For many people travelling from Penang to Koh Samui is a popular destination if you are heading up into Thailand from Malaysia.
These days you have a choice of travelling by minibus + ferry, train, bus and ferry or flying direct between the two islands.
Firefly is a small budget airline owned by Malaysian Airlines and currently operates three flights a week in either direction on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The flight takes just one and a half hours and are operated by twin turboprop aircraft.
This is by far the quickest way to get to Koh Samui from Penang but not the cheapest with normal tickets costing around RM 370 / 3,700 THB.
However, if you book in advance you may be able to get the cheaper promotional fares which could save you around 30%.
Every travel agent and many guest houses in Penang sell tickets to Koh Samui which include picking you up from your hotel and driving you into Thailand by minibus to Hat Yai.
In Hat Yai you will then be transferred to another minibus to take you on to Surat Thani, or for the ferry to Koh Samui.
Current ticket prices are :
RM 60 to Surat Thani.
RM 90 to Koh Samui including the ferry.
Departure times are at 05.00 and 08.30.
You could catch the daily afternoon train from Butterworth on the mainland to Surat Thani in Thailand.
****Please Note : this service now terminates / originates from the border station at Padang Besar.
You will now have to take a KTM Komuter Train to / from Padang Besar to Butterworth.
From Surat Thani Train Station you will have to get a bus to the ferry terminal to catch a boat.
Buses from the railway station are operated by Phantip Travel.
Their first bus is at 08.00 so you may want to spend the night here (there is a cheap hotel close to the station on the left as you come out), or catch one of the night boats to the islands.
To check bus times and fares from Phantip Travel click here >>
Or you can catch a regular bus from Hat Yai to Surat Thani or a minibus / ferry combination.
With the new high-speed ETS trains now running between Butterworth and Padang Besar on the Malaysian / Thailand border, you could first travel to Padang Besar, then get a bus from the main land border crossing to Hat Yai bus station, then a bus from there to Surat Thani.
If you have plenty of time a nice way to get to Koh Samui from Penang would be to first catch a ferry to Langkawi, then from Langkawi you could do some island hopping up to Krabi or Phuket or catch the boat over to Satun Thailand and continue north on a bus up to Krabi / Phuket.
From here you can catch regular buses over to the east coast of Thailand and the ferry to Koh Samui.