HOW TO GET HERE...

We’re here to help you with everything to do with diving with us, including how to get to us.

If you are coming from Bangkok you can fly, take a train or a bus. If you are coming from the West Coast you can fly or take a mini van. From Southern Thailand you can fly, take a train, or a bus. If a route is not listed please contact us and we’ll be happy to give you detailed information on the best way to travel in Thailand and indeed how to arrive on Koh Tao. Once you get here we offer a free pick up from the pier. If you meet anybody on the ferry that also wants a lift to Sairee just tell them they can jump on our taxi to save them some money as we are going that way anyway! To take advantage of this free service all you need to do is provide us with the following information by email:

-The destination that you are travelling from.

-The ferry company you are using to get to Koh Tao.

-What time you are due to arrive on Koh Tao.

koh-tao-map

With this information we will know which pier you will be arriving at. There are four piers on Koh Tao so it is important that our driver meets you at the right one. The driver will be holding up a whiteboard with, “NEW WAY DIVING WELCOME <<YOUR NAME>>” on it. Just go to him and he will drive you to the dive shop ready for check in.

If for some reason you miss our driver, then don’t worry, you can just jump in a taxi and ask to go to New Way. We’ll pay for the taxi when you arrive. Taxis are a rip off on this island so we obviously don’t want to be paying for everybody’s arrival but sometimes if things go wrong we’re more than willing to cover the costs.

IMPORTANT FERRY INFORMATION (PLEASE READ)

There are 3 different ferry companies that service Koh Tao during the day times. These are Lomprayah, Seatran and Songserm. There are also multiple night ferries.

We advise you book your day ferry using the following online booking service. It is cheaper than booking on arrival. However there are no refunds if you miss your boat or if it is cancelled. You can change your ticket up to 72 hours in advance but they will charge 200 baht for this service.

When you go to the website there is no indication on which ferry company is which, however we have highlighted for each the picture that will be displayed if you hover over the blue ‘i’ icon for each schedule on their website.

Lomprayah

Lomprayah

This is the fastest service but DO NOT USE THIS BOAT IN MORE THAN 1.5M WAVES! It is a Catamaran and is not stable and you WILL be seasick. Even veteran seafarers get sick on this boat (including our staff). To check the wave height you can use windguru which will give you a prediction for the next 2 weeks’ weather forecast. Lomprayah has a VIP section (100 baht extra) and on most occasions a SUPER VIP section (200 baht extra) if you want to escape the crowded lower decks.

Seatran Discovery

Seatran

This is the next fastest service. It is a real sea boat so does much better in waves.

Songserm Express

Songserm

is the slowest service and the least reliable.

All 3 companies leave from different piers at different times. Please allow for time to get to the pier so you do not miss your departure. There are always transfer services available to get you there.

You can also book your ferry tickets via travel agencies which are at every airport and every tourist area.

These ferry companies (and the online booking service) also offer ‘joint tickets’ which means that your transfers to the pier from various destinations either by bus, mini-van or by train are included when you purchase your ticket.

Night ferries are the cheapest way to get to the island as you can sleep on the boat so saving yourself a night of accommodation. Most night ferries are massive metal boats however there is still one night ferry that leaves and goes to Surat Thani from Koh Tao which is an old wooden style ferry. DO NOT USE this ferry unless you have to! There is often more sea inside the ferry than on the outside! Check the schedule with the travel agent before departure.

Lastly please remember to check the waves before you leave. If you see that the waves are high (and especially if you are on the Lomprayah) make sure you buy or bring seasickness tablets. They either do something or they do nothing! To properly take a seasickness tablet, please make sure that you have eaten something but that it was not dairy or greasy. You must take the tablet at least 30 mins before stepping onto the boat. It will make you slightly drowsy & you still may still feel slightly sick, but it also helps reduce the symptoms too. Please be cautious, if you accidentally take 2 tablets they will literally knock you out for 8 hours!

Bangkok Koh Tao (Bus & Ferry)

By far and away the easiest way to get to us from Bangkok is using the Lomprayah bus & ferry. It is now the only option available to take.

