Koh Samui is the country's third biggest island and lies in the Gulf of Thailand. It is surrounded by 60 other islands, mostly within the Ang Thong National Marine Park. Samui has a population of about 50,000 people and the island's popularity makes certain parts a busy place to be but it still has some quiet, secluded beaches.
From the 1980's onward, tourism has gradually eclipsed the coconut industry as the island's biggest source of revenue. Unlike Phuket, Samui's major and busiest beaches are on its east coast with the island's main port Nathon, on its west coast, facing nearby mainland and Surat Thani.
There's a lot to do on Samui Island. Apart from its beautiful beaches and legendary nightlife the options grow wider upon inspection. Try a day tour to other islands, or maybe a little jungle trekking.
Simply explore the island's many and varied beaches or plan a big night out in Chaweng or Lamai. Whatever you do on Samui is bound to be loads of fun. (Read more...)
The busiest beach by far on Samui is Chaweng – a seven-kilometre stretch of glitter, sand, neon, street stalls, hotels pubs and restaurants. The nightlife and shopping hub of the island, nothing like it exists elsewhere on Samui. Lamai Beach to the immediate south of Chaweng can get busy but nowhere like its neighbour.
The island has an island-wide circular road that will take you to, or almost to, all of the beaches so beach hopping is an amusing activity, although care should be taken to hire a car as the number of motorcycle accidents on Samui is frighteningly high. (Read more...)
No one can deny that the biggest draw to Koh Samui is its beaches and each one offers its own distinct characteristics and charms. Still, even the best beaches can sometimes grow a bit tedious and that's when it's time to go looking for a change.
Samui's waterfalls are a pleasant and cool change from the beach; the major ones being Hin Lat Fall, Na Muang 1 and nearby Na Muang 2. On the north-eastern tip of the island stands the Big Buddha on its eponymous beach. Built in 1972, this iconic temple sits on a little island that is connected to the main island by a bridge. (Read more...)
There's a lot to do on Koh Samui. Whether it is scuba diving, elephant trekking, exploring, or simply going out partying, the 'island factor' is tangible – where everything seems more enjoyable because you're getting away from it all.
The aquarium and mini zoo is a popular attraction and there are plenty of adventure tours to choose from as well as the ever-popular day tours to the nearby national marine park islands. Samui has an active and hospitable yachting scene along with an annual regatta and on the cultural side of things Thai cooking classes are as popular as ever as well as visits to local temples. (Read more...)
Samui's dining choices here are superlative. From five-star hotel restaurants to pub grub to no-name restaurants, the culinary pickings are as rich as barbecue sauce. Being an international destination, the island has eateries for all sorts of tastes and with a healthy competition existing between Samui's many restaurants, standards are sky high.
In short, you won't have too hard a time of it to find that special place you always dreamed of. There are bakeries, ice cream parlours, fast food joints, beach barbecues, hotel brunches, pizzerias, Indian, Mexican, vegetarian and meat-lovers restaurants all throughout Chaweng and at the other major beaches. (Read more...)
Chaweng is the champion of nightlife on Koh Samui with Lamai coming in a rather distant second. From early evening on, as wait staff set up temporary restaurants on the beach outside their hotels and resort, the tone is set for holiday night time fun.
Many visitors use their early-to-mid evenings chasing down bargains at the many street stalls and boutiques that line Chaweng's high street then go out later to the bars, pubs and clubs that line the back 'sois' or lanes. It's all within easy reach in Chaweng itself. Lamai has a fairly decent nightlife mainly centered on the road leading into town from the north and near the beach. (Read more...)
For typically Thai household goods of a practical nature Nathon is the place to go but if you are looking for souvenirs, Chaweng is shopping central. There, you have jewelry boutiques, handmade clothes boutiques, beautiful furniture shops, secondhand bookstores, pirated CD's, DVD's and computer games, fake brand-name goods and clothes and pretty much everything you think you need but can't really use back home.
Maenam, for some reason or other, is the place to buy wonderful teak furniture and the shipping arrangements are made by the shop in question. Other good buys are eye glasses and bespoke tailoring. (Read more...)