How to get to Koh Samui from Phuket

What about

Think that all of the Thai islands are the same? Wrong! Say ‘goodbye’ to the karst formations and oceanic vastness of the Andaman Coast and get some privacy with a glamorous touch on arguably the most beautiful and stylish island of the Gulf, Samui. Crystal clear waters and idyllic beaches, lush tropical greenery and modern ‘island style’ shopping molls, fancy jewellery shops and colourful local markets – you name it – Samui has it all. No wonder that the third-largest island in Thailand, Samui has become popular amongst both luxurious holiday makers and backpackers on a budget who can each find the experience, accommodation, activities and entertainment that they come for. Whether it is candle-lit dinners on post-card beaches, wild and adventurous partying through the night, treks through forests and jungles or days spent oiled up on the beach, Koh Samui is the right choice to get it.

Getting to Samui from Phuket

Both Phuket and Koh Samui are an exceptionally popular destination for travellers, and as such, travelling from the Andaman Coast to the islands of the Gulf and vice versa is straightforward and affordable for those who are not content to fly to their destinations.

From Phuket to Samui via bus + ferry

Depending on the way you travel, your journey from Phuket to Samui can take anywhere from 6½ hrs to literally the whole day. To ensure a seamless and confortable trip, it is a good idea to opt for a joint bus+ferry ticket offered by Lomprayah or Phantip 1970.

Lomprayah operates the fastest – and the most expensive – service from Phuket to Koh Samui. There are two buses a day at 7am and 10am. Buses depart from Lomprayah’s office in Phuket Town and go straight to Laem Thuat pier in Donsak, where passengers board the catamaran heading to Koh Samui. The whole trip takes about 6½ hrs, including ¾ hr from Donsak to Nathon pier on Koh Samui. Tickets cost THB 1250 per person.

Phantip 1970 is the main budget operator between Phuket and Samui. The company offers quite a comfortable journey at a reasonable price (THB 450 per person). They provide standard AC buses with a toilet onboard and make at least one pit stop for a meal at a gas station with a number of forecourt shops. Normally the buses are ok, though some unexpected unpleasant surprises (e.g. an older back-up bus instead of the usual one) do sometimes happen. The bus departs daily at 9am and heads to Donsak without calling to Suratthani. Phantip uses a slower Seatran Discovery ferry which covers the distance between the company’s pier in Donsak and the Seatran Bangrak pier on Koh Samui in about 1½ hours. Though Phantip declares that the whole trip takes 6½ hrs, it sometimes lasts longer, and instead of arriving at 3.30pm be ready to reach Samui in the evening.

Tip: To be on the safe side, book your accommodation on Samui in advance to avoid cruising the dark villages in a hope to find a decent place to stay if you do arrive later than expected.

You can also take a bus from Phuket to Suratthani. The trip lasts about 4½ hrs and costs THB 230 per person. In Suratthani head to the pier in Donsak by yourself or buy a bus+ferry ticket from Suratthani to Samui with Lomprayah, Seatran Discovery or Phantip 1970. The cheapest one will cost you THB 250 (Phantip 1970, 3½ hrs). At the end of the day it is not going to be much cheaper but it will be much longer for sure. Note that governmental buses sometimes detour to Krabi on their way to Suratthani to pick up passengers, which makes the whole journey considerably longer.

Note: The government obliges all the interprovincial operators to pick up passengers on their way on Saturday and Sunday. If you are travelling during the weekend, be ready for a longer trip.

Can I get to Samui from Phuket by car?

It is easy to get from Phuket to Koh Samui with your own car. Though an island, Phuket is connected with the mainland with the Saphan Thepkasattri, a 700m bridge, which linked the northernmost tip of Phuket to Phang Nga Province in 2011. It runs parallel to a smaller Saphan Sarasin which was built in 1967 to replace the ferry connection with the island and now serves as a pedestrian beach. The whole trip from Phuket to Donsak pier in Suratthani province (270 km) will take you about 3½hrs–4hrs.

In Donsak, there are two operators which provide car transportation to Samui. Seatran leaves from Donsak on the mainland delivering passengers and their vehicles to its pier in Nathon. Raja ferry, also from Donsak, heads to its own port in Lipa Noi on the western coast of Samui. Choose port-wise as both services are equal in price and quality. Note that you may have to make a long queue to board the ferry with your car while heading back to the mainland. To avoid this, book your ticket in advance. Another important thing is that you cannot transport your car from Samui to the nearby Koh Phangan directly; you will need to sail back to Donsak and then make a new journey to Koh Phangan instead.

