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With its tropical beaches, cheap street food, world-class yoga, beachfront bungalows, and endless beach parties and sunsets, Koh Phangan is one of those islands you simply must visit.
No matter where you're coming from, you'll have to take a ferry for the last leg of the trip to get to Koh Phangan in the Gulf. Koh Phangan does not have an airport, and it is unlikely ever to have one. However, it is accessible from the closest airports where you can get flights to other parts of Thailand.
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Krabi, Phuket, and Koh Samui are the six international airports in Thailand. The bulk of visitors arrive at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The highest fares to Thailand are from mid-November to mid-February, when the weather is at its best (with premium rates paid for flights between mid-December and New Year), and in July and August, which correspond with school holidays. You'll need to book several months in advance to get good-priced tickets during these peak hours.
Buying a flight to Bangkok and then a separate domestic fare is typically the cheapest way to get to most regional Thai airports. However, there are hundreds of potentially useful international routes into Phuket, most of which are seasonal, including direct flights from Australia with several airlines. For Koh Samui, there are flights from Singapore, Hong Kong (both Bangkok Airways), and Kuala Lumpur (Berjaya Airlines and Firefly); for Krabi, there are flights from KL with AirAsia, Singapore with Tiger Airways, or nonstop on seasonal, mainly charter flights from Scandinavia; and for Chiang Mai, Silk Air, Air Asia, and Korean Airlines fly from Seoul.
You need to book a flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui or Surat Thani because Koh Phangan doesn't have its own airport.
After arriving in Koh Samui, you can board a ferry to Koh Phangan. Flights can be very costly, particularly during peak season and Full Moon parties, so we recommend booking well ahead. Travelling by flight is the quickest choice for this route if you don't have much time and don't mind spending a bit of extra money.
Bangkok Airways runs all flights for this route; ticket prices start at 2,600 THB. You can choose from several flights to Samui, the first one departing at 6 am daily and takes roughly one hour.
This is a cheaper alternative than flying to Koh Samui but will require you to take a longer ferry ride. You will find companies providing combined van and ferry trips from the airport to Koh Phangan. If you want to book this combined choice, ensure your flight coincides with the van schedule.
If you need to get some onward travel to the island from either airport, it is better to buy it in the airport you will eventually land in rather than the one you fly from.
There are many beautiful and well-designed airports in beautiful exotic locations around the world, but Samui airport is the most beautiful and well-designed in harmony with its stunning natural surroundings.
Bangkok Airways owns and operates Samui Airport, which is privately owned and controlled. The company operates the majority of flights from the island. In February 2008, Thai Airways International started flying to Samui.
The construction of Samui Airport, located near Bo Phut Beach in the northern part of the island, began in 1982 and was completed in April 1989.
The two terminals are open-sided, with tropical flowers adorning the walls to give passengers a beach vacation feel. Except for the offices and gift shops, there are few air-conditioned areas. Since it receives flights from Singapore and Hong Kong, Samui Airport is classified as an international airport.
Samui Park Avenue is a dedicated shopping and dining area at Samui International Airport. A decent selection of posh boutiques, cafés, and restaurants can be found here. A Jim Thompson store, a Bookazine branch, a restaurant, and a pizzeria are among them. It's a high-end establishment that sometimes hosts live jazz music.
Surat Thani International Airport serves the province of Surat Thani in southern Thailand, which includes Khao Sok National Park and others. Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Phuket, and Ang Thong National Marine Park are all accessible from the airport.
Surat Thani International Airport (URT) is the largest airport in the Surat Thani province of southern Thailand.
The city serves as a major commercial and transportation centre for the surrounding area, home to many popular tourist attractions and travel destinations.
Surat Thani International Airport, which serves as a base for the Royal Thai Air Force, is both a commercial and a military airfield.
There is only one terminal at Surat Thani Airport, which serves domestic and foreign passengers. A million airline passengers fly through the airport each year. The airport can handle larger aircraft than neighbouring Krabi and Samui airports due to its relatively long runway.
Four domestic Thai airlines serve Surat Thani International Airport, with around 17 flights per day to Bangkok's two airports. The Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok is operated by two airlines. The remaining 15 flights are to Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok.
Two regular flights are also available from Surat Thani Airport to Chiang Mai International Airport in Northern Thailand, operated by one airline.
When it comes to travel within Thailand, a flight can often be the best choice in terms of comfort and price. Low-cost airline fares also compare favourably to the cost of a bus or train ticket on long-distance routes such as Bangkok-Phuket or Bangkok-Chiang Mai. And, if you know your travel dates beforehand, you can take advantage of promotional rates that make travelling cheaper than taking the bus or train.
Most of Thailand's low-cost airlines, including Air Asia, Nok Air, and Lion Air, operate domestic flights from Bangkok's Don Muang airport. Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways, both full-service airlines, operate flights from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport. Thai Smile, Thai Airways' low-cost sister carrier, operates flights from both Bangkok airports. Some direct flights from Chiang Mai to southern Thailand also eliminate the need to travel via Bangkok. For example, Thai Smile and Air Asia fly directly from Chiang Mai to Phuket, while Bangkok Airways flies directly from Koh Samui to Chiang Mai.
Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways are often considered Thailand's most costly domestic airlines. Although this may be valid on specific routes, it is not always the case, so shopping around and comparing rates on each airline's website is worthwhile.
Air Asia is a low-cost airline with a long history in Thailand, operating flights from Bangkok's Don Muang airport to destinations such as Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Hat Yai, Khon Kaen, and Udon Thani.
Thai Smile is Thai Airways' low-cost subsidiary. Services are available from Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports in Bangkok to destinations such as Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phuket, and Surat Thani.
Bangkok Airways offers flights to Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Krabi, Koh Samui, Trat (for Koh Chang), and Udon Thani from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.
Lion Air, a relative newcomer to Thailand's low-cost airline scene, flies to Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Krabi, Phuket, Surat Thani, and Udon Thani from Bangkok's Don Muang airport. They also fly to Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur regularly.
Thai Orient only has domestic flights between Bangkok Don Muang and Phuket at the time of writing.
Thailand's national airline flies to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Khon Kaen, Koh Samui, Hat Yai, Phuket, Udon Thani, and Ubon Ratchathani, primarily from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.
Nok Air operates flights from Bangkok Don Muang to several destinations in Thailand, including Chiang Mai, Phuket, Sukhothai, Udon Thani, and Ubon Ratchathani. Nok Air also provides connecting boat services to a range of Thai islands.
Happy flying, and see you soon!