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An in-depth, A to Z guide of how to get from the adventure of Koh Samui to the serenity of Koh Tao in beautiful Thailand.
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Koh Tao is reachable from Chumphon via ferry. Currently, there are 3 companies that operate in this route: Songserm, Lomprayah, and Fame Tours. There is also a combination of bus & ferry that offers pick up from a specific address in Chumphon. The sailing duration is around 2 hours.
The town of Chumphon in southern Thailand is approximately six hours' drive from Bangkok and many travelers will make the journey overnight so as to save on accommodation and spend more daylight hours on the ground. Upon arrival in Chumphon Province there's plenty to enjoy with coral reefs and a long sandy coastline providing snorkelers and scuba divers with some exceptional underwater action.
However, for many, the ride from Chumphon to Koh Tao is the only reason to get excited. The island of Koh Tao is approximately 85 kilometers from Chumphon and can be reached by ferry in just two hours. Bus rides can also be booked as part of a travel package. This means you can travel from Chumphon airport, or the town center, to Koh Tao in under four hours.
All in one travel tickets let you take a bus from central Chumphon followed by a ferry, which saves you the hassle of having to get to the ferry terminal under your own steam. Alternatively, you can purchase just a ferry ticket which is the cheaper option although does involve a bit more legwork.
No matter which way you choose to arrive on Koh Tao from Chumphon, a whole lot of diving, snorkeling and general lazing around on white sand beaches await. The food is not that bad either (massive understatement!), and many travelers claim that Koh Tao is their absolute favorite when it comes to eating out in southern Thailand.
If you're taking the bus to the ferry terminal in Chumphon you can depart as early as 5.30am. This means that you'll be able to catch the sunrise as you approach the coast before boarding the ferry and making the two hour journey over the water to Koh Tao.
The latest bus and ferry departure from Chumphon is at midday. The sun will be at its full capacity by then so be prepared to keep bus curtains closed if you're still nursing a sore head from time spent in Bangkok. Air conditioning and comfy seats on board the bus, however, will keep conditions as relaxed as possible. Once you've embarked on the ferry ride from Chumphon to Koh Tao you can expect to watch the waves from a lower deck cabin window or from up on the sun deck. Koh Tao also has ferry connections to lots of other Thai islands, including Koh Samui, Phuket and Koh Phangan, so keep your eyes peeled for 'land ahoy!' as you make the two hour crossing from Chumphon to Koh Tao.
The fastest way to get to Koh Tao from Chumphon is with a Speedboat Ferry run by Lomprayah. The ride usually takes around 1.5 hours.
The cheapest way to get to Koh Tao from Chumphon is with a High Speed Bus and Ferry. It's run by Songserm and costs from $18. The whole ride takes around 3.5 hours.
The most popular way to get to Koh Tao from Chumphon is with a Standard Bus and Ferry run by Fame Tours & Services. The ride in total lasts for approximately 3.5 hours.
If you’re looking for the most efficient and affordable way to get to Koh Tao from Chumphon, you’ll want to travel by bus followed by ferry. Bus pick ups are throughout central Chumphon, including the airport, and save you the hassle of traipsing down to the ferry terminal with your bags before facing a lengthy queue for the gangplank. As all buses are air-conditioned this is also the best option if you don't want to get all hot and sweaty before you've even arrived on Koh Tao.
Buses include onboard bathrooms, comfy seats and air conditioning as standard. Ferries are rated as either high speed or speedboat. Both types of boat include air conditioning, onboard bathrooms and seating areas. The earliest bus and ferry departure from Chumphon is around 5am and the latest is midday. Arriving at least 30 minutes before the designated departure time is recommended and some overnight buses from Bangkok will drop you off in time to continue the ride onward to Koh Tao from Chumphon.
You also have the option of taking just the ferry from Chumphon to Koh Tao. The earliest departure is 7am and the latest is 7pm. The ride lasts for just a couple of hours and can get a bit choppy on occasions. There's not a great deal to do during the journey so why not consider brushing up on your Thai language skills or chatting to a few fellow travelers? You'll arrive on Koh Tao before you know it and if you've got accommodation booked you might also be lucky enough to be met at the harbor. If you haven't, then there are bound to be plenty of welcoming taxi drivers and hotel representatives looking to make your acquaintance!
Ferry departure ports in Chumphon:
Ferry arrival ports in Koh Tao:
There are around 8 total buses and ferries leaving from Chumphon to Koh Tao each day.