Koh Samui Travel Guide

Koh Samui Overview

Koh Samui (or Ko Samui) is a beautiful island with spectacular natural resources off the eastern coast of Thailand. The country’s third largest island, Koh Samui has a bustling tourist center of Chaweng Beach and is only an hour flight from Bangkok. Away from Chaweng Beach are plenty of smaller, quieter beaches such as the romantic Bo Phut beach; however overall Koh Samui is much more lively and action-oriented than any other islands around. Compared to Koh Tao, Koh Samui might as well be New York City.
This island is blessed with soft white sand beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, green lagoons, brightly colored tropical flora and rich jungles full of coconut trees. There are so many coconut trees, in fact, that the fruit was the island’s main source of income for many years, recently replaced by tourism. Discovered by backpackers only in the 1970’s, Koh Samui is now one of the top tourist attractions in Thailand for its scenic beauty, opportunities for fun and laid-back atmosphere. You will find no shortage of souvenir shops, boutique hotels, backpacker hostels, internet cafes, bars, and scooter rental shops. 

Things to do in Koh Samui

Much of the action on Koh Samui centers around Chaweng Beach, a long strip of soft sand and blue-green waves that has a chill vibe during the day and a festive energy at night when lights, fires and paper lanterns illuminate the sand and the spirit. Chaweng is a good place to pick up supplies, check your email, hit the dance club or go to a ladyboy show- a popular tourist attraction involving the most convincing cross-dressers that you have ever seen.
Chaweng is only one of Koh Samui’s beautiful beaches however, and all around the island you will find water sports and adventure activities like parasailing, jet ski rentals and banana boat rides. Many resorts located on further beaches don’t have a lot going on outside of the hotel grounds, so if you want more action that relaxation, you would prefer a hotel on Chaweng Beach. For singles, choose Chaweng or Lamai, another ‘happenin’ place for the party set- unless you truly want peace and quiet.
A thirty-minute boat ride away from Koh Samui brings you to Ang Thong National Marine Park, an enjoyable slice of paradise that you can discover above or below the waterline. Islands jut out of the water and into the sky, resting on a glassy green sea and begging you to hop in a kayak and explore their sharp exteriors. Snorkeling is quite fantastic in the park, and from spiky black urchins to harmless jellyfish, coming mask-to-face with this underwater world is a real adventure. Feed the fish in the sheltered green lagoon, and then feed yourself with a fresh Thai lunch before heading back to Koh Samui.

The diving near Koh Samui can give divers of all levels amazing experiences with the chance of seeing Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles, Whale Sharks, as well as smaller life such as banded sea snakes, moray eels and an abunadance of reef fish.

Hotels in Koh Samui

Maenamburi Resort: on Maenam beach, good for families, clean rooms, attentive staff
Montra Hotel: peaceful villas, spacious and clean, great pool, close to Lamai
Samui Reef View Resort: cheap scooter rental, very helpful staff, basic but clean rooms
Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa: on Bophut Beach, lovely rooms, trendy, good restaurant
The Waterfront: on Bophut Beach, clean, ocean view rooms, very friendly staff
Sandalwood Luxury Villas: quiet and private, on top of hill but close to Chaweng Beach


Koh Samui Weather

Koh Samui Travel Resources



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