Located in the Gulf of Thailand, 80 km off the coast of Surat Thani and about 560 km south of Bangkok, is the magical island of Koh Samui.
The island, Thailand’s third largest and measuring 21 kilometers at its widest point and 25 kilometers in maximum length, is one of a group of 80 tropical islands, most of them deserted. A mountain ridge runs east to west and most of the inner-land comprises forested hills. The rich hues of wild vegetation are dappled throughout with the contrasting greens of coconut palms and emerald paddy fields.
With a land area of approx. 280 sq. km, Koh Samui has a local population of a mere 34,000.
Samui was the bohemians’ paradise – carefree, exotic with an abundance of white sandy beaches and swaying tropical palms, indeed paradise on earth. The lack of accessibility kept Samui basking in the sunshine away from the rest of the world and especially mainstream tourism. Back then, you could get a room on the beach for as little as 200 Baht.
The local population consisting mainly of Buddhist Thais is very friendly. Until the recent arrival of tourism, coconut farming and fishing were the main sources of income. The latter are still practiced though to a lesser extent. The fish you’ll eat in the many restaurants and hotel dining rooms come from the surrounding Gulf of Thailand waters.
The largest and most popular beaches on Samui are Chaweng, Lamai, Bophut and Maenam. For those looking for a quieter place to spend their holiday or business trip, there are another 20 or so beaches to choose from.
As to the activities and if you are not a beach or water sports type, there is still a lot to do and visit (Buddhist temples, boat trips, waterfalls …).
Koh Samui is the rare gem of the Gulf of Thailand. Conserving the idyllic simplicity of a tropical hideaway, it is mostly characterized by its powdery white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and welcoming locals where you will delight yourself in a late-day Robinson Crusoe experience in comfort.