Travelling From Koh Tao to Chiang Mai – Cost + Video

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There will come a day when you need to leave the beautiful island of Koh Tao and move on in to go back to Bangkok or carry on to another destination. Some people like to get as far as Bangkok and stay for a night to break up the journey, but we decided to go all the way to Chiang Mai in one go.

koh tao

Transport Cost 1880 THB – $60USD – €45 – £38  – Not including food & drinks (400THB) + luggage storage in Chumpon and Bangkok = 220 THB -= Total Cost – 2500THB $78 USD

Journey Time Transcript

  • 10-minute taxi
  • 1-hour wait + boarding
  • 3.5 hours on a boat from Koh Tao to Chumpon
  • 30-minute wait + 30 minutes shared tuk tuk
  • 5 hour wait for train to Bangkok in Chumpon
  • 10 hours on a train from Chumpon to Bangkok
  • 6-hour wait in Bangkok
  • 16-hour train to Chiang Mai
  • 20-minute cab to hostel

Total Travel Time – Koh Tao to Chiang Mai 

26 hours on trains – 13 hours waiting around – 3.5 hours on a boat – 30 min tuk tuk 30 minutes taxi

Left Spicy Tao hostel 1.30pm 30th August and landed in Spicy Thai 7.30am 1st Sept.  

Video of the trip from Koh Tao to Chiang Mai

There are plenty of different options for making the trip from Koh Tao. You can take a catamaran (roughly 3 hours), slow boat (9hrs), bus or sleeper train from Chumpon to Bangkok and then the same for Chiang Mai.. Times will vary depending on whether you get day boat/night boat, sleeper train, sleeper bus, second class train, have connecting times that were better than mine… There are so many variables that it is impossible to say which one is the best and to give a 100% accurate estimate of costs.

A friend who came with me, but we was on the later train had to wait in Chumpon for an extra 2 hours to get on his train , cancelledwcanceledin the end! He had to board a 2am bus to Bangkok which required an 8 hour wait in Chumpon.

When I first went to Koh Tao at the start of August, a similar thing happened. The train was 20 minutes late so we had to wait in Chumpon for 7 hours for the next boat!! This is why sometimes it is better to just get the train ticket and buy the boat ticket at the pier. They will always fit you on. It’s Thailand! Health and safety rules are non-existent!

koh tao to chiang mai

What To Expect When Traveling in Thailand

  • Do not expect to get what you want all the time – I’ve been dropped in the middle of nowhere for two hours at a tiny shop or restaurant that no doubt is the mother/family of the tuk tuk drivers and left there with no explanation of why we had to wait there. I think this is purely for making some money from you.
  • Do not expect to get where you want at the correct time – My first train was 20 minutes late which meant we missed the boat and our train to Chiang Mai was 2 hours late.
  • Be patient and realize that this is part of travel in Asia
  • If you are planning to travel air-conditioned then have a jumper or blanket or you will be frooze! For some reason the temperature will be set to 5 degrees.
  • Bring a book and charge you iPod!
  • Toilets can be squats
  • There will be no toilet paper, always bring your own
  • We got the VIP on the boat for an extra 30THB.. Comfort and a movie for $1… Splash out!
  • You may have extra costs along the way. Not always, but sometimes…
  • The ticket you bought might not be what you thought it was.. (Happened me on-route to Koh Tao, I was told I bought a sleeper ticket but it was a 2nd class bus seat for the 12 hour journey).
  • Your bags will be chucked around and stacked like Lego. Don’t leave anything breakable in it.
  • Have fun…

koh tao to chiang mai


  1. Hey dude – good post! Practical info is always good to have. Judging from your fb posts, sounds like you and the lady are having a good time of it.

    Did you find time do that video of my fight? Just curious – I’d like to share it with friends, but the original is a bit boring to anyone other than myself, and I’ve seen your editing skills, so I know what miracles you can accomplish . . .

    Keep on truckin’, dude. And when you decide to come to Istanbul, come crash at my place for a while – I just kitted out the guest room with double bed and curtains and shit, so you’ll be livin’ in style.




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