Samui connections

Samui is a perfect starting point to explore its two neighbours, party rocking Koh Phangan and diving crazy Koh Tao. A number of ferries ply the route between the three brother islands daily. The service offered differs in trip length, cost and level of comfort, so you can easily choose what suits your taste and budget best. Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao all differ in size, atmosphere and activities on offer. Visit all three of them to have a truly unforgettable and diverse vacation.

From Koh Samui to Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan lies within an easy reach from Koh Samui. Lomprayah and Seatran Discovery take sheer 20 minutes to get to the island; there are slower Songserm (30 min.) and Haad Rin Queen (50 min.) ferry boats, too. All the boats – except for Haad Rin Queen which calls on Lipa Noi– depart from Thong Sala Pier. Buy your ticket to Koh Phangan either with Lomprayah or Seatran Discovery here.

From Koh Samui to Koh Tao

Lomprayah and Seatran Discovery both take from 2 hrs to 2 ½ hr to cover the distance between Samui and Koh Tao.

Getting around on Samui

Koh Samui is large and you will need a way to get around easily, since doing it on foot is very limiting and uncomfortably hot, but there are many far better options available depending on how you like to get around.

Taxis (songtaews) are a great way to travel long distances on the island, or if you want to go out partying and know you shouldn't drive yourself around. While they are convenient and can get you everywhere from anywhere, this is probably the most expensive option, as you can expect to pay between 50 and 100 THB a person which adds up quickly.

Motorcycles are a fantastic way to get around. Motorcycles (and bicycles, too) can be rented from almost every resort on the island. Rentals are cheap, petrol is cheap, and they give you the freedom to go just about anywhere you want to go as you explore the island’s natural wonders. A word of caution though, you will undoubtedly see many tourists about with bandages and scrapes on their arms and legs, almost all of the time these are caused by accidents on scooters. You should be able to find a scooter for less than 200 THB a day. Most of the rental shops insist that you leave your passport behind. While this is a bit unnerving, it is also standard practice throughout Thailand, so be very careful with your scooter if you want to avoid any trouble.

Where to stay

Hat Chaweng is packed with all kinds of accommodation to suit any budget. It is the epicentre of the action, and the northern part of the beach can be quite noisy. Hat Lamai is another popular choice attracting holiday-makers both with its long stretch of white sand and a good choice of restaurants, bars and shops along the main road. In between the two beaches hides a little gem of Crystal Bay with – as the name suggests – crystal clear waters embraced with imposing boulders of a small bay. Hat Bang Rak (or Big Buddha Beach) leis relatively close to the airport (you may hear some noise), but the white sand of its western part compensate for it. Bo Phut is of particular interest not because of the beach but thanks to its trendy boutique hotels peppering Fishermen’s Village where strong Chinese influence can be felt even today. Families often opt for Mae Nam with its gentle sea. The West Coast is not a good choice if you come for the sea, but the sunsets are exceptional there.

Tip: Do not spend all your time on Samui on one and the same beach; try at least a couple of them and you will be rewarded with the diversity which this island has to offer.


Besides usual diving, snorkelling, kayaking, jungle-trekking and waterfalls find a couple of hours to visit the only rum distillery in Thailand, Magic Alambic. They produce Caribbean rum with a variety of natural flavours (obviously, they have coconut rum, too). They offer tasting sessions and sell rum, too (600-700 THB per 700ml bottle). Located in Baan Bang Kao. Travellers with the little ones in tow will love Paradise Park, which is a considerably large petting zoo, which is also one of the best viewpoints on the island.

Phuket to Koh Samui @ ferry, bus, flight Jul 25, 2017

8 trips (THB 499 — 4,819)

From Phuket Airport to Koh Samui by flight

Phuket Airport
Koh Samui Airport
฿ 4,620
× 2 = ฿ 9,240
Phuket Airport
Koh Samui Airport
฿ 4,819
× 2 = ฿ 9,638
Phuket Airport
Koh Samui Airport
฿ 4,620
× 2 = ฿ 9,240
Phuket Airport
Koh Samui Airport
฿ 4,620
× 2 = ฿ 9,240
Phuket Airport
Koh Samui Airport
฿ 4,620
× 2 = ฿ 9,240
Phuket Airport
Koh Samui Airport
฿ 4,620
× 2 = ฿ 9,240

From Phuket Bus Terminal (2) to Koh Samui by bus+ferry joint ticket

Phuket Bus Terminal (2)
Na Thon (Koh Samui)
7h 45m
Instant Refund
฿ 499
× 2 = ฿ 998
36 seats available

From Phuket Lomprayah to Koh Samui by bus+ferry joint ticket

Phuket Lomprayah
Na Thon (Koh Samui)
6h 45m
Instant Refund
฿ 1,300
× 2 = ฿ 2,600
30 seats available

