How To Get From Surat Thani To Koh Samui Easily

Catching this songteaw was our tenth leg of transport from Langkawi to Koh Samui

This is a detailed guide including lots of photos describing how we personally got to Koh Samui after arriving at Surat Thani train station.

Surat Thani. The train station is situated fifteen kilometers from Surat Thani town so, in reality, the train station is in the middle of nowhere. This can makes things a little confusing for anyone wondering how to get to Koh Samui from Surat Thani. Although it involves a bit of jumping from trains, to buses, to ferries, getting from Surat Thani train station to Koh Samui isn't all that difficult.

We arrived at the train station at 9:30pm. We quickly decided that trying to find transport at that time would not be practical. Plus the Surat Thani to Koh Samui ferry would not be running at that time anyway. That pretty much meant we had no choice but to spend the night either near the train station or in town. We stayed at the Queen Hotel a few hundred meters from the train station. It is very basic and very cheap at 350b. That is really all there is to say about it. It was a place to sleep.

The local bus from Surat Thani train station to Seatran Ferry Bus Station in Surat Thani

Leg 1 - Local Bus from Surat Thani train station to Seatran Ferry Bus Terminal

At 5:30am, we got up and walked back to the train station as there are local buses that go into Surat Thani town. After some initial confusion about which bus to take and where we wanted to go we eventually found our way onto what we were fairly sure was the correct bus. The bus trip took a little over 30 minutes and took us into Surat Thani town at a cost of 20 Baht each. We had asked the bus driver to drop us off at a ferry company and he helpfully dropped us right at the door off at the Seatran Ferry Bus Terminal.

Note that if you are going from Surat Thani airport to Koh Samui rather than from the train station there are apparently buses into Surat Thani for around 100 Baht. We haven't actually been to Surat Thani airport so double check this if its important for you. No doubt there are also taxis and tuk tuks available that can take you either into Surat Thani or directly to the Koh Samui ferry.

Inside the local bus from the train station to Seatran bus station

I would also like to point out that there are a few different companies that offer a ferry service from Surat Thani to Koh Samui. Most "tour companies" from Surat Thani (or vice versa) will try to sell you a package deal to get from Surat Thani to Koh Samui. They may seem good value but the smaller ferries they send you on are often hideously over crowded with people and their baggage! Boats jammed with huge numbers of smiling, scantily clad tourists look fun but they're often uncomfortable due to overcrowding and the safety of these boats is questionable.

Seatrean Ferry Bus Station and Ferry Timetable

Once we got to the Seatran Ferry Bus Terminal in Surat Thani we could see why the local bus driver dropped us off here. This is the ferry he would have chosen to go to Koh Samui. Thank you Mr Bus Driver!

Seatran Ferry Bus from their bus station in Surat Thani to the Donsak Pier

Leg 2 - Seatran Bus from their terminal in Surat Thani to Donsak Pier

The Seatran Ferry company were very professional when dealing with us and other people buying joint bus / ferry tickets to Koh Samui. A lot of local Thai people were buying tickets from here which always helps reassure you that you've made the right decision.

We were to be on the next bus from their terminal to their pier at Donsak. 7:30am. This cost us 230 Baht each including the ferry ticket to Koh Samui. It would take 90 minutes from the bus station to the pier. The ride was very pleasant with a lot of countryside to look at outside the window. Very relaxing at this time of the morning.

Moving pictures on the bus to the pier

Leg 3 - Seatran ferry from Donsak Pier, Surat Thani to Nathon Pier, Koh Samui

Ahhh the Seatran Ferry, how I loved seeing you for the first time! The Seatran ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Samui was wonderfully large and sturdy looking and carried both passengers and vehicles safely across the ocean. Seriously, if you are heading to Koh Samui from Surat Thani, take this ferry!

Seatran Ferry from Donsak Pier in Surat Thani to Koh Samui

The ferry was pristine inside, had large reclining seats to lay back in, televisions with Thai love comedy shows playing, very very clean toilets, a cafeteria selling everything you could ever want at Thai prices and you could even get a foot massage while you relax!

