As the distant is the same (each being one town away from the other) the fare should be the same.
I've posted this before and it's a little long but here's a guide to Samui songtheaws
Here's a good guide to how they work, as explained by a local thai.
During daytime, from 6am-6pm, there's the regular cars which starts 2 at the same time about every 15 mins from Choeng Mon then the split in Chaweng one going the Maenam route, the other Lamai and both end at the same place at the Nathon pier.
There is also another car which drives from Choeng Mon -> Big Buddha - Bang Rak -> Maenam -> Nathon. But this one only leaves every 1 hour or so. There's also one which goes this route from Nathon -> Bang Rak -> Choeng Mon, also about once very hour.
The drivers will let you know which way they're going and also ask you exactly where you're going so that they'll let you know if you can go with them or not.
The reason they can't drive too fast is that they're not allowed to drive so fast that they starts to overtake the car which left 15 mins before. If they do that, they'll be fined. So they're forced to keep their pace.
They are however allowed to go on any private hire at their discretion. For example, if along the way, they meet a group of farangs who wants to be taken to waterfall and have him wait for them to take them back to hotel, the driver will most likely go for it since they'll get instant lump of money.
These regular songthaews stop after 6pm or so and after that it'll be much more expensive.
In Lamai on the one-way road, often, songthaews may be taking a detour to this road, so you can really never be sure if one is going to Nathon or Chaweng. There's no sign on the cars which say where they're going. If you look carefully they all say Nathon-Lamai-Chaweng. The only way to know is to ask them where they're going.
Price structure (for locals, but if after you've asked which way they're going, and simply confidently hop in, then when you go off, nonchalantly give them the EXACT amount, it'll work for you too)
[I'm not really supposed to be telling you this... again...]
Within the same area, for example Chaweng, it's 20bt. From one are to another adjacent area, such as Chaweng-Maenam or Chaweng-Lamai, it's 40bt. It's never more than 60bt. So from Chaweng-Nathon or even Choeng Mon-Nathon, it's 60bt.
Prices aren't really based on distance. For example, I've gone on all the way from near Al's Resort Laem Son at the north of Chaweng lagoon, all the way to BigC and it's only 20bt. But if I take one from BigC to Maenam, which is shorter distance, it's gonna cost 40bt, because it's considered to be from one area to another
Another local explained pricing as such:
It was explained to me like this -
If you get onto a Songthaew and ask the price - he./she will respond as if a taxi (300, 400 500 baht.) He/she will happily assume that you want private hire.
If you get on a stationary songthaw and it waits - it's a bus. (20 40 60 baht)
If you get on a stationary songthaw and he/she asks where you want to go - private hire again.
If you stop a songthaew and say nothing - it's a bus. Ring the bell when you want to stop.
When you alight - give a reasonable amount of money. No cheap charlie - but give the exact amount. 20 40 60 baht. 80 baht max. Then just walk away. The driver will not waste time or call the police if you have given a reasonable fare.
Do not expect change. Get the small notes before you board the thing.
If you give 20 baht for a trip from Nathon to Chaweng - you deserve everything and anything that happens to you. What comes around, gets around.
Treat them right and you should have no problems.Edited: 04 July 2014, 09:09
Wow, thank you for your detailed reply. It sounds like quite an experience. My friends will be hiring scooters, which I don't want to do, I've never ridden on one before. So I'll be pretty much on my one for transport, if I don't feel safe to get a lift with them.
We've chosen accommodation at Silver Beach, will it be easy to get a songthaew to Chaweng or Lamai from here? It's difficult to gauge what is within walking distance, as it doesn't look like you can walk along the beach. Some reviews have said it's difficult to walk along the main road here.
Your friends are taking a huge risk IMHO hiring scooters, a quick search on TA or the internet will show how dangerous it can be for novice riders on Samui, but to each their own. Samui has a very high accident and death rate for scooter riders,
Silver beach is roughly half way between Lamai and Chaweng and most people would not walk it. Firstly it's a very hilly walk, secondly it's not a safe walk (there's no sidewalks) and even at nights it's pretty warm so it would be very tiring.
Catching a songtheaw from Silver beach will be pretty easy, they will be passing by regularly, both day and evening, the same applies going back to your hotel. They are a fantastic service, just flag one down outside your hotel and hop on.
Enjoy the experience.
silver beach is easy walk to LAMAI
flat and pretty much a straight walk
alternatively go into beach republic[or close by] and then walk along the beach to lamai
songtaews either way will be easy
I'd conceed it's flat to Lamai but say it's hilly to Chaweng.
With no sidewalks I'd not be game to walk it, that road is pretty busy with scooters, cars and trucks. At night it's down right dangerous to walk along the side of the road.Edited: 06 July 2014, 04:10
Thanks for the advice. We've decided against Silver beach, and are now trying choose between Lamai South and Mae Nam. Both options are within walking distance of shops and restuarants along the beach. Is it safe to walk along the beach alone at night?
The beaches usually have plenty of people enjoying them at night. I think they would be safe.
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