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how to get to Samui

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.

Bangkok Airways tram
Ko Samui Airport
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.

Note: Upon your departure from Samui Airport, please bare in mind that you will be required to pay a 400 baht per person surcharge.

Bangkok Airways tram
Airport Tram

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.

air-con bus
Pantip air-con bus
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.
planes, trains and buses

BUS (continued)
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 case.

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 your life.

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
Raja 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.
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