The island of Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s best known and loved destinations, situated a little way off the eastern coast of the mainland, in the Gulf of Thailand. Filled with beautiful beaches and coconut groves, and a mountainous rainforest interior, Samui really does have tons of stunning scenery and is popular with visitors from all over the world, whether backpackers or luxury travelers. Koh Samui does have its own airport, or for more choices of flights you can head to the mainland and the Surat Thani International Airport. There are lots of ways to travel from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport and we detail them all below.

Surat Thani International Airport
Surat Thani International Airport is the tenth busiest airport in Thailand and it’s also home to the Royal Thai Air Force. © SIHASAKPRACHUM / Shutterstock.com

Options for Travel from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport

When your visit to Koh Samui has come to end and you want to venture out and explore more of Thailand, there are lots of options for getting around. You can fly directly out of Samui International Airport or you can travel back to the mainland first for a better choice of transport options to get you around Southeast Asia. From Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport, you will first have to take a ferry but what you do after that will depend on your budget and timescale. There are buses, vans, taxis, and combinations of all three, including direct transfer services or those that stop in multiple places, and prices range from the very affordable to the expensive end.

Why Go to Surat Thani Airport?

Koh Samui Airport
Koh Samui Airport

Considering that Koh Samui has its own airport, why would you want or need to travel to Surat Thani Airport instead? Well, Koh Samui’s airport, Samui International Airport is owned and operated by Bangkok Airways so this airline has the monopoly on flights to and from Samui, and the number of flights leaving every day is fairly limited compared to other airports in the region. You can fly from here to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Hong Kong, Krabi, Pattaya U-Tapao, Phuket and Singapore with Bangkok Airways, plus there is also a flight to Phnom Penh with Cambodia Airways.

Surat Thani Airport Opens Up More Popular Routes

To open up your choices for flights, travel from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport as there are more airlines arriving and departing here, with multiple choices for flights to either of Bangkok’s airports, Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, as well as a flight to Chiang Mai (great if you’re heading to the north of Thailand), plus a flight to Kuala Lumpur.

You may also want to go from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport to open up additional transport options. You can get buses from the airport to other cities in Thailand, for example, so traveling from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport is not quite as silly as it might first sound!

Ferry and Bus from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport

Phantip bus and Seatran ferry
Phantip bus and Seatran ferry

As you would probably expect, the cheapest way to travel from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport is by ferry and bus. You can save even more money by traveling independently, i.e. buy a ferry ticket to the mainland and then catch a public bus. The problem with this is that it adds time and inconvenience, and won’t save you a lot more money. There are combination tickets available online, booking through the travel website, 12Go, so you get a good price on a combined ferry and bus ticket anyway, and it saves you the hassle of trying to find the right bus.

From Nathon Pier Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport with Phantip Travel

Nathon PierSurat Thani AirportTravel TimePrice
08:0011:453 h 45 m470 THB
10:0013:453 h 45 m470 THB
12:0015:453 h 45 m470 THB
14:0017:453 h 45 m470 THB

If you book through 12Go, you will see multiple options for the aforementioned combined tickets with Phantip. Phantip is a large and respected Thai transport company using the Seatran ferry service from Koh Samui to Donsak Pier, near Surat Thani. There are four departures per day, at 8am, 10am, 12pm and 2pm and all of these take an advertised 3 hours and 45 minutes to go from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport. Because these are combined, or all-inclusive tickets, you pay one price which includes the ferry and a bus from the pier to the airport. All connections are guaranteed when booking through 12Go as well, which means if there is a delay with the ferry, you will still have the bus waiting for you on the mainland for the second leg of the journey to the airport.

Phantip Travel bus
Phantip Travel bus

From Koh Samui Hotel to Surat Thani Airport with Phantip Travel

Koh Samui HotelSurat Thani AirportTravel TimePrice
06:3011:455 h 15 m619 THB
08:3013:455 h 15 m619 THB
10:3015:455 h 15 m619 THB
12:3017:455 h 15 m619 THB

There is also an additional option with Phantip, and that includes a Koh Samui hotel pickup. This option does add to the cost, but it offers travelers the ultimate convenience, being picked up right at the door to your hotel and then not having to worry about anything else for the entire journey from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport. The downside is that this does add a lot to the overall journey time, depending on when you get picked up from your hotel as the van transfer service will most likely stop at several different hotels, picking up multiple people. You can opt for this service four times in a day, to coincide with the Seatran ferries, with advertised hotel pickup times at 6:30am, 8:30am, 10:30am and 12:30pm and the total journey time to Surat Thani Airport is advertised as being 5 hours and 15 minutes.

