Koh Tao is a major Thai island located within the Gulf of Thailand and is part of the Chumphon Archipelago. It is to the north of Koh Samui, with the island of Koh Phangan being between. There is a distance of about 68 kilometres between Koh Tao and Koh Samui.
Also referred to as turtle island, Koh Tao’s economy is entirely reliant on tourism that has thrived due to the rich and unspoiled diving sites. People travel here to see the amazing marine and coral life and will often travel on to larger islands like Koh Samui for more varied entertainment.
There is mainly just one option for getting to Koh Samui from Koh Tao. This is by ferry service.
There is a ferry service that travels between Koh Tao and Koh Samui’s Nathon Pier. Transport firm Lomprayah is a good option as they provide high-speed ferries that travel up to 7 times a week. Depending on availability the vessel may be a speedboat or catamaran.
Three other transport providers ply this route. Depending on weather and sea conditions, this journey can take less than two hours. There is typically a stopover at Koh Phangan during this journey, before the onward final journey to Koh Samui.
Be aware that due to the limited travel from this small island, even the ferry service can be unreliable. Be prepared to possibly face delays or even cancellations that mean having to travel the next day.
While on Koh Tao you can opt to take a taxi or bus ride to the pier to catch the ferry. The island is small so this ride can last just a few minutes.
There is also a ferry service from Koh Phangan to Surat Thani. If you need to return to the mainland before travelling to Koh Samui, you can switch to another ferry on Koh Phangan to Surat Thani, then later travel again by ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui. This can however be a more unnecessarily long journey to take.
Though Koh Samui does have an airport, Koh Tao does not so there are no direct flights between the islands.
Travelling back to Bangkok is also fastest through Koh Samui if coming from Koh Tao. You can use the ferry service to travel to Koh Samui and from the island’s only airport, travel by air to Bangkok. If you time it right, this is the shortest journey, otherwise, you would have to travel either to Surat Thani or Chumphon to find alternative airports.