Koh Samui Airport has recently opened a whole new modern terminal and closed the old thatched roof area. It is still in fitting with the surrounding areas and has much more to offer the visitor now, with an arcade of shops, better security and a greater emphasis on customer service. The rest of the area is very pleasant with palm trees at the entrance and lush green tropical gardens.
There are two separate entrances to Samui airport, one for Departures and one for Arrivals. Departures entrance is located closer to the Chaweng side of the airport while the Arrivals is further north towards Big Buddha Beach. Do not worry if you take the wrong entrance as they are only five minutes apart, so you will not miss your flight.
Bangkok Airways own Koh Samui Airport and as such they are the largest operator to and from the island. Until recently no other airline was flying here, with somewhat monopolistic pricing. Though there are budget prices to Samui, it remains one of the more expensive routes in Thailand.
In the past few years though, Thai Airways and Berjaya Air have managed to offer services to the island. Bangkok Airways has flights to Koh Samui airport from Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya and Bangkok with at least a dozen flights daily from Suvarnabhumi. They also fly to and from Hong Kong and Singapore. Air Asia used to offer daily flights to Penang in Malaysia, but these have since ceased. Thai Airways operate two daily flights to and from Bangkok and Berjaya Air service the island from Kuala Lumpur.
The airport on Koh Samui is still relatively small compared to others in Thailand, but retains a unique quality of knowing you are somewhere special when you land here. When you land you are often greeted with a necklace of orchids to let you know you have a tropical wonderland. Before you leave Samui take some time to wonder down Park Avenue at the airport where you can find a street full of great shops and filling restaurants to for last minute gifts or to fill you up on the way home.
There are a few transport options from Samui airport, and it’s easy enough to get to your destination. Unfortunately a taxi mafia tends to prevail on the island and most arrivals are faced with a relatively expensive set fee (about 500 baht) to any destination on the island, without the meter.
The most expensive option is to take a private taxi, but there are also minivans – where the price will depend on the number of people travelling, the cheapest option is to walk out of the airport and take a songthaew if you can find one, or balance yourself and your luggage on the back of a motorbike taxi.