Koh Tao, Koh Phangan & Koh Samui, Thailand Itinerary (5 days)

Travel Itinerary: Koh Tao, Koh Phangan & Koh Samui, Thailand in 5 days

Trip Summary

  • Trip length and when did I go? 5 days in April 2015
  • Places visited: Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui
  • How much did it cost me? MYR 980

At A Glance

  • Day 1 - Surat Thani to Koh Tao. Arrival in Surat Thani international airport. Took the bus from the airport to Donsak, then the ferry to Koh Tao. Check-in to Baan Thai guesthouse in Mae Haad upon arrival. Spent my evening in Sairee beach. Overnight in Koh Tao.
  • Day 2 - Koh Tao. Snorkeling trip around Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan for the entire day. Overnight in Koh Tao.
  • Day 3 Koh Tao to Koh Phangan. Check-out from the guesthouse and took a ferry from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan. Upon arrival, I stayed at Amstardam Backpackers, then went sightseeing around Koh Phangan by motorcycle, visiting various places on the island such as Haad Rin, Ao Chaloklum and Haad Salad. Went to the full moon party in Haad Rin later in the evening. Overnight in Koh Phangan.
  • Day 4 - Koh Phangan to Koh Samui. Check-out from the hostel and took a ferry to Koh Samui. Check-in to Behind The Scene hostel in Chaweng beach upon arrival. Went sightseeing around Chaweng beach later in the afternoon until night time. Overnight in Koh Samui.
  • Day 5 - Koh Samui to Surat Thani. Check-out from the hostel and took the early morning transfer from Koh Samui to Surat Thani airport for my flight back home


Itinerary Map (click to view POIs and routes)


Travel Montage




Getting to Koh Tao
  • 12.30 pm - Arrival at Surat Thani international airport by flight (Air Asia) - RM 360 (return)
  • Immigration clearance
  • There are many tour counters in the airport that offer transfer from the airport to the islands, so choose wisely as there are only a few ferry operators worth of note. Lomprayah is the fastest, and the most expensive. Seatran is fast and slightly more reliable. Songserm is the cheapest among the three but also the slowest
  • Bought transfer package (bus + ferry) to Koh Tao at a tour counter (Phantip tour, nearest one to the arrival hall exit) - 900 baht
  • Note: Alternatively, you can also get to Koh Tao by night boat. To do this, simply take a tuk-tuk to Bandon pier in Surat Thani. The night boat departs daily at 11pm and arrives in Koh Tao the next morning. Tickets cost roughly 500 baht per person
  • Refreshments - Bottled water (15 baht)
  • 1.45 pm - Ride bus (arranged by tour company) to Donsak pier
  • 3.15 pm - Arrival at Donsak pier
  • Photo ops (30 minutes) around Donsak pier while waiting for the next ferry which departs at 4pm
  • 4.30 pm - Depart for Koh Tao by ferry (Lomprayah)
  • Stopovers at Koh Samui (5.30pm) and Koh Phangan (6.30pm)
  • 7.30 pm - Arrival at Koh Tao (Mae Haad pier)

Arriving at Surat Thani international airport
Arriving at Surat Thani international airport
Waiting for my bus to Donsak
Waiting for my bus to Donsak
Donsak pier
Donsak pier
Getting ready to board the Lomprayah ferry to Koh Tao
Getting ready to board the Lomprayah ferry to Koh Tao
Getting seated inside the ferry
Getting seated inside the ferry
On the way to Koh Tao
On the way to Koh Tao
Arrival at Mae Haad pier, Koh Tao
Arrival at Mae Haad pier, Koh Tao

Hostel check-in and walking around Mae Haad
  • Walk around to look for accommodation, my first choice would be to stay at Koh Tao Loft Hostel, unfortunately it was fully booked for the night
  • Check-in to Baan Thai guesthouse - 350 baht per night
  • 8.30 pm - Photo ops around Mae Haad walking street
  • Dinner - Banana pancake (40 baht)
  • Booked full day snorkeling trip (Koh Tao & Koh Nangyuan) - 550 baht (bargained down from 600 baht) from a tour agent (recommend Guitar Travel, very friendly and helpful!)
  • Also bought a one-way ticket for the 9am ferry (Seatran) to Koh Phangan - 430 baht

