Travelling to Samui on a Budget
Kelsey, Archipelago Communications
23rd March 2017
On the southern end of Thailand’s gorgeous island of Koh Samui sits an unusual mansion three storeys tall where writers come to fulfill their dreams. The unexpected resort is equipped with lightning-fast fibre optic wifi, reading nooks, inspiring creative spaces, and two balconies, one overlooking the sea of calming blues, and the other facing a vista of palm trees. At The Content Castle, as it is known, writers with raw talent can not just imagine their magnum opuses — be they novels, or a paper, or a collection of poems — but also make them happen, and come true.
But a writer who decides The Content Castle is what they have been waiting for may come to a sudden halt on the day when they look up flight schedules and air fares to Koh Samui.
The Content Castle is the perfect place for budget travellers.
For example, flying direct to Samui airport is a great option for travellers looking to shorten their travel hours, but a Canadian booking Vancouver – Koh Samui – Vancouver in May 2 this year for a two-month vacation would pay $1,037 CAD ($779 USD, £628 GBP) to fly direct to Samui. The same round trip booked from Bangkok would only cost $676 CAD ($508 USD, £409 GBP).
Getting to Samui from Bangkok
Option 1 for most budget travellers is to book a flight through Air Asia and fly to Surat Thani for an average of 1,200 BAHT ($46 CAD, $35 USD, £28 GBP). From there, they will take a bus for a 1.5 hour ride to Donsak pier from several ferries ply to Samui through the day.
Depending on when they arrive in Bangkok, travellers can either spend a night or two on Khao San Road, the backpacker district where they can meet others of their ilk in hostels. Hostels range in prices but staying a night in the big city can cost as little as 350 BAHT ($11 USD, $14 CAD, £8 GBP). When they feel ready to travel again, they could hop on a bus or taxi to Don Mueang airport, the departure point for Surat Thani.
Booking one of the many hostels near Don Mueang Airport would save money and time. After arriving at Bangkok’s international airport, backpackers can take a taxi across the city to Don Mueng Airport. A free bus transfer is available for those whose onward booking is through Air Asia to Surat Thani. Hostels in this area range from 390 to 900 baht
The best options to get from Donsak pier to Koh Samui are the Raja Ferry boat (600 baht, 1.5 hrs) or the Lomprayah catamaran (700 baht, 45 minutes), both including the airport-Donsak pier transfer, and also the minibus from Samui’s pier to wherever you are going on the island.
“Travelling directly to Koh Samui is expensive, but the other options allows for future residents of The Castle to save some coin and get a brief foretaste of Thailand before arriving at the writers’ mansion.”
The overnight train #85 leaves Bangkok at 730 pm and arrives in Surat Thani at 7 am. A first class cabin costs 1,139 BAHT ($48 CAD, $33 USD, £26 GBP), while second class cabins with air conditioning are priced between 698 and 768 baht. The lower berth costs more than the higher berth, and second class cabins with a fan cost between 498 and 548 baht. From Surat Thani, the journey proceeds as described earlier, with a bus to the Donsak pier and a ferry from there. Book these tickets far in advance because the trains fill up fast!
Travelling directly to Koh Samui is expensive, but the other options allows for future residents of The Castle to save some coin and get a brief foretaste of Thailand before arriving at the writers’ mansion.
Lounge in paradise!
The best news is that writers at The Castle will not pay a penny for living there and they will enjoy two hot and delicious Thai meals six days of the week. They will write, for themselves and for The Content Castle, punctuated by long walks on the beach, conversation, discussion and inspiration, and become everything they were ever meant to be.