Koh Tao is the smallest island among the three main islands of the province of Surat Thani in Thailand – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Deemed as the “quietest” and most laid-back among the trio of Samui, Phangan and Tao, this island is a top scuba diving destination.
Chumphon is a quiet town south of Thailand. It is not actually a prime tourist destination, but it has its share of beautiful beaches that serve as alternative stops for tourists on their way to any of the major trio of islands nestled in the Gulf of Thailand. Chumphon is more of a transit town on the way to Ko Tao and there is only one way to travel from Chumphon to Koh Tao – and that is by ferry.
Ferryfrom Chumphon to Koh Tao
Travelers and those indefatigable backpackers to Koh Tao for its attractive diving spots, quiet and peaceful ambiance amidst a tropical paradise setup. Located some 74 kilometers from the shoreline of Chumphon, the boat ride from Chumphon to Mae Haad pier in Koh Tao is about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
There are several ferry boat companies plying this route. Schedules are bound to change due to weather conditions. During really bad weather, ferry boats may be cancelled for several days. Night ferry boats are usually affected so it is best to keep this in mind more so if tight flight connections are entailed.
There are three primary boat companies that ferry tourist from and to Koh Tao/Chumphon.
- Lomprayah Ferry
Lomprayah ferry has two daily services that leave for Koh Tao from Thung Makram Noi pier in Chumphon. The first ferry leaves at seven in the morning and reaches Mae Haad pier at around 8:45 a.m. The second ferry leaves at 13.00, and disembarks at Koh Tao at 2:45 p.m.
The ferry boats leave Koh Tao at 10:15 in the morning and 2:45 in the afternoon, arriving at 11:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. respectively at Chumphon’s Thung Makram Noi pier. The trip back to is only an hour and 30 minutes long.
- Songserm Ferry
Songserm ferry runs once daily, leaving Chumphon at 7:00 in the morning and arriving Ko Tao at 9:30 a.m. The return trip is at 2:30 p.m., arriving Chumphon at 5:30 p.m. The trip back to Chumphon is three hours.
- Talay Sub Night Boat
The lone night ferry is the Talay Sub Night Boat. It leaves for Ko Tao at 11:00 p.m., and arrives at the Mae Haad pier around 5:00 a.m. During increment weather, this is the first ferry service that is interrupted.
All ferries are safe and comfortable, carrying from 180 up to 300 passengers in one go. It is possible to rent longtail boats in Sairee and Mae Haad for private tours of direct trips to and from Koh Tao to KohNana Yuan, Haad Sai Nuan, Ao Leuk, Ao Thian Ok, Mango Bay, Ai Tanote, and other places in proximity to Koh Tao.
It is best to book online ferry boat rides at least a day before departure. It is also advised that all passengers arrive at the pier at least 30 minutes before designated departure time.