Phuket to Koh Samui | Ultimate Guide ✔️ Ferries and Buses

Want to know how to get from Phuket to Koh Samui?

There are currently 2 different ways to travel from Phuket to Ko Samui. The fastest option would be to book a flight to Koh Samui from Phuket international airport and you’ll be there in under 1 hour.

If you want a cheaper alternative, there is always the option to travel by land and then take a ferry or speedboat. This option is popular among tourists and travelers because its affordable, comfortable and you’ll get to experience amazing views as the route passes through the scenic landscapes in Krabi province.

2 longtail boats resting on the beach and a woman in between enjoying a beautiful sunset

Phuket to Koh Samui – Best Option

Route: Phuket → Surat Thani → Koh Samui

The most popular option to travel from Phuket to Koh Samui is the all inclusive bus + ferry combo ticket. You don’t need to worry about any in between transfers as the bus takes you directly to the ferry that goes to Koh Samui. You can →reserve tickets online here which is advisable as these tickets often sell out.

*Note: regular buses stop in Talad Kaset bus terminal or Surat Thani train station which are both 1 hour drive to the ferry pier.

Phuket to Koh Samui

How to get to Koh Samui from Phuket

Phuket to Koh Samui is a popular route for many tourists and travelers that want to visit the 2 largest and most popular Thai islands. Direct flights are the fastest and most convenient travel option which will get you there in under 1 hour. There’s a few more options to get from Phuket to Koh Samui and all require taking a ferry or speedboat for the last part of the journey.

Phuket to Koh Samui Travel Planning

Bus + Ferry Combo

The bus + ferry combo tickets are an easy and hassle free way to get from Phuket to Koh Samui at an affordable price. Lomprayah is arguably the most popular ferry company offering bus+ferry all inclusive tickets. This option takes you directly from Phuket to the pier in Surat Thani and the ferry or speedboat takes you to Koh Samui. No planning required and no transfers in between, just easy and stress free.

If you book your tickets online, my advise is to be at the meeting point (this will be provided upon online booking) an hour ahead of departure so you can do the check-in, make sure everything is in order and also secure a spot for your luggage in the bus storage compartment.

The bus journey from Phuket to Donsak pier in Surat Thani city is between 4.5 hours and 6.5 hours and the ferry or speedboat will be 2 hours or 3 hours. These travel durations vary because it will depend which option you choose. You can view all options, →schedules and reserve tickets here.

Note: the meeting point will be either in front of the Lomprayah office or at Phuket Bus Terminal 2. Both of these are located close to Phuket old town.

Bus Phuket - Koh Samui $ 18.19–35.29 6h 15m – 10h 20m
  •   Bus + Bus + Ferry 06:10, 07:30, 09:30
  •   Express 09:00

By Air

With a travel time of under 1 hour and daily flights between the 2 islands, air travel is the fastest and most convenient way to reach Koh Samui from Phuket. Flights depart from Phuket international airport and are offered by Bangkok Air as they own the airport in Koh Samui. This monopoly means that tickets do tend to be a bit expensive and a 1 way ticket will cost $100 to $150 or more depending on seasonality.

However, if you’re on a short vacation and want to make the most our of your time in Thailand, then flying from Phuket to Koh Samui is the best option as it will save you a lot of travel time. →You can check flights for your travel dates here.

Flight Phuket - Koh Samui $ 108.85 55m
  •   Economy 10:55, 13:00

Bus or minivan and Ferry (independently)

You could also do the trip independently. Meaning you’ll book the bus tickets and boat tickets separately and handle all the logistics and transfers.

There are regular buses departing from Phuket terminal 2 and the travel duration is around 6 hours. Tickets cost ฿350 ($10). The journey ends in Surat Thani either at the train station or at Talad Kaset bus terminal. Keep in mind, there are no regular buses that go to Donsak pier which is where the ferries to Koh Samui depart and is a 1 hour drive from both the bus and train station in Surat Thani.

If you arrive in Surat Thani bus terminal, it’s a chaotic place. Loads of touts will swarm you and try to sell you tours, and just keep asking “where you goin”. We know because we’ve passed through this terminal a few times and its really tiring after a long bus ride. Just ignore them and walk inside the terminal. There are booths inside where you can buy the ferry tickets which will also include transport to the pier. However, these booths are just resellers and tickets will have a markup.Ferry tickets can also be purchased online and most include transport from the bus station or train station in Surat Thani to the pier in Donsak. You can →check schedules and availability here.

