Going by plane from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui is very simple, among other things it is something that many do because it is part of the itinerary that is the most popular, that is THIS.
After being survivors in Bangkok and after having made some excursions to the north in the beautiful Chiang Mai the time comes to do a few days at sea.
You really feel the need. The goal is obvious. Unfortunately, we must leave out the Andaman Sea, or the whole west coast, as August is the rainy season and in those places it is more likely to find rough seas and bad weather conditions. The gulf of Thailand instead it enjoys a more stable climate, even in this period and the most visited islands are Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and the island of Koh Tao.
The first is the older sister which is now becoming very chaotic and very crowded, the other two are more liveable but to get there you need to take the ferry. Only Koh Samui has an airport on which, for example, flies there Bangkok Airways directly from Bangkok in just an hour, the problem is the cost of the ticket which exceeds 100 euros.
There is no direct flight from Chiang Mai, so at this point in your travel planning you need to find a way, possibly inexpensive, to reach Koh Samui.
As you have probably understood, I am a methodical and rather precise person, know that I have already examined all the possible solutions, so I will immediately tell you which is the best: from Chiang Mai, no doubt, it is the combined flight of AirAsia or Nok Air. From Bangkok there are more solutions, either you rely on combined flights departing from Don Mueang, or on the direct flight of Bangkok Airways or you can opt for the Lomprayah which, from its station near Khao San Road, offers a combined Bus + Fast Catamaran.
Running can be nocturnal rather than daytime. On the website of the Lomprayah you can buy directly what you prefer. As for the prices, we took the route to Koh Tao and we spent 1100 baht each. Choose the solution according to your needs. In my opinion the best choice is always to travel at night to take full advantage of the next day and save a night in the hotel.
If, on the other hand, you want to travel NOT by plane, then you can use this very valid search form and find the best solution.
But let's go back to the main theme of this post: the combined AirAsia flight from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui.
To buy the ticket you have to go to the AirAsia website and select as in the photo below.
First of all, a clarification on Chiang Mai airport: it is not far from the city and to get there just stop one of the usual collective taxis and bargain the ride to the airport and in about 10 minutes, traffic permitting, you are there.
Caution: do not think about taking drinks or anything else with you for waiting because there are metal detectors already at the entrance of the airport.The airplane flight from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui
By combined flight I mean that the air ticket also includes the bus up to Donsak Pier and the ferry to Lipa Noi Pier in Samui. In fact, the complete route is: plane to Surat Thani, bus to the pier and ship to Samui.
Since we had some difficult moments between the various check-ins to do, let me explain by wire and by markor each step.
At Chiang Mai airport, if you have checked in online, go to the machines on the right side of the AirAsia checkpoints and print your boarding pass. You then queue at the check-in counter to check in your bags. If you haven't already checked in online, they should do it directly at the counter. If you have any doubts, there are several AirAsia employees who support travelers.
At the counter they will give you the usual coupon: don't lose it and don't throw it away after your flight, it's your pass. You might think that since you paid full price for a full service, once you get on the plane your charges are over. It is not so! You pay in full for a service they offer 3 different companies in collaboration. The plane is from AirAsia, the bus is from another company and the ferry is from Raja. Therefore, each route corresponds to the relative check-in and the relative ticket that is delivered to you by hand. Although they put stamps everywhere to identify you, you must always show your flight coupon.
Let's see the timetables: don't worry about it because there is enough margin between the various transports.
The plane leaves Chiang Mai at 13.15 and arrives in Surat Thani at 15.05. Once landed you have to retrieve your suitcases e head straight to the AirAsia counter. By showing the plane ticket, you will be given the stamp to be applied to the shirt and the bus ticket. Attention, the check-in desk is located behind the escalator and it is a bit difficult to see. Outside they will treat you as if you were sheep in the mountains. So many incomprehensible words, so many signs with your hands and you will cross your fingers hoping they will load you on the right bus and do not happen on the one that takes you to the other side of Thailand.
It will be normal to compare yourself with other tourists, check if they too have the same badge as you, and when you find the duplicate you will follow him in his every move. Better to be one more to make mistakes than to be alone in the middle of nowhere.
As shown in the table, the bus leaves around 15.30 pm and arrives around 17.30 pm at Donsak Pier. The journey is peaceful: a long two-lane road with few vehicles, green on the right, green on the left and at the end of this endless road the sea awaits you.
At Donsak Pier we are two piers. From the one on the left will leave the ferries for Koh Phangan, from the one on the right, however, the Raja Ferry for Samui and more precisely for the Lipa Noi Pier. Also in this case you have to go to the check-in located behind where the bus will stop. Here too you will show your plane ticket, they will flag your names on the sheet and give you the tickets for the ferry.
The journey is very smooth. If you take a seat at the stern and the day will be mild you can also enjoy the colors of the sunset.
We are almost at the end of this post, I think I have told you everything you might find useful.
Actually I have to clarify one thing. When you arrive at Lipa Noi Pier you will continue your sheep career. There will be numerous taxi drivers waiting for you with their minivans for about ten seats. In Samui, as in the islands in general, you have to change your mentality. You have to leave the compulsive bargaining phobia on the plane. Unfortunately, given the number of tourists, the prices are very high compared to mainland Thailand. Also, the taxis have signposted.
You will find yourself in front of it numerous taxi drivers all carrying the same sign, with the same prices for the same destinations. If you try to bargain they won't even look at you, the price they tell you is that. You put one hand on your heart, the other on your wallet, load your suitcases on the van and let them take you to the place you want.
In conclusion, the combined AirAsia flight from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui I highly recommend it. If you buy the ticket a few months before you can find advantageous offers. In my case we paid about 80 euros each including 5 kg more on the suitcase (basic is 15 kg), insurance and seat.
Unfortunately, it takes all day, but you will see that once you arrive it will be worth it.