Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Satun.
The closest airport is in Hat Yai, 95 km to the northeast and serviced by regular flights from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Nok Air now offers a "fly and ride" service that allows you to book an all-in ticket that includes the minibus transfer to/from Satun. In Satun, the Nok Air pick-up points are located at Thammalung Pier and to the north of town on Satun Thani Road.
The closest train station is also in Hat Yai, serviced by daily trains from Malaysia and Bangkok, along with several places in Southern Thailand.
The bus station is located to the far south of town; a motorbike taxi or mini pick-up truck taxi can wheel you here for between 40 and 100 baht, or you can hop in a red songthaew for cheaper. As you come into Satun from the north, asking to be let off downtown (near the Sinkiat Thani Hotel, for example), will save you having to pay for a ride back into town.
Minibuses to La-Ngu and Hat Yai can also be caught at a bus stop on Burivanich Road, just south of the clock tower. Ordinary buses to Trang and Hat Yai, and songthaews to La-Ngu, can also be caught in front of the 7-eleven just north of Mambang Mosque on Satun Thani Road. From the bus station:
Bangkok (Sai Tai Mai / Southern Terminal): First-class air-con buses depart at 07:00, 14:30, 15:00 and 16:00, cost 778 baht, take over 15 hours. One VIP bus departs at 16:30 and costs 1,210 baht.
Hat Yai: Minibuses depart hourly from 05:30 to 17:00, cost 90 baht, take 1.5 hours and drop off in the city centre and at the bus station. Regular buses also depart hourly in the same time frame, cost 80 baht and are slower but more comfortable.
La-Ngu / Pakbara: Minibuses depart hourly from 05:00 to 17:00, cost 50 baht, and take around 45 minutes. Once in La-Ngu, you can transfer directly to a songthaew (20 baht) to Pakbara and its pier where boats depart for Ko Lipe, Ko Tarutao and Ko Bulon Lae. See the Pakbara transport section for boat details.
Krabi: Minibuses depart hourly from 06:00 to 17:00, cost 200 baht, and take around four hours.
Trang: Minibuses depart hourly from 05:30 to 17:00, cost 120 baht, take two hours and drop passengers at the new bus station outside of town. Regular buses also depart hourly for 90 baht.
If heading to Phuket, Ko Lanta, Songkhla or Surat Thani, make a transfer in either Trang or Krabi. If going to Phang Nga, Khao Lak or Khao Sok, head to Krabi first.
Boats depart from Thammalung Pier, 12 km south of downtown. Songthaews pick up frequently in front of the 7-eleven just north of the clock tower on Satun Thani Road and charge 50 baht per person. A motorbike taxi will run 100 baht, or 200 baht for a pick-up truck taxi.
Boats to Langkawi run all year, departing at 09:30, 13:30 and 16:00, and costing 300 baht per person. You'll be stamped out of Thailand before boarding the boat, and into Malaysia upon arrival at Kuah Jetty.
In late 2014, we were told that public boats between Thammalung and Kuala Perlis in Malaysia are no longer reliable, perhaps due to tightened immigration rules on the Malaysian side. While you could try showing up at the pier in the morning, you're better off crossing via the land border (info below) if you don't want to enter/exit Malaysia via Langkawi.
At time of writing, no public boats were running between Ko Lipe and Thammalung. Refer to the La-Ngu minibus info (above) to reach Pakbara pier for boats to Lipe, Ko Tarutao and Ko Bulon Lae. Otherwise, On's Living Room can sell boat tickets (650 baht to Lipe) and arrange a minibus transfer; the exact cost will depend on how many travellers are taking it.
Wang Prajan / Wang Kelian border crossing
A minibus departs from Satun daily at 09:00 and stops at the Wang Prajan / Wang Kelian border crossing to wait for passengers to clear immigration before continuing south towards Kuala Perlis and Butterworth. The cost is 400 baht per person. You can catch it at the bus station, or arrange in advance through On's Living Room, where the van will pick up passengers on its way out of town.
Most everything that will be of interest to travellers is clustered over a few square km at the centre of town, making it easy to get around on foot. Songthaews also run north to Tesco Lotus and south to Thammalung. Motorbike taxis and mini pick-up truck taxis are also readily available, especially in front of the 7-eleven closest to Mambang Mosque on Satun Thani Road.
Motorbikes can be rented at On's Living room for 250 baht per day, and bicycles for 100 baht. Cliff's Man Hostel also rents out bicycles.