Mae Haad walking street
Mae Haad walking street
Checking in to my dorm in Baan Thai guesthouse. It wasn't very clean but I guess it will have to do since my first option was already fully booked for the night
Checking in to my dorm in Baan Thai guesthouse. It wasn't very clean but I guess it will have to do since my first option was already fully booked for the night
Trying out supposedly the 'best' pancake in Koh Tao. Verdict? It's passable I guess
Trying out supposedly the 'best' pancake in Koh Tao. Verdict? It's passable I guess

Sairee Beach at night
  • 10.00 pm - Walk to Sairee beach (under 45 minutes)
  • Wanted to take a taxi initially but you'd have to charter the whole vehicle (minimum 300 baht or 100 baht/person if you're willing to wait for other passengers to show up). Didn't spot any motorcycle taxis around
  • 10.45 pm - Photo ops around Sairee beach and walking street
  • Interesting tip: The Koh Tao pubcrawl takes place around Sairee beach every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Supper - Kebab (40 baht) & Chang beer (49 baht)
  • 2.00 am - Walk back to the guesthouse 

Sairee walking street
Sairee walking street
The Koh Tao pubcrawl takes place here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so come on these days if you want to take part in the fun
The Koh Tao pubcrawl takes place here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so come on these days if you want to take part in the fun
The night scene in Sairee Beach is exciting and plenty enough to keep you entertained throughout the night
The night scene in Sairee Beach is exciting and plenty enough to keep you entertained throughout the night
Watching a fire show at another part of Sairee beach
Watching a fire show at another part of Sairee beach



Getting ready for the snorkeling trip
  • 7.00 am - Wake up
  • Extend stay at Baan Thai guesthouse (+1 night for 350 baht per night)
  • Breakfast at Far Out Cafe - English breakfast (150 baht)
  • Photo walk around Mae Haad (1 hour)

Morning in Mae Haad
Morning in Mae Haad
Walking around Mae Haad in search of breakfast
Walking around Mae Haad in search of breakfast
Another part of Mae Haad closer to the pier
Another part of Mae Haad closer to the pier
The beautiful turquoise waters of the shallows off Mae Haad
The beautiful turquoise waters of the shallows off Mae Haad
Strolling along Mae Haad beach
Strolling along Mae Haad beach

Snorkeling trip around Koh Tao
  • 9.30 am - Pickup at guesthouse to the meeting point (at Mae Haad pier) for the full day snorkeling trip (arranged by tour company)
  • Some paper clearance and collection of snorkeling gear. Paid Koh Nang Yuan entrance fee in advance - 100 baht
  • 10.00 am - Depart for snorkeling trip
  • Stopover at various dive sites around Koh Tao island for snorkeling:
  • Shark bay
  • Aow Leuk bay
  • Hin Wong bay
  • Mango bay
  • Among all the dive sites visited, my favorite has to be Hin Wong bay (plenty of soft corals and marine life), followed by Mango bay and Aow Leuk. Shark bay was interesting, but I wasn't able to spot any sharks unfortunately :(
  • Lunch - Mixed rice (included in tour package)

Getting ready to depart for our snorkeling trip around Koh Tao
Getting ready to depart for our snorkeling trip around Koh Tao
On the way to the snorkeling sites
On the way to the snorkeling sites
The first snorkeling site was Shark Bay. Was a bit excited at first, but didn't manage to spot any sharks unfortunately. A guy in our group claimed to have spotted three, I'm just unlucky I guess
The first snorkeling site was Shark Bay. Was a bit excited at first, but didn't manage to spot any sharks unfortunately. A guy in our group claimed to have spotted three, I'm just unlucky I guess
The second snorkeling site, Aow Leuk bay
The second snorkeling site, Aow Leuk bay
Third snorkeling site, Hin Wong bay. My favorite snorkeling site since it had the most variety when compared to the other sites
Third snorkeling site, Hin Wong bay. My favorite snorkeling site since it had the most variety when compared to the other sites
Mango Bay, the fourth and last snorkeling site before heading to Koh Nang Yuan
Mango Bay, the fourth and last snorkeling site before heading to Koh Nang Yuan
Underwater shot at Hin Wong bay
Underwater shot at Hin Wong bay

Koh Nang Yuan
  • 2.30 pm - Stopover at Koh Nang Yuan. Did the climb up the viewpoint (under 15 minutes)
  • Photo ops at the top (40 minutes). It's generally a good idea to plan your climb during a time with less traffic
  • Refreshments - Coke (45 baht)
  • Photo walk around the island. Not too interested in snorkeling here as I noticed plenty of damaged corals

