An island of stunning natural beauty and diversity, Koh Samui could not go unnoticed during the tourist boom that hit Thailand in the 20th century. This is the third largest island in the country and the largest in the Champon archipelago, which consists of more than 80 islands (mostly uninhabited). See ANDYEDUCATION for education and training in Thailand.
Due to the fact that until the 20th century Koh Samui was isolated and did not have frequent contacts with the mainland, the local nature has been preserved in a very close to its original form. What can I say: there were no roads here until the 70s. Just at that time, the first backpackers landed here, and already in the early 90s, full boats of tourists arrived on the island, making it the second most popular destination in Thailand (the first is Phuket). White beaches, vibrant corals, gentle lagoons, picturesque waterfalls, coconuts ubiquitous and crystal clear waves are reason enough.
Districts of Koh Samui
The most popular beaches are located in the east of the island – accordingly, the east coast boasts a developed infrastructure with hotels for every taste and budget, a variety of catering outlets and an active nightlife.
Family lovers have chosen the northern coast: the prices of local hotels are on average lower than in the east of the island, and the vegetation in those places comes close to the beaches, making it possible to relax in the shade without losing sight of the child.
At the junction of the northern and eastern coasts, the main attraction of Koh Samui is located – a Buddha statue 12 meters high.
On the west coast is Nathon, the administrative center of the island. The main pier and bus station are also located here, and the largest local food market on the island is located nearby. Swimming in the sea is not easy during the summer months due to low tides, but the west coast is a paradise for lovers of beautiful sunsets.
The southern coast is considered by the locals to be wilderness. There is almost no civilization here, but there is pristine nature and wild beaches. For a rich selection of inexpensive houses for rent, the south of the island was chosen by “winterers” – tourists who live in Thailand for several months. The emptiness of these places at one time was also to the liking of Buddhist monks – the pagoda of the Laem Sor temple, famous throughout Thailand, is located here.
Koh Samui Hotels
The tourist infrastructure on the island has long been formed, and any traveler will be able to find accommodation at his request – from luxurious 4-5 “star” hotels to modest hotels for symbolic money.
As a rule, luxury hotels on Koh Samui are located on the coastline and, in addition to their own beaches, have a wide range of additional services – from swimming pools and spas to golf courses and tennis courts. Rooms in these hotels are spacious and equipped with air conditioning.
Three-star hotels are well-deservedly popular with tourists – an almost perfect combination of price and quality. As a rule, such hotels are inferior to luxury hotels in terms of the number of services provided, but not in terms of their quality. Such hotels will most likely have a pool, but may not have a bar or restaurant – not the biggest drawback on the island, where you can eat at every turn.
The cheapest hotels on Koh Samui are chosen only by tourists who are absolutely indifferent to everyday comfort, ready to put up with not only the lack of air conditioning, but sometimes even hot water.
The island is covered with dense 3G and 4G networks, even on the most remote beach it is difficult to remain without a connection. SIM cards of any of the three leading mobile operators in Thailand – AIS, DTAC and True Move – can be easily bought on the spot, and the DTAC operator even offers an order on the Russian-language page of its official website.
Koh Samui beaches
The best beaches are located on the east coast, but from October to January the sea is fraught with many dangers. During low tides, which, fortunately, happen very rarely, a terrible drought sets in on the beaches.
The best beach on the island is Chaweng on the east coast. These are picturesque bays, fine sand, crystal clear water and a slight slope towards the sea. The longest (6 km) and most beautiful beach of the island offers a huge selection of hotels from five-star resorts to simple bamboo bungalows. During the day, Chaweng is a center for water sports such as windsurfing and jet skiing, while at night it turns into a large dance arena.
South of Chaweng is Lamai Beach. The sand there is not so fine and white, and the coast is rocky in places. This beach is also located on the east coast. The waves of Hat Lapai (aka Lamai) have long attracted surfers – the sea here is deeper than on other beaches. There are several spa resorts where visitors can relax in saunas, try Thai massage or mud masks.
On Koh Samui, only guests of hotels located on the seashore can count on free sun loungers. For “alien” tourists, renting sun loungers on hotel beaches will cost an average of 40 THB per hour to 200 THB per day.
Almost the entire northern coast of Koh Samui is occupied by three cozy bays. To the west is Bophut – the only beach on the island where tourists and locals live like neighbors, and you can talk about a special flavor. Further west is Maenam, a beach where luxury hotels sit side by side with a hippie colony. The sand here is yellowish and coarser than on the east coast, and the beaches themselves are much more modest.
The beaches of the southern and western coasts are very secluded, not connected by the island’s ring road, but you can easily get here. The sea at Laem Set Beach is perhaps not deep enough for swimming. However, huge smooth boulders and coconut trees leaning at bizarre angles make it irresistible. In the southeast of the island is Hat Taling Ngam, a long deserted sandy beach, ideal for walking.
Communication and Wi-Fi
In general, the situation with communication on Koh Samui is not bad: almost every hotel has its own Wi-Fi network, access points are located in most public places. The main problem with Wi-Fi on Koh Samui is not related to the number of wireless networks, but to their quality: the speed of 10 Mbps is considered the norm in hotels, and it is not easy to get it – the Internet is shared between the guests. Even local networks are notorious for frequent disconnections, so many tourists prefer to use mobile Internet.
What to bring
First of all, products from inexpensive and high-quality local pearls, which have a reputation as the best in Thailand, are brought from Koh Samui. The second most popular place is occupied by all types of coconut products – from decorative dishes to cosmetics based on palm oil. An honorable third place is occupied by local ceramics – variations of Buddha figurines and stylized images of an elephant (the symbol of Thailand) tend to infinity. Models of tuk-tuks can also be considered a branded souvenir of the island; children are happy to buy them.
It should be borne in mind that according to the laws of the kingdom, the export of Buddha figurines above 5 inches (about 13 cm) is prohibited.
The main shopping centers are located on Lamai (Hin Ta Hin Yai Market) and Chaweng (Doodee Decor) beaches. The cheapest pearls on Koh Samui are sold at the Naga Pearl Shop. It is located in the heart of the southern coast of the island, on the beach “Thong Krut”.
There are many souvenir shops and shops with local cosmetics in Nathon. The sellers are very friendly and always ready to help with the choice, besides, they trade with pleasure and excitement.