To book your bus & ferry visit the Lomprayah website. The ticket is 1100 baht all in and the bus departs at 0600hrs every morning & 2100hrs every night. The bus departs from close to Khaosan road in Bangkok but you must check-in 1 hour before departure at their offices. There are office can be found here. You have to walk passed 7/11 down what looks a bit like a dark alley in the early hours of the morning, but it is perfectly safe. If you are on the bigger side or just tall and need to grab the best seats with more leg room you must be one of the first in the queue. Luckily for you not too many people are aware about the seat plan. When you check in the staff will assign you with a seat unless you stipulate where you want to sit. The seating plan has two floors. On the top floor you’ll want to sit at the front or in the middle at the back. On the ground floor there is much more leg room in seats 46,47,48,49 or 41,42,43,44 (dependent on which type of bus you are travelling in). These seats are however close to the toilet, so it all depends how many men miss the seat whilst trying to use the toilet whilst hurtling down the Thai motorway. There is a half an hour break during the 7-8 hour journey and they might stop at Hua Hin too to pick up customers. The break area has some food but it is classic Thai tourist mush so you might want to not eat any of it. Once you get to the pier, the boat usually leaves about an hour after your arrival. Make sure you have some mosquito spray on hand because as especially if you took the night bus, the mosquitoes come out in force sometimes when the sun comes up. You have to check in again with your second ticket that they will have given to you back in Bangkok. Please be aware that the Lomprayah ferry company limits each person to 20kg. After that they charge 50 baht per kg. You are only allowed to take a maximum of 50kg. To be honest it depends on the mood of the staff as to whether or not you will be charged. Please refer to the travelling by ferry section at the top to learn more about the Lomprayah boats & how to avoid sea sickness.

BANGKOK TO KOH TAO (FLIGHT & FERRY)

If you’ve got some extra cash to spare and don’t want to take a train or bus from Bangkok then you can catch a flight. You can find a flight using skyscanner to fly to Koh Samui (USM) directly from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) then catch a ferry using Seatran. The reason why we suggest Seatran is that the pier is the closest one to the airport. In this particular case you can also book your ferry ticket via Seatran directly as it includes the transfer from the airport to the pier too. To do this click here. Look at the Koh Tao section and then note that the Samui Airport departure times are 0730hrs, 1230hrs & 1600hrs. Therefore you must make sure you’re flight lands well before 1600 hrs, otherwise you’ll be spending the night in Koh Samui.

Alternatively, if you want to not go in a bus or a train you can fly via Surat Thani with cheaper airlines but you will need to switch airport unless you use Thai Smile or Thai Airways to get there. This only flies out at 8.10a.m everyday (there is a later flight but this is not worthwhile due to logistics and cost of private transport from the airport). Once you get to the airport you can also catch the Lomprayah or Seatran service (there are staff waiting with banners as you leave customs holding up banners) directly from the airport if you do not want to book ahead with the online service. If you choose this route you will arrive on Koh Tao at around 7p.m (we still offer free pick up from the pier).

If you switch airport it means getting to Don Muang Airport (DMK). To do this you can take a taxi. It is 50km though. It should cost around 350 baht and will take anywhere from 45mins to 2 hours dependent on traffic. You head down to the lowest floor and there they have a taxi service. You pay 50 baht extra for the service which guarantees a valid registered taxi. You buy a coupon and give it to the driver before departure. Alternatively you can catch a free shuttle bus service. It departs every hour (ish) from The 2nd Floor Gate 3 and takes between 1 – 2 hours dependent on traffic so it is better than a taxi in our opinion unless you are in a rush! It operates from 5a.m through to

You can check out the departure times for the shuttle service here.

Once you have got to DMK airport Nok Air offer joint tickets (plane & ferry) to Koh Tao. However the only flight and ferry service worth taking is the 1235hrs via Surat Thani as the other flights mean getting to the airport ridiculously early (or camping out there overnight) or having to stay in Chumpon overnight before getting to Koh Tao the following day (the extra night’s stay is not included in the ticket price!). This will utilise the Lomprayah ferry and you’ll arrive on Koh Tao at 7p.m.

The other option is fly with Air Asia, Lion Air or Thai Smile to Surat Thani and then take the Lomprayah service or the Seatran service to Koh Tao. This will mean you arriving again at around. To see what time the buses leave you can use the following Phantip Travel Website to get an idea for what time you will need to get there to make a bus to the pier. The ticket is included when you book the ferry service on arrival to the airport, however that is the company that runs the shuttle.

