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Come sun, come rain… public transport on Koh Samui

Come sun, come rain… public transport on Koh Samui

To make the most of our stay on the island we decided to rent a motorbike.

Renting is a great way to escape horrendous taxi fares on Koh Samui.

Because on the island, there is no real public transport.

You will notice this, right after you have landed.


Airport Transfer Tourist Rip

At the airport, the only available means to get away are airport taxis or airport minibuses, which can be booked from the transportation counter at the airport.

Koh Samui Airport Transfer Counter by Dasza Traveler


The airport taxis have no meter, despite carrying the roof top sign ‘metered taxi’ and demanding fares that are somewhat difficult to justify.

A taxi ride to a hotel at Chaweng or Lamai – about 2-3 km away from the airport – will start at 400 Baht. The price is equivalent to a 30 km taxi ride in Bangkok! BTW gasoline costs are the same.

The airport ‘buses‘ are taxi vans with a similar price regime. They start at about 120 Baht per person (from airport to hotel).

 Here is the price table at the airport counter.

Koh Samui Taxi Airport Price Sign Dasza Traveler


Taxi Tragedy

Because taxis refuse to use their meters (island conspiracy), make sure you agree on a price before you get in.

The usual sight on Koh Samui: haggling with taxi drivers.

Thai Taxi on Koh Samui

In the end we did not take his ride due to wayward pricing.

Taxis would have way more clients, if they would use meters. Maybe. Or are tourists to blame, paying whatever taxi driver’s demand? Which, in all fairness, is way cheaper than what you would pay at home for a taxi ride.


Shared Taxi Pick Ups

15 years ago I remember that locals would hop on and off shared pick up taxis. We used those as well, paying the driver with 5 Baht coins. Times have changed.

The pick up taxis are still around but no by now, locals have switched to cars and motorbikes. Taxis are reserved for tourists who will have to pay about 50 Baht per person to sit at the back of a pick up for a 2 km ride.

A comfortable metered taxi ride in Bangkok will be 35 Baht for the same distance.

Tourists using pick up taxis will not get to see much of Koh Samui because pick ups mainly run along the tourist paths of  Chaweng and Lamai road.

Thai Taxi on Koh Samui


We had to get a ride with those suitcases after we found ourselves a nice beach front hotel room.

Holding on tight to our bags during the shaky ride at the back of the pick up.

Taxi ride on Koh Samui Thai Taxi on Koh Samui


We were a funny sight. Tourists taking pictures of us (from their rented car).

Thai Taxi on Koh Samui



To be more independent (and save a lot of money) many tourists decide to rent a car starting from 400 Baht per day or a motorbike for around 150-200 Baht per day.

Renting quads, Harleys  and other weird vehicles is easy.

Car renting on Koh Samui


We were not even asked to present a driver’s license for a motorbike. (Which we have!)

After reading this warning about a jet-ski rental that didn’t end so well on Koh Samui, we made sure to take pictures of our bike at the rental, so as not to get into any tragic ending disputes.

Renting on Koh Samui


Anyhow, filling up your bike is as easy as renting it.

There are petrol stations.

Motorbike renting on Koh Samui


And private gasoline stands. Which are cheaper and more frequent.

Motorbike renting on Koh Samui Motorbike renting on Koh Samui


Wearing a helmet is mandatory but not greatly reinforced.

The sign has missed its purpose. Locals prefer to invest in different kind of accessories.

Motorbike renting on Koh Samui Motorbike renting on Koh Samui


It might look slightly ridiculous but we like to have and additional layer under the helmet. The sun won’t burn your neck and the old helmets have a tendency to smell rotten.

The sunglasses? At 60 km/h insects have a blinding impact.

Motorbike renting on Koh Samui


Sometimes motorbikes have their own designated parking lots but mostly, they are parked wherever there is space.

Motorbike renting on Koh Samui


There can be a lot of signs. Good for us, usually they will feature English subtitles.

Road signs Koh Samui


This one is important!

Road signs Koh Samui


Doing a motorbike tour around Koh Samui, on its main roads circling the island, or driving around its interior hills is super fun. You get to see remote temples and great viewpoints. 

Sunset Koh Samui


To do one circle all around the island was about 50 km and took us half a day.

Map of Koh Samui


With plenty of picture stops…

Flower on Koh Samui


I think this one is probably free to rent.

Car wreck Koh Samui


More on transport.

Transport on Koh Samui


Riding along the ocean, away from the Big Buddha temple.

Motorbike renting on Koh Samui


It is wise to bear in mind that in Thailand the rainy season starts on the 1st of June.

That was more or less when we arrived on Koh Samui.

The first two days were a pouring disaster.

During the rainy season rain comes in buckets. Vanishing as quickly as it has arrived.

Rainy season on Koh Samui


Pink body condoms are a pretty (good) investment.

Motorbike renting on Koh Samui Motorbike renting on Koh Samui



The other way to see more of the island is by booking various day tours organised by travel agents and hotels. Sadly, some still feature animal riding and animal shows.  

Koh Samui Animal Torture Tour for Tourists


Monkeys prefer to be free.

Motorbike renting on Koh Samui


And to enjoy the beautiful sunset over Koh Samui.

Sunset Koh Samui


More on our rental and a list of 25 attractions on Koh Samui we rode to with our bike, right here!

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