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There are two ways to arrive onto Samui – flight or ferry.
The airport is owned and operated by Bangkok Airways. There are no budget / cut priced airlines flying in and out of Samui.
There are flights several times a day to and from Bangkok BKK airport with Bangkok Airways. Bangkok Airways has an agreement with many full priced airlines so passengers might be able to check in for all flights if arriving / departing for an international flight at BKK. Bangkok Airways also have flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur which are code shared with some of the national carriers, whilst popular destinations like Phuket and Chiang Mai, as well as several other destinations in Thailand have regular flights.
Thai Air have flights to and from Bangkok. FireFly Airlines flight to Subang Airport at Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Singapore also has flights via SilkAir.
These airlines are not always the cheapest, so if you are looking for cheaper options, look at the Ferry Port options further below.
When arriving, as you come out of baggage relaim you walk into the area where there are desks for many of the popular hotels and the ferries to Koh Phangan or Koh Tao. hotels have desks, there are also some desks offering shared taxi and ferries. You follow the signs for taxis / meet & greet / pick up zone where there is a Taxis, private transfer or shared minivans counter, it is a 1-2 min walk.. You will find a fixed fee for taxis from the taxi counter [click on this link for prices], or its where you meet your prearranged hotel or transfer with Samui Island Explorer, or join one of the shared minivans that will head to a destination once the van is full, which is the cheapest option.
When departing Samui just arrange a taxi or private transfer.
Chaweng / Choeng Mon / Bophut is only 15mins from the Airport, Lomprayah ferry port 15mins, whilst Seatran or Had Rin about 10mins. Lamai is about 25mins from the Airport, and Lipa Noi about 30-40mins.
There are several ferry ports around Samui, that are served by several ferry services. The journey times vary depending on the ferry used. The popular ferries are
Had Rin Queen
Going to or from Bangkok the options are to get a range of buses or day / overnight train to Surat Thani, then get to the ferry piers. Ferries normally run from piers around Dansak. Air Asia and Nok Air also offer a flight / bus / ferry combo-ticket to or from Don Maung Airport in Bangkok.
Lomprayah offer a 1-stop combo bus / ferry service from Bangkok to Ko Samui. The departure point is from Bangkok Khao San Road to Ko Samui Maenam Pier and takes around 12 hours, via Chumphon Pier boarding the high speed catamaran ferry. The journey from Bangkok to Chumphon Pier takes around 8 hours and the ferry journey from Chumphon Pier to Ko Samui Maenam Pier is 4 hours. Lomprayah then offer a shared shuttle bus to the various hotels around the island. This service can work out for travellers who have concern about the connecting services or the price of tickets. 1) http://www.lomprayah.com/ or 2) http://www.busonlineticket.co.th/ (A more user friendly booking portal at the same price)
As most passengers will have already cleared immigration, passengers just get off the ferry, are meet by their pre arranged transfer with someone like Samui Island Explorer, arrange with one of the taxi drivers who stand around as foot passengers get off the ferry, or opt for one of the cheaper shared minivans that will take passengers to a particular location once the van is full.
Getting to the ferry ports is easy to do by taxi or private transfer.