Travel from Penang to Koh Tao

By joint bus and ferry service the journey from Penang to Koh Tao is scheduled to take from 23 to 25 hours depending upon which service you take.

Travel Times from Penang to Koh Tao

There are 2 services a day from Penang to Koh Tao available to book online.

PenangKoh TaoCostCompany
05:0005:00280 MYRNew Asian Travel
08:0006:00292 MYRKoh Tao Booking Center
  • Departure times are in Malaysian time and arrival times are in Thailand time, which is 1 hour behind Malaysian time.
  • An additional 5 MYR is payable directly to the driver when you board the bus for insurance.

Buy Tickets from Penang to Koh Tao

Use the Search Box below to buy your tickets from Penang to Koh Tao.

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Penang Bus Stop

New Asian Travel, services from Penang to Koh Tao depart from the New Asian Travel Office which is under the Komtar Tower in George Town, Penang Island.

Google map of the New Asian Travel Office

Koh Tao Ferry Pier

New Asian Travel, services from Penang to Koh Tao terminate at Mae Haad Pier, which in the main town on Koh Tao.

Google map of Mae Haad Pier

About Travel to Koh Tao

Koh Tao is a small island measuring approximately 7 km by 3 km, with a land area of 21 square kilometres. Much of the interior of the island is hilly and covered in jungle and as a consequence the majority of the island’s 2,000 or so permanent residents live in coastal areas, particularly near the largest town on the island, Sairee Village.

History of Koh Tao

Until 1933 the inhabitants of Koh Tao were nearly all nomadic seafaring groups, known as Chao Ley ‘Sea Gypsies’, who came to the islands seasonally. The island’s remoteness and lack of permanent settlement made it an ideal location for the prison camp which set up in 1933. The island carried on this way until 1947 when all the prisoners were freed. According to local legend the prisoners stopped being supplied with food in the early 1940s and took to piracy to fed themselves.

Tourism in Koh Tao started in the 1980s following on from independent travellers discovering first Koh Samui and then Koh Phangan. One of the peculiarities of Koh Tao is that the entire island is owned by the government and leased back to the people who have built houses and operate businesses in Koh Tao. Koh Tao is an island where people have moved over the last four decades principally in order to make money from tourists.

Chalok Baan Kao Bay in Koh Tao
Chalok Baan Kao Bay in Koh Tao
Diving in Koh Tao

Koh Tao is an attractive island. It has some very good beaches, like Mango Bay in the north of the island and on the neighbouring island of Koh Nang Yuan, and a healthy range of fauna and flora despite the island receiving several hundred thousand visitors each month. The main reason why most tourists come to Koh Tao, however, is to go scuba diving.

Koh Tao is one of the cheapest places in the world to do the training for a diving qualification such as the PADI Open Water. The course and certification for the PADI Open Water qualification generally costs around 11,000 THB per person, although some diving schools offer the same course at much lower prices of around 8,000 THB.

One of the reasons the diving is so cheap on Koh Tao is that there are plenty of good diving sites close to the island. This cuts down on fuel costs and other costs related to the maintenance and operation of a dive boat. Not having to travel very far to go diving is also helpful to the environment.

The other reason why diving is cheap in Koh Tao is that the island is also a major centre for training new diving instructors. These trainee divers often take on a lot of the training for novice divers which provides another significant cost saving for Koh Tao’s many dive companies.

With so many different diving companies, and price points, it’s well worth doing some research on which dive company to use. They aren’t all the same in terms of quality of service or instruction or indeed their approach to the safety of their trainee divers.

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