Bangkok to Koh Tao: 4 BEST Ways to Travel!

Dreaming of Scuba Diving in Thailand? Koh Tao is the spot for you! This small island in the Gulf of Thailand is famed for it’s cheap and world-class scuba diving. However, it’s a paradise for anyone just looking to relax on the beach. But, the journey to get here is not easy. Bangkok to Koh Tao is a popular travel route, giving travelers many options to get between the two islands.

koh tao viewpoint with ocean and mountains
John Suwan Viewpoint on Koh Tao

As of writing this post, I am currently sitting on the island of Koh Tao after a long travel day between the two. I did hour of research trying to find the best option, which differs for everyone. Nonetheless, if you are reading this post, I understand your pain of trying to decide.

In this post I will outside the 4 best ways to travel between Bangkok to Koh Tao. From the most expensive and fastest option to the cheapest shoe-string budget way to get there. I’ll also let you know my recommendations of what to choose!

Let’s get started.

bangkok to Koh Tao - koh tao island views with palm trees on an island

Table of Contents

Bangkok to Koh Tao: 4 Best Ways to Travel

How do I get from Bangkok to Koh Tao?

When traveling from Bangkok to Koh Tao, there are a lot of different ways to get there. You can choose any option from the bus (cheapest), train, or fly (most expensive). But, at the end of the day Koh Tao is an island with no airport, so you will need to take a ferry boat over no matter what.

It’s not an easy journey from Bangkok to Koh Tao, no matter what transportation method you use, because you will have to transfer. However, it is one worth making, as Koh Tao is a beautiful island with plenty to do.

downtown Koh Tao street with shops and a motorbike
Downtown Koh Tao

How Many Hours is Koh Tao from Bangkok?

The journey to from Bangkok to Koh Tao can take anywhere between 4 hours and 12 hours, depending on the method of transportation you choose.

If you want to drive between the two, you will first need to go on an 8 hour drive to Chumphon and then connect onto a 2 hour ferry ride.

Ferry Pier in Koh Tao with a sign and lots of boats
Ferry Pier in Koh Tao

How do I get to Koh Tao?

When deciding how to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao, there are many options to choose from. Honestly, it can be a bit overwhelming. 

The first thing you are going to what to do is decide your budget.  The cheapest way is by bus and the most expensive is by airplane. Both get you where you need to go, however some drastically cut town travel time.

Deciding your budget and your desired comfort of travel is your first step in choosing how to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao. 

Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of each transportation method, and what I would recommend!

Option 1: Bus + Ferry

Travel Time: 12 Hours

The cheapest way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao is by a combination of bus and ferry.

This option will also take the longest amount of time.

The bus pick up is on Koh San road, with the company Lomprayah. This journey should cost around 1,200 Baht.

There are two buses a day, a morning bus and an overnight VIP bus. I booked the overnight VIP bus and found the seats to be very spacious and comfortable. Actually, I slept really well on the journey.

bangkok to koh tao vip seats
Bangkok to Koh Tao VIP Seats

The bus ride is 8 hours, and for me, i’d rather just get it done overnight and arrive in the morning to Koh Tao. 

The bus will drop you off at the ferry pier in Chumphon. You will probably have to wait an hour or two at the pier for your ferry to arrive.

From here, you board the ferry, which is actually quite spacious. There is a big indoor seating area as well as an upstairs outdoor area. I found it to be really nice actually. 

The ferry ride is about 2 hours from here.

First, your ferry will stop at the small neighboring island of Nang Yuan Island. It’s a quick stop and likely not a lot of people will get off.

After your first stop, the next stop is Koh Tao. It’s only another 5-10 minutes on the boat from the first stop. There is only one pier in Koh Tao, so this is where you will exit the ferry and head to your accommodation. 

ferry port in Koh Tao
Ferry Pier in Koh Tao

Option 2: Train to Surat Thani + Bus + Ferry

A more comfortable way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao is via train.

You’ll want to catch a train from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to Surat Thani. This train station is located at the north of Bangkok, towards Chatuchak Market.

