Koh Samui Transport
Private taxis are available on Koh Samui, though they're pretty hard to find. In Bangkok you can get a taxi driver to use a meter, which works out economically. On Samui they won't, no matter how much you insist. Typically they will charge you a set fare for a journey (for example Lamai to Chaweng). Just flag one down on the road.
It's impossible to avoid the watchful eye of a motorbike taxi driver. Anyone who looks like they might be thinking of getting a taxi in the near future will be called / whistled / beeped at. In fact anyone who walks down the street will be called / whistled / beeped at!
Sometimes annoying, but generally part of day-to-day Samui living that you will get used to. And really handy if you do actually want a lift somewhere. You can haggle with these guys and get a really cheap fare.
Ask for a helmet (they should carry a spare). Don't worry about luggage. Thai motorbike drivers are masters at balancing loads! If you want it fast and cheap, this is the way to go.
If you're not worried about speed, a far more popular way of getting around Koh Samui is by songtaew. This is basically a pickup truck with seats and a roof. The sides and back are open to the elements so if it rains, you'll get wet!
Price is negotiable and the more people there are in the van, the more likely you are to get a cheap price. During daylight hours there'll be one passing by every few minutes or so. At night they're pretty scarce.
Before you get on, make sure you tell the driver where you're going, as some go to different places. Typical routes are:
- Lamai - Chaweng - Lamai
- Lamai - Na Thon - Lamai
- Chaweng - Mae Nam (via Bo Phut) - Chaweng
- Chaweng - Mae Nam (via big Buddha) - Chaweng
- Chaweng - Na Thon - Chaweng
There are no schedules and if you're going (for example) from Lamai to Na Thon you may have to change at Chaweng.
With all these modes of transport on Ko Samui you should definitely agree a price first. If the driver doesn't give you the price you want - don't get angry .. just politely say no and wait for another vehicle.
If all else fails and you're in a rush, ask the owner / manager of your hotel. If it's a large organization they may run free lifts to certain areas. A smaller operation may have a car and will probably take you where you want to go for a fee.