Currently, Koh Samui is accessible only by ferry from 5 am to 7 pm or by plane. For this reason, local operators have raised the idea of creating a bridge to ease the access to the island at anytime of the day. This bridge is estimated 30 billion baht, and the subject of building it came back again during a meeting with the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. The main purpose would be to boost tourism and speed up hospital transfers.
Indeed, due to the high number of tourists on the island (around 2.6 million people in 2018), long queues have become unavoidable to book transportation and the long ferry trip is often a discouraging criteria for people with limited holiday time. The bridge is expected to offer a faster option to tourists, and therefore increase it.
Moreover, from a health perspective, it also aims to “save lives”, according to Dr Khamrop Detrattanawichai, director of Samui Hospital. The emergency transfers to the mainland are currently done by speedboats and takes lots of time (depending on the conditions of the sea, or if it is at night, some transfers may take up to 6 hours!). In 2018, 342 patients were transferred while 361 have already been transferred this year.