The distance from Phuket to Samui is around 300 kilometers (186 miles), but because the resorts are located on two islands on opposite sides of the Malaka peninsula, in order to make it from one island to the next one it takes travel across both land and the sea. There are a few different ways to make the trip. Each of them is different and comes at different prices, times, and conveniences. Let’s go over the most popular options, examine their pros and cons, and then you can choose for yourself the trip that is right for you.
If you don’t want to waste your precious time on extensive travel, and money is not an obstacle for you, then you can travel by airplane to quickly get from one destination to the next. There is only one airline called Bangkok Airways, which regularly makes the trip between the islands.
A one-way ticket comes to about $100 per person. Which you might agree, is not cheap for such a short distance. The flight lasts 60 minutes. Low costing airlines from Phuket don’t exist because there is a monopoly on flights. For those who still want to be frugal on a flight, we recommend to fly to Samui through the capital of Bangkok. At the airline, Air Asia, there is a route that travels from Phuket to Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat. From the last city you can take public transport to Donsak pier, and there you can easy find a seat on a sailboat to Samui. They set out once every hour.
It is not the easiest route, but it is an interesting one. This trip will allow you to experience a few other cities in Thailand. This route is a fairly long one, the layover in Bangkok can take several hours. The cost for this trip is no more than 1000 baht less than the direct flight from Phuket to Samui. Plus it is a good idea to be somewhat proficient in English, this way you will be able to traverse any situation or to be able to ask any questions that come up to the locals.
For a budget-friendly trip a great option is the bus. This is the route most tourists take, even though the trip takes approximately 6 hours. The bus takes passengers straight to the pier which is about 3.5 hours before they sail another 1.5 hours to Samui on a ferry. All the buses take off in the morning, which means often times that it will take an extra day to complete the trip. Here is a video of the trip from Phuket airport to Samui: (insert video)
All of the buses leave from the bus station in Phuket Town and drop passengers off at the Donsak ferry docks. The direct-trip bus takes off at 9am and arrives around 2 in the afternoon at it’s final stop. During the trip there is one planned stop for 15-20 minutes. A ticket on these buses runs at about 450 baht, which includes the price for the boat ticket. The tickets can only be bought at ticket booths at the station, and they usually open at 7:30.
It is possible for all of the tickets to be sold out before you can get there. We recommend to buy tickets ahead of time using the service 12goAsia.
After you make it to the other side of the sailing part of your trip you will need to find a taxi or songteo to make it to your hotel. If you can’t seem to make the trip that way, or you are not able to get tickets, then you can still make it by going through neighboring provinces of Surat Thani. From the bus station in Phuket every hour from 7am to 5pm there are minivans that go that way. And at 8:00,10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 there are buses too. A ticket costs 200 baht. To make it to Surat Thani you will need to transfer to another bus in order to make it to the pier. The ticket for the bus and boat ticket comes to about 300 baht.
In Phuket there are several companies that organize trips to Samui. They own all of the bus routes and set up regular transfers in both directions.
- Phantip Travel – the cost of one trip is about 450 baht. From Phuket the departure times are 8am, 9am, and 10am. From Samui the times are 9:30 and 10:30am. You can buy the tickets in the company’s office at the address 11/4 Moo 3, Taveeradpakdee Rd, not far from Naton pier. They are also sold online at different travel agencies. The company offers a separate service that can get you all the way to your hotel in Samui. It will cost you 200 baht.
- Lomprayah – offers transfers for 750 baht. A bus will take you to the pier, and then you ride a speedy catamaran that takes you straight to the island. Bus companies leave from the main office in Phuket Town. Departure time is 10:00 and 16:45.
The most expensive option, but at the same time a very comfortable option from Phuket to Samui is the taxi. You can order a car when you fly in to the airport, or you can order them ahead of time online. Order stands are found near the exits of the airport where they will directly tell you the cost of a trip. As a rule, the prices are fixed and haggling will bring you to no avail.
If you choose to use resources on the internet, then your best option would be to use Kiwi.Taxi. They will meet you at the airport with a sign, lead you to the taxi and comfortably drive you to the pier. If you would like you can order a taxi straight to your hotel, and then they will take you to the pier, but this of course comes out to be more expensive.
The advantage to ordering a car on the internet is that you can choose for yourself what kind of car comes to get you. For example, it could be a minivan if you plan to travel with a group or large family. Also the company offers a carseat for children and other services. The cost for a taxi comes to about 5000-6000 baht.
If you take a taxi to the pier then you will need to buy a separate ticket for the boat ride (150 baht per person) and then head on to the next leg of the trip.
Get to the piers in the Seatran or Raja of Donsak area in Surat Thani. A ticket for a boat to Samui from Donsak costs 150 baht per person, car transport is 350 baht, bike transport 50 baht. The boats set out from the pier every hour: the boats at Seatran run from 6 in the morning to 7 in the evening, and in Raja they run from 5 to to 7.
So, as we have seen, there are definitely more than one way to travel from Phuket to Samui. From informational point of view it is good to consider ground transportation. If you don’t wish to waste time, then you can confidently buy a plane ticket. But for those who want to see the sea, it is definitely worth it try to set out on one of the boats.