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How To Get From Bangkok To Koh Samet In 2023

Koh Samet is one of the best, and least known, Thai islands that offer those unforgettable white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.

Getting to Koh Samet from Bangkok can be difficult as there’s not a ton of information online. I recently did this journey myself so I know exactly how to do it.

In this post, I’ll tell you exactly how to get to Koh Samet from Bangkok by car, bus or ferry and I include the prices, important information and timetables.

How To Get To Koh Samet From Bangkok

To get from Bangkok to Koh Samet, you need to take a bus/car from Bangkok to Ban Phe and from there you need to take a ferry/speedboat to Koh Samet.

It sounds a bit confusing but I actually did this journey myself recently and it’s really easy.

Here’s a quick summary of the steps:

  • Take the bus from the Eastern Bus Terminal in Bangkok to Nuan Thip Pier in Ban Phe.
  • Take the ferry from Ban Phe to Nadan Pier in Koh Samet.
  • Walk/get a taxi to your hotel.
Map showing the route from Bangkok to Koh Samet.
Map showing the route from Bangkok to Koh Samet.

The best place to book your transport from Bangkok to Koh Samet is on 12Go Asia

It offers fantastic prices, is super easy to use and is really reliable. I’ve used it several times whilst traveling across Thailand and have always been really impressed with the service.

How Many Hours Is It From Bangkok To Koh Samet?

If you travel by taxi, it will take between 2.5 and 3 hours to get from Bangkok to Koh Samet (including the ferry).

If you travel by bus then it will take a little bit longer. The travel time is between 3.5 and 4 hours (including the ferry).

It can sometimes take a little bit longer if the traffic is bad which is not uncommon in Bangkok.

Although taking a taxi is faster than the bus, it is much more expensive. The bus is very cheap so it is the most cost effective option.

Here’s an overview of the options:

  • By bus: 3.5 to 4 hours, $13
  • By taxi: 2.5 to 3 hours, $118

I personally took the bus as I wanted to save money and found it to be comfortable, clean and pretty reliable.

Distance From Bangkok To Koh Samet

The distance between Bangkok and Koh Samet is 168 km (104 miles) however this distance included both land and sea.

It normally takes between 2.5 and 4 hours to get from Bangkok to Koh Samet as there is no direct route.

You have to take a bus/car to Ban Phe (near Rayong) and then a ferry over to Koh Samet.

Does Koh Samet Have An Airport?

You cannot fly from Bangkok to Koh Samet because Koh Samet doesn’t have an airport.

The closest airport to Koh Samet is U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport which is on the mainland near Pattaya. This means, even if you flew there, you’d still need to take the ferry over to Koh Samet.

This airport is 60 km (37 miles) from Ban Phe which takes around 50 minutes by car.

Map showing distance from U-Tapao Airport to Koh Samet.
Map showing distance from U-Tapao Airport to Koh Samet.

Another issue is that currently there are no direct flights from Bangkok to U-Tapao anyway (not enough demand) so even if you wanted to try this option, you’d be unable to.

Bangkok To Koh Samet By Car

Key things to know about taking a taxi from Bangkok to Koh Samet.
Key things to know about taking a taxi from Bangkok to Koh Samet.

The easiest and most comfortable way to get to Koh Samet from Bangkok is by car. 

It’s also super convenient as the taxi will pick you up directly from your hotel so you don’t have to bother lugging your suitcase around to the bus station.

Taking a taxi will cost significantly more than taking the bus but it’s still pretty cheap compared to other countries especially as Koh Samet isn’t that far from Bangkok.

This can be more cost effective if you’re traveling in a large group as you can easily split the cost of the taxi.

Remember that you’ll be taking the taxi from Bangkok to Ban Phe pier and from there you’ll need to take the ferry over to Koh Samet.

The entire journey, including the taxi ride and the ferry, takes between 2.5 and 3 hours

It can sometimes take up to 4 hours if you leave during peak hours as Bangkok’s traffic can be ridiculous, let me tell you!!

