By Plane -- Flights are always cheaper to Surat Thani than to Ko Samui but the trip to the island isn’t easy, and it is time-consuming. However, if you do want to fly to Surat Thani from Bangkok, Air Asia (www.airasia.com; tel. 02515-9999) and Nok Air (www.nokair.com; tel. 1318) have daily flights (trip time: 70 min.). Expect to pay around 900B one-way. Air Asia offers flight and boat shuttle packages. The airport is 18km west from town, but buses connect passengers to town for around 100B.
By Train -- Eleven trains leave daily from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station (www.railway.co.th; tel. 1690) to Surat Thani (trip time: 13 hr.). Second-class sleepers cost 848B, and second-class seats run 578B. Surat Thani station is some 12km (7 1/2 miles) from town.
If you are connecting with the ferry, avoid the aggressive touts and look for representatives from the boat companies Songserm or Panthip (tel. 07727-2230), who provide buses to meet trains. Otherwise, you can grab a shared minivan to town for around 80B, or a taxi for around 200B.
By Bus -- VIP 24-seater buses leave daily from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (tel. 02793-8111; trip time: 12 hr.; 843B). Note: These buses are safer than the cheaper private buses, where organized theft is endemic. Air-conditioned buses leave daily from Phuket's bus terminal off Phang Nga Road, opposite the Royal Phuket City Hotel (tel. 07621-1977; trip time: 4 hr.; 170B). The Surat Thani Bus Terminal is on Kaset II Road, a block east of the main road.
By Minivan -- Privately operated air-conditioned minivans offer affordable and regular services from Surat Thani to/from Chumphon, Ranong, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Had Yai, Phuket, and beyond. The best way to arrange these trips is via your hotel's front desk.
By Car -- Take Highway 4 south from Bangkok to Chumphon, and then Highway 41 directly south to Surat Thani (trip time: 12 hr.).
For information about Surat Thani, Ko Samui, and Ko Pha Ngan, contact the TAT office, 5 Talad Mai Rd., Surat Thani (tel. 07728-8818), near the Wang Tai Hotel.
Surat Thani is built up along the south shore of the Tapi River. Talad Mai (meaning new market) Road, 2 blocks south of the river, is the city's main street. The TAT office is on this same road but to the far west of town, en route to the bus and train stations. Ferry piers are on Ban Don, Na Meuang; out of town to the east is the Tha Thong pier. (Depending on your arrival hour, you can get transfers directly to the piers from the bus and train stations without going through town.)
Major banks, exchange kiosks, and a branch of the post office lie along Na Meuang Road, close to Witeetad Road, in the center of town. The Taksin Hospital (tel. 07727-3239) is at the north end of Talad Mai Road. The tourist police (tel. 07720-0475) are on Talad Mai Road.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.