How to Get to Koh Samui, Thailand
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If you were wondering how to get to Koh Samui, Thailand, this is the right post to read.
Koh Samui is a tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand, famous for its magnificent beaches, opulent resorts, and exciting nightlife.
Many travellers worldwide visit Koh Samui yearly to enjoy its breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture, and delicious cuisine.
In 2023, I celebrated my birthday in Koh Samui and as soon as I landed I knew I had to write about this place because it’s so magical.
In this article, we will explore the best ways to get to Koh Samui, the top attractions to visit while you’re there, the best foods to try, and some tips for a hassle-free visit.
Table of Contents
Is Koh Samui Worth Visiting?
Koh Samui is worth a visit! This lovely island in Thailand’s tropical region is known for its breathtaking beaches, clear waters, exciting jungle, and extensive cultural history.
It is a well-liked vacation spot with plenty to offer everyone, whether they want to unwind, go on an adventure, or do both.
The island has some of Thailand’s most stunning beaches, making a day spent relaxing on the sand and swimming in the clear seas a must-do activity.
It is a popular tourist destination that offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or both.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the local culture, indulging in world-class spa treatments, or partying the night away, you’ll find it all in Koh Samui.
The island is also famous for its delicious cuisine, luxurious spas, and lively nightlife.
Koh Samui also has several beautiful temples and lush tropical forests, offering plenty of hiking and trekking opportunities.
With its easy access from major cities like Bangkok, Koh Samui is a destination worth adding to your travel itinerary.
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What Activities Can You Do When You Are In Koh Samui?
Now the question is not how to get to Koh Samui but where to go to Koh Samui. Well, Koh Samui is popular with tourists because of its breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant nightlife, and rich culture.
The following are some of the top things to do while visiting Koh Samui:
1. Visit the beaches
Koh Samui has some of Thailand’s most stunning beaches, so spending a day there relaxing on the sand and swimming in the clear seas is a must.
Chaweng Beach, Lamai Beach, and Bophut Beach are a few of the island’s busiest but most beautiful beaches.
If you hire a scooter and drive around the island, you’ll come across many other tropical beaches to relax on.
2. Visit the temples
The Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai), the Wat Plai Laem Temple, and the Wat Khunaram Temple are just a few of the stunning temples on Koh Samui that are well worth a visit.
3. Go on a jungle 4×4 tour
Koh Samui’s lush tropical forests offer plenty of opportunities for hiking and trekking.
One popular trekking destination is the Na Muang Waterfall, where visitors can hike through the jungle to reach the stunning waterfall.
On my birthday we did an amazing 4×4 Jungle tour as we didn’t fancy the hike. It was a great way to experience the jungle with the thrill of going in a 4×4.
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4. Enjoy spa services
Koh Samui is known for its luxuriant therapies. On the island, many spas provide anything from facials and aromatherapy treatments to traditional Thai massages.
I had a massage nearly every day. Prices seem to be around 300-500 baht for a 60-minute massage.
5. Take a cooking lesson
Thai food is famous for its strong flavours and fresh ingredients, so learning to prepare some of your favourite Thai dishes through a cooking class is a terrific idea.
This tour comes highly recommended if you are interested in taking a cooking class.
6. Go on a snorkeling or diving trip
Koh Samui is located near several islands that offer excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, including Angthong Marine Park and Koh Tao Island.
We did a day tour to Angthong Marine park where we dived and kayaked. My partner and I also ended up going back to Angthong and staying 2 nights there!
7. Visit the night markets
Koh Samui has several night markets that offer a wide variety of street food, clothing, souvenirs, and other local products.
Some popular night markets on the island include the Fisherman’s Village Night Market and the Chaweng Night Market.
I loved Fisherman’s Market and ended up going back there 3x during our trip!
8. Attend a Muay Thai fight
Muay Thai is a traditional Thai martial art popular on the island. Koh Samui has several stadiums where spectators can see live fights.
9. Go on a boat tour
Koh Samui’s stunning coastline and nearby islands are best explored by boat, and plenty of tour operators on the island offer boat tours and cruises.
10. Experience the nightlife
Koh Samui is known for its lively nightlife, with plenty of bars, clubs, and beach parties.
Some popular nightlife destinations on the island include Ark Bar Beach Club, Green Mango Club, and Soi Reggae.
These are just a few activities you can enjoy while visiting Koh Samui. With its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and lively entertainment scene, Koh Samui is a destination that has something for everyone.
