Figuring out how to get from Bangkok to any of the islands in the south of Thailand can be pretty overwhelming with the wealth of options available!

A cursory look at options would include flying to Phuket or Koh Samui, or flying to Surat Thani and taking a bus and boat.  Or you could take a train to numerous towns and cities on the way, or go by bus. Anyway you’ll probably get a boat at some point (they are islands after all).  We’ve recently completed the task of getting from Bangkok airport to Koh Tao, and wanted to share our experience for anyone thinking about doing the same!

how to get to koh tao from bangkok

Bangkok to Koh Tao

You’ll realise there are many options when arriving at Bangkok airport including trains, buses and taxis.  We took the easiest option and got an official taxi for 450 bhat (£9) which took about an hour to get to the city centre. We simply followed the signs to the taxi rank outside the terminal and gave the address to a lady on the desk who got us our driver. They give you a receipt of your destination so keep a hold of this to ensure you are taken to the right place! We found the easiest way to do this was to get a map of our destination on our iPhone, save the screen image to our photos and simply open and show the taxi rank – no need for any translations! (For those with an iPhone, simultaneously press the home button and power/lock button to take a snapshot of your screen.)

how to get to koh tao
We booked an overnight bus and ferry combo option with Lomprayah bus company for 1050 bhat (£22) each, and our taxi driver dropped us off at the office.  For those who want to use the service, we booked and paid in advance online about a week before we arrived.  When you arrive at the office, it seems you can’t pick up your tickets until around 1930, but if you get there earlier its worth checking anyway to see what time the bus leaves. Although they say 2100 for departure, we left about 2015 (perhaps because everyone was already there), so its worth getting there early if you can. The office is also located on a very cool street of bars and restaurants, so you can grab something to eat and a 3 for 2 beer deal as well.  Helps with catching the zzzzzzz on the night bus! The bus we had was fairly modern, pretty spacious and didn’t have the usually fearsome ‘bus with toilet odour’.  The seats were spacious and reclined by quite a bit, which was fine as the gaps between the chairs in front and behind were slightly wider than usual.  We were also given blankets which was a nice surprise!  We were, however, slightly suprised when the TV at the front was switched on, the volume ratcheted up and Tintin the movie came on!  Laura shut herself off from the world with ear plugs and eye mask but I soldiered on as Tintin tried to work out a puzzle which involved three model boats, a drunk Scotsman captain and some dodgy bloke with an assistant.  I missed the ending but I’m guessing the dog solved the mystery. We didn’t have a good nights sleep on the bus, but I don’t think we ever will to be fair. bangkok to chumphon We arrived into Chumphon pier at about 0500 and had a two hour wait until our catamaran left, so we made ourselves comfortable on the deck chairs on the beach, and waited for our first sunrise of the trip. We checked in again at the ticket office at Chumphon pier with the tickets given to us in Bangkok, and boarded the catamaran for our 1.5 hour journey to Koh Tao.  We were fine for around 45 minutes, and then the sea sickness hit us and we went very white and very quiet for 45 minutes!  It seems we were the only ones to suffer. In terms of total journey duration, we landed in Bangkok at 1530 on Tuesday and arrived into Koh Tao at 0830 on Wednesday morning resulting in a 17 hour trip all in and a total cost of 1,275 bhat ($44) each (check Lomprayah website for latest prices). We’d highly recommend the Lomprayah bus and ferry option as it was painless and smooth. Once you’ve arrive on the island, either meet your hotel pickup or grab a taxi to your hotel.

Get Your Trip Organised!

Looking For Accommodation In Thailand?

If you’re looking for some accommodation options in Koh Tao or elsewhere in Thailand, we recommend you check out Agoda. Whenever we’re making plans for a new destination, we always research the accommodation options first to check what’s available. That’s just our travel style. If you want to get some accommodation ideas on Koh Tao, or anywhere else in Thailand, check out the options here!

Book Your Train/Bus/Ferry Tickets Online!

Now that you’ve found your perfect accommodation, we always recommend that you book your journey in advance, so you have peace of mind that your seats are booked! We recommend using as they offer train, bus and ferry ticket booking online in advance! Check out your journey options and prices here and get your seat reserved!

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Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means if you choose to book somewhere though our link, we receive a small commission. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything more, and most importantly, we only recommend companies that we use ourselves so you can trust our recommendations!

Want to know how to get from Bangkok to Koh Phangan? Or from Bangkok to Koh Samui? Check out our other articles!

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  • Daniele March 8, 2014   Reply →

    Thanks for the report guys, I’m gonna do the same next days!

    • Barry March 24, 2014   Reply →

      Great Daniele hope you have a good journey! Let us know if anything has changed sine we did it!

  • Benjamin June 10, 2014   Reply →

    Thanks a lot for all the information! I am going to koh tao next july mostly for diving and this blog is perfect for plan my trip!

    • Barry June 17, 2014   Reply →

      You are very welcome Benjamin! Are you going to learn to dive or have you already got your certificate? You’re spoilt for choice on Koh Tao, there are loads of dive schools on Sairee beach for you to choose from :0) enjoy!

  • Jessica July 23, 2014   Reply →

    Thanks for this!
    I’ve just decided to do a last minute trip to Thailand for some Scuba, this post was dead helpful!

    • Barry August 5, 2014   Reply →

      Sounds like a great last minute decision Jessica! Hope the journey goes well and enjoy the diving it’s incredible!

