koh tao to phuket ferry

How to go from Koh Tao to Phuket [Ferry, Bus, Ticket Options]

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, and it’s a popular stop for many who come to Thailand. You’ll find white sandy beaches here, glorious resorts, and also a great street night market scene too.  Phuket is also well known as a party island.  Going from Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand to Phuket in the Andaman Sea is a relatively easy route, it just takes a long time!  And you have several options for how to travel to Phuket from Koh Tao.  And while most folks traveling this route go from Koh Tao to Phuket, there’s also a good number who go in the opposite direction.  So this guide covers whether you’re going from Koh Tao to Phuket or Phuket to Koh Tao as you’ll need to know the best way to travel between these two destinations.  There are several options for transport between Koh Tao and Phuket, but what’s the best way to go from Koh Tao to Phuket?  And what are the options for traveling to Phuket from Koh Tao?  Here’s our guide on Koh Tao to Phuket travel options.

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#1 BUS + FERRY TICKET COMBO

bus and boat combo ticket

Easiest Way to Go from Koh Tao to Phuket

The easiest way to get to Phuket from Koh Tao is to take the combined Bus + Boat ticket – all connections are guaranteed. And it’s really easy.

How to Go from Koh Tao to Phuket – Transport Options

In this guide on how to go from Koh Tao to Phuket, we’ll cover the fastest way to travel go from Koh Tao to Phuket, the easiest way to go to Phuket from Koh Tao, and the cheapest way to get to Phuket from Koh Tao, as well as the most fun way to get to Phuket from Koh Tao.  There are no large buses that travel this route, road transport is minivans and taxis.  Our guide on the best things to do in Phuket is here.

How to get to Phuket from Koh Tao

For transport from Phuket to Koh Tao, then you have several options.  All of these involve a ferry as there is no airport on Koh Tao Island.  You can however take the ferry from Koh Tao to Koh Samui and fly from there.  I’ll cover that shortly.

There are two options for times of the day to travel to Phuket from Koh Tao.  During the day or overnight.  So you’ll save yourself accommodation if you go on the overnight journey, but your journey won’t start until early evening, I guess you’ll also gain another day that way as well!  You also need to consider where you want to get to in Phuket, as the different services arrive in different places.  Transport is easy in Phuket, but a decision now means that you’ll have less hassle at the other end.

Koh Tao to Phuket Flight

As I explained earlier there’s no airport on Koh Tao, which means that to fly to Phuket from Koh Tao you’ll need to get to Koh Samui.  There are direct flights from Koh Samui to Phuket.  You’ll first need to take a ferry from Koh Tao to Koh Samui.  These ferries take between 90 minutes and 2 hours.  Ferries from Koh Tao arrive in Koh Samui at Maenam Pier.  Then you’ll need to get to Koh Samui Airport.  From Maenum Pier to Koh Samui Airport takes about 25 minutes in a taxi.  It’s about 13 kilometers (8 miles). 

This is the quickest way to travel to Phuket from Koh Tao, but there are no through-booked tickets available, you’ll need to book each individual part separately and there are no connection guarantees, which you will get with other options.

Here are the details of getting from Koh Tao to Phuket using a flight.

  1. Get to the ferry port at Koh Tao and take a ferry to Koh Samui (you can pre-book it here)
  2. On Koh Samui, get to the airport.  The distance from the ferry port to the airport is about 13 kilometers and a taxi will cost about 900 THB.  You can pre-book a transfer here.  There are cheaper options including vans, but you may have to wait around, negating the speed benefit that a flight gives you.
  3. Take your flight from Koh Samui to Phuket.  You can book flights here.  They’re usually not expensive. 

Ferry Times from Koh Tao to Koh Samui

Ferries to Koh Samui from Koh Tao take between 90 minutes to 2 hours.  The boats arrive at Maenum Pier on Koh Samui.

07:00 arrives 08:30 Speedboat to Koh Samui from Koh Tao

09:30 arrives 11:20 Catamaran from Koh Tao to Koh Samui

15:00 arrives 17:00 Speedboat from Koh Tao to Koh Samui

Now take a transfer from Maenam Pier to the airport

Flight times from Koh Samui to Phuket

There are usually 5 direct flights a day from Koh Samui to Phuket, this changes with the seasons, so check here are the current flight schedules.  The first flight to Phuket from Koh Samui is at 8 am and the last flight of the day is at 5:55 pm.  The airport code for Koh Samui is USM and the airport code for Phuket is HKT.  Flight times are

08:00 Koh Samui Airport to Phuket Airport – check seat availability here

11:25 Koh Samui to Phuket – book seats here

14:30 Koh Samui flight to Phuket – reserve a seat here

15:30 Koh Samui (USM) to Phuket (HKT) –  check prices of this flight

17:55 USM to HKT –  buy a ticket here

Bus and Ferry from Koh Tao to Phuket

Combined tickets in Thailand are a great way of going from one place to another.  And this route to Phuket from Koh Tao (and back) is no different.  Usually, you’ll get picked up from your accommodation and then dropped at a central bus station, or the station of the particular bus brand that you’re traveling with at the other end.

