Koh Samui to Koh Tao

Last updated on April 25, 2024

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Nestled in the sparkling Gulf of Thailand, the small island of Koh Tao offers a tranquil escape from the bustling beaches and resorts of Koh Samui. Known for its world-class scuba diving, diverse accommodations, and laid-back atmosphere, Koh Tao is a must-visit destination for those seeking underwater adventures and a slower pace of life.

In this guide, you’ll discover:
Ferry options from Koh Samui to Koh Tao
Diving trips and day tours
Getting around Koh Tao
What are the must-see attractions on Koh Tao?
Frequently asked questions

Ferries from Koh Samui to Koh Tao

Lomprayah interior
Lomprayah interior

With Koh Tao located just 67 kilometers (42 miles) north of Koh Samui, the journey between these two tropical paradises is a breeze. Several reputable ferry companies operate daily services, whisking you across the Gulf of Thailand in comfort and style.

Ferry Operator ⛴️Departure Times 🕰️Duration ⏱️Price (THB) 💰
Lomprayah Catamaran08:00, 12:30 (Maenam Pier)
16:00 (Nathon Pier)
1h 30m – 2h700
Lomprayah Speedboat (Maenam Pier)12:15, 14:301h 30m700
Lomprayah Speedboat (Bangrak Pier)11:30, 14:302h 45m – 3h 15m700
Lomprayah Laemsor Ferry11:00 (Maenam Pier)2h 30m550
Songserm High Speed Ferry10:30 (Nathon Pier)3h 45m600
Songserm Speedboat + Ferry11:30 (Petcherat Marina Bangrak)2h 45m700

Lomprayah high speed ferry
Lomprayah High-Speed Catamaran © Vasit Buasamui / Shutterstock.com

Lomprayah High-Speed Catamaran

  • Fastest option, with a travel time of just 1.5-2 hours
  • Multiple daily departures from Maenam Pier and Nathon Pier on Koh Samui
  • Arrives at Mae Haad Pier, the main ferry terminal on Koh Tao
  • Modern, well-equipped vessels with air-conditioning, toilets, and a snack shop
  • Fares from THB 550-700 per adult

Songserm Ferry
Songserm Ferry

Songserm Ferry

  • Budget-friendly option with a slower journey time of 3-4 hours
  • One daily departure at 10:30 AM from Nathon Pier, Koh Samui
  • Arrives at 2:15 PM on Koh Tao
  • Fares from THB 600 per adult

Private Speedboat Charters

Travelers waiting for speedboat from Koh Samui to Koh Tao
Travelers waiting for speedboat from Koh Samui to Koh Tao © LMspencer / Shutterstock.com
  • Ideal for groups and travelers seeking flexibility
  • Depart from various beaches on Koh Samui and arrive directly at your desired destination on Koh Tao
  • Prices vary depending on the size of your group and your specific requirements

Diving Trips and Day Tours from Koh Samui to Koh Tao

For those short on time or primarily interested in exploring Koh Tao’s underwater wonders, a full-day diving trip or snorkeling tour from Koh Samui is an excellent option. These all-inclusive packages typically include:

  • Round-trip ferry transfers between Koh Samui and Koh Tao
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off on Koh Samui
  • Diving or snorkeling equipment rental
  • Professional instruction and guided dives or snorkeling sessions
  • Lunch and refreshments

While prices for these tours are higher than standard ferry tickets, the convenience and expertise provided by experienced dive operators make them an attractive choice for many visitors.

Getting Around Koh Tao


Upon arriving at Mae Haad Pier, you’ll find several options for exploring the island and reaching your accommodation:

Taxi Pickup Trucks 🚕

  • Shared taxi service with fares starting at THB 100-150 per person to popular beaches like Sairee Beach and Chalok Baan Kao
  • Can be hired privately for around THB 300-500, depending on your destination

Longtail Boats 🚤

  • Scenic way to access remote beaches and bays
  • Prices start at THB 100-200 per person for popular routes, or around THB 1,000-1,500 for private charter

Motorbike Rental 🏍️

  • Most popular method for independent exploration
  • Daily rental rates from THB 150-350, depending on the type of bike
  • Drive carefully and always wear a helmet

Once you’ve settled in, Koh Tao’s compact size makes it easy to explore by foot, motorbike, or bicycle, with taxis and longtail boats available for longer journeys or trips to outlying beaches and dive sites.

