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The great thing about Thailand is almost anything is possible when it comes to travel inside the country. You can decide on morning that you want to pack up and leave and move 500 miles south. That is totally fine and it is exactly what we did in Chiang Rai. We has a bit of culture shock in Chiang Rai and wanted to get out as soon as possible. This is how we planned and traveled from From Chiang Rai to Koh Samui in 16 hours.
Tip read: Chiang Rai – why one day is enough
We decided the day we arrived that we would leave the next day so we booked a flight for around 5pm. This gave us time to explore the morning in Chiang Rai before hopping the flight to Bangkok.
Tip read: How to find a home in Chiang Mai
We flew with Air Asia from Chiang Rai airport to Bangkok Don Muang. It is easy enough to book a flight and we only reserved ours the night before we wanted to fly by looking up Air Asia on the iPad. We could have hopped another flight to Koh Samui island but the cost is shockingly more than it is for the bus.
The flight was quick and pleasant and went really quickly.
We hopped a taxi from the airport to take us to the bus station. I think the journey was around an hour. Luckily we screenshotted where the bus station was on the map because it wasn’t the regular bus station that tourists went to. The bus station was lovely and full of stores and places to shop. We had a KFC, very authentic.
We booked our bus at the actual station. We picked the first one we saw that was going to be able to get us to Koh Samui. We were told it was VIP seats – but it was far from it. It was nice enough though. We took on a bunch of food we bought at the station but were surprised to see that there was food handed out during the bus journey.
Tip read: Biking around Chiang Rai
The bus stopped about half way and you could buy authentic Thai food or have a pee and a smoke. The toilets were some of the worst I have seen and you basically swam around the room the floors were that wet.
The bus takes you to the ferry port and you walk yourself on to the boat. Its super easy and you can just follow the crowds. You can enjoy being on the boat and meet all the lovely people who are traveling with you.
Before you get off the ferry you can go down to the bus and jump on it, or I believe you can get back on it if your disembark by yourself. You are then driven to the Koh Samui bus station and left to fend for yourself.
This is how we got from Chiang Rai to Koh Samui in 16 hours. The bus was the longest part and took around 10 hours in total, including the ferry. It wasn’t the most comfortable but I’d do it all again without thinking twice. Plus the whole bus journey was just over 600 baht – so £13 maximum.
Have you had to travel from Chiang Rai to Koh Samui ? How long did it take you?