Samui Airport: aviation’s cool kid on the block
Samui Airport is as laid-back and stress-free as the island it serves so well. Over the years it has become a destination in its own right. With its avenue of shops, cafes and restaurants, simply called Samui Park Avenue, it draws entire groups of people who aren’t there primarily to leave the island and take to the air. No departure card needed – just a willingness to relax and have fun. Set in ornamental gardens, it’s easy to forget that this is a working airport, and Thailand’s fifth largest.
It’s definitely picturesque and with its unusual design – everything is open-sided – it’s a unique place. For many on Koh Samui, it’s a place to be proud of. It certainly makes travel feel lighter and more joyful. The airport is both owned and managed by Bangkok Airways, with the majority of flights going to and from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. Flights are hourly starting before dawn and well into the evening. With just over an hour to Bangkok, the airport is an integral part of life on Koh Samui. You can go there and back in a day; far easier than taking a ferry and enduring endless hours of driving, only to arrive exhausted. Koh Samui residents even benefit for a special discount card, thereby cutting prices enormously.
The airport opened in 1989 and since then has been completely refurbished. It’s a place that never rests on its laurels and is always improving its services. Even if Bangkok is a major Asian hub with connecting flights all over the world, Samui airport seeks to add in its own routes to popular destinations. Currently you can fly to Singapore and Hong Kong as well as destinations in Thailand.
It’s in part thanks to the existence of this go-ahead airport, that Samui has become such a well-known destination. A few decades ago the island was just a backwater, unfamiliar to even people living in the capital. The first holidaymakers arrived in the early 70’s and fell in love with its beaches and sheer calm. To get here they would have to endure the grueling night boat that brought them from the mainland. They would arrive tired after a rather cramped ride. Today, boats are a lot better, speedier and with comforts guaranteed – but traveling by air remains for most residents the favored method to get to and from Koh Samui.
For those who live on Koh Samui, there’s a secure car park but you can simply opt to take a taxi home. You’ll also find a minibus service to main island locations and there’s even a limousine service. On arrival it’s easy to get to any destination thanks to the limousine or mini-bus service operated by the airport.