You can pre-book your taxi on 12Go Asia which is, by far, the easiest way to book travel in Thailand.

Whilst you can book things on the day, the language barrier can be difficult and I’ve found that a lot of drivers in Thailand often try to overcharge you.

Book Your Taxi To Koh Samet Here

How Much Is A Taxi From Bangkok To Koh Samet?

It costs approximately $118 to take a taxi from Bangkok to Koh Samet. This generally includes the cost of the taxi itself and the cost of the ferry ticket.

Example taxi ticket from 12Go Asia.
Example taxi ticket from 12Go Asia.

As I said, if you’re traveling in a group this could be a really cost effective way to travel and it’s way more comfortable and quicker than taking the bus.

As an example, if you’re in a group of 3, that’s just $39 each which isn’t too bad given all that’s included.

It might be a little bit cheaper if you use the Grab app instead (Asia’s version of Uber).

Bus From Bangkok To Koh Samet

Key things to know about taking the bus from Bangkok to Koh Samet.
Key things to know about taking the bus from Bangkok to Koh Samet.

The most cost effective way to get from Bangkok to Koh Samet is by taking a bus to the Ban Phe ferry terminal.

This is actually how I got to Koh Samet when I visited recently and it was fine. The buses are really comfortable and all have air con so I was able to just sit back and enjoy the views.

The buses leave from the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) in Bangkok. This station is located just a 2-minute walk from the Ekkamai BTS station.

Here’s a quick overview of the journey:

  • Depart from Eastern Bus Terminal and drive to Ban Phe ferry terminal.
  • Take ferry from Ban Phe to Nadan Pier, Koh Samet.

The entire journey from Bangkok to Koh Samet including the bus and the ferry takes between 3.5 and 4 hours.

The whole journey by bus (including the ferry) costs around $13 per person.

Example bus ticket from Bangkok to Koh Samet with 12Go Asia.
Example bus ticket from Bangkok to Koh Samet with 12Go Asia.

You can book your ticket on 12Go Asia which is my favorite place to book travel within Thailand. It offers incredible prices and makes booking transport super easy.

I actually lived in Thailand for several months and always used 12Go Asia to get around.

I took this specific bus myself and found the journey to be really comfortable and easy.

Book Your Bus & Ferry Ticket Here

Bangkok To Koh Samet Bus Timetable

The bus from Bangkok to Koh Samet has 6 departures each day between 8am and 12pm. 

Here’s the exact timetable:

  • 8am – 12pm (4hr journey time)
  • 8:30am – 12pm (3.5hr journey time)
  • 9am – 1pm (4hr journey time)
  • 9:30am – 1pm (3.5hr journey time)
  • 10am – 2pm (4hr journey time)
  • 12pm – 4pm (4hr journey time) 

If you’ll be leaving Bangkok in the afternoon/evening then you’ll have to pay a lot more

Not only will you probably have to take a taxi to Ban Phe, the ferry also stops running after 6PM meaning you’ll have to take a very costly speedboat over to Koh Samet (more on that later).

Ferry To Koh Samet 

Key things to know about taking the ferry to Koh Samet.
Key things to know about taking the ferry to Koh Samet.

As there’s no airport on Koh Samet, there’s really no other way to get there other than by ferry or speedboat.

The ferry is the cheaper option however the speedboat will get you there in half the time.

The ferry departs from the Nuan Thip Pier in Ban Phe, just outside of Rayong and arrives into the Nadan Pier on Koh Samet.

The ferry ride lasts for 45 minutes and it can be a bit rough in stormy or windy conditions.

When I took the ferry recently, it was so windy and I ended up with hair blowing all over my face for 45 minutes. I literally looked like I’d been dragged through a bush when I got off.

The ferry is open (i.e. there’s no indoor area) so you’ll be open to the elements meaning if it’s raining, you’ll get wet, and if it’s windy you’ll feel it.