  • Molly August 11, 2014   Reply →

    Hi! this post (and the rest of the blog) has been a great help! Im not going from bangkok to Koh Tao, but the other way around! did you do this as well? I was just wondering if you had any tips or was it just as straight forward?

    • Barry August 14, 2014   Reply →

      Hi Molly! We didn’t go back the other direction, but I do think Lompryah do the opposite route –

      There seems to be an option to go from Koh Tao departing at 1445 and arriving at 0030 into Bangkok? I would give them a call to double check their routes though!

  • Packing my Suitcase August 19, 2014   Reply →

    Ohhh amazing tips! It will help me a lot planning my trip to Thailand next year, glad I found this post!!
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  • Yolanda De'one September 5, 2014   Reply →

    hi just to ask, when you go tickets in bangkok did that include the ferry as well?

  • Gemma November 24, 2014   Reply →

    Thank you, this is really great info. Planning on heading to Thailand in March next year. Did you guys visit any another islands after Ko Tao? Cheers

    • Barry November 25, 2014   Reply →

      Hi Gemma, we didn’t head to any other islands no, just Koh Tao!

  • Darren January 12, 2015   Reply →

    Thank you for this information, it is really helpful. The link to the bus company is broken, but if you go to the homepage it should come up with the English version.
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    • Barry January 13, 2015   Reply →

      Thanks for the heads up Darren – link fixed now!

  • Caleb McCullough January 17, 2015   Reply →

    Great info and great website!

    • Barry January 24, 2015   Reply →

      Thanks Caleb – glad you’re enjoying it!

  • IcedMax January 17, 2015   Reply →

    I am going to do this trip myself in 17 days. But i worry about something.

    My plane (Etihad) lands at BBK at 18:30 hr. The Bus leaves in Bangkok at 21:00 hr.

    Do i have time enough to make it ?

    • Barry January 27, 2015   Reply →

      Hi! Best bet is to contact Lompryah directly and they’ll be able to give you a more accurate answer!

  • Larissa Ueno January 20, 2015   Reply →

    Thank you so much! Really helpful! Me and my husband probably will do the same in July, seems the best way for us travelling with our baby.

    • Barry January 27, 2015   Reply →

      Hey Larissa, glad you found it useful! It’s certainly the way we would do it again if we ever return to Koh Tao!

  • Jackie July 15, 2015   Reply →

    Thank you for the detailed info! I just booked my trip, but I was wondering if you could tell me where exactly it drops you off in Koh Tao? The directions I’ve read for my hostel has 3 different pier options, and I can’t seem to figure it out from the Lomprayah website.

    • Barry July 15, 2015   Reply →

      Hi Jackie!

      From our experience I think we got dropped off at Maehaad pier which is the main port on Koh Tao but I would send them an email to be sure! Either way, when you arrive your transfer options are quite limited and we ended up having to get an expensive taxi as our accommodation was quite far away from the pier. If you’ve booked your accommodation in advance, perhaps you could ask them how much a pick up would be?

      Enjoy Koh Tao!

  • Jenna August 17, 2015   Reply →

    Thanks for much for the info! Last minute spontaneous trip to Thailand and this was certainly helpful to further my adventures!

    • Barry August 24, 2015   Reply →

      You’re welcome Jenna enjoy your trip!

  • Shray September 14, 2015   Reply →

    Thanks a ton. Great and a very helpful write up.

  • Hannah October 10, 2015   Reply →

    I’m just searching how to do this next weekend and was a littl scared of the pricey flights to Samui. Then I can across this 🙂 important question that all female travellers want to know though: is there a toilet on the night bus? Haha
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    • Barry October 22, 2015   Reply →

      Haha yes Hannah we think there was a toilet on the bus but we would reccommend you check with Lompryah directly!

  • Sinéad October 23, 2015   Reply →

    I just wanted to check, did you feel your bags were safe? I’ve heard lots of stories about theft on private buses & advice not to use them. Is this considered in that bunch? Anxious not to get caught up in that kind of disaster!

    • Laura October 23, 2015   Reply →

      Hi Sinead, it’s a good question but it’s very hard to answer! Our experience of buses all over the world has been positive, we have never had anything stolen from us on any bus anywhere! But we travel with two bags, our large backpack which goes in the hold and a smaller backpack which we take with us on the bus and store on our lap/under the seat in front of us.

      If anything did happen to our large backpack, we still have our valuables on us in the bus. Hope that helps!

  • Bab December 18, 2015   Reply →

    Hi guys does the sea get rough during journey?…
    Which route did you take back…thx

    • Barry December 23, 2015   Reply →

      Hi Bab, it really depends on the season and weather – when we crossed it was quite calm, but we’ve heard other travellers experiencing choppy waters so its best to check with Lompryah about weather conditions when you know your dates!

      We went to Phuket from Koh Tao afterwards!

  • Christine and Adam December 22, 2015   Reply →

    Very helpful information on getting to Koh Tao! Thank you! Giving the approximate times and schedule that you followed is a nice extra! We are off to Koh Tao for some diving in three days and will be following your suggestions. Thank you very much!
    Christine and Adam recently posted…ADAM GOES TO AIRPORT PRISON IN SINGAPOREMy Profile

    • Barry December 23, 2015   Reply →

      You’re welcome Christine & Adam, and enjoy your time in Koh Tao!

  • TomTom January 18, 2016   Reply →

    Thanks – I am going to try this in the next few months, hopefully i’ll be comfortable by myself.

    • Barry January 24, 2016   Reply →

      Great Tom, have a fantastic adventure!

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