If you are contemplating self-drive hire on Koh Samui think again, as there are different fun ways of getting around the island using public transport.
Koh Samui is small, especially when compared to other islands such as Phuket, so getting around is normally hassle free provided you plan ahead.
It is as simple as deciding on what mode of transport du jour you think will be the most convenient, or maybe whichever comes first, but…don’t expect anything like London transport!
Songtaews are burgundy coloured open-sided pick-up trucks with a bench seat on either side; just climb in the back and watch your head. An overhead rail makes it easier to hang on if ever the driver picks up speed.
These trucks drive around the island and will stop anywhere to pick-up passengers.
In busy shopping areas such as Chaweng, they often hoot their horn to attract your attention and exhibit kerb-crawling behaviour in the process.
Fares vary, you will need to say where you want to go and bargain a little especially, if you are intending to take it to a neighbouring area. Short distances within Chaweng should be around 20 Baht per person.
These taxis have yellow tops with a sign on the roof saying metered taxi. Metered taxi is a misnomer, as the driver never puts on the meter even if he has one installed in the first place.
Again, you will have to bargain before you get in. The driver will always ask for a high fare so try and bargain him down, up to 50% if you can.
NOTE: If you manage to find a taxi driver who will run his meter they will charge you a surcharge, currently 90 Baht.
Motorbike taxis are easily recognisable by the driver’s coloured vests with the word Taxi and a number on them. This form of island transport is used a lot by the locals because it is cheap.
Foreigners should expect to pay around 10-20 Baht depending on the distance.
It is not a good idea to use this mode of transport in the rainy season as some of the roads may be flooded and can be quite dangerous at this time of the year.
Also, when on a motorbike you should wear a helmet for your own safety. The motorbike driver will probably wear one because he is licensed and wont want to get into trouble with the police, however, it is unlikely he will carry a spare helmet, so you will have to decide if you want to take the risk in case of an accident.