Two companies run this route.  Lomprayah and Fame.  One runs the day time route and the other the overnight routes, although they may have additional options in high season.  The prices are the same, and the departure times are about the same too.  The difference is where you get dropped at the other end.

Day Time ferry Koh Tao

If you go with Lomprayah from Koh Tao to Phuket you get dropped off at the bus terminal in Phuket.  These guys run the DAY-TIME ROUTES (they may also run night-time routes at other times of the year)

If you go with Fame from Koh Tao to Phuket you get dropped off at Bus Terminal 2 in Phuket.  These guys run the OVERNIGHT ROUTES.

Minivan Thailand

You can see the location of both of those on our map.

The ferry + bus combination ticket to Phuket from Koh Tao is the best way of traveling this route.  Your connections are guaranteed, and you can’t get lost!  If you take the daytime route it’s a little more expensive (about 300 THB) but it’s also quicker, this route takes 9 hours during the day and 16 hours overnight – but the overnight option does give you a night’s sleep on the ferry!

Bunks on the overnight ferry from Koh Tao

Tickets for the Bus and Ferry from Koh Tao to Phuket

If you decide to go for the daytime option, then the start time is 09:30 – your pick-up may be a little earlier than this depending on where you are staying on Koh Tao.  You’ll arrive at Phuket Lomprayah at about 18:30.

09:30 Lomprayah Koh Tao to Phuket (arrives 18:30 at Lomprayah Phuket)

21:00 Fame Koh Tao to Phuket (arrives 13:00 Bus Terminal 2 Phuket)

Map of Ferry Terminals & Bus Stations for going from Koh Tao to Phuket

You can also see the ferry terminals and bus stations from Koh Tao to Phuket here

How to go from Koh Tao to Phuket

The quickest way to get from Koh Tao to Phuket

The quickest way to get to Phuket from Koh Tao is to fly.  However, first, you’ll need to take a ferry from Koh Tao to Koh Samui, then get a taxi from Maenam Pier to the airport and then fly.  There are no guaranteed connections on this route.

The easiest way to go to Phuket from Koh Tao

The easiest way to travel this route to Phuket from Koh Tao is to take the ferry and the bus.  You’ll get picked up from your accommodation on Koh Tao and dropped at the bus terminals in Phuket.  You can book this option here.

The cheapest way to go from Koh Tao to Phuket

The cheapest way to get to Phuket from Koh Tao is to take the ferry and bus combination.  This ticket has guaranteed connections, so if the ferry runs late, you’ll still catch your bus.  – reserve your seats here.  If you take the overnight ferry it’s even cheaper as you’ll both save on a night of accommodation and the ticket is cheaper too!

The best way to go from Koh Tao to Phuket

I loved the overnight ferry out of Koh Tao.  It meant that we could have a whole other day exploring, as most of our time on Koh Tao was spent diving.  It also meant that we saved on the cost of a night’s accommodation, and sleeping on the ferry was surprisingly comfortable too!  You can book this trip here.

Q&A on Going to Phuket from Koh Tao

Here are details on the most regular questions that I see on going from Koh Tao to Phuket and the journey in reverse too.

How long is the ferry from Koh Tao to Phuket?

There is no direct ferry from Koh Tao to Phuket.  The ferry that you’ll take from Koh Tao towards Phuket goes to the Thai mainland – to either Chumphon or Surrathani – and then you’ll get a bus.  The quickest ferry from Koh Tao to the mainland takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes.  There’s also a slower ferry on the overnight journey.

How long does it take to go from Koh Tao to Phuket?

How long it takes to get to Phuket from Koh Tao depends on which transport option you take.  The ferry and bus from Koh Tao to Phuket take between 8 and 9 hours.  The minivan and ferry to Phuket from Koh Tao takes about 8-9 hours (but are possibly more comfortable than the bigger bus).  A ferry and taxi and flight from Koh Tao to Phuket via Koh Samui take about 6 hours. 

What is the Koh Tao to Phuket Distance?

It’s 293 kilometers as the crow flies to Phuket from Koh Tao.  (that’s 182 miles).

Popular Routes in Thailand

Want to know more about different forms of transport in Thailand? Our guide to Thailand transport is here. And here’s how to travel some of the popular routes around Thailand, your options, and how we did it.

Travel Tips for Exploring Thailand

Final Words on How to Go from Koh Tao to Phuket

You can shave off a few hours if you fly to Phuket, via Koh Samui on your trip from Koh Tao, but it’s a bit of a hassle having to get between the ferry terminal and the airport on Koh Samui.  Plus you need to remember to factor in check-in times at the airport.  The ferry and bus combination is a great way of traveling this route, take the overnight ferry to leave the Gulf of Thailand one day and arrive at the Andaman Sea the next!

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