Koh Samui is just 25 kilometres long and 21 kilometres wide with a ring road linking its beaches and other attractions.
You can rent a car and drive around in little over an hour – or travel by scooter, taxi, songthaew, bus or boat. Whatever you decide to do and no matter what your budget you’re sure to find an easy way of getting around in Koh Samui
The most cost-effective way of getting around is by foot. Many villas in Koh Samui have restaurants and beaches located just a short walk away. If you’re staying near to one of the larger beaches you will never be far from shops, bars, restaurants and local entertainment. Walking and hiking are both excellent ways of exploring and seeing all the island has to offer. Take care at night however as streetlights are few and far between.
Samui boasts an excellent public transport network of songthaews. These are the most popular form of transport in Koh Samui with dozens of them circling the island on fixed routes all day. They are basically pick-up trucks with bench seats with enough room for about 10 travellers. There are no fixed stops but you can flag one down almost anywhere and ring the bell or bang on the roof to get off. During the evenings many songthaews operate as private taxis, so it’s necessary to negotiate a fare before getting aboard. Expect fares to start at around 20 baht for a short trip – this is paid at the end of the journey. This is the cheapest way of getting around the island next to walking, an unexpected way of making friends and it can be the most interesting way of seeing the sights.
There are many yellow, metered, air-conditioned taxis available for hire in Koh Samui however many drivers are not keen to turn on their metres so prices can be very high. Taxis can be found in all towns and circling the ring road but before you jump in it is recommended to negotiate rates in advance. If you’re feeling adventurous then try a scooter taxi. These are cheaper than a traditional taxi and easy when travelling alone.
Scooters and Car Hire
Scooters are the cheapest option and are the most common form on transport in Koh Samui and readily available across the island. Expect to pay around 200 Baht per day for a bike and around 800 Baht for a car. This form of transport may be popular however visitors should be aware that Koh Samui has many steep, sandy roads and some of the highest accident rates in the country. Honda Dreams are the most common bikes available to rent however Yamaha Nouvo’s are recommended as they are fully automatic and therefore much easier to ride. Foreigners riding bikes without safety helmets will be fined around 500 baht which must be paid immediately at a nearby police station. It is also important to know in advance that insurance does not exist for motorbikes therefore riders are liable for any danger and it’s almost always the foreigner’s fault. Car hire ‘bargains’ sometimes come without insurance and are therefore a risky proposition. Any established company such as Budget or Avis will include comprehensive insurance in the rental.
Bicycles and Boats
Samui is a hilly area with plenty of off road areas to explore. If you are physically fit then bikes are a perfect mode of travel in Koh Samui. Good quality mountain bikes are available for hire around most places. Boats are a great way to explore the island’s waters or to visit one of the many nearby islands such as the Angthong Marine park. Boat trips and tours are easily affordable and are available to book in most towns and beaches in Koh Samui.