Phuket to Koh Samui - Best Ways to Travel

by Guest

Many people want to combine two of the best islands in Thailand on one holiday, traveling from Phuket to Koh Samui. Phuket is located just off the mainland (accessible by a bridge) and is the largest island in Thailand. As well as the excellent restaurants, nightlife, museums and temples in Phuket Town , the island acts as the gateway for visiting the smaller islets, islands and archipelagos of Phi Phi , Similan Islands and beyond. Adventure seekers raft down the rivers, hike through the national parks and go deep-sea fishing, while lazy tourists lounge in the shade of the palms on golden sandy beaches and swim in the turquoise ocean. Koh Samui is the second largest island, located in the Gulf of Thailand. Though it has a different vibe to Phuket, there are myriad options for accommodation from luxury resorts to beach bungalows . Cycle across the island, hike up through its interior, snorkel with rich marine life and party the night away at one of the many beach bars or clubs. There are several options for traveling between the two, depending on tastes, budget and time available.

Fly from Phuket to Koh Samui

The quickest and easiest option to get between the two (although perhaps not the most interesting) is by place. Direct flights between the two islands are offered by Bangkok Airways and depart four times daily, from morning to the afternoon. There are no flights at night. The flight takes just under an hour and only economy is available (would it be worth booking Business Class for an hour flight anyway?), though this is comfortable enough. Costs vary, but figure on the flight costing around US $70 one way and US $120 return. It’s certainly not the cheapest way to get between the two, but if time is limited it’s your best option. Flights are best booked well in advance as it’s a popular route. It’s easy enough to get your tickets either through the many travel agents in Phuket or online at sites like SkyScanner.com. With waiting and flight time, the whole journey takes around 5 hours.

Bus from Phuket to Koh Samui

Travelling between Phuket and Koh Samui by bus is certainly not the most convenient offer, but it is the cheapest. Buses don’t really need to be booked that far in advance, and it is possible to get space by just turning up at the bus station. Buses depart from the Phuket Northern Station and there are a several companies offering the route with three buses departing daily throughout the high season. It’s worth noting there are no overnight buses. The bus journey crosses over the bridge onto the mainland and then travels east to Suratthani which takes around 6 hours, stopping once en route for guests to stretch their legs. The bus drops guests off at the Don Sak Pier where it’s possible to take a 1.5-hour ferry across to Koh Samui. A single ticket including the ferry costs around US $15. There is another high speed option with a more comfortable bus including air-con and a toilet, but this is more than double the price and saves only an hour or two. It does have the advantage of not having to wait very long for the high-speed ferry when you reach the port.

Koh Samui is one of the most popular places in Thailand

Koh Samui is one of the most popular places in Thailand

Rental car from Phuket to Koh Samui

Another option which is particularly good if you are travelling in a small group, is to rent a car. Car rentals in Thailand start around US $20 per day and the petrol between the two will probably cost around the same again. Similar to the bus route, you will need to drive across the bridge and then east to Suratthani where you will drop off the car and take the ferry to Koh Samui. If time permits, why not think about splitting the journey up and stopping overnight en route. There are plenty of beautiful places in the interior away from the tourist crowds. A few things that are worth remembering before you take this option. The first is that when you hire a car (anywhere in the world) and drop it off in another location, there is often a one-way fee. These can vary, but are sometimes more expensive than the rental itself. It’s also worth noting that if you plan to hire the car and drop it off in time for the ferry, you will also need to make sure the rental company is open and that you can organize a tuk tuk or taxi down to the port. Lastly, don’t expect the driving standard to be the same as Western standards. Be very careful when driving in Thailand and never drive after dark.

Taxi from Phuket to Koh Samui

If the thought of getting a bus fills you with dread, there is one more option to get between the Phuket and Koh Samui – taking a taxi or private hire. The journey is, of course, shorter than the bus and you have the added advantage of being able to stop whenever you like. It’s great for families or groups of tourists with a larger budget and bulky luggage.  It’s not a cheap option. Feel free to negotiate, but prices are going to start are never really going to be less than around US $350. Again, the route will take you down to Suratthani where you will need to get the ferry across to Koh Samui, so discuss with the driver the best time to depart. Look on the journey taking around 6 hours.

In conclusion, if time is limited, take a flight. It is by far the most convenient (if boring) way to travel between the two. For those on a tight budget, but with plenty of time, the cheapest way is by bus, but it can make for a grueling journey. Hiring a car is a possibility, but the logistics and costs of dropping it in another location might make it prohibitive. Lastly, for those with deep pockets, go luxury and get a private car between Phuket and Suratthani and then take the high-speed ferry. Not cheap, but good for families or larger groups.

Here are some other articles you may want to read before heading to Thailand:

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