oh Samui is the premier island destination in the Gulf of Thailand. Samui is easily accessible, features beautiful beaches and a variety of activities, and caters to visitors on any budget.Ko Samui, Thailand’s second most popular island destination, is located in the Gulf of Thailand roughly 700 km. south of Bangkok and 80 km. from Thailand’s southern coast. Samui is the third largest island in Thailand and the largest in an archipelago of more than 80 islands that includes the Ang Thong National Marine Park, a kayaking paradise and day trip from Ko Samui. While Samui is small enough to be circumnavigated in just a couple of hours by motorbike or car, the island features such a variety of beaches and activities that it would be impossible to experience everything in a single visit. However, this was not always the case. Until the late 20th century, Samui was home to a small community engaged primarily in fishing and harvesting coconuts. There were not even any roads on the island until the early 1970’s. However, once foreign visitors discovered this island gem, lush with tropical forest, fringed with palm tree lined stretches of golden sand, and surrounded by pellucid, aquamarine water, development quickly followed. Today the beaches of Chaweng and Lamai are bustling beach towns with fabulous beach resorts, internationally acclaimed restaurants, and world-class nightclubs. Activities around Ko Samui include cooking courses, yoga instruction, Muay Thai training, scuba diving, and even golf. While there are a few quieter beaches that are ideal for relaxation, particularly those that feature some of the finest 5-star resorts in the world, and some that exude old world charm, such as Bo Phut, which features converted, old Chinese shop houses, Samui is a lively, exciting place than it was a few decades ago. Ko Samui has developed into its own style of island paradise, retaining much of its natural beauty while offering nearly every imaginable activity or service for the ultimate beach holiday. ( Credit: tourismthailand.org )
62,000 (estimated, 2010)
WHAT TO WEAR
The island of Koh Samui has a tropical climate influenced by monsoons. Dry season is very short and is around February, climate tend to be warm and humid throughout the year, with more rain during October and November. Average temperatures stay above 30C throughout the year. DRESS CODE: casual and beach attire, light cotton clothing, comfortable shoes, sandals: hat, sunglasses and a good sunscreen are essentials. When visiting temples it is advisable to dress modestly and wear shirts with sleeves. Some classy venues such as restaurants require a smart casual attire.
Koh Samui has a good variety of shopping: local markets and shops located on the main beaches of the islands.
NO SMOKING, PLEASE
In Thailand smoking is forbidden in all temples, public transport, airports (they may have designated smoking areas), train and bus stations, indoor public places including office buildings, hospitals, restaurants, shops.
Tip is discretionary and up to you, of course gratuities for a good service are appreciated.