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Getting from Bangkok to Ko Samui

Bangkok to Ko Samui
Ko Samui airport

With picture-perfect beaches, water meant for snorkeling, and a happening night life, Ko Samui is one of the most popular islands for tourists in Thailand. Thus, the route from Bangkok to Ko Samui is a well-traveled one, and getting from Thailand’s capital to the island is fairly straightforward.

Ko Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand, and the port town for the island is Surat Thani. Samui is 75k from Surat Thani, which is then another 650km from Bangkok.

Here are your options for getting to Ko Samui from Bangkok:

Bangkok to Ko Samui by Air

Ko Samui has its own international airport, which is serviced by Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways. There are direct flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Trat (for Ko Chang), U-tapao (for Pattaya), Chiang Mai, Singapore and Hong Kong. Expect to pay around $100USD (plus or minus) for a one-way trip within Thailand, and double or triple that to Hong Kong or Singapore. Flying to and from Ko Samui is definitely the most convenient way on and off the island, though it’s obviously the most expensive. But – bonus! – the Samui airport is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen: it’s an open-air, garden environment, filled with flowers and ponds.

Ko Samui’s airport code is USM

The next most-convenient way to get from Bangkok to Ko Samui is to fly to Surat Thani, which is about a 20 minute drive north of town. Surat Thani’s domestic airport is serviced by Thai Airways, ThaiAirAsia, One-Two-Go, and Nok Air.

Surat Thani’s airport code is URT

Use a booking widget, such as the one below, to search for the cheapest flights across many airlines. Hint: Nok Air offers package trips that include ferry transport to Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan, with transport between the airport and ferry pier included. It’s generally a pretty good deal, and saves you the trouble of having to negotiate the various steps yourself.

»Learn more about cheap flights to Bangkok

Bangkok to Ko Samui by Train

The train from Bangkok to Surat Thani is affordable and convenient. Though you can take the day train, we recommend taking the night train; it’s comfortable, saves you a night’s accommodation, and means you’ll be able to catch an early ferry to Ko Samui (if you take the day train you’ll need to spend the night in Surat Thani).

Trains leave Hualumphong station in Bangkok and travel between Surat Thani eleven times per day, so you have plenty of options. Ferries to and from Ko Samui are also frequent, so don’t worry too much about catching one unless you’re taking the day train from Bangkok. Follow this link to the State Railway of Thailand’s timetable of the southern train line. Remember to book about two weeks ahead during holidays and December.

»More about train travel in Thailand, including classes and types of trains.

Bangkok to Ko Samui by Bus

Taking the bus is the cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Ko Samui. Buses leave Bangkok’s southern bus station (Sai Tai Mai) frequently, and take about eight or nine hours.Night buses are the most popular, and we always recommend taking the first class VIP option – you’ll sleep better on seats that recline most to almost vertical, and food and water is usually included.

We’ve warned you before about taking the buses from Khao San Road, but we’ll say it again: if you book a bus from Khao San Road, you have a very good chance of having something stolen. Yes, those buses are cheaper than ones taken from the public bus station, and they’re more convenient than taking a taxi out to the station, but those companies have to make money somehow. We’ve talked to countless people who have had their belongings rifled through (at the least), or have been drugged and robbed (at the most). Pay a few extra dollars (seriously, the cost of a few Singhas) and arrive with all your belongings.

Bangkok to Ko Samui by Ferry

Once you’ve arrived at Surat Thani, either by bus or train, you’ll need to catch a ferry to Ko Samui. Two ports on the mainland service the island: Don Sak and Bandon. Speedboat ferries leave from Bandon, and take about an hour to reach Nathon on Ko Samui. Touts will meet you at the bus and train stations to take you to the piers, and you can purchase tickets on-site.

There’s also a night boat, which is inexpensive and slow. If it rains, you’ll get wet.