About Koh Samui
Koh Samui island of Surat Thani Province (Thai: เกาะสมุย), or often, simply Samui as it is referred to by locals, is an island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, close to the mainland Surat Thani town. It is Thailand’s third largest island, with an area of 228.7 km2 and a population of over 50,000 (2008). It is rich with natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees.
The island Koh Samui is situated 496 km south of Bangkok. If you travel by plane from Bangkok it takes for about 1 hour to get to Samui. The average temperature on the island is around 30 degrees Celsius. The period between October till December it’s raining season. Then there is still a pleasant temperature, with the difference is that it’s raining hard several times a day.
The island was probably first inhabited about 15 centuries ago, settled by fishermen from Malay Peninsula and Southern China. It appears on Ming Dynasty maps dating back to 1687, under the name Pulo Cornam. ‘Koh’ in Thai means Island, the name Samui is mysterious in itself.
Perhaps it is an extension of the name of one of the native trees, mui, or it is a corruption of the Chinese word Saboey, meaning “safe haven”.
Until the late 20th century, Samui was an isolated self-sufficient community, having little connection with the mainland of Thailand. The island was even without roads until the early 1970s, and the 15km journey from one side of the island to the other involved a whole-day trek through the mountainous jungles.
Today, Samui has a population of about fifty-five thousand, and thrives on a successful tourist industry. It even has its own international airport, with daily flights to Bangkok and other major airports in Southeast Asia.
While the island presents an unspoiled image to the public perception, economic growth has brought not only prosperity and changes to the island’s environment and culture, but is also a source of conflict between local residents and migrants from other parts of Thailand and other countries.
Chaweng is located on the eastern side of Koh Samui, directly across the island from Nathon. Without a doubt, Chaweng Beach is the most popular place to stay on Koh Samui. The beach has beautiful soft, white sand and is over 7 kilometres long. The water here is clear and clean, not too deep and ideal for swimming. As with any popular spot, Chaweng offers many different types of water sports; wave-runners, para-sailing, canoes and catamarans are but some of the activities offered. Chaweng has the most dive shops on Koh Samui, catering to all levels.
The main road in Chaweng runs parallel with the beach and is lined on both sides with hotels, bungalows, shops, restaurants, cafés and bars. Heading north on the Chaweng Beach road will take you directly to the airport. Despite all of the activity here, there are still many places you can turn to for peace and quiet in this neat little town.
Chaweng is also the nightlife capital of Koh Samui, with everything from beachside cafés to sophisticated cocktail bars and discos. Nightlife in Chaweng is miles ahead of anywhere else on Samui in terms of choice.
The famous Soi Green Mango forms centre of which the rest of the towns bars revolve and is packed with (mostly) young travellers every night visiting the pubs, go-go bars, girly bars and clubs. The main strip is nearly three kilometres long with lots of smaller centres sprung up alongside it. McDonalds forms a landmark in the south of town just across the road from Tropical Murphy’s Irish pub.
The choice of places to eat can be equally overwhelming at first glance and a drive down the Beach Road can pass by in a blur of seafood restaurants displaying their food in ice trays out-front. Closer inspection, however, reveals a surprisingly cosmopolitan selection, including fine Japanese, Italian, Israeli, Pacific Rim and Indian restaurants. A overwhelming offer of every cuisine from fabulous Thai-style beachside food to traditional continental fare with all the trimmings and everything in between, Chaweng has it all!
Given the amount of bungalows, resorts and hotels jammed along the beach, it comes as a pleasant surprise that the beach itself isn’t packed with people. Obviously, it is a lot busier than anywhere else on the island, but getting a sun-lounge and a reasonable degree of space isn’t a problem.
For shopping, Chaweng is equally hard to beat. Although there is a certain similarity to the market stalls which line most of the Beach Road selling faux-designer clothes, bags, CDs and DVDs, there are some very good Thai craft, jewellery, sportswear and swimwear shops. Chaweng also has the highest density of dive shops on the island, several high quality opticians and a vast array of tailors all touting for business.
On a practical level, Chaweng now has ATMs every 100 metres or so and plenty of currency exchanges. The island’s most professional hospital, Samui Bangkok International Hospital is located within 300 metres from the SuperPro Samui complex.
Just a little further south is Chaweng Noi. The beach here is smaller than Chaweng beach but just as pretty. There are not as many resorts there and the area is a peaceful option that is not too far from the activities of Chaweng.
Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand in South China Sea in the Pacific Ocean. The island is an 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, tourists from around the world come to this easygoing paradise. It´s located in the Gulf of Siam and surrounded by more than sixty other islands, some small and uninhabited, some bigger and worth a stay like Koh Phangan, Koh Tao (divers island) Koh Nang Yuan and Angthong Islands, the National Marine Park.
Thaiboxing Stadiums are found at Lamai Stadium and in a bar area in the middle of the beach road (so called lady boxing and free to watch). The Chaweng Stadium is located rather close to Reggae Pub. Superfights several times a week. Quite often ‘Farangs’ vs Thai guys in the ring. We also recommend Ratcha-damnoern and Lumpini stadiums in Bangkok if you want to see “the real thing” even if though there are national fights on Koh Samui.
Samui Shooting Range
Pistols and machine guns! Location: Main road. Close to Chaweng.
Three types of go karts to choose from. Found at Bo Phut main road. Lots of fun!
This adrenaline pumping activity is found at Chaweng close to Reggae pub.
A couple of arenas.
Butterflies and other tropical insects. It is located in the southeast at Leam Set.
It is located in the center of Samui. Many interesting sculptures made of cement.
Full Moon Party
If you stay in Koh Samui, we recommend you visit the famous Full Moon Party of Koh Phangan. The full moon party on the Had Rin Nok beach in the south-east of Koh Phangan is a world famous beach party. Every month between 10 and 20 thousand people visit the full moon party of Koh Phangan. It’s easy to get there from Koh Samui and worthwhile visiting. You have the possibility to party in different kind of ways. There are restaurants, DJ’s, bar’s, small tables on the beach, etc. To see some pictures, visit the gallery on our site.
You can visit Koh Phangan by boat. Several times a day boats are leaving from the Big Buhdda Pier and Maenam. There’s also the possibility to go by speedboat from Bo Phut and Maenam piers in the North of Koh Samui.