Our ferry from Koh Tao to Chumphon was lovely. Well, the ferry itself was lovely. It was spacious, had comfortable seats and even air-conditioning. The ocean however was fairly rough leading to there being a lot of very ill people on board which may possibly have included both of us. The video doesn't do it justice because during the rough bits when we were being thrown around and feeling worse for wear the last thing on our minds was picking up the camera.
Koh Tao isn't a massive island, particular when you are staying on or near Sairee Beach. The ferry pier is only about a 15 minute walk from Sairee Beach, so it is easy to get to the port to buy your ticket in person if you so desire.
We took the easy way out and booked our tickets on the ferry through the hotel we were staying at. We figured that paying a little less than the advertised price of 600 Baht per person on Lomprayah Catamaran's website, and the fact that we would get a lift to the pier on the back of a ute, was worth the lazy pre-organised purchase. We believe we paid about 580 Baht each for the trip.
We left the hotel grounds at about 9am on the back of an open backed ute with a number of other tourists and their luggage. Arriving at the ferry port was a free-for-all frenzy. People everywhere. Some where trying to get on the ferry to go Koh Phangan way, others like us were heading Chumphon way.
The piece of paper we had received from the hotel booking people had to then be exchanged for real tickets from Lomprayah's ticket booth. This was the same for all people who had booked through the various travel agencies on the island.
Once that was sorted, we watched people clamber on to the Lomprayah Catamaran that was going via Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and then to Suratthani. Lomprayah offers very convenient tour packages to various other places throughout Thailand. The venues and costs in Baht are as in the below photo.
Lomprayah Catamaran likes to give you little goodies to hang on and use. We received our pretty pink tickets that said "Koh Tao to Chumphorn" and two dark blue long stickers that said "Chumphorn" on them to attach to our bags. Attaching the blue stickers helps the baggage handlers throughout the trip to make sure the bags get off at the right stop. We also received stickers to attach to our tops so that the staff knew exactly where we were going. Ours had the added "CTP" written on them so that the staff at Chumphon knew that we were getting a lift from the ferry port into the city of Chumphon.
We were ushered on to the correct ferry just after 10:15am after spending quite a bit of time packed into a little waiting area in direct sunlight. There went our "no sun is good sun" daily routine. People we had met on the ute from the hotel to the pier had told us about a VIP area on the catamaran. So we decided to VIP ourselves!
As you get on the catamaran, go straight up the stairs. Open the door up the top, this is the first VIP area. It will cost you 100 Baht per person to sit in this area. It is nice enough. Bigger comfier seats with the added bonus of really cool air conditioning and large TV screens showing you the latest music videos.
Going through the second door will take you to the VIP VIP room. The room is decked out with large pleather reclining chairs and a massive tv screen for your viewing pleasure. Sitting here cost us 200 Baht each. Sometimes you just have to upgrade yourself!
Perhaps it is because we do not have our sea legs, or perhaps it is because we are just weak but the ride in the VIP area from Koh Tao to Chumphon was not as enjoyable as it should have been. For us anyhow. No matter where we sat, looking at the tv screen, or out the window to the horizon, we both felt extremely unwell. The catamaran was bobbing non-stop. It wasn't like the sea was really rough or anything.
Tanya had it worse than Andrew. She was able to make it out the two doors and half way down the stairs before she gave up and just sat on the stairs looking out the back to the ocean. After awhile, Tanya joined Andrew in the VIP room again. There was no throwing up to be had although we both were hanging on to our spew bags for dear life!
We have decided that it is best to not go the VIP on the Lomprayah Catamaran, but instead, just enjoy sitting in the lower cabin which is closer to the water height. Seems healthier that way.
Arriving at the Chumphon pier at about 11:45am was fantastic. We both couldn't wait to get on land. Even the rickety jetty was great to be walking on! Chumphon Pier was simple, clean and easy to walk through. As Lomprayah Catamaran sell tours, most of the people at the pier work for the company.
People looking at our little stickers on our shirts veered us to the correct minivan. The driver was very pleasant and happy and with a smile, asked us to hop in his van. Along with other people, we were driven through the country side into Chumphon city. He dropped people off on the way, his last stop at the Chumphon Train Station. As we had already booked our accommodation, we asked if he could drop us off at our hotel. No problem!
Goodbye Koh Tao, Thank you Lomprayah Catamaran for your fantastic service, and Hello Chumphon, we love you already!