Years ago the beautiful island of Koh Samui (Ko Samui), was mostly the favorite travel destination in Thailand for the many backpackers visiting the country every year. Today the island is still one of the top spots for young people going on holiday in Thailand, not least because of the famous Full Moon Parties, but Ko Samui has today become a international holiday resort, popular for tourists in all ages.
Beautiful beaches with crystal clear water, perfect diving conditions and a nightlife with all you can expect are probably the main reasons for the increasing popularity of Ko Samui
We hope you find a nice but cheap and affordable hotel on this site - Enjoy your stay on Koh Samui !
Did You know about Koh Samui.. ?
- More than 3 mio. tourists are visiting Ko Samui each and every year.
- Koh Samui is about 575 km drive from Hua Hin.
- The island is about 250 km2
- The highest point of Ko Samui is called Khao Phlu approx. 630 m above sea level.
- The Sandy beach Chaweng is more than 5 km long
- Lamai Beach is the centre for Nightlife, Go-Go´s etc.
- There are several beautiful waterfalls. Best known are Na Muang 1 & 2.
- Koh Samui is just 30 min. by boat to Ko Pha-ngan for the cost of around 250 THB
Ko Samui is frequently described by just a single word – paradise. This is Thailand’s 2nd biggest islands, is approximately 12km North to South x 10km East to West in size and is located about 12km off the East coast near Surat Thani. The popularity of the islands is highlighted by the fact it has its own International airport although flying from Bangkok with Bangkok Airways is perhaps the most common way to reach the island and take about 1 hour 20 minutes. The airport is also connected with Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. During the “high” season (December to April) you are well advised to book a flight, but no more than 6 weeks in advance, if catching a flight from Bangkok. If you are not able to book a flight direct to Ko Samui the next best option is to get a flight to Surat Thani and take a combination of bus and ferry to the island.
Surat Thani is also served by road and rail links from Bangkok and using these alternatives in conjunction with a ferry ride may be a more scenic way of arriving on the island. If you travel this way it is advisable to make sure you have air conditioning available on either form of transport and the weather is typically very hot, humid and a little uncomfortable for long periods, all year. The government bus and ferry from Bangkok is likely to cost in the region of 500+ Baht (1000 Baht for VIP) while private bus companies will charge around 450 baht but you may not get air conditioning. Beware of claims from vendors to get you to your destination for a considerably lower cost (300 Baht or so); it will almost certainly be a scam.
There are hundreds of hotels, bed & breakfast inns and bungalows available, of which most are rated extremely well and cover all budgets. You will find some local markets for shopping but of course nothing that will compare with the big towns and cities of the mainland, all the same you will still see the same exotic food being offered such as crickets, frogs and even the odd reptile!
Once on the island, what is there to do?
If you simply wish to relax on the white sandy beach or take a dip in the clear waters of Gulf of Thailand then you will be spoilt for choice, as there are beaches surrounding the majority of this beautiful island. If you would prefer to take in the sights then there is plenty to see.
As with everywhere in Thailand there are of course temples (wats) that are a good starting point, take time to visit one or two of these and appreciate the peace and quiet they offer or watch the Buddhist monks going about their business. Indeed one of Ko Sumui’s most renowned landmarks is a 12m tall golden Buddha, known as the Big Buddha Shrine, located on a small rocky island off the north east coast and can be seen from a good few kilometers away. Access is via a causeway from the mainland. Staying on the topic of monks, a trip to Khunaram Lamai wat is another, if somewhat unusual, popular attraction where you can see some mummified monks. On a lighter note Ko Sumui also plays host to the Secret Buddha Garden Hills that are tucked away in a hilly area, to the north of the road, about half way, between Lipa Noi and Maret. Some superb countryside views are to be seen here not to fabulous statues that have been collected for display.
The last major Buddhist temple attraction is Wat Plai Laem, again on the north east coast of the island. The Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, Guanyin, is on view here and this temple also offers a view of Chinese and Thai beliefs.
Beyond the wats and temples, Ko Sumui has some excellent wildlife attractions. There is an Aquarium and Tiger show where you are able to get close to colorful and exotic birds as well as marine and wild life. The biggest draw here is the Bengal Tigers and some Leopards and there are daily shows where these animals demonstrate their agility and strength. For an additional cost it is possible to have a photograph of you with some of these animals.
Thailand has many species of snake and reptiles and Ko Sumui has a Snake Farm where you will have the opportunity to get to see these, close up. The Pythons and King Cobras are the highlight of the daily shows and there are also Scorpion and Centipede shows and the traditional rural Thai sport of cock fighting. There are about 170 snakes on show and about a third of them is venomous and is always hugely popular with visitors.
There are some quite amazing rock formations at Hin ya and Hin Ta when it appears nature has imitated art! These are well visited places by tourists and continue to be a source of both interest and mild amusement as some formations resemble certain body parts.
If waterfalls are of interest then you should head for Na Muang where there is a pair of majestic cascades. They are found inland a little, about 12km south east of Nathon and are accessible by a path at the entrance to the park. The waterfalls are about a 30 minute walk apart. There also a safari park with elephant rides and monkey shows to keep everyone occupied for the majority of the day. There are other waterfalls on the island but they are considered to not match the beauty of these two at Na Muang.
To the west of Ang Thong (north-west tip of the island) are 42 islands where the Ang Thong National Marine Park is located. This only accessible through government-approved tour boats or other organized and approved methods i.e. sailing, cruise trips and speedboat charters. Although a protected park the visitor is permitted to participate in a number of activities such as hiking, sailing, diving, sea kayaking, snorkeling or just lazing on the beach. There are lots of places to explore here too with waterfalls, hidden coves, lakes and jungle. You need to have at least a reasonable level of fitness if you plan on exploring and the park is best visited between March and October as the seas are calmer at this time of the year. If the weather is too bad between November and January the park is closed. There are basic facilities available here if you wish to stay overnight with some bungamows and tents but do not expect a high degree of luxury.
Nightlife and sex scene on Koh Samui
This last section is about the nightlife on Samui and may not be everyone but as it is present it is only fair we tell you about it, if you do want to know.
As with just about anywhere in Thailand, where there is a healthy flow of tourists, there is a nightlife scene mostly featuring working girls. There are also lady boy (katoey) Cabaret shows that are tastefully performed, along with a lot of color and a little humor. Most of these shows are performed in Chaweng near Centara Grand beach resort.
Many tourists visit Thailand for the “sex scene” and Samui has this to offer too. Most, if not all, these girls do not work this way through choice and most come from the North East region of Issan, a very poor and deprived region. Money is earned to send back to their parents and family just to buy food and pay the bills. Baring this in mind, in addition to their culture, it is always best to show a little respect even if you do not want their attention. What is a little different here though is the bars are far more “low-key”. You will find bars and working girls just about anywhere on the island that has a sizeable tourist population (just about any built up area) on the coast line. A number of the bars on the island do not look like they are part of the sex trade but in reality they probably are. If a Thai girl approaches you in a bar to do anything other than ask what you want to drink, you can be sure she is a “working” girl and that bar is full of other “working” girls. If you do not want this attention simply refuse politely and they will go and look for another “ferang”
There are also many “non-working” girls that live on the island that may also enjoy the company of a foreigner for a week or two and be spoiled with drink and food; they act as a temporary girlfriend if you like and to be honest if you travel alone, this can be a very rewarding experience and Thai people are very friendly, respectful, kind and respectable. You could do much worse than share your holiday with one of the local ladies.
Many hotels will permit you to take a girl back to your room but it is advisable to know in advance. If your hotel does not permit this, do not despair, all the girls will know the hotels that do permit it.