Koh Samui is one of the most visited places in Thailand and still if you read many of the “how to get there” guides on the internet, most of them seem to be outdated and often they don’t even tell you how long it takes with a particular type of transport.
I revisited Koh Samui last month and after having finished my traditional highlights and nightlife guides, I thought it would be just fair to talk a little bit about how to reach the biggest island in the Gulf of Thailand from the capital Bangkok. Well, I won’t talk so much here, it’s mainly about some quick infos and facts that you can skim through and then decide which transport option best fits your budget and preference.
Below are the three main ways on how to get from Bangkok to Samui:
Bangkok to Koh Samui by Flight
There is an airport right on Koh Samui, however the services are very limited with only few airlines operating at the moment and that results in quite expensive fares. Bangkok Airways is generally your cheapest option with one way fares from 3,400 Baht. The flight time is only 65 minutes.
Koh Samui International Airport is conveniently located on the northeastern part of the island and less than 2km from Chaweng Beach. Once you leave the terminal building there will be plenty of taxi drivers awaiting you and offering their hotel transfer services. They may ask for 500 Baht which is ridiculous given the short distance (to Chaweng). Don’t pay more than 200 Baht for a ride to your hotel in Chaweng or 300-400 Baht to your hotel in Lamai.
Many hotels also offer free airport pick up, so make sure to check with them first.
Bangkok to Koh Samui by Airplane / Minivan / Ferry
This is probably the best value for money deal from Bangkok to Koh Samui. For as little as 1,190 Baht, you can get a flight ticket with AirAsia from Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat including minivan and ferry transfer to Koh Samui. The whole trip consists of three separate legs:
- Flight: Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat (1 hr 15 mins)
- (waiting time 30-60 mins)
- Minivan: Nakhon Si Thammarat to Don Sak Pier (1 hr 30 mins)
- (waiting time 30-60 mins)
- Ferry: Don Sak Pier (Surat Thani) to Lipa Noi Pier (Koh Samui) (1 hr 30 mins)
The whole trip takes 5-6 hours and is not just great value for money, but you also get to see something of the landscape and the ferry ride to Samui just makes you feel happy and full of anticipation of your trip.
Check out the video below that I took on the way back during the late afternoon (about 4pm). The boat wasn’t even half full and the views all around the ocean and offshore islands are simply fantastic and as memorable as any view point on Koh Samui.
Once you have arrived at Lipa Noi Pier on Koh Samui, you can either take a shared Songthaew (pick up taxi) for 100 Baht to either Chaweng or Lamai Beach.
Taxis are obviously more expensive and charge between 600-800 Baht for the 27 km trip.
Or you do it like me and rent a motorbike right outside the ferry pier. The common rate is 200 Baht per 24 hours, but I could get it down to 150 Baht per 24 hours when I committed to 6 days.
Bangkok to Koh Samui by Train / Minivan / Ferry
Unless you haven’t made a “check” next to “ride an overnight train in Thailand” on your list to do before you die, I wouldn’t really recommend you going for this rather tiring type of travel from Bangkok to Koh Samui. The schedule and prices are:
- Train: Bangkok to Surat Thani (398 Baht, 2nd class, 11.5 hrs). There are currently 9 daily departures from Bangkok to Surat with different types of trains available: Rapid, Express & Special Express. You shouldn’t take these terms too literally.
– Bangkok 08:10 – Surat Thani 18:50 (Special Express)
– Bangkok 13:10 – Surat Thani 01:33 (Rapid)
– Bangkok 14:50 – Surat Thani 02:31 (Special Express)
– Bangkok 15:35 – Surat Thani 03:35 (Special Express)
– Bangkok 16:10 – Surat Thani 04:27 (Rapid)
– Bangkok 17:30 – Surat Thani 05:25 (Express)
– Bangkok 18:50 – Surat Thani 07:47 (Rapid)
– Bangkok 20:10 – Surat Thani 08:32 (Express)
– Bangkok 22:20 – Surat Thani 09:25 (Special Express)
- Tuk Tuk / Motorbike taxi: Surat Thani Railway Station to Surat Thani Minivan Station (150-200 Baht, 20 mins)
- Minivan: Surat Thani to Don Sak Pier (100 Baht, 1 hr)
- Ferry: Don Sak Pier (Surat Thani) to Lipa Noi Pier (Koh Samui) (120 Baht, 1 hr 30 mins)
If you add up the four different ticket prices, that makes a total of at least 768 Baht and a travel time of at least 15 hours. Seriously, if you can afford the additional 15 USD or so, just book a ticket for the much more convenient and faster trip with AirAsia including land transfer.