I should start with a very important thing to say, which I will probably repeat a lot. Do not reserve anything ahead of time, hotel room, train, and bus nor flight ticket. Why? Because there is plenty of places to spend a night, lots of transportation everywhere, plus being somewhere you have better recognition of where you are and what your time frame is like. Booking anything the day before is really plenty of time. Plans can change, maybe you will want to spend another day in one place or you will decide to turn you whole trip upside down, maybe because of the weather or simply because there is a cheaper option. If you will have everything booked in advance, you will be stuck without the possibility of making changes. Fortunately, I listened to that advice and did not book anything other than first hotel in Bangkok and the visit to the elephant park in Chang Mai.
I planned our trip a little differently than it actually happened ????. Surat Thani was supposed to be the last place to visit, but here we are in the very beginning. We changed the destination because there was a huge difference in flight prices from Chiang Mai to Phuket (which was the original plan) and to Surat Thani. We saved a lot of money making that decision.
Flight from Chiang Mai to Surat Thani
We paid 2530 baht each ($75) for the ticket and the flight took us about two hours. After landing do not bother with looking for a taxi, as there are none. Instead they provide buses waiting outside the airport. Simply ask where it is going, and if it is a match, you buy the ticket on the bus (cost is 100 baht – $3 per person). They will ask for a hotel name or street you want to get off on and they will drop you there. Very convenient and I guess it is the only option.
Night market in Surat Thani
The truth is Surat Thani was more of a short stop for us, because the next morning we were leaving for Koh Samui. Wandering around the streets in the evening my nose smelled something wonderful waiting just around the corner. We found a night market, and believe it or not, I do not think I have tried so many different foods at once in my life ????. For some stands I did made return trips quite often and was greeted with a big smile, finding some extra sweets in the bag. It is always an amazing experience to be able to talk to locals, and have them explain the local delicacies and customs.
Transport to Koh Samui
Ticket to Koh Samui we bought at the hotel, but it is slightly cheaper to do this at the Seatran station located on Talad Mai Road. Cost of the whole trip to Donsak Pier and ferry to Koh Samui is 500 baht ($15) and takes about 3 hours with bus and ferry ride.