Walking along the sandbar connecting the islands of Koh Nang Yuan
Walking along the sandbar connecting the islands of Koh Nang Yuan
During high tide, the sandbar partially disappears into the water
During high tide, the sandbar partially disappears into the water
On my way to Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint
On the way to Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint
The world famous view from Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint
The world famous view from Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint

Back to Mae Haad
  • 5.00 pm - Back to Mae Haad pier. Walk back to guesthouse for quick shower
  • 6.00 pm - Walk to Sairee beach to view the beautiful sunset
  • Dinner at Su Chilli - Seafood fried rice & drink (130 baht)
  • 10.00 pm - Return to guesthouse

Beautiful sunset at Sairee beach
Beautiful sunset at Sairee beach



From Koh Tao to Koh Phangan
  • 8.00 am - Wake up
  • Breakfast - Chicken burger & coffee (50 baht)
  • Last minute shopping at Mae Haad walking street for souvenirs 
  • 9.15 am - Depart for Koh Phangan by ferry (Seatran)

Bon voyage Koh Tao!
Bon voyage Koh Tao!
Boarding the Seatran ferry bound for Koh Phangan
Boarding the Seatran ferry bound for Koh Phangan

Arrival in Koh Phangan
  • 10.30 am - Arrival at Koh Phangan (Thong Sala pier)
  • Walk to port authority building (under 5 minutes, left of causeway heading into Thong Sala town) to check for ferry tickets to Koh Samui the next day
  • Note: Remember to buy them as early as you can, it can be quite difficult to get same day tickets, especially during full moon
  • Bought one-way ticket for the 10.30am ferry (Seatran) to Koh Samui - 300 baht

This rugged landscape looms closer as we approach Koh Phangan
This rugged landscape looms closer as we approach Koh Phangan
Thong Sala pier
Thong Sala pier
The causeway leading  from the pier to Thong Sala town
The causeway leading  from the pier to Thong Sala town
Inside the port authority building where you can buy your ferry tickets. Remember to buy them as early as you can, it can be quite difficult to get tickets on the spot, especially during full moon
Inside the port authority building where you can buy your ferry tickets

Hostel check-in
  • 11.00 am - Walk to Thong Sala town from port authority building (under 5 minutes)
  • Rent motorcycle from a shop (next to the 7-11) - 150 baht (renting for 1 day)
  • Refuel at nearby gas station - 120 baht
  • 12.00 pm - Check-in to Amstardam Backpackers - 350 baht per night (staying for 1 night). Very nice hostel, well worth the price in my opinion. Only gripe I had was the poor customer service. The reception office was closed on both occasions when I wanted to check in and out, even when it was supposed to be open around that time

First thing you see in Thong Sala as you exit the causeway. The shop I rented my motorcycle from was next to the 7-11. Pretty reliable, I had no problems dealing with them
First thing you see in Thong Sala as you exit the causeway. The shop I rented my motorcycle from was next to the 7-11. Pretty reliable, I had no problems dealing with them 
Settling in to my dorm in Amstardam Backpackers. Very nice hostel, well worth the price in my opinion. Only gripe I had was the poor customer service. The reception office was closed on both occasions when I wanted to check in and out, even when it was supposed to be open around that time
Settling in to my dorm in Amstardam Backpackers
The bar and relaxation area at Amstardam Backpackers, a great place to watch sunsets
The bar and relaxation area at Amstardam Backpackers, a great place to watch sunsets

Motorcycling around Koh Phangan
  • 1.00 pm - Ride to Haad Rin beach. Certain parts of the road going there are very steep, so use a low gear and practice caution at all times
  • 1.45 pm - Photo stop in Haad Rin beach (about 1 hour). Very nice beach with crystal clear waters
  • Walked to Mellow Mountain bar (located on the northern end of the beach) for some much needed refreshments after a rather hot day
  • Refreshments - Coke (40 baht)

On the way to Haad Rin beach
On the way to Haad Rin beach
Haad Rin beach
Haad Rin beach
Another view of Haad Rin beach. In the distance is Mellow Mountain bar
Another view of Haad Rin beach. In the distance is Mellow Mountain bar
View of Haad Rin beach from Mellow Mountain bar
View of Haad Rin beach from Mellow Mountain bar

