Want to know how to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the four ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting Koh Tao
Koh Tao is also a popular diving destination in the Gulf of Thailand. Known as one of the cheapest locations in the world to get your PADI license, the island offers beautiful underwater scenery with gorgeous coral gardens and tons of fish.
It may be just 1/10 the size of its neighbour Koh Samui, but that doesn’t mean there is less to see in Koh Tao. Here, you’ll find beautiful bays, beaches and viewpoints — all just a motorbike ride away. And the best part? You can enjoy all these at a more laidback and slow pace.
4 ways to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao
There are four ways to travel the distance of 415 km (258 miles) from Bangkok to Koh Tao: by bus (11h30m-15h45m), train via chumphon (10h37m-18h15m), flight (3h15m-5h45m) and train via surat thani (18h40m-20h27m). The journey takes between 3h15m - 20h27m and the quickest way is by flight. The lowest priced tickets start from 800 THB ($22.50) for the train via chumphon.
When taking the train from Bangkok to Koh Tao, you can choose to go either via Chumphon or via Surat Thani.
We recommend travelling by train via Chumphon, as this province is nearer to Koh Tao. From there, it is around 3 hours to reach Koh Tao by ferry.
Step 1: Bangkok to Chumphon by Train
Costs: 300 THB ($8.00)
Costs: 300 THB ($8.00)
From your hotel in Bangkok, you will first have to go to Hua Lamphong Railway Station, which is the starting point for all trains going to Chumphon.
We recommend that you take a night train that arrives early morning in Chumphon. This way, you can immediately transfer to the only van leaving in the morning, which is at 06:00, and arrive early in Koh Tao.
Fares start at 300 THB ($8.00) for a second-class seat. Some trains also offer first and second class berths that are more expensive, but definitely more comfortable. See our recommended train schedules below.
Train via Chumphon options from Bangkok to Koh Tao
*UPDATE: The last time we checked (April 2023), the van + ferry services by Songserm and KP Tripadvisor had not yet resumed. Please check the provided links to see if anything has changed.
You may want to contact your hotel beforehand for a pick-up service from Mae Haad Pier. Alternatively, you can arrange your own transport from the pier to your hotel.
Bangkok to Koh Tao by Bus
Starts from: 970 THB ($27.00)
Cost: 970 THB ($27.00)
Booking an overnight bus and connecting ferry to Koh Tao is the easiest way to reach this paradise island from Bangkok. With this option, both the bus and ferry are already organised for you, so you won’t have to book the tickets separately.
The combined bus and ferry option requires two transfers. The first one is by bus or minivan in Chumphon or Hua Hin, while the second transfer is to board the ferry at Chumphon Pier.
Combined tickets start from 1,320 THB ($37.00), and the journey can take 11.5-15 hours.
Departure and arrival station
Songserm, Montanatip, and Lomprayah buses all depart from Khao San Road, the famous backpacker street in Bangkok. For Paradive Travel, the meet-up point is at Hua Lamphong Railway Station.
After the transfer in Hua Hin or Chumphon, the bus or minivan will take you to Chumphon Pier. From here, you will take the ferry and arrive at Koh Tao Island.
*COVID-19 UPDATE: The last time we checked (April 2023), the bus + ferry services by Songserm and Paradive Travel had not yet resumed. Please check the provided links to see if anything has changed.
Luckily, the trips available are night buses, so you can catch up on sleep and be well-rested before you arrive. However, keep in mind that not all buses for this route offer sleeper beds, so you may have to sleep in a reclined chair instead.
Bangkok to Koh Tao by Train via Surat Thani
Starts from: 1,430 THB ($40.00)
Cost: 1,430 THB ($40.00)
When travelling from Bangkok to Koh Tao, you can also travel via Surat Thani, which is the province next to Chumphon in the south.
Koh Tao is actually a part of Surat Thani, but travelling via this province takes longer and can be more expensive than going via Chumphon.
However, we still wanted to share this option in case the option with the stopover in Chumphon doesn’t fit your itinerary for some reason.
Step 1: Bangkok to Surat Thani by Train
Costs: 730 THB ($20.50)
Costs: 730 THB ($20.50)
Same as the train via Chumphon, trains to Surat Thani also depart from Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok. The journey takes longer, though, around 11-13 hours.
Since the train ride to Surat Thani Railway Station is a bit longer, you can try a sleeper berth with air conditioning for a more comfortable journey.
Ticket prices for second class sleeper berths start from 730 THB ($20.00). Below are our recommended train schedules.
Train via Surat Thani options from Bangkok to Koh Tao
*UPDATE: The last time we checked (April 2023), the van + ferry services by Songserm and Seatran Discovery had not yet resumed. Please check the provided links to see if anything has changed.
If you add this van and ferry trip to the train journey, it will take probably around 20 hours of travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao via Surat Thani. It is definitely longer than the 11.5 to 13-hour trip via Chumphon, which is also about 600 THB ($16.50) cheaper than this option.
Bangkok to Koh Tao by Flight
Starts from: 2,851 THB ($80.00)
Cost: 2,851 THB ($80.00)
If you’d rather save time than money when travelling from Bangkok to Koh Tao, your best option is to fly via Koh Samui. With this option, you do not need to spend more than half of your day travelling.
