Flying directly to Koh Samui is by far the easiest way of getting to the island. And if you book early the price of an air ticket isn’t that much more than the train-ferry or bus-ferry combination tickets. The beaches are just a short drive from the Koh Samui airport.
You have 4 main choices for getting from Bangkok to Koh Samui:
- Fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui – The easiest and quickest way to get to Koh Samui – and pretty cheap if you book early enough. Bangkok Airlines has 19 flights per day from Bangkok to Koh Samui. Thai Airways has 2 flights per day. Bus & ferry information from Surat Thani to Koh Samui.
- Fly from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then ferry across to Koh Samui – This is usually cheaper than flying directly to Koh Samui but the bus from the airport to the pier and the ferry across to Koh Samui add at least 3 hours to your travel time. Nok Air and Air Asia have 5 flights per day from Bangkok to Surat Thani. It’s easiest to buy your bus/ferry tickets in the Surat Thani airport after you arrive.
- Train from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then ferry to Koh Samui – The overnight train from Bangkok to Surat Thani is fun and much more enjoyable than the bus. Read this detailed post at Seat61 for complete info on the train ride to Surat Thani.
- Bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then ferry to Koh Samui – The cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Koh Samui. No reservations required, just show up at the bus station and you should be on a bus within the hour. The bus will take you directly to the ferry terminal. Be sure to buy a bus and ferry combo ticket.
If your budget allows and there are seats available then flying directly to Koh Samui is what I recommend. There are also direct flights to Koh Samui from Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore (see below). The Koh Samui airport is a beautiful open-air terminal that makes for a pretty cool first impression.
A bus-ferry combination is the least expensive way to get to Koh Samui. Next will be either train-ferry. Then a flight – depending on how early you book the flight, what type of ticket you buy (web fare, flexible, or non-changeable), and whether you fly into Koh Samui directly or Surat Thani on the mainland (and then take a connecting ferry). If you’re paying full fare on an air ticket then the train will be cheaper but a “web deal” or discount flight can be nearly as cheap as the train.
Generally, the overnight train is fun and enjoyable while the bus is a long miserable ride. If you’re trying to decide between bus and train definitely take the train. Though it does involve a little more effort sorting through the booking process. Taking the bus is as easy as getting to the bus station and waiting for the next bus. (More info below.)
Getting from Phuket or Krabi to Koh Samui can be done by bus and then ferry (5 to 10 hours), hired car and then ferry (about 4 to 6 hours), or by a 50 minute flight on Bangkok Airlines. The best and easiest way to get from Phuket and Krabi to Koh Samui is clearly by plane.
Q. What airlines fly to Koh Samui?
Here are the flight Options for Koh Samui:
Bangkok to Koh Samui
Bangkok Airlines has up to 19 direct flights a day from Bangkok to Koh Samui with fares starting at 3200 Baht and a flight time of 1 hour and 15 minutes. Thai Airways has 2 flights per day.
Chiang Mai to Koh Samui
Bangkok Airlines has direct flights from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui with fares from $5300 Baht and a flight time of 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Phuket to Koh Samui
Bangkok Airlines has one direct flight daily from Phuket to Koh Samui that takes 50 minutes and costs from 2750 Baht.
Krabi to Koh Samui
Bangkok Airlines flies four times daily from Krabi. The flight takes 55 minutes and fares start at 2750 Baht.
Pattaya to Koh Samui
Bangkok Airlines has 2 flights daily from Pattaya to Samui taking 1 hour and 10 minutes and costing from 3690 Baht.
Kuala Lumpur to Koh Samui
Bangkok Airlines flies once daily from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The flight takes 1 hour and 40 minutes and costs from 220 MYR.
Malaysia Airlines might also have flights from KL to Samui though their website gives conflicting information about routes and availability.
Firefly has one flight daily from Subang (near Kuala Lumpur) to Koh Samui. The flight takes 2 hours and fares start at 107 MYR.
Singapore to Koh Samui
Bangkok Airlines has one daily flight from Singapore to Koh Samui (flight time 1 hour and 50 minutes and fares starting at 160 Singapore dollars.)
Silk Air has 2 daily flight from Singapore to Koh Samui.
Hong Kong to Koh Samui
Bangkok Airlines has 2 flights daily from Hong Kong to Samui. The flight takes 3 hours and 15 minutes and fares start at 2700 HKD.
Surat Thani is a city on the mainland that is 50 miles and 1.5 hours by ferry from Koh Samui. Flights to Surat Thani are usually cheaper than flights directly to Koh Samui making it an appealing option – especially when the cheapest fares to Koh Samui are sold out.
But getting from Surat Thani to Koh Samui is not as effortless as it may appear. To get to Koh Samui from the Surat Thani airport requires a 90 minutes bus ride to the ferry terminal, a wait of up to 2 hours for the ferry, and then the ferry ride itself. So even with leaving Bangkok on a 10am flight you won’t get you to Samui until 3 or 4 pm at the earliest. And then another 30 or 40 minutes to get to Chaweng or the east side beaches.
If you do fly to Surat Thani be sure to get a flight that lands before 3pm or you’ll miss the last ferry to Koh Samui.
Q. How do I get to Koh Samui by train?
Getting to Koh Samui by train from Bangkok involves taking a train from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station. The train portion takes between 8.5 hours and 12 hours depending on the train. From the Surat Thani train station you board a waiting bus that takes you to the Don Sak ferry terminal and then the 1.5 hour trip over to Samui. The bus and ferry take about 4 hours in total. Overnight sleepers are highly recommended and should be booked at least 5 days in advance – but in high season the sooner the better.
Combination Train/Bus/Ferry tickets are available and make the whole trip pretty effortless – though still long.
Going to Bangkok’s Hualamphong station is the easiest way to book tickets. Or for a small fee get a Thai travel agent to book it for you. (And the travel agent does not have to be located in Bangkok.) If you have to book in advance before arriving in Thailand then use ThailandTrainTicket.com – admittedly this is a bit of pain and involves emailing back and forth a few times. But it gets the job done.
Q. How do I get to Koh Samui by bus?
(If you can, take the train. It’s funner, easier, and less of a hassle.)
With bus travel you can depart Bangkok almost immediately. If you arrive into Bangkok and don’t feel like spending the night or worrying about booking a seat on the train you can go directly to the bus station and be heading towards Koh Samui within an hour or two.
The buses go to Don Sak ferry terminal in Surat Thani. From there a 1.5 hour boat takes you across to Koh Samui (the same ferry used by the train combination ticket).
Buses take 10 to 12 hours for the ride from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then 2 to 4 more hours (depending on how long you wait for the ferry) to get across to Koh Samui.
There are 2 types of buses that travel from Bangkok to Koh Samui.
The best, cheapest, and most reliable are the public buses that leave from Sai Tai Mai terminal in the south of Bangkok. You can choose between VIP, air conditioned, and non-air-conditioned buses. They leave between 5am and 8pm. The VIP and AC buses have toilets, reserved seating, and are modern and clean.
There are also private buses (closer to a shuttle bus or van than a large public bus) that leave from Khao San Road that are only used by tourists. They are typically small, cramped, and rife with theft. They’ll typical leave only when they’re full or nearly full. The only good thing to say about them is that they are convenient if you’re staying near Khao San Road. Ask at any Khao San travel agency and they’ll sell you a bus/ferry combination ticket to Koh Samui.