There are 2 operators that run from Bangkok to Koh Samet, with 1 departure per day. If you decide to take a bus-ferry, you can take the VIP and Standard option.
There is 1 operator that run from Bangkok to Koh Samet. If you decide to take a ferry, you can take the Speedboat option.
There is 1 operator that run from Bangkok to Koh Samet, with 4 departure per day. If you decide to take a bus, you can take the Standard option.
The ride from Bangkok to Koh Samet takes you firstly by road to Ban Phe Pier, which is approximately 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of the capital, and then by ferry to the island, just over seven kilometers (4.3 miles) from the mainland. It only takes three hours to drive to Ban Phe Pier and then an hour and a half to get to Koh Samet, by boat. This is just enough time to get some rest, chat to fellow travelers or listen to a few well chosen tunes before disembarking for your island adventure.
Getting out of Bangkok is very straightforward and you can choose between a combined bus and ferry ticket, available in VIP and high-speed class, or a private transfer by minivan which doesn't include the ferry ticket. Most buses and ferries include air conditioning, an onboard bathroom and a small selection of snacks and drinks. A minivan, however, can pick you up and drop you off wherever you like so you can arrive at Ban Phe Pier in style; just make sure you book your ferry tickets in advance to avoid a lengthy wait.
Most travelers love Bangkok for its organized chaos and exciting experiences, but escaping to an island like Koh Samet is what trips to Thailand are all about. Koh Samet is relatively close to the capital which makes it the perfect getaway if you're pushed for time. It's not as crowded as some of the other more popular coastal retreats in Thailand and if you're into snorkeling and scuba diving then you've definitely come to the right place.
VIP and high-speed buses leave as early as 05.00am which gives you a chance to watch Bangkok wake up as you pass through the streets of the capital. The sun rising over the rooftops and spires of the city's golden temples is often a real sight to savor. VIP minivans can depart whenever you're ready but leaving early is definitely the best advice if you want to avoid the early morning rush hour traffic. Whatever time you choose to leave, make sure you watch the capital's chaotic streets merge into city suburbs before heading out to the smaller towns and villages in Rayong Province.
Once you're on the ferry to Koh Samet you'll have the choice of indoor or outdoor seating areas. It's not a long journey from the mainland but you'll still have plenty of time to soak up those exotic island scenes that fall within the protected status of Koh Samet National Park. Lush green hillsides and valleys make way for white sand shorelines and gently lapping waves. Pack a pair of binoculars if you want to keep a close watch on the wildlife appearing through the foliage or above the water.
The fastest way to get to Koh Samet from Bangkok is with a VIP Minivan by Thai Happy Taxi. You can organize hotel pickup and drop off, and the ride takes around 3 hours. The ferry fare is not included.
Taking a bus
An inexpensive and straightforward way to get from Bangkok to Koh Samet is to take a bus and follow-on ferry. Both tickets are booked at the same time so all you have to do is kick back on a bus for a 3 hour drive before swapping street sides for sea views as you make the 1.5 hour crossing across the Gulf of Thailand.
Onboard amenities on the bus include air conditioning, onboard bathroom and a small selection of drinks and snacks. This is pretty much the same on the ferry but you also get an outside seating area so you can watch the world float by.
Buses leave from a couple of different terminals in Bangkok before heading to Nuan Thip Pier in Ban Phe. The best advice is to arrive early at the pick up point to avoid a mad rush, and the inevitable walk of shame if you're the last person to clamber aboard! Pack a few snacks and water for the journey although you will have a chance to purchase a limited selection of food and drink on both the bus and ferry.
Taking a minivan
You also have the option of taking an air conditioned VIP Minivan from Bangkok to Nuan Thip Pier in Ban Phe. It's more money than the bus service and doesn't include the ferry ticket. This will need to be booked separately if you're heading to Koh Samet. What the minivan option does offer is comfort, extra space and a flexible departure time. It's a private service therefore you call the shots and get to choose when you leave and who you travel with. Just make sure you give your driver enough time to get to Ban Phe in time to catch the ferry to the island.