Samui is around 690kms south of Bangkok and 50kms from the east coast of Thailand. Flight time from Bangkok is just over an hour, and the islands is also serviced domestically from Phuket, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai, plus Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong. There are also rail and road options to the south-eastern coast followed by a boat trip to Samui. Use this section to plan your trip.
Samui’s award winning airport is the main gateway to the island, as well as Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, with hourly flights from Bangkok, yet the route is monopolized by Bangkok Air so don’t expect super cheap flights. Once on the island, you can rent scooters or cars to avoid the mafia-like taxi services. Numerous ferries depart from several terminals to other islands, and the mainland.
With its tropical, open-air design, Samui Airport is a stress-free experience. It’s not far from Chaweng and the north shore beaches, putting you in touch with the rest of Samui…more
Dozens of flights arrive daily from popular Thailand centres and regional cities, making it easy to connect to Samui from abroad. Here are all the timetables and airlines you need…more
Find out which ferry goes where and at what time – Koh Phangan and its full moon party is an easy trip, while Koh Tao is also connected by slow or fast boat and great for diving…more
On the island there are plenty of commuter minibuses, tuk-tuks and taxis, though the latter aren’t Thailand’s cheapest. Here’s our suggestion for getting about under your own steam…more
Getting to Samui by air
The most practical means of getting to Samui, otherwise it takes about 15 hours by bus/ferry combo from Bangkok. There is often special internet fares available with Bangkok Airways and the price for a one-way ticket is between 2,000 and 4,000 baht. It also links Samui to Hong Kong, Phuket, Pattaya (U-Tapao) and Singapore.
Berjaya Air currently flies twice daily from Kuala Lumpur to Samui and back. It’s also possible to fly to Surat Thani with Thai Airways or Orient Thai Airways (One-Two-Go) and then connect to Samui by boat, but the saving is minimal. Firefly also has two flights a week to KL.
Koh Samui Airport was once monopolized by its owners, Bangkok Airways, with no one else being able to fly to the island. However, over the past few years more airlines have been flying to and from Samui. Thai Airways now offer a service to Bangkok, while Air Asia does flights to Penang in Malaysia, and Berjaya Air to and from KL. Daily flights arrive from Chiang Mai with Bangkok Airways but these are generally more expensive than connecting via Bangkok.
Getting to Samui by bus
The cheapest and least comfortable option of getting to Samui, buses depart Bangkok’s Southern bus terminal and take 12-13 hours minimum. You will stop in Surat Thani, wait around, be transferred to Don Sak Pier, wait around some more, and then sit on a ferry for a couple of hours. Expect to pay around 800 baht for a VIP bus – certainly spending a few baht more can help to make your journey a little more comfortable. It is possible to get private bus services from Khao San Road, but their reliability and quality tends to vary hugely.
It is worth taking the overnight bus, as you may get more peace on board when the video gets switched off. Similar multi-leg arrangements can be made from travel agents in Phuket and Krabi, and even on Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. More on bus and train journeys to Samui.
Getting to Samui by train
Training it is a popular option and it is possible to buy combination tickets, which include a train to Phun Phin station in Surat Thani, followed by transfer to the pier and a ferry ride to Samui. It is well worth taking this hassle-free option, since the overnight sleeper is far more comfortable than the bus and marginally more expensive. Ten trains per day depart Bangkok’s Hualampong Station.
Getting to Samui by boat
You can reach Samui from Surat Thani, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao – even Chumphon by high-speed catamaran – taking you halfway up the coast towards Bangkok. There are four main terminals on the island, depending on which destination or ferry, and the price and travel time can vary hugely. The range is from 2 hours, 30 minutes to six hours, 200-350 baht.
If you opt for the combination train/ferry or bus/ferry ticket this will be included in your fare, with someone to meet you at the station in Surat Thani and arrange shuttle transfer – there will invariable be a couple of hours wasted waiting around. Hat Rin Beach, for full moon parties on Koh Pha Ngan, is only an hour away. Ferry timetable for Samui, Koh Phan Ngan and Koh Tao.