What you should know before hiring a car in Koh Samui
|Koh Samui city centre|
|Koh Samui International Airport (USM): 8 km from city centre|
Where to rent a car in Koh Samui?
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, just off the south-west coast of Thailand, Koh Samui is one of Thailand's popular island destinations. After Phuket, it is the country's second largest island. As well as being accessible by boat from mainland Thailand, Koh Samui can also be reached by air thanks to Samui International Airport, located in the north of the island. With limited public transportation on the island, renting a car can be the most cost effective way to explore – as well as affording the flexibility to explore the island as and when you wish. Car rental companies including Thrifty, Hertz, Sixt, Avis and Thai Rent a Car are all in operation on the island, primarily offering car rental services at Samui International Airport.
What are the driving rules in Koh Samui?
When driving in Koh Samui, follow Thai road law. This includes adhering to the speed limits of 50km/h in urban areas; 90km/h on rural roads; and 120km/h on the motorway (speed limits can vary, so pay attention to road signs when driving in Thailand). Drive on the left, and – while only those traveling in the front seat of the car must wear a seatbelt by law – wear a seatbelt at all times. It's also important to keep an eye out for potential hazards when driving in Koh Samui, such as pedestrians or wildlife in the road; or motorcycles.
When parking your car in Koh Samui, in general, drivers can park anywhere which is both safe and available. However, look out for signs indicating otherwise; equally, make sure there is no charge for your parking space before parking up. Parking lots are also available.
Road trips in Koh Samui
With so much to see and do on the island of Koh Samui, renting a car is the best way to experience it all. Drive along coastal roads and explore all Koh Samui has to offer with these three road trips on the Thai island.
The Beaches of Koh Samui
Koh Samui is known for its beaches, and there are plenty of them to visit! Rent a car and explore them all at your leisure. Chaweng Beach is one of the most popular, with beautiful white sands and a good nightlife scene. Lamai, Bophut, Maenam and Lipa Noi are just a few more beaches worth adding to your road trip itinerary on Koh Samui.
Explore the Temples of Koh Samui
Koh Samui is home to a number of Buddhist temples, and traveling by rental car allows visitors to visit as many as they wish. Wat Phra Yai, also known as the Big Buddha Temple, is one of the island's better known temples; there's also Wat Plai Laem, Wat Khunaram and Laem Sor Pagoda. All are within driving distance of one another, thanks to Koh Samui's small size.
A road trip around the whole of Koh Samui
Thanks to its small size, Koh Samui can be explored by rental car in a matter of days - although it's best experienced over a slightly longer time period. Begin your road trip by renting a car at Samui International Airport, before heading around the island in a loop. First, drive to Chaweng Beach – one of the island's most popular. From here, it's on to Lamai Beach and the Laem Sor Pagoda, which lies on the southern tip. Also in the south of the island, the beautiful Na Mueang-1 Waterfall makes for a popular hiking destination. Driving back towards the airport, stop off at the village of Bophut to relax on Bophut Beach and visit the nearby Big Buddha Temple. In the village of Bophut, don't miss a trip to Fisherman's Village - a street which is filled with market stalls every Friday evening.