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Koh Tao offers more than just pretty beaches and clear waters. Here’s a quick guide to all you can do on the island for an outdoorsy trip.
If you’re heading to Thailand, you should definitely go diving in Koh Tao. We explore the Turtle Island in this comprehensive diving guide.
This huge, all-night beach party takes place on the Thai island of Koh Phangan and attracts thousands of revelers every month on the night of the full moon.
If you want to decrease day-of-travel stresses, it’s recommended to book the prearranged bus-ferry option. Pick up locations are situated throughout Koh Tao. This is an affordable option, which provides cushy seats in the bus, air conditioning in both vehicles, and bathrooms in the ferry.
If you book a ferry from Koh Tao to Chumphon, prepare for a pretty short-but-sweet ride. As waters may get turbulent in Thailand (during rain storms, and such), weather cancellation insurance is purchasable for a small fee ($3). Cabins of ferries are comfortable and offer ample air conditioning and bathrooms on board.
It's really hard to tear yourself away from the beautiful island of Koh Tao. What with all of that lovely laidback lazing around and exploring underwater whilst snorkeling and diving; it's a wonder anyone ever leaves at all! But all good things come to an end, eventually, and when the time comes to wave a fond farewell you'll find a ferry waiting to whisk you from Koh Tao to Chumphon.
There are around five ferries arriving in Chumphon from Koh Tao every day. Classes vary from speed boats that can arrive in less than two hours to an overnight ferry - with sleeping dorms - that takes just over six hours. Ferry tickets can be combined with minivan/bus travel so you can leave from a selection of locations on the island before finally arriving at either Chumphon train station or airport. Handy for heading off home or back to Bangkok and further Southeast Asian adventures.
Although the town of Chumphon isn't often regarded as a 'must see' on the Thai traveler trail, it's got a few hidden gems that are worth a look if you've got time. Wat Thep Charoen and Suan Nai Dum fruit orchard, for instance, are actually pretty impressive, as are the precariously placed bungalows above Ko Ngam Noi rocks in Mu Ko Chumphon National Park. However, for many, getting out of Chumphon is first on their list of things to do no sooner than they've arrived. Bangkok is roughly six hours' drive north and booking a bus ride to coincide with your ferry's arrival from Koh Tao can make for a near seamless transition from south to central Thailand.
Taking the overnight ferry – buses depart from Koh Tao at 10pm – not only saves you money on accommodation but also serves as a rite of passage for travelers looking for an ocean adventure. Just don't expect luxury cruise ship standards. Ferries are air-conditioned and include onboard bathrooms, seating areas and dorm-style beds (if traveling overnight) but not much else in the way of facilities. The best advice is to buy yourself some snacks and drinks for the voyage and use the trip as an opportunity to catch up on some rest if you've been partying the night away at one of Koh Tao's numerous nocturnal beach bars.
If you're taking the bus to the ferry terminal on Koh Tao you can expect to leave in the afternoon or evening. Overnight ferry rides are really about getting as much rest as possible although it is tempting to stay up half the night chatting and swapping stories with fellow travelers. Overnight ferries include dorm-style sleeping berths without any windows. On arrival in Chumphon you might well be lucky enough to catch the sunrise over the water. This can be quite a magical moment and well worth being bleary-eyed as you board a follow-on bus to Bangkok.
If you're just catching the speed boat or high speed ferry from Koh Tao to Chumphon you'll only be on board for a couple of hours. Some boats have upper sun deck areas as well as air-conditioned cabins down below. Watching out of the window or from up on the top deck is a lovely way to pass the time when traveling from Koh Tao to Chumphon. However, waves can get a bit choppy if the weather's not in your favor – worth watching local news reports if you're on a flexible traveling schedule.
The fastest way to get to Chumphon from Koh Tao is by Lomprayah's Speedboat Ferry. The ride takes approximately 1.5 hours.
The cheapest way to get to Chumphon from Koh Tao is with Songserm's High Speed Bus and Ferry. It costs from $18 and takes approximately 3.5 hours.
The most popular way to get to Chumphon from Koh Tao is with KP Tripadvisor's High Speed Bus and Ferry. The ride is by minivan and sleeper night boat and takes around 8.5 hours in total.
The easiest and most affordable way to get to Chumphon from Koh Tao is to travel by bus or minivan followed by ferry. Bus pick ups are located across the island and save you the strain of walking down to the ferry terminal with your luggage before having to queue to get on board. All vehicles are air-conditioned and have a good standard of comfy seating. There really is no need to break a sweat when leaving Koh Tao. Ferries are rated as either high speed or speedboat and there's also an overnight ferry that leaves the island around 11pm.
Overnight ferries have dorm-style sleeping berths. All boats include air conditioning, onboard washrooms and comfortable seating areas. The earliest bus and ferry departure from Koh Tao is just after two in the afternoon and arrives in Chumphon about eight hours later. It's a good idea to have on-going travel options sorted before you arrive or, alternatively, book accommodation on the mainland before figuring out which way in Thailand to head next.
You also have the option of taking just the ferry from Koh Tao to Chumphon. The earliest departure is 10am and the latest is 2pm. The ride lasts less than three hours and is a great way to get back to the mainland if you're in a hurry. There's not a great deal to do during the journey so try to nab a good seat and work on your tan or catch up on some rest if you've spent your last night on Koh Tao partying til the wee small hours. Basically, you'll be back on the mainland before you know it!
Ferry departure ports in Koh Tao:
Ferry arrival ports in Chumphon:
There are around 5 total buses and ferries leaving from Koh Tao to Chumphon each day.