Transporte Surat Thani
As it is the largest province in southern Thailand and the primary launching point for boats to Koh Samui, Surat Thani is well serviced by air, bus, and rail. There are numerous ways of getting to Surat Thani and a well organized system of transfers to get you from one mode of transportation to the next in order to get you to your ultimate destination.
Trains leave Bangkok's Hua Lumphong Railway Station 10 times daily from 12 p.m. until 10.50 p.m. The trip takes approximately 12-13 hours. Ask for the train from Bangkok to Phun Phin, the closest station to Surat Thani City, located 13km away. A bus service between the station and the town is available as are tuk tuks and songtaews that service the ferry piers. For further details, please call 1690, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020 or visit www.railway.co.th
Surat Thani can be most conveniently reached by car from Bangkok by taking Highway No. 4 through Petchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces to Chumphon Province and then taking Highway No. 41 and Highway No. 401 directly to Surat Thani City.
Air-conditioned busses depart from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal to Surat Thani Province everyday. For more information call the southern Bus Terminal tel: 0 2434 5557-8 or visit www.transport.co.th
From Surat Thani there are three bus stations from which busses depart: Talaat Kaset 1 has bus service for travel within Surat Thani province; Talaat Kaset 2: has busses and minivans for destinations farther away, including Krabi, Phuket, and Hat Yai; and the New Station is for air-conditioned buses to Bangkok.
Thai Airways and Thai AirAsia have daily flights connecting Bangkok and Surat Thani. The flight time is approximately 70 minutes. Many consider the budget flight on AirAsia to Surat Thani a money saving alternative to more expensive flights directly to Koh Samui, though visitors should be aware that with transfers from Surat Thani airport to the pier and the boat ride to Koh Samui, the entire journey can take upwards of a full day.
The most convenient (and most dangerous) way to get around Surat Thani is via motorcycle taxi. Agree on the fare before your ride, and if possible, wear a helmet.
Riding aboard one of the small, blue local songtaews (covered pickup trucks with seats in the rear) is a safer means of transportation and while they follow fixed routes, songtaews will allow you to get on an off anywhere along the way.
Rental Car or motorbike:
For more freedom to explore it is possible to rent a car or motorbike from various places in Surat Thani town. Be aware that only Commercial First Class Insurance provides full coverage on rental cars (as opposed to limited personal or third party only insurance). Most international car rental agencies will offer this insurance (some only for those with a valid international driver’s license) while local companies may or may not. You may wish to request a copy of their insurance policy and ensure that it states "For Commercial Use". Regardless, inspect rental vehicles prior to rental and drive with caution, particularly as traffic in Thailand can be quite confusing, especially the habit of Thai motorcycles drivers to drive on the wrong side of the road.
For around 200 to 300 baht per day you can hire your own motorbike, which will typically require you to leave your passport as a deposit. Be sure to inspect bikes prior to rental and drive with extreme caution as rental motorbikes are not normally insured and accidents are frequent. Helmets are required by Thai law.