Image from the ferry over to Koh Samet.
Image from the ferry over to Koh Samet.

The ferries depart once an hour from 7am until 6pm.

If you’ll be arriving outside of these times then you won’t be able to use the ferry and you’ll have to take the speedboat instead.

You’ll probably want to avoid this if you can as the speedboat is much more expensive than the ferry.

If you book your bus ticket/taxi ride using 12Go Asia, it usually includes the ferry ride within the price so you won’t have to pay any extra (double check before booking). 

If you make your own way there then the ferry ticket will cost 70 baht ($2) which is pretty cheap.

Although the ferries tend to depart once an hour, you might find that they sometimes wait for a minimum number of people to get on (usually during low season). 

This happened when I visited but we only waited around 10 minutes before we departed.

If you haven’t pre-booked your ticket then you can purchase the ticket either at the ticket counter or as you board the boat.

Speedboat To Koh Samet

Key things to know about taking a speedboat to Koh Samet.
Key things to know about taking a speedboat to Koh Samet.

The ferries stop running at 6pm so if you’ll be arriving into Ban Phe after this time then you’ll have to take a speedboat over to Koh Samet.

The speedboats operate 24 hours a day so no matter what time you arrive, they will always be available to take you over to the island.

The good news is that the speedboat will get you over to Koh Samet much faster than the ferries as it only takes around 20 minutes.

The bad news is that they cost a lot more than the ferry and there isn’t really a set price so you’ll probably have to haggle.

In general, the later you arrive, the more expensive it will be.

The speedboats can cost anywhere between 200 to 500 baht per person ($5.80 – $14.50) if you don’t mind sharing with other passengers.

A private speedboat will cost a lot more with quotes often being well over 1,000 baht ($29), even sometimes up to 2,000 baht ($58).

One advantage of the speedboats over the public ferries is that they will drop you off anywhere on the island whereas the ferries only go to Nadan Pier.

Arriving Into Koh Samet

A photo I took of the ogress at Nadan Pier in Koh Samet.
A photo I took of the ogress at Nadan Pier in Koh Samet.

If you take the public ferry then you’ll arrive at the main pier on the island, Nadan Pier.

You’ll know when you’re there as you’ll be greeted by a giant topless ogress rising out from the water. It’s a pretty cool sight but I was very confused when I first saw it!

This pier lies on the north end of the island.

Map showing the location of Nadan Pier in Koh Samet.
Map showing the location of Nadan Pier in Koh Samet.

Getting around Koh Samet is pretty simple as there is just a single main road that runs from the north to the south of the island. 

Most of Koh Samet’s hotels will be within walking distance from the pier as it’s just a 10-minute walk to the center of town and the main beach.

When I arrived, it took me about 5 minutes to walk to my Airbnb which was located along the main road which leads down to the beach.

If your hotel is a bit too far to walk or you just don’t want to lug your suitcase around then you’ll find that there will usually be lots of taxis hanging around the pier who will be happy to take you to your hotel.

Prices for these taxis vary depending on where your hotel is but expect to pay between 50 and 200 baht ($1.50 – $5.80).

Koh Samet Entrance Fee

One other thing to note is that Koh Samet is part of the Khao Laem Ya-Mu Koh Samet National Park which means everyone arriving onto the island needs to pay an entrance fee.

As soon as you exit the pier, you’ll have to walk past a security guard who you need to pay. 

Currently the entrance fee is just 200 baht ($6) each and you only have to pay it once when you arrive. Children pay 100 baht ($3).


And that’s it!

Whilst there are many other popular Thai islands like Koh Samui, they are all very far from Bangkok and they’re a lot busier.

Koh Samet has an undiscovered, tranquil feel that you just can’t find anywhere else.

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Megan Jones is a travel expert and founder of Traveller's Elixir who has been travelling the world full time since 2021. Megan's travel tips been featured in numerous media outlets including Metro, Timeout, Thrillist and more.