Taxi/Transfer and Ferry

Similar to the previous option, this journey follows the same course. If you’re traveling as a group and splitting the cost, this could be a way to travel part of the journey privately in the comfort of either a minivan or a car. The option you choose will depend on your group size.

You will need to book a transfer from Phuket to Donsak pier where most of the ferries depart from. If you’re traveling via Songserm or Lomprayah ferries you will need to go to Laem Thuat pier which is a few kilometers west from the main pier in Donsak.

While a transfer from Phuket to the piers in Surat Thani isn’t going to be cheap and will cost around $120 to $150, it’s a reasonable price considering it’s a 4 hour drive. And if you’re traveling as a group, the price is quite affordable after splitting the cost. →Click here to check transfer options and prices.

For the ferry tickets you can either wing it and just show up at one of the piers and buy tickets if they are available. But if you want peace of mind it would be best to reserve your seats in advance. →You can check ferry schedules and availability here.

Where do Ferries Arrive in Koh Samui

When coming from Phuket to Koh Samui most ferries dock at Nathon pier and a few at Lipa Noi pier. Both piers are on the west coast of Koh Samui.

Popular tourist areas are located along Koh Samui’s North East coast. These include Chaweng, Lamai, Bo Phut and Choeng Mon. From your port of entry it will be a 30 minute to 1 hour drive to your hotel depending where you’re staying.

Chaweng and Lamai are arguably the most popular areas in Koh Samui and are both around a 40 minute drive from the pier. Taxis are a convenient option but you’ll need to negotiate a price as drivers rarely use the meter in Koh Samui. Songtaews are the local buses and are pick up vans fitted with benches in the back. These vans travel around the ring road that wraps around Koh Samui. You can use them to reach your hotel but make sure to tell the driver where you’re going and ask for the price before hopping on.

Where to stay in Koh Samui

The north eastern portion of Koh Samui is the most popular part of the island. This part of the island is home to the tourist areas Chaweng, Lamai, Choeng Mon, BoPhut and Maenam. All areas are within a 30 minute drive from each other. However they are all different and offer different things.

Below is an overview for each popular area in Koh Samui. This should give you an idea what to expect. Under each section are 3 TOP recommendations for places to stay for any budget.

Want a detailed where to stay guide? →then read this

Chaweng

Chaweng is arguably the best area to stay in Koh Samui. At least it is definitely the most popular, that’s for sure. Here you’ll be close to the largest concentration of restaurants, beach clubs, accommodation and the liveliest nightlife scene in Koh Samui. While Chaweng is the most developed part of Koh Samui, it does have one of the best beaches on the island with white sand and crystal clear waters.

Best places to stay for any Budget in Chaweng ⤵

Lamai

Lamai is a town that sits next to Chaweng. It’s not as developed and consequentially not as busy. Also accommodation prices here are significantly cheaper. In Lamai there’s also a large choice of restaurants, bars and is lively. However it still remains rather laid back offering a more relaxed atmosphere. Lamai beach is a continuation of Chaweng beach and is just as goregeous.

Best places to stay for any Budget in Lamai ⤵

Choeng Mon

Choeng Mon is a small mostly local town on the north eastern tip. It’s a nice place that combines tourist amenities with local Thai charm. While there isn’t much of a nightlife scene, there are quite a few restaurants. It’s a popular area with families especially for kids the shallow beach is perfect.

Best places to stay for any Budget in Choeng Mon ⤵

Bo Phut

Bo Phut is the trendiest and coolest part of Koh Samui. Here, old traditional houses have been turned into gorgeous boutique hotels and there’s upscale waterfront restaurants and trendy beach clubs. And interestingly, these touristy things are all mixed in with local living as local fishermen and their families live here. In short, Bo Phut combines local charm with luxury. There is also a really good local market that sets up every evening in Bo Phut.

Best places to stay for any Budget in Bo Phut ⤵

Maenam

Maenam is a little further west from BoPhut. There’s a handful of accommodation dotted around the down and a few resorts on the beach. It’s a nice beach that rarely gets busy during the day. But is quite popular with locals in the evenings. If you have small kids, the beach isn’t the best as the sand slopes down and the water quickly gets deep. There isn’t many dining options in Maenam but BoPhut is just a 20 minute walk away.

Best places to stay for any Budget in Maenam ⤵

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HEY, just so you know…

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