Inside the Seatran Ferry

Seatran Ferry provides a foot massage service

Seatran Ferry also has a very cheap cafe selling everything you could imagine

Yes, I really loved catching the Seatran Ferry. The ferry was so big that it didn't feel like we were on the ocean. So clean, so nice, so gooood! From Donsak Pier to Nathon Pier took about 90 minutes in total.

Leg 4 - Songteaw from Nathon Pier, Koh Samui to Pantai Chaweng, Koh Samui

We were relieved to finally reach Koh Samui. Catching a songteaw from the pier was our tenth leg of transport from Langkawi in Malaysia all the way up to Koh Samui in Thailand. When you arrive at the pier on Samui walk all the way out the front to the main road. Then go up to a songteaw (ute/pickup truck with benches for seating in the back) driver and say that you are going to Chaweng (or wherever you are going). They will demand a ridiculous price. You counter offer 60 Baht. They tell you to go away and point you towards the local bus which is another Songteaw that waits until its mostly full then heads off to do a lap of the island picking up and dropping off people as it goes. If you really want dropped off right at your hotel then feel free to negotiate with the first Songteaw driver. The local bus songteaw will tell you when you reach Chaweng as this is where most tourists get off.

Yay!
Link to Seatran Ferry Timetable (all written in Thai)

Update: I have further information on how to travel from Surat Thani to Koh Samui...

From the Surat Thani train station you can also take a taxi to either Surat Thani town or to Donsak Pier. The taxi stand to the left of the train station has a sign with locations and prices marked on it. At the time of writing these were...

Surat Thani Train Station to Surat Thani town = 230 Baht one way
Surat Thani Train Station to Donsak Pier = 1200 Baht one way

Hope this helps!

Looking For a Surat Thani Hotel?

We stayed at the Queen Hotel. It is near the train station so you can stagger in there late at night without too much trouble. It is extremely basic, really just a place to sleep until the following morning. Click here to read more about the Queen Hotel

What About Koh Samui Hotels?

We have stayed in two places on Samui. Both have been pretty damn good.

Tango Beach Resort is moderately fancy. It is literally right on the beach, the buffet breakfast is lovely and the room was great. We stayed there over Christmas and new years eve so we were happy to splash out a little so we could swim in the ocean before breakfast on Christmas morning.
Click here to read our full review
Click here to read what others are saying about Tango Beach Resort

We found Meewaya Chaweng House while staying at Tango Beach Resort simply by walking around going into places. The rooms are essentially small apartments and given how nice they are the prices are extremely reasonable. The only downside is that Meewaya Chaweng seems to have a negligible online presence so you may have to physically go in there, which is what we did. Read our full review of Meewaya Chaweng House





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33 comments

  1. Steve 2 March, 2012 at 00:34 Reply

    Thanks – really helpful info! We’ll be heading from Surat Thani airport to Ko Samui in April and I will definitely be using your advice when getting the ferry to K.S.! I guess our plan now is to catch a bus to the Seatran ferry terminal in Surat Thani from Surat Thani airport!

    Thanks again,

    Steve

  2. jacquiohalloran 6 March, 2012 at 23:02 Reply

    hi guys!
    Great blog and info! We are currently in Koh Samui and plan to go to Langkawi – can you help with info as how to get there from here and are there any reasonably priced beach bungalows there?
    jacqui

  3. Caroline 2 May, 2012 at 09:39 Reply

    Thanks for the informative and interesting website. can you advise please if it is possible to buy a combined bus/ferry ticket from Koh Samui to Surat Thani train station online? I see you took Seatran ferry? Would you recommend this over Lomprayah ferries? Thanks

    • Tanya 8 May, 2012 at 09:09 Reply

      Hi Caroline,

      Lomprayah are just different to Seatran. Seatran is a car ferry also. Lomprayah is more like a catamaran. Both are just as good as each other.
      If you look at Lomprayah website, you can actually book a ticket from Koh Samui all the way to Surat Thani city. It is about 450 Baht.
      If I were you, I would just ask at a travel agent on Koh Samui. But request Lomprayah.

