Getting to Koh Tao from Bangkok is easy, and in our experience is the most popular route used by travellers visiting our beautiful island. Transport options are readily available if you are coming from other domestic and international departure points too though. So if you need any assistance with an alternative route, by all means do contact us and let us know, and we’ll be happy to advise you.
Because Koh Tao is an island, you will need a ferry transfer regardless of which transport option you choose to use on the mainland. There are a few different ways to travel down from Bangkok to the departure piers…
Getting to Koh Tao by Plane
There is no airport on Koh Tao itself, but there is an airport on the neighbouring island of Koh Samui, and further options in Suratthani and Chumphon on the mainland which make getting to Koh Tao by air a valid option.
Samui is the closest and most convenient airport, and offers multiple daily flights to and from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. All flights operated to/from Koh Samui airport are run by Bangkok Airways. Bangkok Airways are not the cheapest operator, but they are the only airline to fly into Suvarnabhumi International Airport rather than Dong Muong International Airport, and their flights do offer a generous baggage allowance, plus complimentary entry into lounges at all departure airports where food and refreshments are free of charge. You will need to arrange a ferry transfer to/from Samui for your flight, so do be sure to check the connection times, as sometimes an overnight stay may be required.
Getting to Koh Tao by air is also an option using either Nok Air or Air Asia from Chumphon or Suratthani on the mainland. You can purchase a joint ticket including ferry transfer to/from Koh Tao with either operator. Both of these are low-cost airlines that are based in Dong Muong International Airport in Bangkok, so do bear this in mind if you transfer through Suvarnabhumi on your connecting flight. Again, you will need to carefully consider the connection times with ferry services if you want to get to Koh Tao on the same day. You can find ferry timetables from all departure points in our travel section.
Top Tips for Air Travel
- When looking at budget options for travel to Koh Tao, do keep in mind that most low-cost airlines charge extra for checked luggage, so you’ll need to factor this into the total cost.
- On your return journey, remember that if you’ve done any diving on Koh Tao during your stay, you’ll need 24 hours after your last dive before you can fly.
Getting to Koh Tao by Bus
This is the most cost-effective and therefore the most popular way to get to Koh Tao. Joint tickets for bus and ferry travel depart from bus stops located near the bottom of Khao San road, and all busses are air-conditioned. The busses connect to departure piers at Chumphon, and from there it takes just 90 minutes to reach Koh Tao by ferry.
Public busses are also available, leaving from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok. However, with the fantastic value and hassle-free options presented by companies selling joint tickets for the entire journey, it is not often worth taking the risk to save a few baht on public transport, as services can often be unreliable and subject to delays.
Top Tips for Bus Travel
- Be sure to keep all of your valuable possessions like money, cards, and electronics with you in your hand luggage rather than leaving them in your stowed luggage. Theft is rare, but it can happen, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- If you are taking an evening bus from Bangkok and have to check out of your accommodation in the morning, it is possible to leave your luggage at the check-in office at the bottom of Soi Rambrutri. This allows you to explore the city for the day without having to carry all of your bags around with you.
Getting to Koh Tao by Train
Getting the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chumphon Rail Station is an eco-friendly and laid back way to travel, and is usually a little more comfortable than taking the bus. There is a variety of carriage choices, with the most popular options being air-conditioned berths in first or second class, although second and third class fan options are available for those on a budget.
In the sleeper carriages, seats fold out to make beds. The train staff will make up your bed for you after departure, and also provide wake up calls for your station, so you don’t need to worry about oversleeping and missing your stop.
Top Tips for Train Travel
- Taller travellers are recommended to pre-book a lower bed, as these have a little more legroom than the upper berths.
- Cheap/free transfers between the station and pier are provided by the ferry companies, but there is normally about an hour wait in between alighting the train and departing for the pier. So we recommend you have some change and small notes with you to grab a snack and some refreshments.
Getting to Koh Tao by Private Taxi
If you are travelling with a group of family or friends or have a lot of luggage with you, then hiring a private taxi from Bangkok to the ferry departure piers in Chumphon may be a good idea. There are various options for private taxi hire ranging from regular cars to minivans. Whichever vehicle you choose, private transportation in Thailand is very reasonably priced and comes with a few advantages:
- You can leave whenever suits your timescale
- You can make stops whenever and wherever you like on the way
- Drivers are often happy to show you some sights along the way, so you can explore Thailand a bit more at the same time!
Not found the information you need here? For further travel options, prices, and details on alternative travel routes, please contact us so we can help you.