Nathon Pier Koh Samui
Nathon Pier Koh Samui is where you board the Seatran Ferry

Despite some additional journey time, this is still a very convenient way to travel if you don’t mind an hour or so of potential waiting around. The other point to note with this service is that they do not go to absolutely every hotel as some are outside of the pickup area. You would therefore need to check on this before booking.

Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport by Ferry and Van

Traveling by ferry and bus will save you a few dollars, but if you want to get to Surat Thani Airport faster than the above options, take a look at the ferry and van combined tickets. There are multiple companies to choose from when traveling this way, so this makes it easier to fit in with your own schedule as there are departures throughout the morning and early afternoon. Another advantage of having multiple companies is that there are more options for ferry departure points so you’re not restricted to the Seatran Pier at Nathon. This could make it easier for travelers as you can choose whichever pier is closest to where you are staying.

From Koh Samui Nathon Pier to Surat Thani Airport with Lomprayah

Lomprayah Speedboats
Lomprayah Speedboats in Surat Thani © Miew S / Shutterstock.com

The fastest service when it comes to ferry and van from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport is with Lomprayah (another well known and respected Thai transport company). Their service is the fastest because you travel by speedboat rather than ferry, into Surat Thani Town, and then transfer onto a van for the journey to the airport. This service departs Nathon Pier at 8:30am and arrives at Surat Thani Airport at 11:30, taking just 3 hours to complete the journey. With speed comes cost though – this is the most expensive option when looking at vans or buses but it is bookable through 12Go for convenience.

Cheaper options with Raja Ferry and Seatran

Raja Ferry
Raja Ferry travels between Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and Donsak Pier, near Surat Thani © OlegD / Shutterstock.com

Cheaper combined tickets are very readily available too, if you want to save your money for something else. There are ferries with Raja Ferry and Seatran, and they do sell combined tickets that have all connections guaranteed with the van portion of the journey operated by Raja Ferry or Seatran themselves, not a third party. Total journey times from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport are either 4 or 5 hours, depending on which ferry it is. Seatran has departures at 6am, 8am, 10am, 12pm and 2pm and they all take 4 hours in total, departing out of Nathon.

Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport Ferry Timetable

Koh SamuiAirportTravel TimeCompanyPrice
05:0009:004 hRaja Ferry510 THB
06:0010:004 hSeatran Ferry500 THB
08:0012:004 hSeatran Ferry500 THB
09:0013:004 hRaja Ferry510 THB
10:0014:004 hSeatran Ferry500 THB
11:0015:004 hRaja Ferry510 THB
12:0016:004 hSeatran Ferry500 THB
14:0018:004 hSeatran Ferry500 THB
14:0019:005 hRaja Ferry510 THB

Raja Ferry has departures at 5am, 9am, 11am and 2pm, all departing from Lipa Noi Pier and all taking 5 hours, except for the 9am departures which is scheduled as 4 hours.

Seatran Ferry Koh Samui
Seatran car ferry in Nathon Pier Koh Samui © BZ Travel / Shutterstock.com

The cost for all of these ferry and van combined tickets are the same, regardless of whether you choose Seatran or Raja Ferry, and regardless of departure time. In conclusion, passengers can buy their ferry and bus tickets separately and potentially save a few dollars, but with many combined tickets available at affordable prices, the best way to travel from Koh Samui to Surat Thani Airport is to buy a combined ticket that includes the ferry and the transfer, whether that’s by bus or van. Bus transfers are a little cheaper but with vans you have more choice for departure times and departure points.

How long is the ferry from Koh Samui to Surat Thani?

The Ferry part of the trip is about 1.5 hours. But it also involves about 1.5 hour by road. Lomprayah is a little faster with a smaller boat and since they have a pier almost in Surat Thani Town.

Surat Thani Airport to Koh Samui Distance ?

The distance from Surat Thani Airport to Koh Samui is 128 km (80 miles), with 66 km (41 miles) of that being over land and the remainder being made up by water.

Koh Samui to Surat Thani Distance ?

The distance between Koh Samui Nathon Pier and Surat Thani is 97 km (60 miles). The trip involves ferry to Donsak Pier 33 km (21 miles) and road 64 km (40 miles).

Koh Samui to Surat Thani Train Station travel options?

The best way to travel from Koh Samui to Surat Train Station is to buy a combined ticket that includes the ferry ticket and the transfer, whether that’s by bus or van. Ticket prices for Bus services are a little cheaper but with vans you have more choice for departure times and departure points.

Which are the car ferry options from Koh Samui to Surat Thani ?

Seatran Ferry and Raya Ferry operate car ferries with hourly departure between 05.00 until 18.00. From their piers in Donsak in direction of Koh Samui. Both companies cost about the same and are scheduled to take 1.5 hours.

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