Adventures @ Koh Samui

Koh Tao & Koh Nangyuan One Day Snorkeling
฿ 2,500
10h 10m
Koh Tao & Koh Nangyuan One Day Snorkeling 06:30

Passenger reviews out of total 817 passengers traveled with us on this route

At 12Go our operators offer three types of service:

Cheap, Fast, Good - but you can usually pick only two of them!
Cheap & Fast won’t be Good. (e.g. buses from/to Khao San Road, local buses or 3rd class trains)
Cheap & Good won’t be Fast. (e.g. VIP trains in Thailand)
Fast & Good won’t be Cheap. (e.g. private limousine services, or VIP24 buses vs Express buses)

Make your choice! Please remember that though we are closely monitoring services, we are still an agency marketplace - meaning we focus on ticketing service and route availability / coverage rather than on factual seat recline angle you got today ^_^

★★★★☆ Jun 3, 2017 (bus Standard AC, Phantip 1970)
★★★★★ Apr 1, 2017 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
Excellent service. As a person travelling alone I never had to worry about anything. They arranged for a shuttle van to take me straight to my hotel. The person was waiting as I got off the ferry to direct me to the shuttle. I highly recommend this service.
★★★★☆ Dec 29, 2016 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah)
★★★★☆ Dec 5, 2016 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
We were on the place on the time. Was good ride but aircondition was so strong. Was really cold inside. When we asked the guy if he could reduce it he was just smiling. So dont know if he didnt understand or if he couldnt.
★★★★☆ Nov 26, 2016 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
It was pretty smooth travels from the time we got on the bus to Koh Samui. The bus was comfortable enough especially it being a 3+ hour ride to the pier, and timing was pretty bang on for when we were expected to reach our final destination.. For the price, it was much better than I expected. We chose to do the speedboat which was already a really long day, I can't imagine what the other option would be like. It was also really great that they offered a bus transfer option to our hotel. At first when we agreed, we just did it out of convenience, but after travelling for so long, I was so happy we did it so we didn't have to think about it since we were so tired already. All in all, if you're on a budget, I'd recommend this as an option, but in the future, I think I will pay the extra money to save time. This has nothing to do with the company itself, just depends on how much time you have in a place. Happy travels! :)
★★★★★ Oct 20, 2016 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
Its travel
★★★★☆ Jun 25, 2016 (bus Standard AC, Phantip 1970) :
Fair deal for a fair price, had to stop twice but managed just once. Bus ok, assistants on the bus are nice.
★★★★★ Jun 10, 2016 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
Absolutely smooth process. Bus was comfortable and everything right from Phuket to Donsak to Nathon Pier was on time. Overall a pleasant journey for the whole family
★★★★★ Mar 16, 2016 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
Ferry was fast transfer was there waiting stff helped with luggage would use them again
★★★☆☆ Jan 2, 2016 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
Bus very tired and lots of broken and damaged items, toilet disgusting and needs condemning, don't honk I would use again. Boat ride was awful, no organisation and lots of people being sick everywhere
★★★★☆ Dec 30, 2015 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
★★★★★ Sep 4, 2015 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
★★★★☆ Jul 4, 2015 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah)
★★☆☆☆ Jul 2, 2015 (ferry High Speed Ferry, Lomprayah) :
Our bus was planned to leave at 7AM but as we were only 8 people to take this bus, the company obliged us to take the bus at 10AM so we had to wait 3hours, doing nothing, in Thailand sun. We couldn't stay in the bus because the driver didn't want to turn the air-con on. HORRIBLE. The guys from the company looked like they didn't care at all. No client service at all.
12Go response:

Dear Melanie, Thank you very much for this info. Unfortunately Lomprayah cancelled the 07:00 o'clock departure for June and July and forgot to inform us. We are very sorry for this bad experience!

News @ Koh Samui

03 July 2017

Municipal and marine workers on Koh Samui have put up safety nets around Lamai Beach. A spokesperson for the Marine and Coastal Resources Department said the nets were designed to stop Portuguese man o’ war and jellyfish drifting in the seas and washing up on the beach.

15 June 2017

Tourists on Pattaya Beach Road were confronted by the rather unusual sight of emerald green sea on Tuesday. Marine experts say the transformation from the water’s usual blue colour was caused by a wave of plankton.

09 June 2017

The Phuket Lifeguard Service has issued a warning saying several Portuguese men of war have been spotted in the sea this week. The club’s president says several of the stinging jellyfish-like species have washed onto the island’s beaches since the start of the monsoon season.