Here’s a breakdown of the 16 best places to visit when in Koh Samui:
- Chaweng Beach – Koh Samui’s most popular beach with plenty of bars, restaurants, and nightlife.
- Lamai Beach – a quieter beach with a more relaxed vibe.
- Big Buddha Temple is an important site that features a 12-meter-tall golden statue of the Buddha.
- Grandpa and Grandma Rocks, also known as Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks, are two unusual rock formations that are a favourite photo location.
- Hiking through the bush is required to reach the magnificent Na Muang Waterfall.
- Fisherman’s Village – a charming village with a traditional Thai market and plenty of seafood restaurants.
- Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, is depicted in a beautiful statue at the vibrant Buddhist temple Wat Plai Laem.
- The Secret Buddha Garden is a peaceful garden with Buddha and other god sculptures.
- Angthong Marine Park – a group of islands with pristine beaches and snorkeling opportunities.
- Laem Sor Pagoda – a beautiful pagoda located on the southern tip of the island.
- Bophut Beach – a laid-back beach with a charming village and a weekly night market.
- Maenam Beach – a quiet beach with a peaceful atmosphere and views of nearby islands.
- Lipa Noi Beach – a secluded beach with stunning sunsets.
- Coral Cove Beach – a small but picturesque beach with excellent snorkelling.
- Choeng Mon Beach – a quiet beach with plenty of water sports and a family-friendly atmosphere.
- Koh Tao Island – a nearby island known for its world-class scuba diving.
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The Best Foods in Koh Samui
Koh Samui is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine, which includes Thai classics and international dishes. Among the dishes you must taste while visiting Koh Samui are:
- Tom Yum – A hot and sour soup with shrimp, lemongrass, and chili called tom yum goong.
- Pad Thai – Rice noodles stir-fried with vegetables, eggs, and peanuts are known as pad Thai.
- Som Tam – Papaya salad with lime juice, chile, and fish sauce is known as som tam.
- Massaman Curry – Massaman Curry is a mild curry dish with beef, potatoes, and peanuts.
- Mango Sticky Rice – Glutinous rice, fresh mango, and coconut milk are combined to make the dessert Mango Sticky Rice.
- Thai Green Curry – A green curry with chicken, veggies, and coconut.
- Pad Krapow Moo – This was one of my favourites. It’s a stir-fried minced pork with holy basil and chili.
- Khanom Buang – This is a crispy Thai dessert made with rice flour, coconut cream, and sweet filling.
- Chicken Satay – Grilled chicken with lemongrass and peanut chili dipping sauce.
Tips for Booking Flights and Ferries to Koh Samui
- Book in advance – to get the best deals on flights and ferries, it’s best to book well.
- Utilise online booking tools to compare costs and itineraries for various airlines and ferry operators.
- Be as flexible as you can with your travel dates to benefit from lower rates.
- Airlines and ferry companies often have promotions and discounts, so check for these before booking.
- Consider alternative routes – if you’re travelling from a nearby destination, consider taking a bus or train to a nearby ferry port to save on transportation costs.
Additional Tips for Visiting Koh Samui
- Respect the culture – Thailand is a deeply spiritual country, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions.
- When visiting temples and other places of worship, dress correctly and remove your shoes.
- Keep hydrated. Koh Samui may get hot and muggy, so stay hydrated and cool.
- Use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.
- Try local food – Koh Samui has a rich culinary scene, so try some local dishes there, don’t just stick to western food. Trust me, you’ll miss out on a huge part of Thai culture.
How Expensive is Koh Samui, Thailand?
Koh Samui can be an affordable destination for budget travellers, with plenty of affordable guesthouses and street food vendors.
However, many luxurious resorts and restaurants cater to high-end travellers. It is definitely more expensive than Bangkok and other destinations within Thailand as it’s more touristy than a lot of places.
Here are some average prices to give you an idea of the cost of living in Koh Samui:
Budget guesthouses: 300-500 THB per night
Mid-range hotels: 1,000-3,000 THB per night
Luxury resorts: 5,000-20,000 THB per night
Food and Drink
Street food: 50-150 THB per meal
Local restaurants: 100-200 THB per meal
Western restaurants: 300-500 THB per meal
Drinks: 50-150 THB per drink
Taxis and Songthaews (shared taxi trucks): 50-500 THB, depending on the distance
Scooter rental: 200-300 THB per day
Car rental: 1,500-2,000 THB per day
Temples and other attractions: usually free or a small entrance fee
Spa treatments: 400-3,000 THB per treatment
Water sports and other activities: 500-2,000 THB per activity
Overall, Koh Samui can be a budget-friendly destination if you can stay in budget accommodations and eat at local restaurants. However, if you’re seeking a more expensive experience, many high-end options are also accessible.
