HOW DO I GET TO KOH TAO?
Koh Tao is a little slice of scuba diving heaven in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand. Looking at the map, it can seem intimidating to get here. But no worries! You have several, affordable options. And if you have any questions, you can always reach out to our office with questions! But be warned: once you arrive to Koh Tao, you may have a hard time tearing yourself away.
Flying to the airport in Chumphon is probably the fastest way to get to Koh Tao and generally cheaper than flying to the Samui Airport.
Nok Air operate two daily flights from Don Mueang Airport (DMK), Bangkok.
Once in Chumphon, a 55-minute van transfer will take you to the ferry terminal. Nok Air and AirAsia sell an integrated Fly ‘an’ Ferry combi ticket from Bangkok to Ko Tao via Chumphon Airport directly on their website; this combines flight, transfer and high speed ferry in a single ticket.
Samui is fairly well connected to major cities in the region such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways and Silkair operate from the private airport in Koh Samui and both charge artificially high rates. Bangkok Airways operates more daily flights to and from Ko Samui than Thai Airways. There is a 300 baht departure tax for all flights.
Several airlines, including Thai Air Asia, Nok Air and Thai Airways operate from the Surat Thani Airport.
TRAIN TO CHUMPHON
A good option for traveling from Bangkok is to book Sleeper Train #85; leaving Bangkok around 19:30 and arriving in Chumphon at 04:00 (though is usually late an hour or two). Then you get ticket for the 07:00 ferry to Koh Tao. Most ferry operators can pick you up from the station where you can while away the 3 hour connection gap. You can also buy your ferry ticket at the station when you get off the train at 04:00.
BUS TO CHUMPHON
Lomprayah have an inclusive ticket from Bangkok on a comfortable large bus included in the price with connections to the port.
FROM SURAT THANI
If you’re coming from the south, you can take a ferry from Don Sak pier, 60km from Suratthani on the mainland with a travel time of around 3 hours for the morning ferry, or from Koh Samui 1.5 hours, or Koh phangan 1 hour. If you’re taking a boat from Suratthani, one possibility might be an overnight ferry. These depart around 23:00 and arrive in the morning, about 06:00 (subject to changes). It’s advisable to arrive early to grab a mattress as most of the boats are former cargo boats and so the passenger facilities are basic.
HOW THE FERRIES WORK
Koh Tao is an island, so no matter where you are coming from, you’re going to have to get on a boat.
The local airports have transit agents for onward travel to islands, including Koh Tao, Koh Phanghan and Koh Samui.
- Fame Tours have a counter at arrivals hall offers transfer and hotel services. This is the best option for transfers because the airport doesn’t have a meter-taxi service.
- Lomprayah has a counter offering transfers and tickets for high speed catamarans.
- The TAT Tourism Authority of Thailand has a tourism information counter offering information on the region adjacent to the airline counters.
Lomprayah will move the main ferry terminal and pier to a new purpose built facility at Cape Pathiu about 2 km from the Chumphon Airport in Pathiu, the pier will open Q3 2016. This will reduce travel time from the airport to pier by 50 minutes and cut 90 minutes from the bus journey from Bangkok to the ferry pier.
The closest departure point for the island ferry service is Chumphon. Numerous agents sell tickets for a variety of boats and speeds travelling. The fastest Lomprayah High Speed Catamaran takes about 90 minutes, the slowest night boat almost 5 hours. Lomprayah have a pickup service from your hotel to the pier for 100 baht. The ticket itself is 600 baht wherever you book it.
TIMES FROM CHUMPHON
These ferries depart Chumphon at 07:00, 13:30, 23:00 and midnight. The ferries at 07:00 and 13:30 are the normal passenger ferries offered by
- Lomprayah – High Speed Catamaran service about 90 minutes (600 baht)
- Seatran 5 to 6 hours
- Songserm Boat 2 to 3 Hrs
Both Lomprayah and Songserm sell packages from Bangkok by bus or Nok Air offer a fly / sea comb0 ticket.
The late night ferries are normally vehicle or cargo ferries, making for a slower (5-6 hour trip, arriving at 05:00) and offer a comfortable bunk bed in a dormitory included in the 300 baht ticket. If you are arriving via bus or train, be sure to arrive well before the ferry times, as the ferry terminal is around 1 hour travel time from the train station, and a missed connection either results in a late night trip on the vehicle/cargo ferry or an overnight stay and a 05:30 start to catch the bus to the ferry terminal for the first ferry the next day.
You can also day trip on diving charters from Koh Samui. Many have high speed boats that can make the trip to Ko Tao in about 1 hour.
Lomprayah High Speed Catamaran or Seatran are the fastest and most comfortable way to get to Ko Tao. They run twice a day from Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Chumphon. They also have online booking – useful for checking availability at peak times and all their boats have air conditioning and movies for passengers. Booking from Koh Samui can cost 500-1000 baht on the streets.
You can get a ticket on the spot, no need to book in advance.
We are located in the south of Koh Tao, with a beautiful sunset and stunning view from Chalok Bay. The Resort provides a relaxed place to sleep, bike rentals, kayaks, laundry service, ferry and bus tickets, a restaurant and–of course–scuba diving! Our resume aside, Carabao celebrates a relaxed atmosphere with great people always at hand. So many of our guests and students return season after season to revisit “the chill” in Chalok Bay. There really is no place like it in the world.
CARABAO DIVING RESORT ALSO OFFERS
The first step in your scuba diving education is the open water course. Learn the equipment and the procedures you need to know to scuba dive anywhere in the world! We offer 2-day and 3-day courses.
The Carabao Resort beachside/ pool side restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere with affordable eats and an amazing view. If Thailand is feeling a bit crowded to you, come hang out us with and chill.
Are you 18 years old? Are you certified in stress and rescue? Do you have 40 dives logged? You could be a divermaster trainee right now in beautiful Koh Tao! Morning rush hour here is better
Contact Us with Questions, Wishes and Dreams
We are here to answer your questions about scuba diving, getting to Koh Tao and how to enjoy your time here. Even if you decide not to stay or dive with us, we still want to make sure you have all the information you need to fall in love with the island like we have.