You can of course also take the night ferry to Koh Tao. This is not possible to book ahead of schedule & in the high season it can be full. To get the night ferry after you arrive to the airport you can take the shuttle service to town for 100 baht operated again by Phantip Travel. The only way to look up times for this service is by actually pretending to book a ticket on their website as their is no scheduling information initially shown on their website. However the last shuttle to town to make it to the 9p.m ferry will leave at 5.20p.m so therefore make sure you are out of the airport before that. It can be a little bit confusing as the shuttle is Thai and people are not that helpful in the airport but just keep asking around. It leaves from right outside of the airport’s front door. Once you arrive at the bus terminal, you can take a ‘songthaew’ (Pick up truck with two benches in the back) for 50 baht (ish) to the night boat pier or you can walk it easily (to see the route to walk click here). If you have got time stop off at the Surat Thani town night market as they’ve got some pretty amazing Thai food. Please remember that if you opt for the night boat you might get the old wooden boat as it still operates (unfortunately). It is an adventure to say the least! Taking the night boat from Surat Thani to Koh Tao doesn’t always work out, it sometimes doesn’t run. If you need help stop at the travel agency where the bus drops you off, but you might end up paying a little bit extra to get there help. Be prepared to spend a night there!

BANGKOK TO KOH TAO (TRAIN & FERRY)

What you are about to read might put you off taking an overnight train as it is definitely an interesting journey to say the least. However for some people seeing the hustle, bustle & hectic nature of the Thai train network organisation is a tourist attraction in itself! There is literally no health and safety at all & the system and trains are archaic, but that’s what makes the journey so much more memorable for travellers with some time on their hands. There will definitely be lots of standing around with this journey but it’s a memorable one! You can technically sleep on the journey but not everybody gets such a good night’s sleep.

To book your joint train ticket and ferry it is a bit of a hassle. We advise you don’t bother with VIP class as it is not really worth the extra money. Class I and Class II with AC get cold so make sure you have a jumper to go under your blanket. Class II fan rooms are okay but can somtimes smell of urine. Class III means you don’t get a bed and you’ll definitely need it. You can only book via other agencies online before you arrive as the Thai Rail Authority does not yet accommodate online bookings 60 days in advance. You can use the following website (12go.asia) to purchase your joint tickets in advance online. This company takes your booking & then physically queues for you at the station to get your tickets. You can then have your tickets sent by EMS ton your home address but again there is a charge for this service and it takes a few days. If you are going to pick up your tickets on the day you can go any time between 10:00 and 20:00 and at least 60 minutes before departure, to the DOB Building, First Floor opposite the station. You can get there easily by exiting the railway by the subway exit 1. It’s then 30m away. Make sure you check the google street view link so you can see what the DOB Offices look like. (If you turn google street view around 180 degrees then you will see the main entrance to the Hua Lamphong station)

They DOB offices look like this:

DOB

Sounds easy? Of course it’s not. It’s not meant to be! Things can also go wrong with your booking or they may have to change your class type if the tickets are not available when they physically go there to book them for you.

You can also just show up on the day & ask for the appropriate counter at Hua Lamphong station but the trains are always busy, you might be out of luck and have to head to Khaosan Road to take the bus.

The ticket includes your entire travel to the pier where we will pick you up. You’ll be using the Lomprayah ferry company. However when you arrive at the station, there is usually a couple of hours to wait (if the train was on time) before the bus takes you on the 40 min journey to the pier.  The entire journey is about 15 hours or so by train. If you train is delayed then you might miss the ferry and you’ll have to take the afternoon ferry instead.

If you are coming from the airport the best way to get to the train station is NOT by taking a taxi. You can easily take the Airport Rail Link. The website is not great, but just know that it runs from 0600 hrs until midnight every 10-20 mins dependent on the time of day you travel. You can find it on the basement level of the airport. Going by train is going to be fastest & cheapest way, as it only takes 15mins and costs 90 baht one way. If you can, take the express service to Makkasan (the city line is 7 mins slower), then walk about 200 meters to the Phetchaburi MRT station (click here for directions). From platform one you go straight to Hua Lamphong station (7 stops and about 15-20mins, 30 baht) which is where you will need to get the train from.

