Koh Tao Travel Guide 2021 - Ticket2Attraction

Koh Tao, a heaven for divers

Koh Tao (Tao island) is a small bean-shape island with an area of 21 square kilometers, located 45 km. north of Phangan island, Gulf of Thailand. The island is famous among the backpacker tourists and divers from around the world. In 2015, Tripadvisor has ranked Koh Tao as 1 out of 10 top islands from Traveler’s Choice Islands poll. Also, Lonely Planet's poll gives title of "The best places of scuba dive training" to Koh Tao. Koh Tao has more than 20 snorkeling and diving spots around the island which make it the ideal location for snorkeling, scuba diving and free diving.

 

In 1943, Koh Tao was used as a prison that held political prisoners until it was close down and abandon. After that, the locals who settled in this island first was the brothers from Samui island. Then, the others have been follow from the nearby islands until 1977 which Koh Tao has become a well-known destination for scuba diving.

 

If you are looking for all inclusive packages to Koh Tao, we suggest to check at Koh Tao snorkeling and diving packages with hotel and ferry.

 

Koh Tao Travel

 From Bangkok

 By Bus

 From Chumphon

 By Airplane
 By Ferry
 By Train

 From Surat Thani

 By Airplane
 By Ferry
 By Train

 Koh Tao Attractions

 

 

Traveling to Koh Tao

 

As Koh Tao doesn't have any airport, train station or bridge connected to the mainland. The only way to get to the island is by boat which can depart from both Chumphon and Suratthani province. For direct journey from Bangkok, there is bus + boat package by Lomprayah Ferry.

 

Leaving from Bangkok

🚌 By Bus

It's the most convenient way to Koh Tao. Lomprayah is the operator of bus from Bangkok to Chumphon and ferry from Chumphon to Koh Tao. This method you don't need to worry about timing, just arrive at the starting point in Khao San road Bangkok then sit back, relax all the way to Koh Tao. Check more details and book Bus + Ferry Ticket from Bangkok to Koh Tao

 
Bangkok - Koh Tao


Bangkok - Koh Tao



Bangkok
Khao San Road

21:00

1250 THB

Book

  11 h 

 

Chumphon
Thung Makham Noi pier

8:00 

Chumphon
Thung Makham Noi pier

8:00

  
1 h 45 m
 

Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

9:45 


Koh Tao - Bangkok



Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

10:15


1250 THB

Book

  1 h 45 m 

Chumphon
Thung Makham Noi pier

11:45

Chumphon
Thung Makham Noi pier

11:45

7 h 15 m 

Bangkok
Khao San Road

20:30 

 

Leaving from Chumphon province

✈️ By Airplane

Chumphon airport is the closest airport to Koh Tao which have the direct flight from Bangkok. The journey time from Bangkok to Chumphon is takes about 1 hour. However, there are only 2 flights per day, morning and afternoon. We suggest to take an afternoon flight and stay overnight in Chumphon city, then take the van to the ferry pier on the next morning. (Due to COVID-19 situation, there is only 1 ferry operated between Chumphon and Koh Tao which depart from Chumphon at 8:00 am.) Check for more information at Ferry between Chumphon and Koh Tao

Two airlines which operated domestic flights from Bangkok (Don Mueang)

     - Nok Air
     - Thai AirAsia

🛳 By Ferry

There are 2 main ferry ports which are Lomprayah port and Tha Yang port.

 - Lomprayah port: It is the fastest way to Koh Tao, takes about 1.30-1.45 hour journey by high-speed catamaran. For more detail, please check at Ferry ticket from Chumphon to Koh Tao

 
Chumphon - Koh Tao


 Chumphon - Koh Tao



Chumphon
Hotel, Train Station, Airport

7:00

750 THB

Book

  1 h 

 

Chumphon
Thung Makham Noi pier

8:00 

Chumphon
Thung Makham Noi pier

13:00

  
1 h 45 m
 

Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

14:45


Koh Tao - Chumphon



Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

10:15


650 THB

Book

 

 1 h 30 m

 

Chumphon
Thung Makham Noi pier

11:45 

Chumphon
Thung Makham Noi pier

11:45

 1 h 

Chumphon
Hotel, Airport, Train station

12:45 

 

 - Tha Yang port: Operating express boat and night ferry to Koh Tao. Express boat takes 2.5 hours journey and night boat (includes bunk bed and dormitory) takes 6 hours journey. For more details, please check at Raja Ferry

🚆 By Train

Sleeper train No.85 from Bangkok to Chumphon is one of popular way to Koh Tao. The train No.85 will be leaving from Bangkok at 19:30 hrs. and arrives at Chumphon station around 4:30-5:30 hrs. From the train station, you can book a van and ferry ticket which brings you directly to Koh Tao. Check more details at Ferry ticket from Chumphon to Koh Tao

We suggest to take the overnight express train rather than ordinary train to catch the morning ferry on time.

