How to Get to Koh Tao: One Way Ticket to Paradise and Cheap Diving

If you’re wondering how to get to Koh Tao, look no further!

Putting a bit of time into your plan for how to get to Koh Tao is well worth the hassle. It’s true that there’s no airport or train station here, but the island vibe is all the better for it. With a bit of organization you’ll get here no problem at all. Here are several ways to get you beachside and partying in no time at all!

How to Get to Koh Tao by Air

It sounds funny to talk about flying to an island that doesn’t have an airport, but you can fly from Bangkok to Chumphon on the mainland and then take a boat across the water. Check out budget airlines like Air Asia and Lion Air for the best prices, and if you’re traveling without checked baggage then you might find a real bargain; fares sometimes start from $25!

Chumphon airport is half an hour from the ferry pier, and there’s frequent public transport to get you there. The flight down from the capital is just over an hour so you’re looking about a 6-hour trip once you’ve added the boat in as well.

how to get to Koh Tao by plane
How To Get To Koh Tao By Bus

Taking the bus to Koh Tao means taking the bus to Chumphon, and transferring to the same boat as you would if you flew. There are plenty of bus services from Bangkok, Surat Thani and Hat Yai so you should have no problem getting a seat and the prices are much more stable than the air fares. We recommend taking a look at the buses at your departure station before buying a ticket just to make sure that the seats are comfy and the air con works!

It’s worth investigating a combined bus + boat ticket, if you can find a travel agent to sell it to you, as you’ll get a discount by paying for both at once. A standard bus from Bangkok starts from $15 but you can pay up to $35 if you want luxury and a ‘lie-flat’ seat (that’s a nice turn of phrase but don’t expect an actual bed…). Where the bus loses out is on the timings. The trip down from Bangkok can take about 12 hours, so bring a book!

How To Get To Koh Tao By Train

The romantic option! Sleeper trains are a great laugh in any country, and the Thai ones are no exception. Make friends with your neighbors, sink a few beers and watch the world go by before getting a few hours kip and arriving in Chumphon at dawn. After that you’re straight back on the same boat again along with everyone else!

The morning ferry leaves at 7 am so a train with an early arrival time will allow you to make the transfer and be on the beach by lunchtime. A sleeper ticket starts from $20 for a basic bed, although you could pay a lot more if you want a 1st class private berth. Trains take between 7 to 9 hours and are sometimes subject to delays so this is very much a ‘sit back and enjoy the experience’ option.

going to Koh Tao by train
How To Get To Koh Tao By Boat

You’ve probably noticed that you can’t get to Koh Tao without getting on a boat! Lomprayah and Somgserm run ferries from Chumphon to the island, and you can also get crossings direct from Koh Phangan and Koh Samui too. Tickets from Chumphon are $15, from Koh Phangan are $17 and from Koh Samui are $20 so they’re not cheap but they are modern safe which is reassuring!

The crossing from Chumphon takes about 4 hours, or you could travel to Surat Thani and jump on the fast ferry which will shave an hour or two off your journey time but double the fare to $30.

If you’ve got a massive squad you’re traveling with (or if you’ve just got cash to burn), renting a boat to Koh Tao is also an option. Sail the Thai seas!

how to get to Koh Tao by boat
Plenty of Low Budget Travel Options

As with most things in life, the best way to get to Koh Tao is basically budget-dependent. If you’re flush with cash but short on time then hop on a plane and save the hassle. If you’d rather travel slow and enjoy the country then it’s the bus or train for you. It doesn’t really matter how you get there though, because trust us, once you arrive you’re going to love it!

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