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How to Get to Koh Samui from Bangkok?
Koh Samui may be reached from Bangkok in several ways, including by bus, ferry, and airplane.
Flights last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes; costs can change depending on the season and how far in advance you book.
Most of the flights were run by Bangkok Airways and come with decent free checked luggage and a meal.
The most common way to get to Koh Samui is via ferry ride, but you can go by bus or train from Bangkok to Surat Thani or Chumphon.
Taking a ferry from Surat Thani or Chumphon on the mainland provides an additional choice. Several ferry companies provide daily services to Koh Samui, which takes 4-5 hours.
By Bus and Ferry
Finally, you can take a bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani or Chumphon and then transfer to a ferry to Koh Samui. The journey can take up to 12 hours, but it’s a more affordable option than flying.
How to get to Koh Samui from Phuket?
- The easiest and fastest way to travel from Phuket to Koh Samui is by direct flight from Phuket International Airport to Koh Samui Airport.
- Another option is to take a bus or a taxi from Phuket to Surat Thani and then take a ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui.
- The bus journey from Phuket to Surat Thani takes around 4-5 hours, and the ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui takes around 2-3 hours.
- You can take a train from Phuket to Surat Thani, which takes around 6-7 hours, and then take a ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui.
How to get to Koh Samui from Krabi?
- The most convenient and fastest way to reach Koh Samui from Krabi is by taking a direct flight from Krabi International Airport to Koh Samui Airport.
- Another option is to take a bus or taxi from Krabi to Surat Thani and then take a ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui.
- The bus journey from Krabi to Surat Thani takes around 3-4 hours, and the ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui takes around 2-3 hours.
- You can also consider taking a shared minivan from Krabi to Surat Thani, which takes around 2-3 hours, and then a ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui.
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Pros and Cons of Different Transportation Options to Koh Samui
When planning a trip to Koh Samui, it’s important to consider the various transportation options available. Here are the pros and cons of each:
Koh Samui Airport
Located on the island’s northeastern coast and is a small airport. It handles both domestic and foreign flights out of a single terminal.
The airport offers a variety of amenities, including dining options, coffee shops, retail stores, and car rental options.
I have to say, Koh Samui has the most beautiful airport I have been to in the world. It’s mostly outside with beautiful gardens, bean bags, a river filled with lotus – It’s a destination in itself!
The most efficient way to get to Koh Samui from Bangkok is by flight and this is what I would recommend.
- The fastest option, with flights from Bangkok taking around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- The island’s Koh Samui Airport makes it simple to travel to your accommodation. Flights are available from major airports in Thailand and international airports in neighbouring countries.
- Flights might be high, especially during the summer.
- Airports may be hectic and crowded—limited flight options, with only a few airlines operating direct flights to Koh Samui.
- A more cost-effective alternative than flying.
- The picturesque landscape along the route shows views of the Gulf of Thailand and neighboring islands.
- Multiple ferry companies to choose from, with different schedules and routes.
- It will take longer than flying, with ferry trips from Bangkok taking around 12 hours.
- Seasickness can be an issue for some passengers.
- Limited luggage space on board.
You can see that there are different options for you on how to get to Koh Samui. You have to choose the one that’s most comfortable and affordable for you.
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Koh Samui is a beautiful tropical island with plenty to offer visitors of all ages and interests. Whether looking for relaxation, adventure, or both, you’ll find it all on this stunning island.
Koh Samui is a destination worth visiting, from its beautiful beaches and lush forests to its rich cultural heritage and delicious cuisine.
And with its easy access from major cities like Bangkok, planning a trip to this tropical paradise has never been easier.
Now that you know how to get to Koh Samui, pack your stuff and go have an amazing time!
Frequently Asked Questions
Flights into Koh Samui will land at Koh Samui Airport on the noertheast coast, near the town of Chaweng – it’s possibly the most beautiful airport in the world!
On average the prices on Koh Samui are slightly higher than in Phuket, but depending on what you plan to do on Koh Samui it will be worth it!
For many people, 3-4 days is the perfect amount of time to spend on Koh Samui. Allow slightly longer if you plan to spend a lot of time on the beach.
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