Getting to Koh Samui
Being an island in the Gulf of Thailand getting to Koh Samui will inevitably involve a flight or boat. Flying is by far the quickest and easiest mode of transport. Travellers on a tight budget opt to fly to the nearest mainland airport Surat Thani. Fares are significantly lower than flying directly to Koh Samui. From anywhere in Thailand you can catch a bus or train to Surat Thani and hop on a ferry across to Samui.
Flights Koh Samui
Getting to Koh Samui by air is straight forward and easy. Flights connect from many places to Samui’s boutique airport. Thai Airways has flights daily to Bangkok, Silk Air to Singapore, and Firefly to Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Budget airlines, Nok Air and Air Asia offer flights from Bangkok to the mainland city of Surat Thani, with a bus and ferry trip included in the package to Samui, at considerably less than the price of direct flights with Bangkok Airways. Getting to Koh Samui by plane is certainly the most efficient and quickest form of transport, whether you opt for a cheap or slightly more expensive airline.
The majority of flights in and out of the airport are Bangkok Airways. A one-way ticket to Bangkok from Koh Samui costs on average 4,500 baht for a 50-minute flight. The flight into Samui takes you above Big Buddha Temple on Koh Fan. However, over the last few years, the airport has opened up flights to other airlines. Bangkok Airways offers daily flights from Samui to major Thailand destinations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Pattaya, and Phuket. The first flight start at 6:00am and the last flight at 10:00pm.
Opened in 1989 Samui Airport is owned and operated by Bangkok Airways. Predominantly open-plan the airport resembles a resort more than an airport. Arriving at Samui Airport brightly painted open-air buses transfer passengers to the arrivals terminal from the plane. Visitors that come directly from international flights pass through a somewhat laid-back immigration and customs. If you have transport already arranged follow the signs to the demarcated meeting area exit the building and following the path to the thatch roof area outside. Baggage collection, in general, is fairly quick.
It’s worth remembering that your taxi or transfer cannot come into the airport you must make your way right to the end of the escalator where your lift will be waiting for you. Should you want a private pre-arranged taxi transfer from the airport to anywhere on the island we suggest you pre-arrange this with one of the many reputable companies on the Island. If you don’t have anyone picking you up the cheapest option is the airport’s minibus service. They transport passengers to all areas on the Island at reasonable rates.
Samui Airport Taxi Rates
|Airport – Big Buddha||80 baht|
|Airport – Chaweng (North)||100 baht|
|Airport – Chaweng (South)||120 baht|
|Airport – Lamai (North-Centre)||150 baht|
|Airport – Lamai (South)||200 baht|
|Airport – Taling Ngam||600 baht|
|Airport – Bophut||120 baht|
|Airport – Mae Nam – Ban Tai||150-200 baht|
|Airport – Bang P-Nathon||200 baht|
Operating from its own pier in Maenam sailing the same route as Seatran Discovery is the Lomprayah high-speed catamaran. It goes onward to Bangkok from Koh Tao arriving at the mainland town of Chumpon. Passengers board a bus to Hua Hin and finally on to Bangkok. This is a reasonably priced alternative to flying between Bangkok and Samui the trip lasting approximately 12 hours.
If you’re not flying direct to Koh Samui then you will need to take a ferry to reach the island. Ferry and bus included costs around 1,400 baht one way. Leaves twice daily at 8:00am and 12:30pm. The shorter trip to Koh Phangan costs 300 baht lasting only 20 minutes and to Koh Tao 600 baht lasting one hour 45 minutes. Lomprayah also offers routes inclusive of the bus leaving from Nathon Pier going to the Andaman coast. Visit Lomprayah for full details and timetables.
Bus & Train
Packages are available combining bus and train travel to Koh Samui.
Vehicles range from VIP air-conditioned to budget carriers used by locals. The 12-hour trip from Bangkok to Surat Thani costs between 600 – 900 baht depending on the class booked. Buses also run on the southern grid route to and from Phuket Krabi as well as to Malaysia. Main bus terminals are Surat Thani and Hat Yai.
NOTE: There have been several accidents with night buses over recent years drivers falling asleep at the wheel as well as other road hazards. You may prefer the day bus or the train option as safer alternatives.
A comfortable yet cost effective alternative for getting to Koh Samui is an overnight train ride in a sleeper cabin. The train station is in the mainland city of Surat Thani. The trip can be combined with a ferry and bus ride and booked as one trip via any travel agent. The 12-hour journey costs about 1,150 baht per person for a first-class cabin or 600 baht for a second-class cabin.