Flying to and from the tropical island of Koh Samui off the coast of southern Thailand is a treat. The airport located here must be one of the most beautiful in the world. Somehow it manages to contain all the necessities of a major international airport…shops, security, waiting rooms, etc….but does all of this in an outdoor setting. There is very little that is located behind closed doors or walls, except for the gift shop.
It was built, and is owned and operated, by Bangkok Airways. There are only a few airlines that fly direct to Samui; Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways and Silk Air. Hence, flying to this island paradise from most places in the country is much pricier than flights to other destinations.
There are several options available to get into the nearest town (Chaweng). A taxi will set you back a little less than $15 which is a total rip-off compared to most other locations in Thailand. Here in Chiang Mai, we would pay less than a third of that for the same distance. However, for most tourists, this would seem like a deal!
There are also minivans available for about $4 per person. You will just have to wait until they have at least six people unless you arrive with a group. And, of course, all the major car rental companies are available.
Although there are more than two million passengers per year moving through this little airport, it seemed pretty laid back. I’m sure it picks up during the busy holiday seasons, such as the Chinese New Year and Christmas holidays (can I mention that C word any more?).
I loved the outdoor seating and the open-air waiting rooms. To top it off , there was a “Courtesy Corner” where free coffee, juices, sandwiches and local snacks were available while you waited.
It was definitely one of the coolest airports I have seen, and one of the most beautiful.