What are the must-see attractions on Koh Tao?

Best Places to Eat and Drink on Koh Tao
Bar on Sairee Beach © Karnwela / Shutterstock.com

Koh Tao is best known for its stunning beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and exceptional diving and snorkeling opportunities. Some of the island’s top attractions include:

  • Sairee Beach: The longest and most popular beach on Koh Tao, with a wide range of accommodations, restaurants, and beach bars
  • Koh Nang Yuan: A picturesque trio of islands just off the coast of Koh Tao, accessible by longtail boat and offering excellent snorkeling and hiking trails
  • John-Suwan Viewpoint: A challenging hike rewarded with panoramic views of the island and its bays
  • Shark Bay: A snorkeling hotspot known for its blacktip reef sharks and vibrant marine life
  • Muay Thai Training: Many visitors come to Koh Tao to learn or practice the art of Thai boxing at one of the island’s renowned training camps

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the ferry take from Koh Samui to Koh Tao?

The ferry journey from Koh Samui to Koh Tao varies depending on the operator and type of vessel:
Lomprayah High-Speed Catamaran: 1.5-2 hours
Lomprayah Speedboat: 1.5 hours
Songserm Ferry: 3-4 hours

What’s the best way to get from Koh Samui to Koh Tao?

The best option depends on your priorities:
For speed and comfort, choose the Lomprayah High-Speed Catamaran or Speedboat
For a more budget-friendly journey, opt for the Songserm Ferry
If you’re short on time, consider a full-day diving or snorkeling tour

Can I bring luggage on the ferry?

Yes, ferry operators allow luggage on board, but space may be limited. Keep valuables with you and secure larger items properly. Note that Lomprayah has a luggage allowance of 20 kg per passenger, with additional charges for excess baggage or oversized items.

Are there ATMs on Koh Tao?

Yes, there are several ATMs located in Mae Haad, Sairee Beach, and Chalok Baan Kao. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you, as some smaller businesses and remote areas may not accept credit cards.

What’s the best time of year to visit Koh Tao?

Koh Tao enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round. The dry season from December to April offers the best conditions for diving and snorkeling, with clear skies and calm seas. May to September sees higher rainfall and occasional storms, but also fewer crowds and lower prices.

Is Koh Tao safe for solo travelers?

Koh Tao is generally a safe destination for solo travelers, with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. However, as with any travel destination, it’s essential to take common-sense precautions:
Stay aware of your surroundings, especially at night
Avoid walking alone in isolated areas
Keep valuables secure and be mindful of your belongings in crowded places
If renting a motorbike, always wear a helmet and drive defensively

With its laid-back charm, stunning natural beauty, and world-class diving, Koh Tao is a true gem in the Gulf of Thailand. By following this guide and the tips provided, you’ll be well-prepared for an unforgettable island-hopping adventure from Koh Samui to this tropical paradise.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your ferry tickets, pack your sunscreen and snorkel, and get ready to discover the magic of Koh Tao.

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Kamolchat Thanaditsayakun
About Kamolchat Thanaditsayakun

My name is Kamolchat - a writer with a passion for travel who loves sharing stories of new destinations and unforgettable adventures. I was born and raised in Thailand and I have always been captivated by the beauty and diversity of my homeland which inspired me to venture out and discover the world.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of contributing to various travel publications and websites, such as Lonely Planet and Viator. I strive to provide an authentic representation of the places I visit, get into the heart of local cultures and finding authentic experiences that nourishes the soul.

As I continue to journey across the globe, I want you to join me in experiencing the wonders of our world through my stories. Together, we can learn, grow, and be inspired by the incredible people, places, and cultures that make our planet such an extraordinary place to explore.