 

Leaving from Surat Thani province

✈️ By Airplane

There are 2 major airports in Surat Thani that we can travel to Koh Tao which are Surat Thani airport and Koh Samui airport.

 - Surat Thani Airport

There are several domestic flights from Bangkok to Suratthani. The flight takes about 1.10 hour from Bangkok. Once you arrive at the airport, you can take the van 30 minutes to the Tapi ferry pier for Koh Tao. (Due to COVID-19 situation, the service is still unavailable until further notice)

The airlines that operated flight to Surat Thani Airport

     - Thai Lion Air
     - Thai AirAsia
     - Thai VietJetAir
     - Nok Air

 - Koh Samui or Koh Pha Ngan

Another way to Koh Tao is from taking ferry from Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. From Koh Samui takes 1.30 hour journey and from Koh Phangan takes about 30 minutes journey. This method is more expensive compare to other ways due to Koh Samui airport has only one operational airline which is Bangkok Airways. However, it's an alternative way if you want to visit all 3 islands; Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

Once you arrive at Koh Samui airport, you can take the boat to Koh Tao from Nathon pier or Mae Nam pier.

 
Koh Samui - Koh Tao


Koh Samui - Koh Tao



Koh Samui
Mae Nam pier

8:00

700 THB

Book

 

 1 h 30 m 

 

 

Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

9:30 

Koh Samui
Nathon pier

14:15

600 THB
Reopen on 5th December 2021

Book

 

 2 h 15 m 

 

 

Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

16:30 


Koh Tao - Koh Samui



Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

9:30

600 THB
Reopen on 5th December 2021

Book

 

 2 h

 

 

Koh Samui
Nathon pier

11:30 

Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

15:30

700 THB

Book

 

 1 h 30 m

 

 

Koh Samui
Mae Nam pier

17:00 

 

 
Koh Tao - Koh Pha Ngan


Koh Tao to Koh Pha Ngan



Koh Tao
Mae Haad Pier

15:30

600 THB

Book

 

 1 h

 

 

Ko Pha Ngan
Thongsala Pier

16:30 


Ko Pha Ngan to Ko Tao



Ko Pha Ngan
Thongsala Pier

8:30

600 THB

Book

 

 1 h 15 min

 

 

Ko Tao
Mae Haad Pier

9:45 

 

🛳  By Ferry

From Surat Thani to Koh Tao by ferry, there are Lomprayah and SeaTran Discovery who operates ferry to Koh Tao. Most people will arrive from Surat Thani airport then transfer to the pier and take ferry to Koh tao. The whole journey takes about 5-8 hours. Lomprayah's boat is the fastest way as the Tapee pier is about 30 minutes away from the airport. Click to book ferry ticket from Tapee pier to Koh Tao (Due to COVID-19 situation, the service is still unavailable.)

 
Surat Thani - Koh Tao


Surat Thani - Koh Tao



Surat Thani
Train Station 9:00, Airport 11:00

9:00/
11:00

950 THB
(Optional for land transfer)
Reopen on 5th December 2021

Book

  1 h 30 m

 

Surat Thani
Tapee pier

12:30 

Surat Thani
Tapee pier

12:30

  
4 h
 

Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

16:30 


Koh Tao - Surat Thani

 

Koh Tao
Mae Haad pier

9:30


950 THB
(Optional for land transfer)
Reopen on 5th December 2021

Book

 

 4 h

 

Surat Thani
Tapee pier

13:30 

Surat Thani
Tapee pier

13:30

 1 h 

Surat Thani
Airport, Train station

14:30 

 

The Seatrans boats depart from Don Sak pier. There are 2 types of boats to Koh Tao.

 - High speed catamaran: takes abouts 1.30–2 hours
 - Night ferry: takes about 7-8 hours

🚆 By Train

Southern line train is also passing Surat Thani province. However, it is not recommended as it is expensive and takes more time than other method. Once you arrive at Surat Thani Station, you can take the van and ferry to Koh Tao which may takes about 7.30 hours journey.

 

Above are all information about how to get to Koh Tao, the most convenient choice is taking the bus and ferry (operated by Lomprayah) from Bangkok directly to Koh Tao. So, if you’re ready! Let’s go and see what’s waiting for us in Koh Tao!

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Landmarks you shouldn’t MISS

 

Koh Tao is a small island with road coverage to all important places. The best way to getting around island is by motorbike rental. There are motorbike rental shops available on both Sairee beach and Mae Haad Bay. Price range is between 150-200 THB per day.

