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A Guide to Koh Samui
Know Before You Go
- You need an international driving permit. If you plan on hiring a car or motorbike, a license is required if you want to avoid getting a fine from the police.
- Make sure the meter is on. It's a common taxi scam in Koh Samui and the rest of Thailand for drivers to try to discuss the fare beforehand.
- Use mosquito repellent. Mosquitos on Koh Samui can carry diseases like Dengue Fever, so it's best to take the necessary precautions. Mosquitos are the most active at dawn and dusk, so make sure you cover up between these times as well.
- Don't stay on Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party. Accommodation prices shoot up during this period, instead, book your hotel on Koh Samui and take one of the speedboat shuttle services that run between the two islands all night long.
- Try out the island's different beaches. Lamai and Chaweng are Koh Samui's main beaches, but they can quickly become crowded especially during high season. If you want something more secluded, try Mae Nam Beach, Bophut Beach or Lipa Noi.
Getting Around Koh Samui
- Take a songthaew. These pickup trucks are the closest thing the island has to a bus system. It's also the cheapest way to get around with trips costing as little as 50 baht per person.
- Grab a taxi. Metered cabs are the most expensive public transport option, but the most direct. If you're on a tight budget, you can take the cheaper motorbike taxis if you don't have large pieces of luggage.
- Rent a motorbike or car. It's the most economical way to get around, with prices starting at THB 200 - 300 and petrol at THB 30 per litre. If you're travelling in a large group, it will make more sense to rent a car. Prices start at THB 800 per day, and you can find rental companies at the airport or in town.
When is The Best Time to Visit Koh Samui?
The best time to visit Koh Samui all depends on what you want to do.
If you plan on swimming and working on your tan, book your trip between December and April. The island has perfect weather during this period, and there is little chance of rain ruining your day at the beach.
For snorkelling, scuba diving or day trips to Angthong Marine Park, visit Koh Samui during March to May. These months are known for their excellent whale shark sightings, and water visibility.
For budget travellers, the best time to visit Koh Samui is during the rainy season. From October to November, you'll be able to find plenty deals on hotels and tours. April to June is another good option if you want better weather without the hefty price tag.
High season on Koh Samui is from December to January and July to August. If you're planning on visiting the island during these months, you'll need to book your holiday well in advance. The best hotels fill up fast, and rates skyrocket to meet the demand.
Airports in Koh Samui
Located 2 km from the city, Samui Airport is the seventh busiest airport in Thailand. It handles more than one million passengers each year and is a hub for the country's regional airline, Bangkok Airways.
Getting To and From Samui Airport
The cheapest way to get from the airport to your hotel is with a shared minivan transfer. You can book the service online in advance or at the transport counter in the arrivals area. But keep in mind, that the minivan will only depart once there are five or more passengers. A one way trip to Bangor will set you back THB 200.
If you don't want to wait around and have a bigger budget, you can get a private transfer to your hotel. This service can also be booked online or on arrival. A trip to the Bangor area costs THB 800 one way.
For those that prefer a bit more freedom, you can rent a car at the airport. There are five rental companies to choose from, and you can reserve your vehicle in advance or upon landing.