"Koh" in Thai means island, therefore it is necessary to travel by boat to get to the island.
Due to its location in the Gulf of Thailand, customers have a selection of routes to choose from to make their way to our picturesque island.
The main transit points that tourists use are:
For specific information, please click on the above routes or just scroll down.
Thailand is a Visa friendly country and for most nationalities there are no Visa requirements.
You will find more information on our Visa page, or you can contact your local Thai Consulate or Embassy for more information.
Koh Tao lies in The Gulf of Thailand, on the eastern coast of the country. Approx. 600km from Bangkok, Koh Tao is easily accessible from all parts of Thailand.
Just 80km from the port of Chumphon, 110km from Surat Thani and just 65km from Koh Samui.
Neighbouring islands include Koh Nang Yuan, Koh Phangan and also Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Map of Koh Tao
There are several ways to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao. Because it is an island you will need to take several forms of transport and there is a choice of routes. There are several options available, including the following, starting with the most expensive through to the cheapest.
Bangkok to Koh Samui with Bangkok Airways and from Samui by boat to Koh Tao. Both Lomprayah Catamaran and Seatran run twice daily ferry trips to Koh Tao, however the last departure is at 13.30 pm so if your flights arrives later than this time you will need to spend the night on Koh Samui.
Bangkok Airways has 11-13 flights daily so it should be possible to book a flight that arrives before 13.00 pm.
In case you would like to stay on Samui, we recommend 3 resorts on Samui which are centrally located close by the airport and departure piers of the ferry companies.
- From Bangkok to Chumphon, then boat to Koh Tao.
First Class - Not outrageously expensive. Maximum 2 passengers per private cabin with a large upper and lower sleeping bed. Price from Bangkok to Chumphon is approximately 1,200 Baht per person.
Second Class - Consists of a carriage with 35 beds, upper and lower. For westerners (due to their size) we would recommend the lower beds. There are two options of second class, fan or air con. Prices range from 400 to 700 Baht per person depending on berth location and whether it is air con or fan.
Third Class - Only for those who like to experience true local travel. This is the cheapest form of train travel, tends to be very busy and is difficult for storage of backpacks. It is recommended only for those hardened travelers who are being careful with finances.
VIP COACHESThese are probably the most widely used for travelers and are sometimes the simplest.
Departing from Khao San Road in Bangkok and will connect directly with boats to Koh Tao (JointTickets).
The major companies traveling to Koh Tao are Lomprayah and SeaTran who run comfortable boats and buses. Songserm is a cheaper alternative but the savings in your wallet don’t reflect the lower standard and comfort of their boats and buses.
SeaTran and Lomprayah buses leave daily at 21.00 pm from Khao San to Koh Tao, Lomprayah also has a trip leaving at 6.00 am to Koh Tao from Bangkok.
Tickets can be bought in any travel agency in Bangkok and include your bus and boat ticket.
In case of doubt which would be your preferred method of coming to Koh Tao, please contact us and we will be happy to advice you.
So you are in Chumphon already, what to do next?
On arrival to Chumphon a great place to get your bearings and refresh yourself after a long journey is Farang Bar, situated perfectly 5 minutes walk from the train station on Thatapao Road. Farang Bar is the most established travellers 'hang out' in the town where you can buy all your tickets for onward travel especially to Koh Tao. They have free wi-fi, rooms for 200thb per night with shared hot shower and toilets, not to mention great food and ice cold beers! they will happily take care of all your travelling needs...
Phone ahead for a free pick up on + 66 (0) 775 01 003 and check out their website Farang Bar.
Chumphon has a train station and offices for Lomprayah, SeaTran and Songserm who can all arrange pick-ups and transit to Koh Tao. For those who didn’t buy their boat ticket yet, this can be done in the train station as well.
All three companies have ferries leaving at 7.00 am (arrival 9.15 – 10.00 am), Lomprayah also has an afternoon ferry leaving at 13.00 pm and arriving around 15.00 pm. Your ferry trip from here to Koh Tao will only take 2 hours (3 with Songserm).
For anyone who misses the day boats, there is a night boat which departs at 23.00pm arriving at Koh Tao at 6am. Tickets can be bought from the numerous cheap guesthouses where you can also check your emails, get food and a shower.
More comfortable hotels in Chumphon are also an option, you can also buy your boat tickets here and the ferry company will even come and pick you up in the lobby of your hotel ! Room occupation is never a problem in this sleepy provincial town, so no need to pre book your hotel.