  • 4.00 pm - Photo stop at Ao Chaloklum (30 minutes). A very quiet beach, there's almost no tourists here
  • 5.00 pm - Photo stop at Haad Salad (30 minutes). There's a nice viewpoint overlooking the beach nearby where you can sit down, relax and have a drink
  • 6.30 pm - Photo stop at Ban Nai Wok (30 minutes). Wanted to watch the sunset here but decided to return to the hostel to get a better view
  • 7.00 pm - Return to hostel to see a magnificent sunset

Exploring Koh Phangan on motorcycle is one of the more memorable experiences I've had during my entire trip
Exploring Koh Phangan on motorcycle is one of the more memorable experiences I've had during my entire trip
The secluded Ao Chaloklum
The secluded Ao Chaloklum
View of Haad Salad from the viewpoint
View of Haad Salad from the viewpoint
Gorgeous sunset at Ban Nai Wok
Gorgeous sunset at Ban Nai Wok
Watching the sun go down at the hostel I stayed
Watching the sun go down at the hostel I stayed

Around Thong Sala
  • 8.30 pm - Dinner at Pantip Market - Mixed rice (60 baht) & fruit juice (30 baht)
  • Walk around Thong Sala to shop for some souvenirs

Street food galore at Pantip Market
Street food galore at Pantip Market
Had my dinner here before heading off for the full moon party
Had my dinner here before heading off for the full moon party

Getting to the Full Moon Party
  • 10.00 pm - Ride to Haad Rin for the full moon party. No problems getting there at night as the road going there are well-lit. Spotted at least one roadblock along the way, so wear a helmet if you don't want to get fined
  • 11.00 pm - Full moon party at Haad Rin beach. Didn't pay any entrance fees (went through the entrance near Cactus Bar)
  • Supper - Pad thai (50 baht) & Singha beer (60 baht)

Full moon party, Koh Phangan
Full moon party, Koh Phangan
It's hard to stay sober when there are stalls selling alcohol everywhere
It's hard to stay sober when there are stalls selling alcohol everywhere
Fire skipping rope, among the list of fun activities you can take part during the full moon party
Fire skipping rope, among the list of fun activities you can take part during the full moon party
Haad Rin beach becomes increasingly crowded with party goers the longer the night goes on
Haad Rin beach becomes increasingly crowded with party goers the longer the night goes on
Just one last beer before heading back
Wanted to stay for the sunrise, but couldn't stay awake long enough. Just one last beer before heading back and hitting the sack



From Koh Phangan to Koh Samui
  • 5.00 am - Return to hostel for a quick nap
  • 9.00 am - Wake up and check-out from hostel
  • Photo stop at HMS Phangan (30 minutes). Only did external viewing, didn't go inside. Don't think you can enter the ship anyways
  • Breakfast - Chicken burger (30 baht)
  • 10.45 am - Depart for Koh Samui by ferry (Seatran)

View of the HMS Phangan
View of the HMS Phangan
Queuing up at Thong Sala pier to get onto the ferry
Queuing up at Thong Sala pier to get onto the ferry

Arrival at Koh Samui and getting to Chaweng Beach
  • 11.45 am - Arrival at Koh Samui (Bangrak pier)
  • Ride motorcycle taxi to Chaweng beach - 100 baht (negotiated down from 250 baht)
  • 12.15 pm - Check-in to Behind The Scene Hostel - 350 baht per night (staying for 1 night)
  • Quick shower and rest

Approaching Bangrak pier, Koh Samui
Approaching Bangrak pier, Koh Samui
Checking in to Behind The Scene hostel, very conveniently located, only 5 minutes walk from  Chaweng Beach
Checking in to Behind The Scene hostel, very conveniently located, only 5 minutes walk from  Chaweng Beach
Loved how big and comfortable the beds are
Loved how big and comfortable the beds are

Sightseeing around Chaweng Beach
  • 4.00 pm - Photo walk along Chaweng beach (about 2 hours)
  • Refreshments - Ice lemon tea (40 baht)
  • Note: There's an aquapark you can pay to enter if you're not content on just lazing by the beach (costs 300 baht per hour, 500 baht for half day and 700 baht for full day)
  • 6.00 pm - Return to hostel via Chaweng beach road
  • Stopover at Central Festival Samui for some sightseeing
  • Late lunch at a roadside stall - Spicy noodles (40 baht)
  • Bought transfer package (bus + ferry) to Surat Thani international airport the next day - 550 baht 

Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui
Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui
Relaxing afternoon at the beach
Relaxing afternoon at the beach
Another part of Chaweng Beach further down south
Another part of Chaweng Beach further down south
Expect hours of fun with the aquapark, just off the beach
Expect hours of fun with the aquapark, just off the beach
Chaweng Beach Road. On the way back to my hostel
Chaweng Beach Road. On the way back to my hostel
Another part of Chaweng Beach Road
Another part of Chaweng Beach Road
Central Festival Samui. The night market is just only setting up, guess I will come back later
Central Festival Samui. The night market is just only setting up, guess I will come back later

Around Chaweng Beach one last time
  • Quick shower and rest
  • 8.30 pm - Photo walk along Chaweng beach road. Points of interest visited include:
  • Chaweng Night Market
  • Chaweng Lake
  • Last minute shopping for souvenirs at a street market (in front of Central Festival Samui)
  • Foot massage - 150 baht (30 minutes)
  • Dinner - Seafood fried rice (150 baht
  • 11.30 pm - Return to hostel

The night market in front of Central Festival Samui in full swing
The night market in front of Central Festival Samui in full swing
Last minute souvenir shopping, as I always do
Last minute souvenir shopping, as I always do
Kathoeys
Kathoeys
Chaweng Lake at night, a good place to sit back and relax
Chaweng Lake at night, a good place to sit back and relax
Chaweng Night Market, just across the road from where Chaweng Lake is
Chaweng Night Market, just across the road from where Chaweng Lake is



From Koh Samui to Surat Thani International Airport
  • 5.30 am - Wake up and check-out from hostel
  • 6.00 am - Pickup at hostel by van to Koh Samui bus terminal, switch to bus onroute to Nathon pier
  • 7.40 am - Arrival at Nathon pier
  • 8.10 am - Depart for Donsak by ferry (Seatran)
  • 9.40 am - Arrival at Donsak, switch to bus onroute to Surat Thani
  • 11.30 am - Stopover at Surat Thani. Was told to get down here and that's when it hit me. Some miscommunication (between the local tour companies) threaten to strand me here and make me miss my 1pm flight. Fortunately, after much coercion, they arranged a tuk-tuk for me to get to the airport (free of charge)
  • 12.10 pm - Arrival at Surat Thani international airport 
  • 1.00 pm - Flight home

Departing Nathon pier, Koh Samui
Departing Nathon pier, Koh Samui
The ferry's vehicle hold is so big, it could fit a few large vehicles at once
The ferry's vehicle hold is so big, it could fit a few large vehicles at once
Approaching Donsak
Approaching Donsak
At Donsak pier, waiting for our bus to exit the ferry
At Donsak pier, waiting for our bus to exit the ferry
Spent a brief time in Surat Thani town
Spent a brief time in Surat Thani town



How much?
What for?
THB 1,400
Accommodation
THB 700
Accommodation in Koh Tao (2 nights)
THB 350
Accommodation in Koh Phangan (1 night)
THB 350
Accommodation in Koh Samui (1 night)


THB 3,080
Ground Cost
THB 900
Transfer from Surat Thani international airport to Koh Tao
THB 550
Koh Tao & Koh Nangyuan snorkeling tour package
THB 100
Entrance fee - Koh Nangyuan
THB 430
Ferry from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan (one way)
THB 150
Motorcycle rental in Koh Phangan (1 day)
THB 300
Ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui (one way)
THB 100
Transportation around Koh Samui
THB 550
Transfer from Koh Samui to Surat Thani international airport


THB 3,348
Flight
RM 360
Return flight from Kuala Lumpur to Surat Thani


THB 1,289
Misc
THB 1,019
Food & drinks
THB 270
Miscellaneous


THB 9,117
Total


How much did it cost me?
  • In local currency: THB 9,117
  • Conversion rate (at the time): MYR 1 = THB 9.30
  • After conversion: MYR 980 (for 5 days)




2 comments

  1. Detailed and helpful information! Thanks a ton

    ReplyDelete
  2. This post almost has all information for planning a 5 day trip to Thailand and I am sure this information does will help someone who planning for a trip to Thailand. I had a trip to koh samui with my husband and koh samui is really amazing place where we had so many good times. This place has all things for couples from beach to safari.

    ReplyDelete

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