Koh Samui is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Thailand and thus a place which many look for every year. However, it can be a challenge to figure out the easiest and cheapest way from Northern Thailand to this popular holiday island.
In this guide we will explain how you can save money on your trip down to the holiday paradise.
Easiest way from northern Thailand to Koh Samui
The immediate easiest mode of transport from northern Thailand to Koh Samui are direct flights from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui. However, this is extremely expensive and typically costs upwards of 290 USD per person. Thus, it is rarely an option for backpackers and travellers travelling around Thailand who would like their money to go far.
There also daily flights departing from Bangkok’s Don Muaeng airport down to Koh Samui Airport; the trip takes about an hour and it’s always a pleasure to come out from the small, cozy airport.
The airport is located just a 15-minute drive from Samui’s most popular holiday area, Chaweng Beach. You can get relatively quickly from northern Thailand to the beaches on Samui.
But if you’re on a strict budget, it might not be the best route.
The price for a flight from Bangkok can be booked for as little as 100 USD, but (and this is a big But!) because Koh Samui is very popular, prices rise steeply in the high season. Thus, it can quickly cost 220 USD or more to get from Chiang Mai via Bangkok to Koh Samui and that’s a very high price compared to how cheap a holiday destination Thailand is generally.
However, there is a cheaper alternative that does not require a night bus down through Thailand.
Fly to Surat Thani airport, one of the many domestic airports on the mainland, which is only about one hour’s drive to the ferry landing, where you can sail across to Koh Samui.
Surat Thani airport is much cheaper to fly to and from than Koh Samui airport, so there may be many cheap flights to this small airport. The benefit here is that there are also direct flights from Chiang Mai to Surat Thani airport. If you book well in advance flights can be found below 60 USD.
The transport on to Koh Samui can be booked online. It is a combined minibus and ferry ticket, and these tickets only cost about 20 USD.
So, it is a route that takes several hours more (and includes a ferry crossing), but you potentially save several hundreds dollars. Money that can then be used to upgrade the hotel, or on delicious Thai meals.