      Hope that helped, Tanya

  4. Caroline 8 May, 2012 at 10:15 Reply

    Thank you so much, just one more question, why Lomprayah when you used Seatran, looks like you are having the adventure of a lifetime :)

    • Tanya 8 May, 2012 at 10:27 Reply

      Hi Caroline,
      I actually confused myself too.

      Lomprayah (the catamaran) does go from Surat Thani to Koh Samui and back again…

      BUT

      We did prefer the Seatran Ferry as it was such a big ferry and very comfortable and there were many locals also taking it.

      If you look at Seatran Ferry’s Schedule page (translate into English if need be) – click here – you can see how often the ferry departs from Donsak Pier on Koh Samui.

      Either book a ticket on the Seatran Ferry from a travel agent on Koh Samui or take a songteaw (taxi) from your hotel to Donsak Pier and then buy a ticket from the counter. Explain that you want to get to the train station. The Seatran Bus that picks you up from the ferry at Surat Thani “may” take you all the way to the train station or “may” drop you off at the “Seatran Office” in town. You would then need to catch a bus or a songteaw (taxi) to the train station.

      Phew, I hope that helped!

  5. Saatvik 30 August, 2012 at 18:50 Reply

    I am heading to Koh Samui tomorrow and I was browsing sites for information about travel from Surat Thani station to Koh Samui. This blog cleared up a lot of things for me…

    Thanks for this wonderful blog Tanya!!!

  6. lala 7 November, 2012 at 01:23 Reply

    tanya,
    is seatran selling a bus only ticket to donsak pier?
    i would later taka raja ferry directly to koh phangan.
    tq.

  7. Amanda 25 November, 2012 at 00:47 Reply

    Tanya/Andrew
    thanks for such a detailed post.Im heading to KS in Jan with my best friend.Just want suggestions which train to take from BKK to Surat thani? where bookings can be done? and what would probably be the best area to stay @KS
    thanks again
    amanda

    • Tanya 5 December, 2012 at 19:14 Reply

      Hi Amanda, Thanks for reading :) I would suggest you take a night train from Bangkok to Suratthani. They leave at around 6:30pm or 7:30pm and arrive in Suratthani at 6:30am or 7:30am. Not only do you get to experience a night train, but you will then get a full day in Bangkok and then a full day to get to Koh Samui easily.
      You could book online on the Thai Railway Site or, if I were you, just book the day before at any of the helpful travel agents in Bangkok or at the train station itself. We don’t really have a preferred area of Koh Samui. It is busy all the way around. Just get a place that is either on the beach or very close to the beach and it has a pool. Have a great time!

  8. Sandeep 14 May, 2013 at 15:57 Reply

    Hi Tanya,

    Planning to travel from Chaweng to Surat Thani during June. Have to reach Surat Thani by 3 pm. So what time should we start from Chaweng. How long will the journey take? Am guessing the easiest way is to get to Nathon pier from Chaweng, then seatran ferry to Donsak and then to Surat Thani in a bus. Correct me if am wrong. Hope you read this :)

    Great writing btw. Very informative :)

    • Tanya 24 May, 2013 at 18:53 Reply

      Hi Sandeep, because you have to get to Surat Thani by a specific time, you are best to get to Donsak Pier by 10:00am at the latest. The ferry would take an hour, then catch a taxi from the pier to Surat Thani. If you rely on public bus, you may get held up along the way and miss your deadline. Have a great time :)

  9. Rahul 11 June, 2013 at 11:54 Reply

    Dear Andrew and Tanya!

    Hope you guys are well and having a great time in Australia!

    I am on my second leg of my Thailand tour and this time i am travelling south to the islands. How far is the airport from the Seatran bus/ferry office in Surat Thani? By reading this blog, I figured and calculated approx. what time I must leave Koh Samui in order to catch the 1610 hrs flight from Surat Thani to Bangkok. The only hurdle is knowing how far the airport is from the Seatran offices in Surat Thani city.

