Phuket is a hub for cheap airlines who fly into Thailand – and many people’s trips to Thailand start in Phuket. On a recent trip we decided to see both “sides” of the south: Phuket on the Andaman Coast and Koh Samui on the Gulf of Thailand. There are a number of options to get from one to the other – it comes down to time and money.
How To Get from Phuket to Koh Samui
Option 1: Flights from Phuket to Koh Samui
Quick, easy and expensive – only one airline that flys the route – and they aren’t the cheap, getting from Phuket to Koh Samui doesn’t get any easier than flying. Bangkok Airways is the only carrier on the route, it will take 55 minutes and cost around 2400B. Be careful if you think you find another airline flying this route: its likely they are flying via Bangkok (a long way out of your way) or are in fact flying to Surat Thani (URT) not Koh Samui (USM).
Option 2: Fly Phuket to Surat Thani, Ferry to Koh Samui
Although this is an option ex-Bangkok – I can find no direct flight from Phuket to Surat Thani and the time of research.
Option 3: Overland Bus – Ferry Combination, Getting to Koh Samui on the Cheap
Directly from Phuket to Surat Thani takes about 5 hours – the bus will stop for a 20 minute comfort/meal stop about 1/2 way. Public buses (cheapest, most reliable and most comfortable) – leave from Phuket town’s bus station (buy the ticket at the station – no need to do it in advance) You can also flag the bus down on its route – but you risk not getting a seat that way.
There are two main ferry companies doing the run from Surat Thani (Don Det): Zeatran and the newer, and faster, but less frequent Lomprayah service. Agent’s everywhere will sell you a ticket – it should cost around 450B including the transfer to central Surat Thani.
From Surat Thani you need to get to the ferry port. Most boats seem to go from Don Det port which is about 50 minutes out of town and in the middle of nowhere.
Coming the Other Way Koh Samui – Phuket Overland
Booking the ferry will be easiest via your accommodation – unless you happen to be in port area. Transfers are often included in the ticket price – and are reliable. The ferry ticket will include a bus connection to Surat Thani town or airport. As the bus is around 5 hours you want to be on an early boat – otherwise you will get to Surat Thani after the last bus has left.
From Surat Thani there are frequent buses to Phuket – to avoid the agencies commissions – try to buy direct on the bus – they seem to leave from the central market, or from the “official” bus station which is a taxi-ride out of town. If you are going to Phuket Airport – ask to be let off the bus – they will stop by the side of the road – its about 500m walk – the taxis will descend if don’t feel like the exercise.
From the Phuket bus station you are within easy walking distance of a number of cheap and mid-range hotels, or catch a songathew out to the Phuket beach of your choice.