If you are coming from Khao San Road to the station, then there is no real public transport system available, there are buses but you’ll find it hard to know which one and to even flag one down. The best way to go is by metered taxi. It should be about 100-120 baht (ish). Make sure they are using a meter & NEVER get in a taxi at Khaosan road itself. Always walk the 200m or so to the main road and then flag one down. The main road is here. The taxis in the Khaosan road area won’t be using a meter and they will charge extortionate rates! This is the same as the Tuk Tuk’s. If you a Tuk Tuk at all (because they are quite fun), always keep your bag in your lap and don’t leave it so a passing motorbiker can pick pocket you in traffic!

RETURNING BACK TO BANGKOK FROM KOH TAO

You would think it would make sense to return the way that you came right? Not really in the case of Koh Tao!

If you took the bus here, the return journey sees you getting into Khaosan Road at 2200hrs or 0200hrs! This is not the best time to be in the touristy area of Bangkok.

If you fly here then you’d think it would be best to fly back. It certainly is if you are travelling via Koh Samui, but to fly back to Bangkok via Surat Thani it takes longer than taking the bus!

If you took the train down and thought it was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience then it might not be such a good idea to take that same train back to Bangkok. Especially because there is usually a 5-6 hour wait in Chumpon for the train to leave once you get off the afternoon ferry.

Therefore, if you want to be wise and save yourself a night’s accommodation, sleep on a really nice big night car ferry, with AC, and your own bed, then jump in a mini-van that gets you into Bangkok at 1400hrs the following day, then why not?

We highly advise this method, although it is becoming so popular that they are now starting to send bigger buses and then it is more like the Lomprayah bus, but you still save on a night’s accommodation & you still get to Bangkok at around 1400hrs. It just makes sense.

Be warned though, it doesn’t go on Sunday nights at the moment, but it might start to soon. You can book the ticket at our local trusted travel agent, Bon Voyage.

WEST COAST OF THAILAND (FLIGHT & FERRY OR BUS & FERRY)

If you are coming from Khao Lak, Koh Phi Phi, Lipe, Phuket or Krabi you will need to fly out of Phuket or Krabi. All flights will go to Surat Thani via Bangkok or direct to Koh Samui. It is cheaper to fly to Surat Thani. If you look at the section BANGKOK TO KOH TAO (FLIGHT & FERRY) above it will give you all of the information you’ll need to get to us. It usually takes around 4.5 hours just to fly to Surat Thani, where as taking a mini van or bus takes just 2.5 hours from Krabi and about 3 hours to go via Chumpon from Phuket.

If you are taking a bus, it is incredibly easy to do so online. You just visit, Seatran Discovery, Lomprayah or 12go.asia to purchase your joint bus and ferry tickets from most destinations. Alternatively go into ANY travel agent and you can book your bus and ferry joint tickets directly before you travel. It is that easy. Most travel options by bus will get you to Koh Tao by 1900hrs if you book the previous day and leave late in the following morning.

To return to the West coast of Thailand there are multiple ways. You can just ask us once you are here and we will help you decide the easiest way for you to get where you want to go. We all have a wealth of information about Thailand and South East Asia so please use our knowledge!

MALAYSIA & SOUTH EAST THAILAND (FLIGHT & FERRY)

If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur, Penang or Kota Bharu you can fly to Surat Thani or direct to Koh Samui. It is cheaper to fly to Surat Thani. If you look at the section BANGKOK TO KOH TAO (FLIGHT & FERRY) above it will give you all of the information you’ll need to get to us after landing in Surat Thani or Koh Samui. If you are coming from Hat Yai then you’ll need to go via Bangkok to Surat Thani to get to us.

To return to the Malaysia or the South East coast of Thailand there are multiple ways. You can just ask us once you are here and we will help you decide the easiest way for you to get where you want to go. We all have a wealth of information about Thailand and South East Asia so please use our knowledge!

MALAYSIA & SOUTH EAST THAILAND (TRAIN & FERRY)

If you are not up for flying (which is often cheaper than taking the bus or train) then you can take a train from Malaysia or from Sungai Kolok on the South East corner of Thailand.

To take a train from Kuala Lumpur, go to the main station (Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station) and take the 2100hrs train no. 20 to Hat Yai. It will arrive at 1030hrs the following morning and costs around 60 MY for a 2nd class sleeper (you won’t need first class, second class is called ‘superior’ for a reason!). You can also book this online via the KTM e-ticket service.

