There are two ways to get from Phuket to Koh Samui: by plane or ferry &bus. The fastest land voyage takes at least six hours, while aerial less than one hour. However, you should also consider weather conditions while planning the route.
Taking a Plane to Koh Samui
There is only Bangkok Airlines that carry out a non-stop flight from Phuket to Samui (and return). The flight time is around one hour, however, it varies on time taken during the rainy season. Also, the ticket price starts from $100, and is relatively high for such a short flight.
How Often Do Flights Leave Phuket
There are three flights per day from Phuket to Samui, starting from 9.30 am, and four return flights from 8 am, 2.30 pm, 5.30 pm and 7 pm. Even though the flight is domestic, I highly recommend arriving at the airport over 1.5 hours before flights, as long queues along with fair walking distance between check-in desks can confuse even the avid traveler on his first time in Samui or Phuket airports. Moreover, Bangkok Airlines provides a free service in front of the gate so you can spend time enjoying free biscuits and juices before boarding.
Taking a Ferry & Bus to Koh Samui
There are plenty of companies that carry out transfers from Phuket to Samui. My husband and I tried the Lomprayah company. Despite hearing negative feedback about this kind of transfer, the route was entirely acceptable. The trip lasted for 6.5 hours with two changes. Firstly, my husband and I needed to get to the bus station, where the two-level bus was already waiting to bring us to the Koh Phangan pier. This next part of the route was the longest and lasted for 5.5 hours. Luckily, our bus was half empty, so we were sound asleep until the midway stop in the local cafe. On the pier, we found a fast and modern catamaran, instead of the estimated slow ferry, and were delivered to Nathon Pier (Samui) within one hour. Frankly, we did not regret choosing the Lomprayah company.
When does the Ferry Leave Phuket?
There are two cruises daily: at 10 am and at 12.30 pm, with arrival times at 16.45 pm and 18.45 pm respectively. Sometimes they may arrive earlier than scheduled (we have been in Samui twenty minutes before on several occasions).
We were more than satisfied with that ferry & bus trip, as it was cheap, safe, and relatively comfortable. Perhaps, the terrestrial route is preferable if traveling on a tighter budget, or during the rainy season for those who suffer from fear of bumpy flying!