RENT A CAR
Car rental in Samui is safer than other rental alternatives and you will see many places around the island where you can rent a car. Expect to pay around 700-900 Baht per day for a small Jeep. Cars and bigger motor vehicles will cost anywhere between 1200-1800 Baht or more per day.
TIP. Before you rent ask if they have insurance. It is not a good idea to drive a hired car without insurance. Should you be unlucky enough to have an accident and this is bound to involve a Thai person, whether in another vehicle, or often or not, on a motorbike, you will have to pay for the other persons damage and hospital bills if they are injured, regardless of whether it was your fault or not. If in doubt, rent from one of the big-name car rent companies such as Hertz.
RENT A MOTORBIKE
This is the easiest and cheapest way to get around the island, but it is also the most dangerous. Always carry your driver’s license and wear a helmet, as the number of bike accidents is high. Again, check if you are insured.
For those who see themselves as Peter Fonda and want to relive the movie ‘Easy Rider’ you can also hire big bikes in places like Chaweng, though only experienced riders should consider renting them given the dangerous driving conditions. Prices vary depending on the model and your bargaining skills.
_TIP. Think twice before you rent a motorbike in the rainy season, as the roads can be quite dangerous when it rains. Many of the roads around the island become flooded in heavy rain and when they do they will cover holes in the road that you would normally see when dry.
Instead, rent a high chassis motor vehicle, do not rent a car, as the roads can flood to the height of a car door sill or higher in some places, and you will never know how deep the water is until you are driving through it.
WALK THE WALK
Walking on the main roads is not recommended, walk only where there is a pavement or path. If you have to walk on the road always walk towards the oncoming traffic so you can see oncoming traffic and get out of the way if necessary.
If you are a runner and want to stick to the roads, then the best time is early morning before the rush to work. Alternatively, Chaweng beach is long enough to give you a good workout and will make you feel good afterwards. It will take you roughly 45 minutes to walk the length of the beach in each direction. Make sure you take a bottle of water with you!
Bikes do not seem to be part of the scene on Koh Samui, I expect, because it is just too dangerous to ride a bike. The roads are too busy and there are so many potholes you would have to content with and, if you were unfortunate enough to hit one, you would definitely damage your bike and most likely be thrown off it into oncoming traffic. That would not be a pretty sight!
However, having said all this, the roads have improved considerably over the last few years. A concerted effort has been made to upgrade them and now most of the ring road around Samui has been tarmacked with road markings on them and in some places they have even put in cats eyes in case fog suddenly descends!! Because of this improvement we have seen more cyclists out and about which can only be a good thing.
Talking of bikes, one amusing sight I did see one day whilst walking along Chaweng beach was two tourist police riding their bikes along the beach. In case, you are now thinking I have been out in the sun for too long, I was able to take a photo to prove I was not imagining it. Notice, the policeman on the left is carrying a handgun; you can just see the butt sticking out of his belt.
Since I took this photo, back in 2003, I have never seen tourist police on their bikes again, let alone riding them on the beach. Perhaps, it was a just a dream after all!