How to Get to Koh Samui? 5 BEST Ways Explained (2023)

Are you dreaming of a tropical getaway to Koh Samui? Situated in the south of Thailand, this resort island is surrounded by the Gulf of Thailand sea and is known for its stunning beaches and picturesque nature.

Wondering how to get to Koh Samui Island? We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide on the five best ways to get to Koh Samui. From flights to ferries, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get to this incredible island.

How to Get to Koh Samui?

To reach Koh Samui, you have multiple options. The most convenient way is to take a direct flight to Samui International Airport (USM) from different cities in Thailand. Another option is to travel to Surat Thani on the mainland via plane, train, or bus, and then transfer to Koh Samui by ferry shuttle.

What is the easiest way to travel to Koh Samui?

To reach Koh Samui island quickly and easily, the best option is to take a direct flight with Bangkok Airways from cities such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, or Pattaya to Samui International Airport (USM), which is located on the island.

Let’s explore the details of each transportation method.

Direct Flight

Flying directly to Koh Samui is undoubtedly the most convenient way to reach this paradise 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 a small airport located on the island. Bangkok Airways has exclusive rights to and routes to cities around Thailand, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, and Pattaya.

Being the only airline that flies direct to Koh Samui, Bangkok Airways fares are generally higher than average domestic flights in Thailand. However, the convenience of flying directly to the island makes it a popular choice among travelers who want to maximize their time on the island.

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

Personally, I always prefer to fly direct to Koh Samui to avoid spending half a day or even a full day traveling to reach the island.

If you decide to take a direct flight, booking your flights in advance and avoiding public holidays to get discounted rates is a good idea.

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


  • Traveling by plane from Bangkok is the quickest way to reach Koh Samui, with a flight time of just 1 hour and 5 minutes.
  • Instead of traveling a whole day with other options, you can enjoy your time on the island.


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

Check direct flights to Koh Samui by comparing prices on Skyscanner:

Indirect Flight + Ferry

If you’re looking for a more affordable option than flying directly to Koh Samui, you can consider taking a flight to Surat Thani International Airport (URT) and then taking a ferry from Donsak Pier in Surat Thani, which will take you to Nanthon Pier on the island.

To reach Donsak Pier from Surat Thani Airport, you’ll need to arrange additional road transport, as the pier is located about 1 hour and 30 minutes away.

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 at both Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), as well as Chiang Mai (CNX). This makes it a convenient hub for travelers who want to explore more of Thailand before heading to Koh Samui.


  • When flying indirectly to Koh Samui, you have access to a wider selection of airlines, which can result in more competitive prices compared to a direct flight.


  • 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

If you want to save money and don’t mind traveling by road, taking a bus to Koh Samui can be a great option.

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

The bus + ferry combination to Koh Samui from Bangkok takes approximately 10-14 hours, depending on traffic and timetable.

While traveling by bus + ferry may take longer than flying directly to Koh Samui, it can be a more affordable option for budget-conscious travelers who want to see more of Thailand.


  • Taking the bus and ferry is more budget-friendly than flying to Koh Samui.


  • Traffic can delay the journey, particularly if you take the bus from Bangkok.

Check fares for bus and ferry transport to Koh Samui on If you’re unfamiliar with 12go then check out my guide/review.

Train + Ferry

If you’re the adventurous type and want to save money, taking the train to Koh Samui can be an exciting option.

The best way to get to Koh Samui by train is to take the direct train from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then 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 offers sleeper seats, which fold out into a bed for the long journey, and general 2nd class seats with only a fan and no AC.

If you’re planning to take the train, booking a sleeper seat in advance is highly recommended instead of finding out on the day that all seats are booked and ending up with a 2nd class no AC seat.

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


  • The train offers sleep cabins, but booking in advance is necessary to secure your seat
  • Taking the train is a more budget-friendly option than flying to Koh Samui


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

Check the fares for a train from to Surat Thani using


If you’re planning to take the ferry from Donsak Pier in Surat Thani to Koh Samui, it’s important to note that the pier is located about 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Surat Thani Airport.

The ferry ride between Donsak Pier and Nanthon Pier on Koh Samui takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, offering stunning views of the Gulf of Thailand along the way.

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.

Booking your ferry ticket in advance will also give you the peace of mind of knowing that your seat is secured, allowing you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic views during your journey to Koh Samui. Plus, booking in advance can often result in discounted rates, making it an even more affordable option for budget-conscious travelers.


  • Taking the ferry to Koh Samui is less expensive than a direct flight to the island.


  • Additional transportation, such as a bus, train, or private car, is necessary to reach the pier in Surat Thani to get the ferry.


What airlines fly to Koh Samui?

Bangkok Airways is the exclusive domestic airline that flies to Koh Samui, so flight prices can be expensive compared to other domestic destinations.

What airport do you fly into for Koh Samui?

The airport on Koh Samui Island is known as Koh Samui International Airport (USM), and it exclusively serves Bangkok Airways flights.

Is it easier to get to Koh Samui from Bangkok or Phuket?

There isn’t much difference in accessibility if you’re flying to Koh Samui from either Bangkok or Phuket, as both cities offer direct flights. However, if you’re traveling by road, Phuket is much closer to Koh Samui and thus takes less time to reach the island.

Why is it so expensive to fly to Koh Samui?

Koh Samui has only one airline operating on the island, Bangkok Airways, which has complete control over pricing without any competition. This can result in higher prices for flights to and from the island.

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Written by Nicky

Hi! đź‘‹ I'm an expat who has lived, explored, and worked in Thailand for over 9 years. I started to share the knowledge I've picked up over the years with travelers and expats alike. Find out more on our about page.

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