The train ride takes around 9.5 hours, but is much more comfortable than the bus. Also, trains are just always lovely to take.

overnight train ride bed with curtain and window
Overnight Train in Thailand

From here, you’ll need to get a bus to Raja Ferry Port, which is about an hour and a half drive.

Then, finally, you’ll want to get on the ferry to Koh Tao.

This trip should run you about 2,500-3,000 baht. It’s definitely not the most convenient or cheapest way to travel between Bangkok and Koh Tao, but it’s a comfortable way to travel overland between the two.

bangkok to koh tao bus station
Bus Station in Surat Thani

Option 3: Fly to Surat Thani + Bus + Ferry

Travel Time: 6 hours

If you have a slightly bigger budget to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao, consider flying from Bangkok to Surat Thani. This cuts down travel time drastically in comparison to the bus.

For this, you’ll need to book a flight out of Don Muang (DMK) or Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) to Surat Thani Airport (URT).

If you book far enough in advance, the first prices should be fairly reasonable, around 1,000 baht for a one-way ticket.

The key here is to book in advance!

Both airports are convenient, I will say the DMK airport will probably be servicing the cheaper flights to Surat Thani. However, both airports are convenient to get to from the center of Bangkok.

Once you arrive in Surat Thani, you will need to transfer to the Raja Ferry Pier. This is about a 1 hour drive from the airport. (I know, there truly is no easy way to get to these islands).

After you have finished your hour-long bus transfer, you’ll arrive at the ferry pier where you will transfer to Koh Tao.

Honestly, this option is the best option if you don’t want to spend a ton of money but also want to avoid the hassle of a long bus or train ride.

Surat Thani Airport Entrance
Surat Thani Airport

Option 4: Fly to Koh Samui + Ferry

If you have extra money to spare, or are short on time, the fastest (and most expensive) way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao is to fly to Koh Samui and connect onto a ferry. 

Koh Samui is the largest island in Thailand and has an airport that makes it easily accessible.

Because it’s a small island, the flights are limited, and the flight prices can get quite expensive. This will be the most expensive option.

You can book a flight from DMK or BKK airport and take the 1 hour and 15 minute flight down to the island. 

Right next to the airport you will find the Koh Samui Bangrak Pier. You can walk or take a taxi. 

ferry boat from Koh Samui to Koh Tao
Ferry Boat from Koh Samui to Koh Tao

Then, you will have a 2 hour ferry ride to Koh Tao.

Like I said, this option is the fastest and cuts down a lot of travel time that the others do not. If you want to be comfortable and have the money to avoid a hassle of a travel day, this may be the best options for you.

What is the Best Way To Travel from Bangkok to Koh Tao?

If you are a backpacker on a shoestring budget, or don’t mind bus rides, I would recommend the bus option from Bangkok to Koh Tao. It’s really not bad, the seats are comfortable, and it’s nice to see parts of Thailand you wouldn’t have otherwise.

bangkok to koh tao - ferry pier with boats

I personally took the VIP overnight bus from Bangkok to Koh Tao, and found it enjoyable. As a 27 year old, I was alright and would recommend it to others.

If you are looking for something more convenient and don’t want to spend too much, fly to Surat Thani and ferry from there. This option cuts down on a lot of travel time. The key for this one is to plan in advance. If you don’t plan in advance, the flight prices get expensive and then it’s probably not worth it.

If you are rushing to Koh Tao and have money to spare, definitly consider the flight to Koh Samui. By far, this is the easiest and most hassle-free way to Koh Tao.

island views of the beach and ocean at sunset

Final Thoughts on Bangkok to Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a beautiful island famous for scuba diving, but also offers beautiful beaches, awesome snorkeling, and a relaxed atmosphere that you just can’t find everywhere. It’s really a lovely spot.

No matter how you choose to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao, you will be greeted by an easy way of life when you arrive. After spending over a week here, I have fallen into the relaxed atmosphere too.

koh tao island

I’m Danika! A travel obsessed, Disney adult, with a knack for budgeting.

In 2020 I was furlough from my “dream” job at Disney and have pursued my first love of travel ever since. I have traveled to 33 states and 28 countries spanning 5 continents.

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