How to Get to Koh Samui, Thailand
There are only two ways to get to the famous beaches of the island: by air or by sea. Flights save time and effort, but are much more sensitive to the wallet. An hour-long flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui can easily cost 4500-6500 THB one way – for the same amount, the whole family will get by sea, although you will have to sacrifice comfort and useful vacation time for savings. A separate article is devoted to the features, advantages and disadvantages of different ways to get to Koh Samui.
If a hotel transfer is not provided, it is most convenient to get from the airport or from the marinas to the final point by taxi. The minimum cost of the trip is 100 THB, this amount includes a landing fee and a fee for 2 km – further you will have to pay 12 THB for each km.
On Koh Samui, there are not even regular buses that are familiar to Europeans, so travelers actually have to choose from only two ways to travel – taxi or songteo.
The first option is chosen by those who care about relative comfort during the trip (all taxis on Koh Samui are air-conditioned) and the ability to carry luggage. However, it is worth considering that taxi drivers may refuse to take passengers according to the meter and prefer to negotiate directly.
The cost of a taxi ride starts from 200-300 THB and depends on the ability of tourists to bargain persistently, but with a mandatory smile in Thailand. You can calculate it at SamuiTaxi website (in English).
According to allcitycodes.com, the most common transport on Koh Samui is songteo (both locals and tourists often call it simply tuk-tuk). With some stretch, it can be considered an analogue of our minibuses. The classic songteo is an ancient Japanese pickup truck with a pair of benches in its tiny body. The design is crowned with a more or less durable canopy that protects from rain, but not from the wind. During rush hour and during the busy holiday months, the tailgate is used as a step for additional passengers.
Despite the unusual appearance, it is quite a reliable and safe mode of transport. In addition, the most budgetary on the island: travel within one beach will cost only 20 THB, and from the starting point of the route to the final one – three times more expensive. Regular songteo lines run along the entire coast, the ring of routes closes in Nathon. Unfortunately, one tuk-tuk will not be able to drive around the entire island – a full circle consists of three route lines that pass one into another.
When boarding a tuk-tuk, you should never ask the price – this immediately betrays an inexperienced tourist, and the fare can immediately increase several times.
From early morning until 18:00, tuk-tuk drivers work at fixed rates, and in the evenings, songteos switch to taxi mode – the fare will depend only on the greed of the driver and the ability of the night reveler to negotiate. Arguing and insisting on the official daily price is useless: such a night job in Thailand is completely legal.
- Koh Samui Map
- Chawenga map
Rent a car, scooters and bicycles
The easiest way to get a car is right at the airport – there are counters of most international car rental companies. If you don’t want to freeze about 30,000 THB on a deposit, it makes sense to look for a car at local rental offices – they are less demanding on documents and often agree to pay in cash. If the lease term is a month or more, small offices are much more profitable than world-famous firms. Renting a middle-class car will cost about 1200 THB per day. The price of fuel on Koh Samui is on average 1-2 THBhigher than on the mainland, but most likely you won’t have to spend money on paid parking – they are very rare on the island (as well as police ambushes). The roads are in good condition, the mood of a motorist can be spoiled only by left-hand traffic and numerous scooters scurrying along the median lanes – and tourist riders are often much more dangerous than local ones.
The most economical and at the same time the most popular way to get transport on Koh Samui is to rent a scooter (from 200 THB per day). Many hotels offer this service to their guests, moreover, there are dozens of offices on the island that specialize in this type of rental. Bicycle rental is not very popular here – there are only a few small firms in Lamai and Chaweng. Although renting a bike costs half as much as a scooter, there are few customers: due to year-round heat, humidity and numerous elevation changes, the island is not very comfortable for European cyclists.