 

1. Sairee beach

Sairee beach is 2 kilometers in length with many hotels and restaurants along the way. You can relax and chill on the beach with family, friends and your beloved one. Sairee beach is a beautiful point to watch sunset on Koh Tao.

 

2. Shark Bay

Shark bay is a well-known site among snorkelers and scuba divers. It is a good place to go snorkeling as you may have a chance to see non-aggressive blacktip reef sharks. However, due to the effect of 1998 El Niño, the coral reefs in this area were damage a lot. So, it's might not one of the beautiful coral reef snorkeling point but it's a place where you can see sharks and sea turtles.

 

3. Mae Haad Bay

Mae Haad bay, another coastline in Koh Tao where you can chill out and go for a snorkeling. There is a shipwreck which was sunk in 1962 located not far from the bay. It has become a habitat of marine life such as fusilier fish, Blue-spotted fantail ray and hard-lipped barb fish etc.

4. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving around Koh Tao

It's "A Must Do” activity in Koh Tao. You don’t need to be a certified diver to enjoy a beauty of underwater world around Koh Tao. You just need a snorkel mask and life jacket, that’s it! The best points you should go snorkeling are Moung bay, Tanote bay and Hinwong bay. You will see several fish species, corals, sea turtle and sharks. The most convenient way to visit all spots is by travel with good tour company.

Book a Full Day Snorkeling Tour in Koh Tao 

For those who want more excitement and want to explore deeper in the to the water, Koh Tao is the best place to learn how to be a professional diver. You can take 4 days course to learn scuba diving with the professional insturctor, certified by PADI. First 2 days is lecture and last 2 days is scuba diving 12 and 18 meters deep (For the Open Water Diver course). There are 5 diving points around the island which are White Rock, Red Rock, Green Rock, Japanese Gardens and Twin Peaks. There is a chance to see whale shark swimming in this area. Also, you will see beautiful coral reef and school of fishes.

If you coming to Koh Tao and want to do scuba diving like professional, here are some examples of scuba diving schools listed below.

 - Ban's Diving Resort 
 - Big Blue Diving Resort
 - Coral Grand Divers & Resort
 - IDC Koh Tao

5. Freedom Beach

Another lovely beach for tourists to relax and lay your back on! There is a viewpoint calls ‘Tha Toh Klang Rock’. Going up to the hill and see what’s down there is the best thing you should do! Apart from viewpoint, you also can go for a snorkeling here as well.

6. Free Diving

Free Diving is a deep-water diving without oxygen tank. It's an activity that require training, so the diver can hold their breath and swim underwater for longer time. Koh Tao is the popular place to learn free diving and explore the beautiful environment underwater. For those who interested in free diving can take 2-3 days basic course which you will learn how to dive down to 16-20 meters underwater.

 

7. Nangyuan island

Nangyuan island is the closest nearby island which located next to Koh Tao. This is the heaven for scuba divers, snorkelers and also regular tourists! It has beautiful diving spots such as White Rock, Red Rock, Green Rock, Japanese Gardens and Twin Peaks. The highlight marine creature you may see in this area are whale shark, shoals of fish, turtles, baby shark, vibrant corals, reef shark, colorful reef fish, unicorn fish and bat fish etc. Once you arrive at Nangyauan island, you should not miss is going up to the hill and see a panoramic view of the separated beach or locally known as "Ta Lay Waek".

8. Cooking and Yoga class

Even when you are on the island, you can do other activities apart from beaches and sea such as Thai cooking class and yoga class. A professional instructor will teach you step by step of how to cook delicious Thai food. Also, doing yoga class is good for physically and mentally relaxation. These activities are extremely popular for foreigners who want to learn Thai culture.

 - Cooking class Thai Cooking with Joy (Facebook Page)
 - Yoga Class Shambala Koh Tao 

9. Extreme Sports

Koh Tao have a lot of extreme activities for adventure seekers. Starting with water sports like Kneeboard, Wakeboard and the only Subflying in Thailand.

 

Furthermore, in the land there is rock climbing which will pump your adrenaline to the highest limit. There are several routes for climbing in Koh Tao depend on your climbing experience. Anyone from rookie to professional can do this activity with guidance from the expert instructor who will teach you before letting you go climbing.

 

10. Paddle Board

Paddling on the board and watching the sunset over the blue ocean is the popular activity among blogger and Instagrammer. If you visit Koh Tao with your loves one, don't forget to try this activity together and post on the social media.

We can call Koh Tao as a tropical paradise for snorkeler and scuba diver! A dream destination of many tourists from around the world, even someone might save money for months just want to be here or someone might want to spend special day for beloved person. So, we hope that this content will help you to get more information and make things easier for you to make a decision for this coming vacation trip!

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Last update: September 2021 

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