Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand in South China Sea in the Pacific Ocean. The island is a Amphoe or district in the Surat Thani Changwat or province. Samui is divided into seven Tambon or sub districts (administrative regions): Maenam, Bophut, Maret, Taling Nam, Namuang, Lipa Noi and Angthong. Koh Samui has been a backpackers destination since late 70's. Today, tourist from the whole world go to this easygoing paradise. It?s located in the Gulf of Siam and surrounded by more than sixty other islands, some small and inhabited, some bigger as Koh Phangan, Koh Tao (divers island) Koh Nang Yuan and Angthong Islands, the National Marine Park.
Ko Samui has been settled for about 1500 years. The first arrivals here were fishermen. The island is to be found on 500 years old maps from Chinese Ming dynasty. Fishing and later coconuts has been the major source of income on Koh Samui island.
Most beaches has white sand and are fringed with coconut palms. Many resorts and hotels are located just a couple of meters from the beach. The most popular are:
7 km long beach in the North-East of Samui. The most well-known and developed, but also one of the best. You can rent anything from a simple bungalows to a five star hotel room here. There are plenty of high standard resorts here. The sand is invitingly white, but it can be a lot of people here, especially at high season.
Not far as long as Chaweng but more quite and some people would say charming. The Southern part of the beach is somehow more inviting than the Northern, because there are not so much stones and corals there. Lamai is located in South-East of Samui, about 10 kilometers South of Chaweng. A little North of Lamai you will find Ao Tong Takian beach. It has became rather popular, and a few resorts are located there.
Maenam, Big Buddha, Bo Phut
In the North of Samui you will find these fine beaches. You will also find the small but very beautiful Chong Mon beach in the North-East and Bang Por beach in the North-West. They are not as crowded as Chaweng and Lamai. A large range of hotels and bungalows are found here and it is close to the Airport, Pier and Big Buddha too. On Samui you can stay in a simple bungalow or in a luxury hotel
Koh Samui is not a place where you will find the "most famous" Buddhist wats (temples) or statues etc. I would prefer Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Chaing Mai, Sukhothai or Ayuthaya. And if you are looking for really big hotels and a busy nightlife, I would prefer Patong beach in Phuket or maybe Pattaya. But Koh Samui is perfect if you want a place without really big hotels, resorts and discotheques, but where you still can find great beaches, places to eat, bars and even a couple of fine nightclubs. Most people who has visit Koh Samui wants to come back and some returns again and again
Wat Phra Yai is a more than 12 meter tall Buddha statue, first built in 1972. It is located on a small island but today connected with main land with a bridge. Please show respect and wear proper clothes and shoes while visiting. This is not just a tourist attraction, but also an important Buddhist symbol for the local Thai people here. In 2005 and 2006, Big Buddha has been extended with a Dharma wheel and a traditional Suphannahong boat.
Hin Ta Hin Yai
The grandfather and grandmother rocks located on South Lamai beach.
Samui Nightlife and bars
On Samui you'll find a few nightclubs and discotheques if you like that kind of entertainment. We can recommend; Green Mango, Reggae Pub (on Chaweng beach) and Bauhaus, Super Sub (on Lamai beach) There are also smaller pubs and bars all over the island. Enjoy! So called girlie bars are common and a little more expensive. If you are a man, do not be to surprised if one of the girls wants to follow you to your room. Normally she is not too serious if she say that she is in love with you though. She is doing it as a work to support herself and sometimes also her family.
How to get there
Flight You can catch a plane from the Bangkok International Airport, Don Muang. Bangkok Air flies direct to Samui Airport. A flight schedule with Bangkok Airways is found here. Thai Airways flies to Suratthani. From there, just take a bus or taxi to the ferry. (A new airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi Airport has just been built, but there are no flights to Samui or Suratthani from there yet)
If you want a more economical way to travel, take the VIP bus from the well-known Khao San Road or from the Southern bus terminal at Boromrat Chonnani Road. The VIP buses are more comfortable than the so called A/C bus. You can buy a ticket in almost every travel agency in Bangkok. Ferry is often included in the price.
Another great way to travel is the night train from Hualamphong, the Bangkok railway station, to Suratthani. The sleeping cars are comfortable. It is a little more expensive than the bus, but you will get a good sleep. Upper beds are less expensive than the lower ones. A private "first class" cabin for two persons, is also available.
The fastest ferry leaves from Donsak pier on the main land. The price is about 85 baht. The ferries are not luxurious in any way, but you will see many of the small surrounding islands if you don't fall asleep. Thai-guys on some ferries will maybe try to convince you that "their" resort on Samui is great. It can be a blank or a prize in that "lottery". You can easily book a room or bungalow here 24 hours a day and all year round.