How to Get to Koh Samui? 5 Ways Explained

This guide provides an overview of the transport methods for reaching Koh Samui Island.

How to get there

You have two options for accessing the island: take a boat to the main pier (Nathon) or fly directly to the local airport.

You can reach Koh Samui by boat from the mainland, with Surat Thani being a common departure point accessible by bus, train, or flight from various parts of the country.

The best way to get there

The best way to reach Koh Samui is by taking a direct flight with Bangkok Airways to Samui International Airport (USM), the only airport on the island.

Bangkok Airways flies to Koh Samui from the following airports:

  • Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok)
  • Chiang Mai
  • Phuket
  • Krabi
  • Pattaya

Let’s explore each option in detail..

Direct Flight

Koh Samui Airport

Flying directly to Koh Samui is undoubtedly the most convenient way to reach the island.

The flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) takes approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes, but you should also factor in waiting times at the airport.

Samui International Airport (USM) is the only airport on the island to which Bangkok Airways holds exclusive rights.

This results in fares typically higher than those on other domestic routes within the country.

However, the convenience of flying directly to the island makes it a popular choice among travelers seeking to maximize their time there.

The airport also offers limited routes from international destinations such as Singapore, Myanmar, Maldives, Laos, China, and Cambodia.

If you decide to take a direct flight, it is advisable to book your flights in advance and avoid public holidays to secure discounted rates.

Domestic routes to Koh Samui – How long does a flight take?

RouteJourney Time
Bangkok to Koh Samui1 hour 5 minutes
Chiang Mai to Koh Samui1 hour 45 minutes
Phuket to Koh Samui55 minutes
Krabi to Koh Samui50 minutes
Pattaya to Koh Samui1 hour 10 minutes

Route overview:

  • Flight to Samui International Airport (USM) – 1-2 hours

Pros/Cons of flying direct

PROS

Journey time: Traveling by plane from Bangkok is the quickest way to reach Koh Samui.

CONS

Cost: Flying direct is the most expensive way to travel to Koh Samui.

Indirect Flight + Ferry

Instead of flying straight to Koh Samui, a cost-effective option is to fly to Surat Thani International Airport (URT) and then take a ferry to the island.

However, you need to factor in a taxi ride from Surat Thani Airport to Donsak Pier, which usually takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Multiple domestic airlines offer flights to Surat Thani, including Air Asia, Thai AirAsia, Nok Air, Thai Lion Air, Thai Vietjet Air, and Thai Smile.

Surat Thani has flight routes from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK), Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), and Chiang Mai (CNX).

Route overview:

Pros/Cons of flight + ferry combo

PROS

Cost: Surat Than has a wider selection of airlines, so fares are more competitive.

CONS

Journey time: A flight to Surat Thani requires an additional taxi ride to the pier and ferry, making the travel time longer than a direct flight.

Bus + Ferry

Traveling by bus followed by a ferry ride is the most affordable option for reaching Koh Samui.

However, it’s a long journey, taking approximately 10-14 hours.

The bus from Bangkok to Koh Samui operates from the Southern Terminal Bangkok or the Khao San Lomprayah pickup point.

Route overview:

Pros/Cons of bus + ferry combo

PROS

Cost: Taking the bus and ferry is more budget-friendly than flying.

CONS

Journey time: The total trip can take more than 10 hours, particularly if the traffic is bad.

Train + Ferry

Another affordable option for getting to Koh Samui is taking the train from Bangkok to Surat Thani.

From there, take a 1-hour and 30-minute taxi ride to Donsak Pier, where you can catch the ferry to Koh Samui.

The train to Surat Thani has sleeper seats with air-conditioned cabins, which can be folded into beds for overnight rest

Another cabin option is the 2nd class, but it’s only cooled by fans and has no air conditioning.

The train ride to Surat Thani takes around 11-13 hours, so it’s important to bring plenty of snacks and entertainment to keep you occupied during the journey.

I personally recommend booking a sleeper seat in advance, especially considering the length of the journey.

Route overview:

Pros/Cons of train + ferry combo

PROS

Sleep cabins: The train offers sleep cabins, but booking in advance is necessary to secure your seat.

Cost: Taking the train is a more budget-friendly option than flying to Koh Samui

CONS

Journey time: The trains are usually older and slow, taking up to 13 hours to reach Surat Thani, similar to the bus ride.

Ferry

If you’re already in or have reached the south of Thailand, you can take the ferry from Donsak Pier in Surat Thani to Koh Samui

The ferry ride between Donsak Pier (Surat Thani) and Nathon Pier (Koh Samui) takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Donsak Pier Map:

While tickets for the ferry can be booked on arrival, booking in advance is recommended to secure your seat and avoid any last-minute stress.

Surat Thani (Donsak Pier) to Koh Samui (Nathon Pier) Ferry Timetable

Depart (Donsak Pier)Arrive (Nathon Pier)Price (per person)
11:0011:45450 THB
14:3015:15450 THB
Check the latest timetable on the Lomprayah Catamaran Facebook page.

Video walkthrough for taking the ferry:

Route overview:

  • Ferry Surat Thani (Donsak Pier) to Koh Samui (Nathon Pier)- 45 minutes

Pros/Cons of ferry

PROS

Cost: Taking the ferry to Koh Samui is cheaper than a flight.

CONS

Additional transport required: You need additional transportation, such as a bus, train, or private car, to reach the pier in Surat Thani.

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Written by Nicky

Hi! đź‘‹ I'm an expat who has lived, explored, and worked in Asia for over 10 years. I started findyouthere.com to share the knowledge I've picked up over the years with travelers interested in visiting Asia. Find out more on our about page.

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