You can get from Bangkok to Koh Samui by air, train-ferry and bus-ferry. The easiest way to get to Koh Samui by air, this also costs a lot except if you pre-book at least a month in advance.
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There are four ways of going to Koh-Samui from Bangkok:
For those with enough budget, it is recommended to fly straight to Koh-Samui. Many cities in Southeast Asia flies directly to the island. Direct flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Krabi, and Phuket, are worth the time you can save.
If you want cheap flights, book early! There are 19 flights with Bangkok Airlines daily while Thai Airways offers 2 flights daily.
The Koh Samui airport terminal is one with open-air design that gives a fun vibe to those who have just arrived.
Bangkok Airlines offers many flights in a day (19 flights) with fares at minimum of 3200 Baht. Flight duration is about 1.15 hours. There’s also Thai Airways with 2 flights daily.
From Chiang Mai
Bangkok Airlines offers direct flights at a fare of 5300 Baht. The flight duration is about 1.45 hours.
Bangkok Airlines offers one flight in a day directly to Koh-Samui. The flight duration is about 50 minutes with fare around 2750 Baht.
Bangkok Airlines has 4 flights in a day from Krabi to Koh-Samui. The flight duration is around 55 minutes while the fare is at the least, 2750 Baht.
Bangkok Airlines flies twice in a day going to Koh-Samui. This takes about 1.10 hours with an average fare of 3690 Baht.
From Kuala Lumpur
Bangkok Airlines has one flight in a day from the city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Koh-Samui. The flight duration is 1.40 hours with fare starting at 220 MYR.
Malaysia Airlines sometimes has flights but it’s best to check flight availability online through the official website.
Bangkok Airlines flies once daily from Singapore straight to Koh-Samui. The flight duration is around 1.50 hours with fare at least 160 SGD.
Silk Air flies twice daily from Singapore directly to Koh-Samui.
From Hong Kong
Bangkok Airlines flies twice a day from Hong Kong to Samui. Flight duration is about 3.15 hours with fares starting at around 2700 HKD.
FLIGHT-FERRY Via SURAT-THANi
Surat Thani is the nearest city, about 50 miles from Koh Samui. It is located in the mainland and the ferry can take you to Koh-Samui for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Flights are generally cheaper going to Surat-Thani compared to direct flights to Koh-Samui. Many find it efficient to take direct flights to Surat-Thani and then take a ferry to Koh-Samui.
If you want a cheaper flight without the chance to book early, you can take a flight from Bangkok straight to Surat-Thani. Then take a ferry across Koh Samui. The downside is the bus ride from Surat Thani airport going to the port going to Koh-Samui. The added travel time might not be appealing to some.
Flights include those from Air Asia and Nok Air with each having 5 flights daily from Bangkok – Surat Thani. You can easily buy bus ticket at the airport ot Surat Thani. Check the schedule and rates here: Bus and ferry info for Surat Thani – Koh Samui.
The downside of choosing to go to Koh-Samui via Surat Thani is the long 90-minute bus ride from the airport to the port where the ferries going to Koh-Samui are docked. Then there’s a long 2-hour wait at the ferry terminal plus ferry ride of about 2 hours. If you leave Bangkok at 10am to fly to Surat-Thani, you will probably arrive at Koh Samui around 4pm. If you want to go to the east coast beaches, the travel time is additional 30 to 40 minutes.
Also, to catch the last ferry to Koh-Samui, you must take the flight schedule to Surat-Thani before 3pm. Otherwise, you will not make it to the last ferry schedule in the day.
If you’re in for adventure, the overnight train offers an exciting ride with the views of the country. Compared to the bus, booking a train ride is a longer process. Booking a bus ticket is easier but the long ride is miserable. You can show up at a bus terminal and get your ticket but be prepared for a bumpy ride. Between the two, the train is a better option than the bus. (More information below.)
The Hualamphong station in Bangkok will take you to Surat-Thani. This is an overnight train that takes around 8.5 hours to 12 hours. From the train station in Surat Thani, there’s a bus waiting to take you to Don-Sak ferry terminal, this takes around 3-hour ride. Then the ferry that will take you to Koh-Samui in about 1.5 hours. I highly recommend the overnight sleepers that must be booked in advance for at least five days.
For effortless trip, buy the combination tickets (Train-Bus-Ferry). This is also faster than individually booking each mode of transportation.
On the way back to Hualamphong station in Bangkok, booking tickets is easier. You can also choose to get a travel agent (not necessarily based in Bangkok) to the booking for just a small service fee. I highly recommend ThailandTrainTicket.com for booking before arrival in Thailand. The booking process involves a lot of email correspondence but it’s worth it.
Train-ferry from Bangkok to Surat-Thani – Koh Samui
This involves a fun with scenic route train ride going to Surat-Thani. Available details at Seat61 with complete information on the overnight train experience to Surat-Thani.
Bus-ferry from Bangkok to Surat-Thani – Koh Samui
This is the cheapest mode of transportation going to Koh-Samui from Bangkok. Reservations are not required and arriving at the bus station gets you a seat in no time. Plus, the bus stop is exactly at the ferry terminal. You can also opt to buy combo ticket for the bus-ferry ride.
Here are the ferry companies with trips from Surat Thani – Koh Samui: Raja Ferries, SeaTran Ferries, and Lomprayah Ferries.
For the cheapest option, the bus-ferry is highly recommended. The next budget friendly choice is train-ferry or if you book early, the flight-ferry mode. The cost depends on the timing of booking, the kind of ticket and the destination either directly to Koh-Samui or via Surat Thani. It’s always good to look at “web deal” where discounts could be applied on the airfare. With discounts, airfare would sometimes be the same as the cost of train ticket or even less.
(I highly recommend taking the train. It is easier, faster, fun and with less hassle).
Booking with the bus is faster, almost immediately when you arrive at the bus terminal. If your visit in Thailand is all about Koh Samui on a budget, then immediately upon arriving in Bangkok you can opt to go straight to the bus terminal and arrive at Koh Samui overnight.
The bust will drop passengers to the ferry terminal at Don Sak located about an hour from the airport of Surat Thani. The ride taking the ferry from this terminal to Koh-Samui is about 1.5 hours (this is that same ferry if you take the train-ferry ride).
The bus ride from Bangkok to Sura-Thani is around 10 to 12 hours that depends on the road conditions. From Sura Thani, riding the ferry is usually from 2 to 4 hours across Koh Samui.
Choose from the 2 kinds of buses with trips from Bangkok going to Koh-Samui:
Sai Tai Mai is the most reliable, the cheapest and I think the best option. There are bus types to choose from: non-air-conditioned, VIP, and air conditioned. The air-conditioned and VIP buses come with toilets and offers reserved seating. These are new and really clean buses. All of these types leave between 5am and 8pm daily.
Private bus or shuttle bus is another option. The buses leave from Khao-San Road in Bangkok and are exclusive for tourists. The downside is the small, cramped space and the more probability of theft. The buses only leave when they are full or almost full. I only recommend this type of bus if you are already within the Khao-San Road area, it is convenient. You can talk to Khao-San travel agencies around for the combination ticket for bus with ferry going to Koh-Samui.
If you’re coming from Phuket and from Krabi, you can take a bus then ferry to Koh-Samui. This takes about 5 – 10 hours. A shorter option is renting a car then take the ferry that only takes about 4 – 6 hours. The fastest is by Bangkok Airlines, the flight only takes 50 minutes.