The Gulf of Thailand is home to some beautiful islands like Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, Koh Samui being the biggest. All of them are stunning tropical islands, though I personally prefer the Koh Tao island.
There are many ways to get to them from the Thailand mainland. Here is a lowdown on the various ways of commuting to these islands.
1) Take a train or bus from Bangkok and get down at Chumpon if you are going to Koh Tao. From here you can take a boat to Koh Tao. Boat options are Lomprayah, Seatran Discovery and Songserm. Lomprayah is the fastest and costs the most, Seatran is slightly slower and costs marginally lesser and Songserm is the slowest and costs the least.
2) If Koh Samui or Koh Phangan is your destination, take the train or bus to Surat Thani. From there, you will get a bus to the pier and then the boat to Koh Samui and then Koh Phangan. The options are the same as above.
3) If you wish to fly in, then Koh Samui is your only option. From here, you can take a boat to the other islands. The options are same as above.
4) In high season, there are many boats plying between these islands, including private charters and long tail boats. In low season, the frequency might come down.
5) It is best to get a joint ticket (train + bus + boat) to get to the islands. This is the least hassle option and doesn’t cost you more. In fact, all travel agents quote the same price and there is no scam running here.
Note: If you are here for diving, visit Koh Tao. If you are here for partying, stay at Koh Phangan. If you want a relaxed vacation, stay at Koh Samui. If you want to visit Ang thong marine national park, stay either at Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. Koh Tao is a bit too far from the marine national park.