Phuket to Koh Tao | Ultimate Guide ✔️ Ferries and Buses

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

Koh Tao is the small laid back island in the Gulf sea of Thailand. Popular for its beautiful beaches, laid back vibe and famous for snorkeling and to get open water license at an affordable price.

There’s a few ways to get from Phuket to Koh Tao by ferry and land transport by bus, minivan or taxi. Ferries and catamarans depart regularly from 1 of the piers in Surat Thani. Air travel is a bit inconvenient because Koh Tao has no airport, the only option is to fly to the nearby Koh Samui followed by a 2 hour catamaran or speedboat to Koh Tao

This article covers all the options to get from Phuket to Koh Tao.

Phuket to Koh Tao transport guide. A sandbar connecting 2 islands near Koh Tao
The gorgeous Nang Yuan island near Koh Tao

Phuket to Koh Tao – Best Option

Route: Phuket → Surat Thani → Koh Tao

The most popular way to get from Phuket to Koh Tao is via bus and then a fast catamaran/ferry. The most hassle free option is the all-inclusive bus+ferry combo tickets. That’s because the bus connects you directly to the ferry which isn’t the case with ordinary which end at the bus terminal about 1 hour drive from the ferries.

You can →reserve combo tickets online here which is advisable as these tickets often sell out.

*Note: if you take a regular bus the journey ends at Talad Kaset bus terminal or Surat Thani train station which are both 1 hour drive to the ferry pier.

An infographic for the route from Phuket to Koh Tao

How to get to Koh Tao from Phuket

Land transport from Phuket to Surat Than and the taking a boat/ferry to Koh Tao is the most popular option. It’s also the most affordable and the all-inclusive bus+ferry tickets even make the journey easy. Below I explain how to get from Phuket to Koh Tao. Currently there are ways which are listed in the overview table below followed by an explanation further down.

ModeDurationPrice
Bus+Ferry Combo Tickets8 hours$47
Air+Ferry6 hours+$140+
Bus+Ferry – D.I.Y*11 hours+$40/$50
Taxi/Transfer+Ferry8 hours$130+
*For this option you will need to plan the transfer from the bus terminal to the port which is about 1 hour drive away.

Phuket to Koh Tao Travel Planning

Bus + Ferry Combo

The bus + ferry combo tickets are an easy and hassle free way to get from Phuket to Koh Tao at an affordable price. Lomprayah is arguably the most popular ferry company offering bus+ferry all inclusive tickets.

On your day of travel you need to be at the meeting point. Your meeting point will depend on which company you’re traveling with. If you bought the Lomprayah tickets, the meeting point is in front of their office. All other tickets the meeting point is Phuket Bus Terminal 2. Both meeting point are close to Phuket old town.

Make sure you’re there at least 1 hour ahead of departure as you need to do check-in in order to get your tickets. You’ll also get tags for your luggage that goes into the bus storage compartment.

Because this is a combo journey, you’ll have 2 sets of tickets. For the bus journey the tickets are just stickers with seat number and class which you stick on your shirt. I would advise not to stick them on your shirt because if the sticker falls off you’ve basically lost your ticket. For the boat journey you get an actual ticket which you’ll need to show before boarding the boat.

The bus journey from Phuket to Donsak pier in Surat Thani city is between 4.5 hours and 6.5 hours and the ferry or catamaran journey is between 3 hours and 8 hours. These travel durations vary because it will depend which option you choose. You can view all options, →schedules and reserve tickets here.

Note: the meeting point will be either in front of the Lomprayah office or at Phuket Bus Terminal 2. Both of these are located close to Phuket old town.

Bus Phuket - Koh Tao $ 31.79–43.47 8h – 16h 20m
  •   Bus + Bus + Ferry 13:40
  •   Express 09:00

By Air

If you’re on a short holiday and want to make the most out of your time In Thailand, my advise would be to book a flight from Phuket to Koh Samui and then take a 90 minute catamaran or speedboat to Koh Tao. Because who wants to spend half a day traveling and arrive in their destination sluggish when they’re on a short vacation?

There’s regular daily flights from Phuket to Koh Samui and the travel duration is under 1 hour. →Check flight schedules and availability here.

The closest pier that offers ferries to Koh Tao is Bangrak and is only a 10 to 15 minute drive from the airport. Taking a taxi from the airport to the pier is a convenient option. It’s good to know that taxi drivers in Koh Samui don’t usually use a meter so you’ll need to negotiate a reasonable fixed price. Another option is to book a transfer in advance and have a driver waiting for you when you arrive.

You can book your ferry or catamaran tickets online. Make sure to book a boat that departs at least 2 hours after you land. This will give you enough time to go through baggage and clearance and arrive at the pier without rushing along. If you’ve reserved your seats in advance, you will need to do check in at the pier. →You can check ferry schedules and prices here.

Flight Phuket - Koh Samui $ 108.85 55m
  •   Economy 10:55, 13:00

Bus or minivan and Ferry (independently)

You could also do the trip independently. Meaning you’ll book the bus tickets and boat tickets separately and handle all the in-between logistics and transfers.

There are regular buses departing from Phuket terminal 2 and the travel duration is around 6 hours. Tickets cost ฿350 ($10). The journey ends in Surat Thani either at the train station or at Talad Kaset bus terminal. There are no regular buses that go to Donsak pier which is where the ferries to Koh Phangan depart and is a 1 hour drive from both the bus and train station in Surat Thani.

If you arrive in Surat Thani bus terminal, it’s a chaotic place. Expect to be swarmed by touts trying to sell you all types of services and transport options. It’s stressful after a long bus ride, but just ignore them. If you’ve bought your boat tickets to Koh Tao online, these will most often include transport from the bus or train station to the pier. If you still need to buy the tickets, walk into the bus terminal and buy your tickets from one of the booths. These booths are resellers so there will be a markup in the price. But the ticket should still include transport to the pier. Make sure to ask about this before you purchase. →You can check boat schedules and availability here.

Taxi/Transfer and Ferry

Similar to the previous option, this journey follows the same course. If you’re traveling as a group and splitting the cost, this could be a way to travel part of the journey privately in the comfort of either a minivan or a car. The option you choose will depend on your group size.

You will need to book a transfer from Phuket to Donsak pier where most of the ferries depart from. If you’re traveling via Songserm or Lomprayah ferries you will need to go to Laem Thuat pier which is a few kilometers west from the main pier in Donsak.

While a transfer from Phuket to the piers in Surat Thani isn’t going to be cheap and will cost around $120 to $150, it’s a reasonable price considering it’s a 4 hour drive. And if you’re traveling as a group, the price is quite affordable after splitting the cost. →Click here to check transfer options and prices.

For the ferry tickets you can either wing it and just show up at one of the piers and buy tickets if they are available. But if you want peace of mind it would be best to reserve your seats in advance. →You can check ferry schedules and availability here.

Before You Go – Key Points

  • Baggage allowance for ferries is 20kg. Excess luggage will be charged but cannot 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 is by tour. In the case of Koh Tao these activities are most usually water activities like this popular 7 hour snorkeling tour with excellent reviews and costs under $25!

Also for you ⤵

Since you’re going to Koh Tao you may want to consider adding one of these best selling and best rated tours and activities to your Ko Tao itinerary.

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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