Photo: What lies beneath?

A new ferry service from Ko Tao has streamlined the process of getting from the island to any southern Thai mainland or west coast destination. Previously the journey involved was protracted and tiring but this new service offered by Lomprayah raises the bar and offers a much needed joint-ticket, southern and west coast connection.

Surathani Night Boat

Surat Thani night boat.

You can now leave Ko Tao at 06:00 and be on a west coast beach by mid-afternoon. The Lomprayah ferry stops at Ko Pha Ngan (just named by the New York Times of one of 2013’s places to go) and Ko Samui on its way to the southern mainland port of Surat Thani.

Once you arrive on the mainland at Surat Thani you will connect with a bus to take you to wherever you have booked. West coast beach destinations include Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta, Railay and Ao Nang. If you don’t like the early start then you can hop on a 09:30 departure from Ko Tao, but then your options are limited to Phuket and Krabi with an early evening arrival.

West Side

West side.

This new service is also ideal for taking the train to southern destinations, Sura Thani and Nakhon Sri Thammarat airports. These domestic airports are home to budget operators like Nok Air and Solar Air. This is not the most direct route to Bangkok from Ko Tao, but there are some cheap flights and if the services from Chumphon are full or the flights to Ko Samui too expensive then it is an option worth considering.

Doing it in the other direction, flights depart from Bangkok to Surat Thani too and as long as you land in Surat Thani in time to hop on the bus at either 08:00 or 13:30 you can get to Ko Tao by 14:00 or 19:00 respectively.

If you are travelling from the south and Malaysia the new ferry means you have more options to get to the islands, too. The bonus of this later schedule is also evident if you are flying into Ko Samui from Bangkok too. No longer does the last ferry leave Ko Samui for Ko Tao at lunchtime, which means you can get straight to Ko Tao rather than overnighting in Ko Samui.

If you are living or staying for an extended period here on Ko Tao the service has an awesome benefit too. If you leave on the 06:00 departure, you can spend the day shopping in Ko Samui, visit the immigration office or slip in a hospital visit too before hopping back on the late departure and being back on Ko Tao just after the sunset.

As with all travel timetables they are subject to change. If this new service is not popular or well patronised then it’s likely that it will not continue, so please do check for up to date information.

Last updated on 12th January, 2013.

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