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An in-depth, A to Z guide of how to get from the adventure of Koh Samui to the serenity of Koh Tao in beautiful Thailand.
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For the 345km (214 mile) trip from Phuket to Koh Samui, you have just one option - a combined bus and ferry journey. This type of trip, offered by several different providers, is a great way to travel swiftly from Phuket to Koh Samui without any interruption.
Two of Thailand’s most popular sea-soaked destinations, traveling directly to Koh Samui from Phuket allows you to get a big fix of beaches, watersports and outdoor adventures without having to overnight en-route - or buy multiple tickets for multiple journeys.
For travelers of many descriptions, both Koh Samui and Phuket are very popular, and offer lots of the excitement and adventure which many associate with Thailand. They offer lots of ocean adventuring along with parties, drinks deals and other hefty servings of entertainment.
But not all Thai islands are made exactly the same. Once you arrive in Koh Samui from Phuket, you’ll notice that Koh Samui is smaller and a little more laid-back.
Its travelers are also typically a little different to those in Phuket. In general, it attracts young budget backpackers who want to party all night and be beach bums by day. But in spite of these differences, both islands have something for everyone.
Your journey to Koh Samui from Phuket will usually be made up of two sections - a bus trip from central Phuket to the eastern mainland point of Suratthani, then a ferry ride from Suratthani to Koh Samui.
There are a couple of exceptions to this itinerary, which are outlined below.
If you follow the itinerary outlined above, the first leg of your journey from Phuket to Koh Samui will be a comfortable bus trip. The views on this part of the trip, though nothing special, are pretty pleasant, with faraway mountains, palm-lined roads and small roadside stores and settlements.
As this journey ends, you’ll be greeted by Suratthani’s busy pier. Though a popular jumping-off point for many tourists seeking island sun, it’s still pretty rudimentary, which brings with it a certain quaint charm.
You’ll then enjoy a small ferry ride from this pier to Koh Samui. A short journey lasting between 45 and 60 minutes, it’s a relatively calm trip. You’ll pass small islands and smaller boats as you reach one of Thailand’s most beautiful destinations.
Whichever pier you arrive at in Koh Samui, you’ll again be greeted by a humble port of small proportions, with rickety and rustic fixtures and fittings.
As mentioned earlier, there are two slight exceptions to this main itinerary as described above: you can book a journey which begins at Phuket Airport (for those who want to reach Koh Samui without spending time in Phuket), or book a journey which offers a small bus ride to the centre of Koh Samui from its pier.
From the moment you arrive in Koh Samui, you’ll fall in love with its atmosphere, which is somehow both relaxing and engaging. With small nearby islands, waterfalls, a fishing village and plenty of partying, Koh Samui combines quiet beaches with endless adventure.
The fastest way to get to Koh Samui from Phuket is by Tourist Bus and Ferry from Raja Ferry. The entire journey takes 6.5 hours and costs $21. This option takes you from Phuket Bus Terminal 2 to Lipa Noi Pier.
The cheapest way to get to Koh Samui from Phuket is by Standard Bus and Ferry, offered by two different providers: Seatran Ferry and Phantip Travel. Of these two options, the Phantip Travel journey is the best pick. This trip from Phuket to Koh Samui takes 7.5 hours and costs $19, and takes you from Phuket Bus Terminal 2 to Koh Samui Bus Terminal.
The most popular way to get to Koh Samui from Phuket is by Standard Bus and Ferry from Lomprayah. This option, which is a great pick for travelers who like a little more luxury, costs $38 and takes 7 hours and 15 minutes. If you choose this route, you depart from the Lomprayah office in Phuket, and arrive at Nathon Pier in Koh Samui.
A combined bus and ferry ticket from Phuket to Koh Samui removes the stress and fuss of needing to buy multiple tickets for your trip. With one ticket taking you all the way to Koh Samui from Phuket, your trip is way more relaxing and simple.
All ferry trips on this journey are pretty similar. They all offer big boats with both outdoor and indoor seating areas, perfect for getting great views as you make your way towards the idyllic island of Koh Samui and its tempting shores.
Different buses, however, offer different levels of comfort and luxury. All buses have comfortable seats and AC, but some offer decadent perks such as snacks, drinks and TVs.
But whichever journey you take from Phuket to Koh Samui, a combined bus and ferry ticket is a fantastic way to make your entire trip incredibly easy and worry-free. If you want to experience two of Thailand’s greatest islands without any stress or strain, it’s the best way to do it.
There are around 9 departures to Koh Samui from Phuket each day.