My girlfriend and I will be staying in Chiang Mai the first week of our holiday (end of august). From Chiang Mai we'd like to get to Koh Samui for our second week. The direct flight to Koh Samui seems really expensive, so we're thinking about either taking the train to Surat Thani (through Bangkok) or by taking an Air Asia flight to Bangkok and another flight to Surat Thani.
I think flying is probably our best option since it's faster and only a little more costly than taking the trains. Will we be able to get to Chiang Mai in one day? I had a look at the Air Asia timetables for our travel date. To me this option seems best:
CNX - BKK 12:05 - 13:20
BKK - URT 14:20 - 15:25
There's also an earlier flight to BKK (8:25 - 9:40), but obviously we'd like to spend as little time as possible on the airport. So does anyone know if Air Asia flies on time? And do you think we will be able to make the transfer in 1 hour?
Also will we be able to take the ferry to Koh Samui on the same day? (I read somewhere that the last ferry is at 6pm).
Lots of questions! If someone could help us out we'd be much obliged.
#1 Dutch has been a member since 19/3/2012. Posts: 11
The train from Chang Mai to BKK and BKK to Surat are both night trains so it will be a long trip. Flying is the better option. I am not sure if one hour is enough time between flights. I guess it depends on whether or not they transfer your luggage for you. Best to call the airline and find out.
The last ferry to Samui is at 7pm and you should be aware that the travel time from the airport to the port is at least one hour.
#2 guava_girl has been a member since 21/10/2010. Posts: 252
Air Asia is a point-to-point carrier which means they are not responsible for you making connecting flights, and minimum check-in time is 45 minutes. So I would not rely on that 1-hour connect time in Bangkok. If you arrive on the BKK-URT 14:20-15:25 flight you will make the last ferry to Samui no problem. The Don Sak pier is about 80km from Surat Thani airport, so allow about 90 minutes for the transfer. Since you only have two weeks I would defintely fly instead of really long bus/train rides.
Hi Guava girl and captain,
Thanks for the replies! To be honest I never even thought about the luggage transfer, so I'm really glad you mentioned it.
I think we'll be booking the 8.25 AM flight to BKK then and take the 2:20 PM flight to URT. Good to hear we'll make it to ferry on time. Thanks for helping us out!
One last question: will it be hard to get to Chiang Mai airport that early?
#4 Dutch has been a member since 19/3/2012. Posts: 11
If you take the 8:25am flight from CM you need to check in no later than 7:40am, but more like 7-7:30 to be safe. No problem at all getting a ride to the airport at that time if you're staying somewhere central. The city wakes up earlier than that, plenty of tuk tuks, songthaews, and some taxis roaming the streets early morning.
Bangkok Airways operates the only direct Chiang Mai to Ko Samui flight, and yes it is expensive. It does save a lot of time, though and IMHO is probably worth the investment seeing as you don't have a long holiday. You could save a bit of money by getting two flights: 1) Chiang Mai - Bangkok(on a budget airline like Air Asia) and then 2) flying the BKK - Samui leg on Bangkok Airways.
Thanks a lot,
#6 RickWarren has been a member since 9/1/2012. Posts: 21
Thanks for your reply. We've decided to go for the cheaper option. The early Air Asia flight to BKK and from there the flight to URT. Downside is we're going to have a lot of time to kill at the airport in between flights. Any suggestions on things to do at the airport are much appreciated!
We're leaving for Bangkok in 3 weeks. Can't wait, hehe! If I anyone's interested in how things went, I'll put a post up.
#7 Dutch has been a member since 19/3/2012. Posts: 11