Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most iconic tourist destinations. The island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, offshore from Surat Thani province in the southern part of the country. With white sandy beaches, emerald waters, tropical rainforests, breathtaking hilltop views, and excellent infrastructure and development to boot, it’s easy to see why Koh Samui is so popular.
In addition to all of its natural wonders, Koh Samui also boasts of a vibrant nightlife, with beach bars, dance clubs, colorful night markets, and plenty of restaurants to choose from. In the daytime, there are many beautiful temples to visit, a wide range of activities to experience, and even several shopping malls. Koh Samui has an abundance of natural beauty as well as modern attractions.
Even though Koh Samui is more than 700 km away from Bangkok, getting there is fairly easy. But tourists who are unfamiliar with Thailand may feel a little overwhelmed by all the options. To help you plan your trip, we’ve prepared a list of itineraries to suit different budgets, interests and time concerns.
Flights to Koh Samui
Flying is obviously the quickest way to get to Koh Samui from Bangkok. The island has its own airport, although it is privately owned by Bangkok Airways. As such, Bangkok Airways is the only airline that has direct flights to Koh Samui.
On most days, there are flights every hour departing from Suvarnabhumi Airport. The direct flight only takes one hour, but since Bangkok Airways is a higher-end airline, you will get a comfortable seat and full service, even in economy seating. This is the most convenient, most comfortable, and quickest way to get to the island – but it is also the most expensive option on our list.
If you want to fly most of the way there, but cut out some of the cost, flying to Surat Thani airport and then taking the ferry is a good alternative. Once you land at the airport, you will have to take a bus or a taxi to the Donsak Pier. From there, the ferry can take you to Koh Samui. This ferry trip takes about three hours, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.
If you are not worried about time, this option is a bit cheaper and it gives you the chance to enjoy the ocean view during the ferry ride.
Train and ferry
Traveling by train, although obviously much slower than an airplane, will allow you to see some beautiful natural scenery while also presenting you with a more authentically Thai experience.
Overnight trains with comfortable bunks are also available, so you can get a good night’s sleep while traveling, and wake up in Surat Thani without wasting any daylight.
Ten direct trains per day depart from Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok, and arrive in Surat Thani.
Rail options include the normal train, express train and special express train. Just bear in mind that the train journey can take up to 12 hours, not including the three-hour ferry ride, so you’ll be looking at around 15 hours of total travel time.
Bus and ferry
Taking the bus and ferry is the cheapest way to get to Koh Samui. With an average travel time of 10 to 12 hours, the bus will take you directly to Donsak Pier. Again, you’ll have to factor in an additional three hours for the ferry ride.
The most reliable and cheapest bus service is the public bus. The public bus leaves from Sai Tai Mai Bus Terminal in the south of Bangkok. There are several bus options including VIP, air-conditioned and non-airconditioned. The VIP and AC buses are cleaner and more modern, so we recommend one of those. Buses leave between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. Buying combo tickets for both bus and ferry will be cheaper and more convenient, as you won’t have to worry about buying ferry tickets when you get to the pier.
Your dream destination
Once you’ve arrived on Koh Samui, the Novotel Samui Resort Chaweng Beach Kandaburi will be the perfect place for you to rest and relax, as you set out to enjoy all the wonders the tropical island has to offer. Our elegant beach resort is an ideal sanctuary in the heart of Koh Samui’s bustling entertainment center.
If you have any questions about travel arrangements or things to do on the island, our friendly staff will be more than happy to advise you.