    Your blogs about your travels and adventures are very informative and exciting!

    I wish you well and happy travels!

    • Tanya 20 June, 2013 at 21:35 Reply

      Hi Rahul, We’ve never caught the plane from Surat Thani. I recommend you ask for advice at TripAdvisor. Good luck and have fun :)

  10. jc @ jeff 1 December, 2013 at 23:30 Reply

    Hello Andrew and Tanya,
    Appreciate the writing and sharing the experience.
    Yes, it is in 2012 though and I still find the info useful and helpful.
    Me and my buddies are preparing to ride to Koh Samui from Malaysia and I am surfing all the info I could get from the internet.
    Yeah, this info does help and I wish you both all the best.
    Cheers
    jc @ jeff

  11. Stephanie 15 July, 2014 at 20:52 Reply

    Hello Andrew and Tanya, im doing this route January next year (along time to go i know :( ) but i really need your help with something. We have already booked a hotel in Bangkok on 16th January until the 19th (2015). Then we need to travel down to Koh Samui. We will be starting this journey on the 19th from Bangkok. Further into this year we will want to book a hotel in Koh Samui, and i wanted to ask if you could tell me roughly which date me and my friend will be arriving Koh Samui? will it be the 20th or the 21st? so we can have a better idea when to book our hotel in Koh Samui. I loved reading your blog, very helpful! We will definitely use your advice with travelling from Surat Thanki to Koh Samui. We just need a better dates of when we wil be in Koh Samui so we can have a better idea to when we will be at the other islands. As we will have to arrive in Koh Phangan on the 1st Febuary 2015. Really hope you can help us with this, as it will help us alot!!!

  12. Nomads At Heart 17 September, 2014 at 18:35 Reply

    Hey, thanks for this. We will be heading to the island in about 3 weeks and the information you put here is going to be really useful. Do you have any advice about places to see on the island? :)

  13. alynn 19 September, 2014 at 23:31 Reply

    hi Tanya
    tq for the very informative. i wanna ask somethg. if my friends and i were to take taxi from surat thani airport directly to seatrans ferry,how much would it be per person?
    TQ!

  14. zack 8 November, 2014 at 06:01 Reply

    hai Tanya, thank you for the very good article.. i would like to ask if we are from the Surat Thani airport do the seatran provide a direct bus service from the airport to the ferry station and do u have any idea how much it will costs?

  15. Alex 18 December, 2014 at 19:41 Reply

    Hi Tanya,

    I have to catch my flight from Suratthani to BKK departing on 10:55am. I suppose to take Raja ferry from Koh Phangan on 5 am and arriving to Donsak 7:30. It seems I have enough time to get to the airport by taxi, but is there any cheaper option to be on time for my flight? Any scheduled buses or songthaews?
    Thank you!

  16. Cigi thoennes 29 June, 2015 at 06:15 Reply

    Hello,

    I havw question about traveling from koh samui to BKK. Its it bettet to take a VIP bus or a train. In the train is better to 1St class or 2nd class
    I am a family of five any recommendations.
    Please help. I know about the ferry to leave the island.lomprayah ferry. You can only buy the train tickets in the station not online. While the bus tickets you can buy online.
    Any help will be perfect.

    • Tanya 12 July, 2015 at 11:29 Reply

      Hi there, we find train travel a lot more relaxing and enjoyable than bus travel as you can get up and walk around a lot more. First class trains in Thailand generally are two berthed bunks that are separate from everyone else and quite cold due to the air conditioning. We prefer second class as you still get air conditioning and the bunks / berths are more open. People watching inside and outside of the train :) You can also buy food easily!

      You can purchase the train tickets online through this site. Once you get to Surat Thani, purchase the ferry tickets through Lomprayah Ferry directly. Don’t worry, you won’t miss out on the ferry tickets :)

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