Getting there & away
It can be cheaper and less stressful to get bus/ferry combination tickets that take you all the way to (and from) Ko Samui.
The government-bus fares from Bangkok’s Southern bus terminal include the cost of the ferry. These are 900/700/500B for VIP/1st class/2nd class. Most private buses from Bangkok charge around 450B for the same journey and include the ferry fare. From Th Khao San in Bangkok it’s possible to get bus/ferry combination tickets for as little as 280B, but service is substandard and theft occurs more frequently than on the more expensive buses. If an agency on Th Khao San claims to be able to get you to Samui for less, it is almost certainly a scam as no profit can be made at such low prices. The Surat Thani travel agency Phantip Travel (0 7742 1221) has offices in Na Thon.
From Na Thon, air-con buses fan out over Thailand and there are at least three daily departures for any given destination, the first one being at 7.30am.
You can buy train/bus/ferry tickets straight through to Samui from Bangkok. Buying these combination tickets saves you some hassle, though you really don’t save much money – especially if you include getting to the train station.
Bangkok Airways (0 7742 2512) flies about 16 times daily between Ko Samui and Bangkok. The flight takes about one hour and 20 minutes. Other destinations from Samui include Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. During high season flights may be booked out six weeks in advance, so plan accordingly. If Samui flights are full, you might try flying to Surat Thani first, then taking a boat. Delays are also common, so plan accordingly for connecting flights.
The Samui airport departure tax is 500B for domestic and international flights. The attractive open-air airport has a nice bar, restaurant, money-exchange outlet and hotel-reservations counter.
There are almost 10 daily departures between Samui and Ko Pha-Ngan. These leave either from the Na Thong, Mae Nam or Bang Rak piers and take from 20 minutes to one hour (130B to 250B). On Ko Pha-Ngan there are two piers (Hat Rin and Thong Sala), with the boats departing from Hat Bang Rak servicing Hat Rin, and the other boats Thong Sala. From the same piers, there are also around six daily departures between Samui and Ko Tao. These take 1¼ to 2½ hours and cost 345B to 550B.
Car ferries from Don Sak and Khanom land at Thong Yang, about 10km south of Na Thon.