Surat Thani is the other main port to come to Koh Tao. However, if you don’t like traveling with the night boat, be prepared for a 6 hour day boat journey.
Only one company, Songserm, offers this trip daily leaving Surat Thani at 8 am, arriving on Koh Tao around 14 pm. If you want a shorter day boat trip, leaving from Chumphon will bring you to Koh Tao in less than 2 hours.
The nightboat leaves daily around 23.00 pm and arrives on Koh Tao the next day around 6.30 am. The boat has sleeping facilities but this doesn’t involve much more than a small pillow and a thin matrass.
The nightboat has its charm and is an easy way to travel "fast" even comfortable if you are prepared to accepts its limitations.
Tickets for Songserm and nightboat to Koh Tao can be bought in one of the numerous travel agency you will find in Surat Thani.
Probably the most developed tourism island in the Gulf of Thailand with prices to match. If you crave western style fast food, Macdonalds and Burger King can be found on Koh Samui.
There are numerous boats from Koh Samui to Koh Tao with the majority passing via Koh Phangan.
Three companies run daily trips to Koh Tao. If you like comfort, speed and safety we recommend Lomprayah Catamaran or SeaTran Discovery. Both leave daily at 8am to arrive 10am, Lomprayah’s second departure is at 12.30 and Seatran’s second trip leaves at 13.30pm.
SeaTran leaves from the Bangrak pier, which is very close to the airport (5-10 min by taxi), Lomprayah leaves from their private pier in Maenam, 30-40 min by taxi from the airport.
Both companies have representatives on Samui airport where you can buy your boat tickets.
Apart from having the most modern boats, they also arrange a pick up service to collect you from the airport or your hotel to take you to their respective piers.
If you are more on a budget, Songserm is your cheaper option. The small price difference doesn’t compensate for the lack of comfort compared to the other 2 alternatives.
Songserm leaves from Nathon every day at 11.00 am arriving 14.45 pm.
Due to the amount of boat companies and services operating we recommend contacting a local travel agent to check for the latest schedules and prices.
Numerous travel agents can be found in all tourist spots.
All ferries departing from Samui will stop at Koh Phangan to pick up travelers from there on route to Koh Tao.
Lomprayah has two daily trips, the first one departing at 8.30 am, the afternoon one leaves 13.00 pm.
SeaTran also offer 2 trips, the first one departing at 8.30 am, the afternoon one leaves 14.00 pm.
SongSerm has only one trip, departing 12 noon, but allthough the tickets are a bit cheaper, the savings in your wallet don't compensate for the slower and inferior boats.
All tickets can be bought either on line or with any travel agency on Koh Phangan.
Visa on Arrival
Citizens from most countries can visit Thailand without a visa. Upon arrival in Thailand your passport will be stamped allowing access for a maximum of 30 days.
Please check with your local Thai Embassy or Consulate whether you have a visa exemption or not. If you would like to stay longer, you can apply for a Tourist Visa.
Before your trip, you can visit the Thai Embassy or Consulate in your home country and apply for a Tourist Visa.
A single entry Tourist visa allows you 60 days when you arrive and can be extended in Thailand for another 30 days (total 90 days).
If you would like to stay longer, you can apply for a double entry Tourist visa which will allow you 180 days (twice 60 days and two 30 days extensions are possible).
OverstayPlease note that every day that you run over your visa will cost 500 Baht per day. Try to make sure you are near an exit/entry point as your visa is running out.
Health should always be a factor in your preparations when visiting S.E Asia.
There are no major diseases in Thailand and vaccinations are not necessary, all though the risk of malaria or dengue fever is very small, it is recommended to pack mosquito spray. Don't worry if you forget, you can buy this everywhere in Thailand.
The main concerns are the change of diet and more importantly the standard of the water. Most diseases are transmitted through this.
Don't worry about the ice served in your drinks, all ice is made from purified water but like in any tropical country, cooked food is less risky and use bottled water to brush your teeth.
For divers, the main concern is dehydration, which can be easily avoided with a little common sense. Make sure you drink plenty of water. Don't think that if you're not thirsty you are OK. It is recommended that you drink at least 3-5 liters of drinking water everyday and remove your wetsuit when not diving. Remember, wearing a 3 millimeter black rubber suit in the tropics, has a tendency to make the wearer dehydrated.
Koh Tao has 2 clinics with qualified doctors and nurses, plus numerous First Aid stations that can treat small injuries, sun burn etc.
We recommend that you have a travel insurance, so that your diving holiday remains a happy one.