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan & Koh Samui – Tourist Guide

Want to know how to reach the trio islands in the gulf of Thailand?

Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui are the most popular islands on the East coast of Thailand.

The most common way to reach Thailand’s Gulf islands is by purchasing a combined land and ferry combo ticket. This combo ticket includes a bus ride to the pier in Chumphon if you’re coming from Bangkok. And if you’re in South Thailand (Krabi, Ao-Nang, Phuket, Koh Lanta) the bus takes you to the pier in Surat Thani. Then from a connecting ferry transports you to whichever island you’re going to.

It’s convenient, it’s fast and the combo tickets are also affordable.

A gorgeous tropical beach with white sand and emerald water

If you’re ready to plan you transport from any of the destinations mentioned, the easiest way to reserve a seat is by booking online in advance. Pre-booking is recommended because these tickets are rather popular especially during peak season, on weekends and holidays when locals are also visiting the islands.

You can check what is available on your travel dates by clicking on the popular routes below. Click any of the destination next to your initial starting point.

Bangkok → ↳Koh TaoKoh PhanganKoh Samui
Phuket → ↳Koh TaoKoh PhanganKoh Samui
Krabi → ↳Koh TaoKoh PhanganKoh Samui

Or use the search box for other departing areas.

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You may also like →Koh Samui to Koh Tao Ferry Guide

How to Reach Thailand’s Gulf Islands

Getting to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan or Koh Samui can be done by ferry or speedboat from Chumphon or Surat Thani depending on where you are in Thailand.

Via Chumphon

If you’re coming from anywhere in the central or northern part of Thailand, then to reach any of the Gulf islands you will need to reach Chumphon city. From here you can take a ferry or speed to any island.

Via Surat Thani

Reaching the gulf islands from anywhere in the South of Thailand is through Surat Thani. From here you can take either a ferry or a speedboat. Both ferries and speedboats stop on each island to pick up and drop off passengers. The longest ride from Surat Thani would be if you’re going to Koh Tao and it takes around 4 hours.

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Thailand Gulf Islands – Popular Routes

Below is a list of the most popular routes to reach the islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Click on any of the routes and enter your travel dates to view what are the options for the best price.

From Bangkok

From Phuket

From Krabi

From Ao Nang

From Koh Lanta

About Thailand’s Gulf islands

While Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui are relatively close to each other and you can easily island hop by ferry/speedboat, the islands are pretty diverse.

Koh Tao is the northernmost island. If you’re coming from Bangkok this is the first island, followed by Koh Phangan and then Koh Samui. Should you be coming from any part of Southern Thailand, the best way to reach the islands is via the ferries from Surat Thani. From here the first island will be Koh Samui.

A bent palm tree facing tropical clear waters

Koh Tao

Koh Tao means turtle island and this is the smallest island out of the trio. Renowned for it’s clear waters and marine life, Koh Tao is a popular destination for anyone wanting to do scuba diving courses thanks to the low cost.

Sai Nuan beach in Koh Tao
Sai Nuan beach – Southwest Koh Tao

If you’re looking for that a laid back, bare foot tropical island vibe, Koh Tao is the answer.

Going to Koh-Tao? These are the best areas and places to stay

The most popular area on Koh Tao is Sairee beach and is close to Mae Haad port which is where you will arrive by ferry or speed boat. Sairee is where you’ll find a number accommodation ranging from budget hostels and rooms, to amazing beach front resorts. Here you’ll have many dining options, beach bars and entertainment all within walking distance.

Click here for ways to reach Koh Tao from Bangkok.

Or choose one of the routes below to view available options:

Find your dream hotel in Koh Tao – ↳Click here for best deals

Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is most famous for the full moon party and unfortunately this sort of overshadows everything else. Koh Phangan is so much more and the full moon party only happens once a month and is concentrated in one specific area.

A ferry from Koh Phangan cruising in crystal clear waters
Crystal clear water near Thong Sala port Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is about 5x the size of Koh Tao. So it’s a relatively big island and you’ll definitely need some form of transportation to move around and explore the gorgeous beaches.

The most popular area in Koh Phangan is Haad Rin beach located on the southern tip of the island. This is where the full moon party happens and it also happens to be the most beautiful beach on Koh Phangan. It’s popular with backpackers and there’s many accommodation options from budget to luxury and loads of dining options and even more entertainment places and bars and drinking options than anywhere else. So it can be a noisy and rowdy area to stay in especially around the full moon party.

The west and all the way up to the northern part of Koh Phangan is dotted with clusters of accommodation along with dining options and beach bars. Around Hin Kong beach and all the way up to Salad Beach is popular because there is the largest concentration of sleeping and eating options in this part of the area.

Click here for ways to reach Koh Phangan from Bangkok.

Or choose one of the routes below to view available options:

Find your dream hotel in Koh Phangan – ↳Click here for best deals

Koh Samui

The largest and most popular island in the Gulf of Thailand is Koh Samui. Consequentially it is also the most developed island. Known for its stunning beaches with clear, turquoise and calm water, Koh Samui offers a broad appeal and caters for any type of tourists.

A small island covered in trees and surrounded with clear tropical waters in Koh Samui Thailand

Koh Samui’s main hotspot is Chaweng beach and a very large surrounded area which also includes Lamai beach, a more laid back neighboring beach area. From luxurious beach resorts and hotels, malls facing the beach, beach bars, restaurants and an entertainment and nightlife scene that seems to never stop.

Chaweng offers all those things you’re generally looking for when on vacation. However, should you wish to be close enough but not necessarily in Chaweng, then Lamai beach is the answer. It’s a more laid back area with equally stunning beaches and close enough to reach all the amenities in Chaweng. An alternative would be to book your stay in the hills above Chaweng. Here you’ll find luxurious villas complete with infinity pool that deliver sweeping views over lush landscapes and all the way to the ocean.

A 20 minute drive west from Chaweng is BoPhut. This charming traditional area is a former fishermans village. Now you’ll find chic boutique hotels and fancy restaurants and even a local night market is set up close by.

Click here for ways to reach Koh Samui from Bangkok.

Or choose one of the routes below to view available options:

Find your dream hotel in Koh Samui – ↳Click here for best deals

HEY, just so you know…

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