Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Chumphon.
There are 14 train departures a day from Chumphon, leaving mostly late at night and in the early morning hours, heading north to Bangkok, stopping at Hualamphong and Thonburi stations. The trip takes about seven hours, and almost always seems to arrive in Chumphon about an hour late.
There's a new bus station on Petchakassem Rd. (Highway 4) that's 14km outside Chumphon. There are no regular songtheaws to and from the station, and arranging transportation costs at least 100 THB, so you're much better off taking the train or one of the buses that arrive and depart from the town centre.
Chokeanan Tours is centrally located just off Phacha Uthit Rd and runs buses to Bangkok, Hat Yai and Phuket. For points north of Chumphon, you can catch buses making local stops heading north at the store-front bus station on Poraminmanka Rd, near the corner of Poraminmanka Soi 1. Destinations include Hua Hin (165 THB), Petchburi (200THB) and Bangkok (270THB).
To Ranong you can catch buses at the new bus station out on Petchakasem Rd, but as mentioned elsewhere, it's expensive to get there and there are no regular songthaews. Everyone just takes the minivans. They depart hourly from 06:00 to 18:00 daily from the store-front 'station' on Tatapao Rd., a few doors down from Farang Bar for 100THB. If you arrive in Chumphon on the train early in the morning during the high season and are heading straight to Ranong, there's a minivan that leaves right from the station at 05:30 that sometimes has a few spare seats for 150 THB.
It used to be that the cheapest way to the pier was to catch a songthaew for about 10 THB, and a lot of people still have this in their heads as the way to go. But times have changed. All the boat tickets you buy in town nowadays include transport to the pier, or charge you an extra 50 THB for it. The songthaews cost 20 THB now, and the songthaew stop for Tha Yang is a 1km walk or ride from the train station. There are now several different piers being used, so you'll have to figure out which one you're supposed to be on. If you feel like you're being steered away from the songthaews by ticket sellers looking to make a few extra baht on transport--you are. But that 50 THB is probably worth it to get to the right boat, on time, with a minimum hassles.
Boats to Ko Tao
Tickets can be booked everywhere and anywhere in Chumphon (or so it seems). You'll be asked seventeen times a day if you're going to Ko Tao. Don't be put off by the longer trip length for the night boat--you can sleep on mats on the deck of the boat, and you'll save on a night of accommodation. The faster the trip, the bumpier it is, especially on windy days. The car ferry now takes passengers, but serves no food, so you'll have to pack a lunch.
To Thung Wua Laen
Regular songtheaws can be picked up in front of Chokeanan Tours on Pacha Uthit Rd for 25 THB.
To Haad Sairee
Songthaews leave hourly between 07:00 and 06:00 and cost 30THB. They leave from a bus stop on Nawamin Ruamjai Rd, which runs along the train tracks. It's about 300 metres south of the train station.
To Pak Nam and Tha Yang
Songthaews leave from a bus stop on Poraminmanka Rd, just past the intersection with Phisit Phayap Rd. and cost 20 THB.