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.
You can fly fromBangkok to Koh Samui with only one airline company, Bangkok Airways. Once you arrive on koh Samui you need to take a boat to Koh Tao. Both Lomprayah Catamaran and Seatran ferry run twice daily ferry trips to Koh Tao, the first trip is at 8.00am and the last 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 Thailand travel by train is slow but comfortable. You can catch the train from all major towns, the best place to get off for koh Tao is Chumporn. The trip from Bangkok (Central Station) to Chumporn is approximately 10 hours. From Chumporn you can catch the early morning boat which departs at 7.30 am. Both the Lomprayah and Seatran ferry companies have a morning boat out from Chumporn, and the Lomprayah has a second boat departing at 1 pm .
These are probably the most widely used for tourist and are sometimes the simplest. Most start from Khao San Road in Bangkok and will connect directly with boats to Koh Tao (Joint Tickets).The major companies traveling to Koh Tao are Lomprayah and Seatran who run comfortable 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 easily in any travel agency in Bangkok.
TRAVELING FROM CHUMPORN
If you find yourself already in Chumporn and would like to get over to koh Tao you have three ferry companies making morning and afternoon trips and another two making night trips to the island.
Chumphon has 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 from your hotel. Room occupation is never a problem in this sleepy provincial town, so no need to pre book your hotel.
TRAVELING FROM KOH SAMUI AND KOH PHANGAN
Koh Samui is the most developed tourism island in the Gulf of Thailand with prices to match. If you crave western style fast food, MacDonald’s and Burger King can be found on Koh Samui. There are numerous boats from Koh Samui to Koh Tao all of which pass 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.
There is another option if you are more on a budget; Songserm is your cheaper option. However 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.
TRAVELING FROM SURATTHANI
Suratthani 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. It is a roundabout trip as you have to pass though koh Samui and koh Phangan before arriving on koh Tao. If you want a shorter day boat trip, leaving from Chumphon will bring you to Koh Tao in less than 2 hours.
The other option from Suratthani is the night boat. It 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 mattress. The night boat has its charm and is a convenient way to travel, even comfortable if you are prepared to accepts its limitations. Occasional the seas are too big and the night boat doesn’t run. Tickets for Songserm and night boat to Koh Tao can be bought in one of the numerous travel agency you will find in Suratthani.
TRAVELLING FROM HUA HIN
You may find yourself in Hua Hin, another famous tourist destination for both foreign tourist and locals. Although the beaches are beautiful here you may wish to see something more island style. Only a short 3 hour drive on good roads to Chumporn you can connect with the boats there to get to koh Tao. Lomprayah is the best company to make this trip as they have a joint ticket bus and boat trip to koh Tao departing from Hua Hin at 8.30 am. This trip brings you onto the island at 3 pm. Tickets can be bought at any Lomprayah office or any travel agency in Hua Hin.
If you would prefer to make your own way to New Heaven, then you can take any taxi from the pier (there will be many) and ask them to take you to the “New Heaven Dive School in Chalok Ban Kao”. The journey is only about 3-5 minutes by car (or 20 minutes walking). Motorbikes can also be rented near the pier, however we do not recommend you to rent a motorbike if you are not a confident driver, and avoid renting ‘New Bikes’ as the costs for any damages incurred are very high.