Samui is an island located about 80 kilometers from Suratthani,
the nearest mainland city. You can fly here with Bangkok Airways
directly from Bangkok. They also have direct flights from Phuket,
Krabi and Singapore.
Those on a budget can take the trains from any
of the above cities for as little as a tenth of the cost of flying
here. Many people book sleeping berths in the overnight trains from
Bangkok. You will disembark at Suratthani station very early in
the morning, from where you are taken by bus to the ferry for the
1 to 2 hour crossing to Samui from the mainland.
Buses are the least expensive option for those
on a tight budget. They also travel to Suratthani from all major
cities in the region.
If you have a car or motorcycle that you wish
to bring to Samui, you can drive to the Donsak Ferry Terminal in
Suratthani and put your vehicle on board.
The direct flight from Don Muang airport
in Bangkok (or Singapore) to Samui is by far the most convenient
way to come. Samui Airport is privately owned and operated by
Bangkok Airways and the price of the ticket is high by comparison
to other comparable destinations throughout the country, however
the airport is a sight for sore eyes (and sore bodies). This
delightful little facility has won International awards for
its environmentally friendly design and bucolic charm.
Ko Samui Airport
Note: Upon your departure from Samui
Airport, please bare in mind that you will be required to
pay a 400 baht per person surcharge.
An economical option to consider is a flight
from Bangkok to Suratthani with Thai Airways. The cost of
the ticket is substantially less than the Bangkok Airways
direct flight to Samui. However from Suratthani you will still
have to take a bus from the airport to the ferry for the 1
hour 20 minute boat ride across. Because of the ferry and
flight schedules, this itinerary is more practical leaving
than coming here.
Berjaya Air also offers two flights per
week on a Thursday and Sunday direct from Kuala Lumpur.
While it has certain drawbacks, the
bus is easily the most economical way to travel, and an adventure
in itself. You can buy tickets and board at the major Bangkok
public bus stations, or if you are stopping at Khao San Road,
you can catch an overnight bus departing in the evening, to
all southern destinations including Samui. You will stop very
early in the morning at Suratthani, which is the mainland access
city to Samui, where you will transfer to another bus for the
trip to the ferry that crosses to the island.
Pantip air-con bus
Be aware that not all buses are the same. Spending a few baht more
can make a significant difference in comfort. The most comfortable
are probably the overnight "Super VIPs." These air-conditioned
double decker vehicles have toilets, seats that lean back quite
far with leg rests at the bottom, and they also supply blankets
for the journey. All buses stop at least once for refreshment, but
little or no food or drink is served on board. An evening video
is almost always shown on an overhead TV, and played at volumes
that may make sleep difficult. However once the film ends around
10:00 pm, if you're lucky, you may sleep through much of the night.
It is not wise to leave anything of value in the luggage compartment
under the bus as it has been known for things to go missing.
You can economize by making the trip
from Bangkok (or elsewhere) to Samui by taking the train, and
if you have the time, it can be good fun. Most people opt for
a second-class berth in a fan-cooled or air-conditioned compartment,
while a private first-class cabin for two can be very romantic!
Either way, the cabin service is usually quite good.
While the trip is long and the noise of
the train may wake you up often, new friendships are sometimes
made during the journey. Don't forget to take a bottle of
water and tissue paper on board with you. The conductor will
wake you prior to your early morning arrival in Suratthani,
but you might want to take a small alarm clock with you in
Note: If no sleeping berths or (reclining)
seats in second class carriages are available, think very
carefully before buying a third class train ticket. The seats
are straight backed and fairly rigid, and the carriages can
get very full and warm. It might be the longest journey of
When you disembark at Suratthani, employees
of the bus company will be waiting to stow your bags in the
correct bus that will take you to the ferry pier for the boat
ride to Koh Samui.
When you board the ferry, if you're still
sleepy, you can buy a seat in the "VIP" aircon lounge
for 40 baht. The seats recline and are very comfortable.
These Rail-Bus-Ferry tickets can be purchased
at the train station in Bangkok. For the return trip from
Samui, you can buy them on the island at Sophon Tour in Nathon
and though travel agents.
| CAR FERRY
If you have a car or motorcycle that
you wish to bring to Ko Samui, the car ferry service starts
at 06:00 and operates simultaneously from both Donsak and Samui
ferry piers every hour on the hour until 18:00. The ferry crossing
takes approximately one hour twenty minutes.
Raja Car Ferry