Here you’ll find advice on how to get around Samui when exploring Samui’s wonderful interior, beaches, resorts, restaurants and attractions. From using your own flip-flop clad feet, to hiring scooters and jeeps, from going local-style in a songthaew to sitting pretty in the back of a taxi getting around Samui.
Getting around Samui by walking
Walking on the beach is the best way to explore the seafront resorts, as they often don’t appear as much from the road, but can be quite special from the beach. Although Samui is safe to explore by foot as crime is rare, the pavements are often uneven, so one needs to be surefooted and be aware of loose paving and broken drain covers. Hikers will enjoy the paths leading inland to the waterfalls and viewpoints, and these routes can be seen on the island maps. Remember to pack a disposable rain poncho as tropical showers can appear with little warning. It is also wise to pack sunscreen, a hat and water as the sun can be harsh when exploring on foot.
How to get around Samui by cycling
Samui Bicycle offers various bikes for rent and for sale www.samuibicycle.com. Many resorts have bicycles for hire, so enquire at yours. Remember that cycling can be an exhausting mode of transport in the tropical climate, so be aware and take in plenty of liquids.
How to get around Samui by Songthaews
In Thai, song means two and thaew means bench, hence the name of these covered red pick-up trucks with two benches at the back. They look quite festive with their vibrant painted sides and multi-coloured lights at night. Songthaews serve as the local bus service during daylight hours, travelling on fixed routes, but with no official stops; just flag them down, hop on and pay as you disembark. Fares range from 30 baht to 100 baht, with 50 baht being the average fare from Chaweng to Lamai, or Mae Nam to Tesco for instance, and 100 baht would get you to the other side of the island from Nathon Pier to Chaweng. Routes or destinations are clearly marked on the front and sides in English. At night, songthaews operate as private taxis leaving their fixed routes, and fares increase sharply so negotiate a rate before leaving.
How to get around Samui by Motorbike Taxis
Motorbike taxis operate at slightly higher fares than songthaews, but do not travel fixed routes so are a more flexible option. Again, it is best to negotiate a fare before getting on. The bright yellow or green vests that drivers wear with the word TAXI on them, make them easy to spot, and they usually carry a spare helmet for passengers, so ask for one for safety reasons.
How to get around Samui by Meter Taxis
Although they are called ‘taxi meter’, these yellow and red taxis don’t ever turn on the meter as in Bangkok, and work on a fixed fee. Rates are highly negotiable, so it is very important to determine the rate beforehand. Taxis are considerably more expensive on Samui than elsewhere in Thailand. A trip from Chaweng to Lamai would cost between 200 – 300 baht and the same from Mae Nam to the Chaweng Tesco. From the pier in Nathon to Chaweng would be approximately 400 – 600 baht.
How to get around Samui by Scooter
Automatic scooters are available for rent all over the island, from 120 – 250 baht per day, or as little as 2800 baht for a month. Riding a scooter is a great way to explore the island, but be warned, Samui has the highest rate of driving fatalities in the country. Always wear your helmet, watch out for other drivers, dogs and loose sand on the road. Mind you don’t end up joining so many others sporting a ‘Samui tattoo’ – a burn on the lower leg caused by the exhaust when disembarking.
Fuel is available all around the island at fuel stations or roadside kiosks selling petrol in used whiskey bottles. Petrol at these stands is more expensive, but convenient as you won’t travel more than a few hundred metres without seeing some for sale. There will be someone around any corner that can help repair punctures for 100 – 150 baht. Motorbikes seldom come with insurance, so you will be liable for any damages or repairs. Be sure to note any dents or scratches before you accept the bike.