Travel Note

Getting There

By Plane

Samui Airport (USM) is a private airport originally built by Bangkok Airways. Numerous airlines have near-hourly departures to/ from Bangkok and tickets with advance bookings cost about 2,000-3,500 THB, while a walk-in booking may be twice as much. There are also daily flights to/from Phuket for 2,200 THB, U-Tapao, and Singapore; four direct flights a week from Chiang Mai (but no direct flights in the opposite direction); and twice weekly flights to/from Hong Kong. Visa-on-Arrival and Visa-Free entry is available at the Samui Airport for some nationalities, be sure to check with your airline for specific information. A cheaper but less convenient option is to fly to Surat Thani and connect by road and then ferry.

By Bus & Boat

From the Surat Thani train station and Surat Thani Airport (URT), there are combined bus/ferry services to Samui, which cost around 200-300 THB. Some entail a 60-minute bus ride followed by a 90- minute ferry crossing, others a 30-minute bus ride but the ferry takes extra time. Numerous agents at the train station and airport sell tickets. There are two ferry companies with departures every 30 minutes.

Many ferry services direct from mainland Surat Thani include an express boat (3 departures daily, taking around 3 hours and costing 150 THB) and slow night boats (taking 6-7 hours). Be sure to check the latest schedules, which vary according to the season.

Another option is taking regular speedboats and ferries to Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, then traveling on the Samui. Contact Songserm travel service at +66 (0) 2808 07374 for more information or bookings.

There are also combined bus/high speed catamaran ferry services from Bangkok to Samui, which takes about 11 hours and costs around 850 baht (1000 baht in the opposite direction). The bus pauses in Hua Hin and then stops at Chumphon, where it connects with the ferry, which calls at Koh Nang Yuan, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan on its way to Samui.

Getting Around

Like many islands in Thailand, small motorbikes are available for rental. Compared to other nearby islands, Samui’s road systems are very developed and there are plenty of taxis cruising around, although it may take some convincing to get them to use their meters.
Taxi

The Samui Taxi Service is a public taxi service, which cost around 50 Baht, depending on your destination. Make sure that the meter is turned on, if not negotiate a reasonable price with the drive.

Song Thaeo

Pickup trucks/public passenger pick-up vehicles or Song Thaeos, also serve as group taxis. Hail one on any major road with a wave or yell, negotiate a fare, and sit down in the back. Fares are around 10 Baht per person. If you wish to hire one personally then be sure to negotiate the cost first.

Bicycles

Bicycles can be hired very cheaply on Samui, one shouldn’t cost more than a couple of US dollars per day.

Motorbike

Motorbikes can be rented virtually anywhere on Samui for between 120-700 Baht per day depending on the size. It is recommended to rent only from a reputable company as there have been reports of scams; that is where some places deliberately steal bikes that they have rented out. If hiring a bike doesn’t appeal to you then there are motorbike- taxis willing to take you around for a small fee.