There are 4 operators that run from Koh Tao to Khao Sok, with 1 departure per day. If you decide to take a bus-ferry, you can take the High Speed and Standard options.
One of the great things about Thailand is the variety of natural environments you can experience. White sand islands, dense bamboo jungles and limestone karst mountain ranges are all found within a day’s travel from Bangkok. All you’ve got to do is get up and go!
Traveling from one place to the next is also pretty straightforward. This is a country that’s already geared up for holidaymakers and backpackers alike, with numerous transport options allowing you to explore overland and over water.
Take the route from Koh Tao to Khao Sok National Park, for instance. Unfortunately, it requires boat and bus transport to get you over the Gulf of Thailand and across the southern mainland. There are no direct flights or rail links, so a ferry followed by a bus is your best bet.
As the distance from Koh Tao to Khao Sok is 181 kilometers (90 miles), you’re going to be traveling for around 8-10 hours. Thankfully four service operators offer a combination bus/ferry ticket so you can complete the journey throughout the day.
Bus/ferry operators on this route are Seatran Discovery, Songserm, Fame Tours & Services, and Lomprayah. They’re all well-known local businesses and have been organizing transport in southern Thailand for many years.
Boats and buses are well maintained and have excellent safety records. Combination ticket prices start from US$31 and stretch to no more than US$40. Both modes of transport from Koh Tao to Khao Sok will be air-conditioned, and ferries will have restrooms onboard.
Ferries will have an open top deck so you can catch some rays. Some ferries will also have a small kiosk where you can buy drinks and snacks. However, it’s always a good idea to bring plenty of bottled water to ensure you don’t get dehydrated. Luggage allowance is 20kg plus a carry-on bag—plenty of room for H2O!
Buses will make regular rest stops so you can stretch your legs and use the facilities. Seats are comfortable, and most bus seats will semi-recline, so you can try to get some sleep.
If you break down the Koh Tao to Khao Sok distance, you’re looking at a traveling time of three hours by ferry to the mainland, then three and a half hours by road. There will usually be a delay as you wait for the bus to depart.
You can choose to travel by train, taxi, and private minivan from Surat Thani to Khao Sok. However, these methods are way more convoluted and much more expensive. The easiest and best way to get from Koh Tao to Khao Sok is definitely a combo bus/ferry ticket.
Unless you’re crossing the Gulf of Thailand at night, there will be plenty to see on the ferry section of the journey from Koh Tao to Khao Sok. Ferries have open top decks so you can nab a plastic chair and catch some sun or lean over the rails and pretend to be Jack & Rose.
This is a well-used fishing route, so you can expect to see lots of small wooden boats with outboard motors, especially as you leave Koh Tao pier. Arriving at Surat Thani also offers lots of opportunities to see local fisherfolk handling their nets close to the shore.
This stretch of water is dotted with tiny islands as well as the much larger islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. It’s fun to keep watch from the ferry’s top deck.
Once you dock at Surat Thani pier, you’ll be greeted by your friendly bus driver. You’ll probably be kept waiting for a bit, so use the opportunity to purchase a coffee or some snacks in readiness for the following journey to Khao Sok.
The ride overland takes you via the main highway, where you’ll pass through numerous towns and villages that you’d otherwise miss if you were staying in one spot. This is real life in southern Thailand. Away from the affluent coastal resorts conditions are often hard. Most people make a living off the land rather than from tourism.
This is the best way to travel from Koh Tao to Khao Sok if you’re looking for a proper traveling adventure to tell the grandkids about when you’re old and gray. So enjoy every lumpy, bumpy minute of it!
Taking a bus/ferry from Koh Tao to Khao Sok
It’s very easy to get from Koh Tao to Khao Sok. All you need to do is buy a combination bus/ferry ticket that will take you there following the most direct route possible. Tickets are affordable, passengers are friendly (usually), and there are four daily departures.
Now, where did I put that old backpack?