You’ll be glad to know that departing from Koh Samui Airport (airport code USM) is almost as stress-free as arriving.
It’s won every award going for the most relaxed place you could ever hope to board a flight – and almost all of it is outside.
Arriving at Koh Samui Airport
Welcome! If you’re looking for a quick guide to start your holiday on Koh Samui, here are a few helpful tips:
- How to rent a car on Koh Samui (including rental options at the airport)
- How to use your phone on Koh Samui (getting a local SIM card at the airport)
- What to wear on Koh Samui (dress code tips for island life)
Departing from Koh Samui Airport
When should I arrive at Koh Samui Airport for check-in?
For pretty boring legal reasons, we’re obliged to say that you should make sure you arrive at USM with enough time to check in 2 hours before your departure. But, with a heaping dose of caveat emptor, we’ve found this can be flexible. (Make it 3 hours if, like the poor man we saw last Christmas, you left your passport at the hotel. A 40-minute drive away).
Transit time to Koh Samui Airport?
In general –
- 10~ minutes from Choeng Mon, Chaweng and Bophut beaches
- 15~ minutes from Maenam
- 30+ minutes from the island’s opposite corners, Lipa Noi, Nathon & Taling Ngam
Your hotel concierge or any tour company will be able to give you an accurate idea, depending on both location and time of day. Believe or not, Samui does have a rush hour! As with all experiences, your mileage may vary. Since you’ll no doubt be coming back to Samui, we recommend giving yourselves a little longer the first time, and of course – as much time as you need to be cool and comfortable when flying. This is not the time to undo all your holiday relaxation!
Early morning flights from Koh Samui?
Many flights returning to Europe from Bangkok leave in the late morning or early afternoon, so, depending on where you’re heading, there’s a chance you’ll be on an early hop from Samui. The earliest flight out of Samui departs at 6 am, and the next, depending on the day of the week, tends to leave around 7:45 am. Are you on the 6 am flight? If so, you’ll find the streets of Samui still very dark, and more or less empty. With one flight going out and none yet coming in, Samui is still pretty sleepy at this time of the morning.
Once checked in, you can choose to proceed straight to the gate (which may include passport control if you’re on an international flight or connecting to one in Bangkok) – or – take your time to enjoy and explore the world’s friendliest airport. Happy travels!
Keep your camera ready on the drive to the airport, the island is particularly charming when it’s waking up.
What to expect at, and after, check-in?
Combined with friendly, helpful staff and a new terminal designed to handle a few flights’ worth of passengers, check-in is usually efficient with a short 10-15 minutes’ wait (but do plan on longer at busy travel times like Christmas, New Year, etc).
Things to do at Koh Samui Airport
An outdoor shopping mall is one of the sweetest parts of Koh Samui Airport – and some of the shops really stand out. Need to do some last-minute souvenir shopping? A Jim Thompson Thai silk shop is a great favourite, as is a little bookshop with a surprising variety of books about Thailand (need some in-flight reading?). There are also a few shops in the domestic departures area, though options are sparse on the international side.
2. Explore the gardens
Never in our lives had we seen some of the plants and trees on luscious display at Koh Samui Airport. We challenge our The Koh Samui Guide customers to spot the cannonball tree – see how you do!
3. Enjoy (free) snacks and WiFi
Assuming you’re on a Bangkok Airways flight, once at the gate you can sample some complimentary refreshments courtesy of the good people at Bangkok Airways – who, incidentally, own the airport. There’s free WiFi for Bangkok Airways passengers, too.
4. Children’s play area
If you’re travelling with children, find a small playroom in the domestic departures area.
See our very best recommendations for where to stay in Thailand, including a boutique, bungalow, budget and ‘best of the best’ option for every obvious (and far-flung) destination in the country. Enjoy!