Covered red pick-up trucks called songthaews serve as local buses during daylight hours. Each songthaew’s destination is clearly marked in English on the front and sides of the vehicle. Songthaews follow fixed routes around the island but there are no official stops. Just flag down the first one you see, and confirm that the driver’s going in your direction at a price you agree with. Fares range between 30 and 100 baht. At night songthaews also operate as private taxis and can be chartered to go anywhere, but fares can increase sharply. Should you wish to charter a vehicle late at night from Chaweng or Lamai to outlying areas such as Maenam, the fare could run as high as 500 baht. If there are already people on board however, it should still be operating as a bus and be correspondingly cheaper.
Renting your own vehicle is an excellent way to get around as it allows you to explore the many small roads and tracks that lead off into the jungle-clad interior or down to one of the islands many little coves and deserted beaches. Prices vary from 800-2,000 baht according to type and condition of the vehicle. Local operators generally rent manual shift Suzuki jeeps, while the major car rental companies like Avis and Budget now rent both manual and automatic sedans and air-conditioned cars and jeeps. Smaller companies will ask you to leave your passport as a guarantee. Make sure that full insurance is included, or you will be held responsible for the potentially ruinous expense of any damage to the car in an accident and compensation for others involved.Motorbike Rentals
Most visitors to Samui rent 100cc four gear Honda Dreams and Waves, for between 120-250 baht per day. Be careful that you don’t get a “Samui tattoo” - burning your right calf on the exhaust when getting off the bike. Fully automatic bikes are slightly more expensive (200-300 baht) but are much easier to handle. Don’t forget that Samui has the highest rate of driving fatalities in the kingdom, and motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than other road users. So try and stay sober and be especially careful of sand on the road. Motorbikes do not come insured, so you will be responsible for anything that happens in an accident. Fuel is available around the island at modern petrol stations or from roadside stands. You can spot these by the pumps attached to 55-gallon oil drums; the price is higher than in stations though. If you get a flat tyre, don’t panic. You are seldom more than 100 metres from someone who can repair it or knows a neighbour who can. This takes about 30 minutes and costs about 50-100 baht - more if your whole inner tube needs to be replaced or you had to wake someone in the middle of the night. Large off-road dirt motorbikes can also be rented around the island. Prices are around 500 baht per day.Taxis
Samui has dozens of yellow metred taxis for those who prefer to travel in air-conditioned comfort. They can be found at the airport and cruising the island’s major roads throughout the day and night. The downside is that it’s impossible to get drivers to actually turn on their metres (because they are set to Bangkok ratios) which means prices can be high on Samui. Try to negotiate a reasonable fare before departing but expect to pay much more than you would elsewhere in Thailand.Boat Travel
Inexpensive passenger and car ferries run to the mainland every hour from Nathon Pier. These are generally safe and comfortable, taking about an hour and a half to reach Donsak Port, which is one hour from Suratthani and its airport by road. Other ferries go from two piers on Big Buddha Beach to Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, while the high speed catamaran alternates between Big Buddha and Mae Nam Temple pier (tickets include a hotel pick up so it doesn’t make too much difference). Speedboats to the monthly Full Moon Party leave and return on the hour from Big Buddha and Bophut Beaches.