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The best way to get around on Ko Samui is to rent a motorbike.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Thailand > Southern > Ko Samui

Ko Samui Getting around

  
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As on many islands in Thailand, small motorbikes are available for rental. Compared to other nearby islands, Samui's road systems is very developed and there are plenty of taxis cruising about, although it's a challenge to get them to use their meters.

Taxi

The Ko Samui Taxi Service is a public taxi service. The drivers, however, are very reluctant to use their meters (unlike in Bangkok), and, especially on popular beaches or entry points to the island, tend to ask foreigners much more than normal fare. Some, say on Na Thon pier, will even show you official-looking papers with "fixed" prices like 600-800 baht for a 25-30 km trip to Chaweng or Lamai beach - this is not true, and once they know you aware of that, it's usually possible to bargain (for this distance, you should bargain to at least 400, or even better 300 baht for all car, which is still higher than Bangkok metered taxi price). On the popular beaches it may be impossible at all to get a reasonable fare sometimes - if so, just walk around to the some area which is more quiet and far away from luxurious hotels.

By bus

Pickup trucks/public passenger pick-up vehicles (songthaews) also serve as group taxis. Hail one on any major road with a wave or yell, negotiate a fare, and sit down on the bench in the back. Fares are around 10 Baht per person for local trips, more for the longer ones (have to negotiate, as the price not only depends on the distance, but also on how many fares (if any) the driver expects to get while on that route. And of course, the driver can expect more (sometimes a few times more) from a foreigner than from a local too - so, if think the price offered is too high considering all mentioned above, bargain!

In December 2009, the price across the island (25-30 km) from Nathon pier to Chaweng or Lamai was even posted near the pier as a 60 baht.

Nevertheless, drivers meeting tourists routinely charge them 100 baht/person for a fully packed songthaew. If arriving not too late and to the popular destinations like these, it's wise to wait, or to walk around Na Thon a bit (possibly to eat too, as cheaper than on the beaches) - after the initial tourist wave comes off, there will be other (local mostly) passengers, and the drivers, seeing you do not worry much about time but want the right price, finally will agree and give you a ride, when there's enough people to your destination.

Motorbike

Motorbikes can be rented virtually anywhere on Ko Samui for between 120-700 Baht per day depending on the size. It is recommended though, to hire only from a reputable company as there have been reports of scams; that is where some places deliberately steal bikes that they have rented out. If hiring a bike doesn’t appeal to you then there are motorbike-taxis willing to take you around for a small fee. They may want you to leave your passport for collateral. Don't do it. Also motorbike don't have insurance,if they said they've insurance, it's not true. If something happens, you can't claim for it.

Bicycles

Bicycles can be hired very cheaply on Ko Samui, one shouldn’t cost any more than a couple of US dollars per day.





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