Once you get to Hat Yai you will need to wait until 1445hrs for the train no 170 to Surat Thani. If you miss one there is another ‘fast’ train at 1539hrs. Both trains cost about 450 baht and take around 5.5hrs to get to Surat Thani. If you get the earlier train you might be able to make the night ferry that departs at 2100hrs most days. Read the above sections to see how to get to the night boat pier once you arrive in Surat Thani.

You can also take the train from Hat Yai to Chumpon. This train (no.36) leaves Hat Yai at 1830hrs This arrives at about 0134hrs in the morning and then you will need to wait for the morning Lomprayah service to depart the train station to take you to the ferry at around 0600hrs. Remember it is much quicker to get to Koh Tao via Chumpon on a ferry than it is from Surat Thani. This train also happens to be the train from Penang (Butterworth station) to Surat Thani or Chumpon, so if you are starting your journey in Penang you can take this train directly at 1400hrs. However the train from Kuala Lumpur takes 2 times longer than the bus, so it would be advisable to not go from Kuala Lumpur via Penang on a train!

Coming from Sungai Kolok, the only 2 trains that leave at 1130hrs & 1430hrs. These arrive in Surat Thani at 2120hrs & 2325hrs respectively so you will need to stay overnight before catching the morning ferry. Prices range from 400-700 baht dependent on what they have left available. You can book your tickets online here.

To return to the Malaysia or the South East coast of Thailand there are multiple ways. You can just ask us once you are here and we will help you decide the easiest way for you to get where you want to go. We all have a wealth of information about Thailand and South East Asia so please use our knowledge!

MALAYSIA & SOUTH EAST THAILAND (BUS & FERRY)

If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur then it is much better to take a train, but there are bus companies that will take you to Penang or to Kota Bharu. From these destinations you can keep going using local transport, mini-vans and buses.

To get a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Penang check www.busonlineticket.com to book. The buses in Malaysia are much much better than Thailand so expect a high level of service and a swift journey. The bus takes around 4 hours and cost around 40 MYR. Once you are in Penang you can either take a bus to Hat Yai or take a mini-van to Surat Thani directly. To take a mini-van check www.easybook.com. The journey will take about 9 hours and will cost between 60-80 MYR. To take a bus to Hat Yai it takes around 9 hours too and then you have to go to Surat Thani after that which is another 4 hours, so it is better just to take a mini-van directly to Surat Thani.

If you are coming from Kota Bharu then you’ll first need to take a public bus to the boarder. Bus No. 29 takes about 1 hour and costs 5MYR (leaves from this bus station) or you can jump in a taxi for around 40MYR. You’ll need to get stamped to cross the boarder into Sungai Kolok. After that you’ll need to walk about 3km to Thanon Wongwiwat bus terminal in Sungai Kolok town (directions here) or catch a moped taxi for 40 baht or a songthaew if you have too much luggage for 60-80 baht. From the bus station you can either go to Hat Yai by mini-van. The mini-vans leave more regularly and take 4 hours and cost around 150 baht. You’ll need to change in Hat Yai to get a bus to Surat Thani. The buses take around 5 hours and costs around 240 baht. Therefore you will likely have to catch the night boat when you arrive in Surat Thani or stay the night. Alternatively if you make it in time there is a big bus that goes direct to Surat Thani from Sungai Kolok that leaves at 1500hrs and takes around 7-8 hours. It is called the Transport Company (apt name) and you can see departure schedules here. The bus goes all the way to Bangkok so they will come and wake you up when you stop at Surat Thani at around 2300hrs. From Surat Thani you will be too late for the night boat, so stay over night and catch the morning or afternoon ferries to Koh Tao. The journey time is about 4 hours by boat. It is therefore worth asking if the bus can drop you in Chumpon as the Lomprayah ferry only takes 1.5 hours to go directly to Koh Tao, where as going through Surat Thani means you have to go via Koh Samui and Koh Phangan before arriving at Koh Tao. For more details on the ferries look further up in this section.

To return to the Malaysia or the South East coast of Thailand there are multiple ways. You can just ask us once you are here and we will help you decide the easiest way for you to get where you want to go. We all have a wealth of information about Thailand and South East Asia so please use our knowledge!