Koh Samui is Thailand's second largest island and a dream come true. Kilometres of immaculate white sandy beaches and idyllic coves, crystalline turquoise waters, palms swaying in the warm breezes, rainforest and waterfalls, bizarre cliffs and unspoilt fishing villages make Koh Samui one of Asia's premier attractions.
This southern Thailand island which measures approximately 228 kilometres square, is located approximately 466 kilometres south of Bangkok. This island which is situated in the Gulf of Thailand is about 35 kilometres from the east coast province of Surat Thani.
Koh Samui has a permanent Thai population of around 63,000 residents,
although foreign tourists to the island number approximately 1.5
While being world renowned for having some of the prettiest beaches in southern Thailand and the world, this popular island has a
history that is believed to date back at least 15 centuries ago, and its
roots lie in its Malay and Chinese heritage. The island even appears on a Chinese map dating back to 1687 under the name of Pulo Comam.
Today, Samui has
grown from an isolated community to one of the most developed
tourist destinations within Thailand, chiefly due to its pristine
beaches covered in powder white sand and beautiful crystal clear waters. Here you can find budget accommodation or 5 star premium resorts; there are so many choices available.
The most popular beaches on the island include:
Indeed, the main reason tourists visit this island is to enjoy the outdoor activities and specifically the beaches and water activities. You can choose between windsurfing, jet skiing, sailing, para sailing, canoeing, diving, snorkeling, and kayaking, along with sunbathing, swimming and surfing (which is popular at Chaweng Beach).
However, in addition to the sun and surf Koh Samui is well known for its exciting nightlife which includes girly bars and pubs especially along Chaweng Beach Road. This is the busiest section of
Samui and has a high concentration of hotels, bars, pubs, restaurants, shops,
markets, massage shops and internet cafes.
In fact this area of the island provides the best nightlife on Samui which includes the
famous Soi Green Mango
district. Here tourists will find an the usual assortment of pubs that
have big screen TVs and loud music. This is also the area where the budget
accommodation is located.
This part of the island also includes popular American fast food chains such as Starbucks, Burger King and McDonalds, along with money changing outlets, souvenir shops, travel agents and motor cycle rentals.
Although, there are a variety of other things to do and see including elephant trekking, shopping malls and supermarkets (including Tesco Lotus), cabaret shows, go-kart riding, monkey and snake shows, Muay Thai boxing, historical temples, natural waterfalls, restaurants, and of course outdoor markets including Chaweng Walking Street.
The best way to travel from Bangkok to Koh Samui is by plane. Samui International Airport which is privately owned by Bangkok Airways would have to be the most beautiful in southern Thailand (see image below). Opened in April 1989, the airport is located along the northern part of Koh Samui near Bophut Beach. Its airstrip measures 2,100 metres in length and the main terminal was designed to blend in with the island's natural flora and fauna.
Once inside travelers can relax and enjoy fine dining in an open air Thai restaurant while other facilities include a post office and a souvenir shop. Traditional Thai massage and spa facilities are also available within this tranquil setting. A number of carriers including Thai and Bangkok Airways fly daily to Samui International Airport.