Koh Tao doesn’t have its own airport, so you will have to take a flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui, an island that is another main tourist destination just below Koh Tao.
This option also involves a minivan ride to the pier and a ferry ride to Koh Tao. Even with the transfers, by flight is the fastest option to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao.
TIP: If you decide to travel by plane, please consider including a carbon compensation fee to reduce your impact on the environment.
Step 1: Bangkok to Koh Samui by Flight
Duration: 1 hour 5 minutes
Costs: 2,000 THB ($56.00)
Duration: 1 hour 5 minutes
Costs: 2,000 THB ($56.00)
There are multiple flights departing from Bangkok to Koh Samui every day. All flights are operated by Bangkok Airways.
For a 1-hour flight to Koh Samui Airport, ticket prices start from 2,000 THB ($55.00).
Check the ferry schedules before booking a flight (Step 3). Most ferry companies have the latest departure at 12:30 pm. This means you have to book a morning flight in order to arrive at Koh Tao on the same day.
Seatran Discovery used to include pick-up from the airport, but the last time we checked (September 2022), they haven’t resumed their operations yet. No other ferry companies include airport pick-up, so you’ll need to travel on your own from the airport to the pier.
The ferries from Koh Samui to Koh Tao depart from Mae Nam Pier and Nathon Pier. SmackOne offers van services to these Zone 2 areas for 250 THB ($6.50). There are van departures every 30 minutes from 07:00 to 21:30.
You can also take a taxi from the airport with rates starting from 400 THB ($11.00).
Located not far from Sairee Beach. The Stamp Hotel is simple, clean and provides everything you could need for a comfortable stay. The staff are the star of this hotel, helping you with recommendations and hiring scooters.
All rooms come with a patio or balcony for you to sit back and immerse yourself in the nature that surrounds the hotel. This is a great budget option in Koh Tao!
Budchui Village2 is located just 500m from Sairee Beach and offers a beautiful swimming pool. The stunning mountain views, lush greenery and tranquillity will make for a perfect escape from the busy streets of Koh Tao.
Staff are very helpful and will assist in booking tours, onward travel plans and renting motorcycles or bicycles.
Located in the Chalok Baan Kao area this hostel is surrounded by nature, lush scenery and tranquillity. The hostel has a large outdoor swimming pool, an on-site restaurant, a bar and a great rooftop terrace for guests to soak in all the sights.
There is also a common area for socializing with a TV, books and a shared computer. Thinking about getting your PADI in Koh Tao, the hostel is also a dive centre. The rooms are spacious and clean with private balconies.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bangkok to Koh Tao
How far is Koh Tao from Bangkok?
Koh Tao is 415 km away from Bangkok, on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Depending on the transport method you take, the journey can take from 3-4 hours (plane) to a whopping 20 hours (train via Surat Thani).
Is it worth making the journey from Bangkok to Koh Tao?
Koh Tao is a very popular diving destination located in the southeast of Thailand. It’s known as one of the cheapest locations in the world to get your PADI license and offers beautiful underwater scenery. If you love the underwater world, you will fall in love with this island! Besides the underwater scenery, you can explore the bays and viewpoints by motorbike, go kayaking or join a boat tour. The famous sand strip in the north.
Does Koh Tao have an airport?
Koh Tao doesn’t have its own airport. You will either have to fly to the nearby island Koh Samui, to Chumphon or to Surat Thani. The most common to travel to Koh Tao by plane is by booking a flight to Koh Samui and then continuing with a 2.5-hour ferry ride to Koh Tao.
How many days should I stay in Koh Tao?
If you are looking to enjoy the island’s stunning beaches, explore its natural beauty, and try out some of the popular water sports such as snorkelling and scuba diving, we recommend spending 3-5 days in Koh Tao. However, if you are interested in getting your Open Water or Advanced Open Water certification, we recommend planning for 5-7 days in Koh Tao to complete your course.
What's the fastest way to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao?
The fastest way to get to Koh Tao is to take a flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui (1h), then a minivan to the pier and a ferry to Koh Tao. The whole journey takes 3-4 hours.
What's the cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao?
The cheapest way to get to Koh Tao from Bangkok is to take a train to Chumphon, then a van + ferry to Koh Tao. The total price of the journey depends on the train ticket you buy with third-class seats being the most affordable (but we do recommend splurging on a second-class ticket with AC so you can get better sleep).
Will I get seasick on the ferry to Koh Tao?
Unfortunately, the sea en route to Koh Tao can get choppy. If you struggle with seasickness, make sure to bring motion sickness medication with you.
Rounding it up
We hope this guide was helpful in planning how to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao. If there's anything else you're wondering about, drop us a comment and we'll do our best to answer you within a few days.
PS: If you've recently travelled this route, share your experience with fellow travellers and help us improve this post. Thanks for helping out our travel community!
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.
Abby is a writer who finds joy in mountains, beaches, and road trips. She considers her solo backpacking trip to the rice terraces of Bontoc one of the most fulfilling moments in her life. She’s loyal to the islands of her home country, the Philippines, but Thailand’s beaches also have a special place in her heart.