Koh Samui, which is located 700 miles south of Bangkok, is the third largest island in Thailand after Phuket and Koh Chang. The island measures 15.5 miles at its longest point and 13 miles at its widest point. Settled almost one and a half centuries ago by Chinese sailors, Koh Samui has a maximum population living on its periphery. Mountains cover the interior of the island, while coconut palms line the plains leading to the most famous white beaches.
The favorite beaches of Chaweng, Lamai, Bophut are no longer quite idyllic, attracting tourists from around the world due to their vibrant nightlife. Those seeking a quieter side of Koh Samui can spread their towels on the often-deserted beaches on the south coast, such as Thong Krut and Lipa, where the landscape is significantly altered compared to the days when coconut plantations used to dominate the island.
When to go to Koh Samui
It’s dry and sunny on Koh Samui from December to February. However, the accommodation costs in these months are also too high to be affordable by an average tourist. For a less expensive vacation, consider booking your travel in July and August. In these months, you might encounter an occasional rain, but it goes off quickly bringing clear and sunny skies. You might also want to book between March and June, when the sky is always clear (though the days can be very hot).
The average temperature in Koh Samui varies between 77 F to 84 F.
Getting around Koh Samui
A ring road, often known as 4169, circles Koh Samui. In addition to that, there are several numbered streets and alleys, which are not much more pronounced. Tourists often rent cheap bikes that are easy to park to browse through these roads. Make sure that you wear helmets as Samui’s party addicts are not always the safest drivers. Look for signs of daily and weekly rentals near the main tourist areas of Chaweng and Lamai beaches.
Taxis in Samui are cheap. Drivers working here know enough English to understand your directions. Ask your hotel to write down in Thai both the name of your hotel and the place you are going to visit. It can be worth the small premium to hire native English drivers whose rates are slightly more than what you will be charged by a Thai. Those who are willing to hire a car should make sure that the vehicle is fully insured, as some of the areas of Samui can be notoriously dangerous.
Koh Samui hosts three New Year celebrations in a year. January 1, which is the New Year celebrated throughout the world, one in late February, which is the Chinese New Year and Songkran in mid-April, which observes all-out water fights on the streets are the three New Year celebrations that happen here.
While we hope that you simply do not need it, it is worth knowing about the major hospitals running in the city. Bangkok Hospital Samui that has a clinic operational at the airport besides the main structure in Bophut is the best hospital running in Koh Samui. This hospital is open 24×7 and accepts international insurance. The hospital can also arrange transfers to major hospitals in Bangkok, as necessary.
The tourism authority of Thailand website is the most complete and up-to-date resource for any destination in Thailand. Piles of free unofficial guides on Samui are available in restaurants, hotels and watering holes that are loved by international travelers.
Ways to get there
Koh Samui features a charming open air Airport. While Bangkok Airways no more has a monopoly on flights to and from Samui, it works around 24 daily flights from Bangkok and offer departures from Hong Kong, Singapore, Siem Reap and Phuket. Thai Airways are serving Koh Samui two times a day from Bangkok, with connections to many cities.
You can also travel from Bangkok to Surat Thani by bus or train and take a ferry from Surat Thani to Samui Island. You can get tickets online www.ferrysamui.com
Koh Samui has loads of attractions to offer to tourists that come here. You can swim in the clear water of the Gulf of Thailand, unwind on a different beach every day and dive in the Ang Thong marine park. Enjoy your days at a Full Moon Party that is hosted at nearby Island of Phangan, or groove at one of the hilltop clubs or beachfront lounges. Detox your body in one of the many spas in Koh Samui, which are responsible for the island’s popularity as Asia’s wellness isle.
John Chen is a travel writer currently located in Bangkok, Thailand. He likes writing about Thailand and he writes not only about traveling in Thailand, but also about business, culture, economy, education and food.