Koh Samui, Thailand


Mae Nam Beach by Per Meistrup

Koh Samui (often called just Samui by the locals) is an island in the Gulf of Thailand. The island is some 820 km (510 miles) south of Bangkok and about 80 km (49 miles) from the eastern coast of Southern Thailand. Koh Samui is Thailand's third largest island measuring 230 square km (89 square miles) but with a a small population of over 50,000. The island is a popular destination in Thailand attracting 1.5 million vacationers each year.

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Until the late 20th century, Koh Samui was an isolated self-sufficient community, having little connection with the Thai mainland. Koh Samui was even without roads until the early 1970s and the 15 km journey from one side of the island to the other involved a whole-day trek through the mountainous central jungles. During the early 1970s, the first backpackers arrived on Koh Samui and for years after that, the island just had a few bungalows and a trickle of tourists.

Choeng Mon Beach by Rich Daley

Things started to change in the early 1990s, when tourists started arriving in full boats and since then the island has grown substantially. Today Koh Samui is the second most popular island destination in Thailand after Phuket. It may not be most beautiful island in Thailand but still an oasis of natural beauty with its white sandy beaches, dazzling coral, luscious lagoons, picturesque waterfalls, swaying coconut trees and crystal clear water. Unfortunately, development is starting to take its toll and the beaches of Chaweng and Lamai are overcrowded during the high tourist season.

Samrong Bay by Hansandre

Samui's weather patterns are a little different from the rest of Thailand. In April through September, when most of the country has its monsoon season, Koh Samui stays fairly dry. However, from October to December, it's wet in Koh Samui and drier elsewhere. Koh Samui's driest season is from January to March. Average high temperatures range from 29°C (84°F) to 32°C (90°F) and lows range from 24°C (75°F) to 26°C (79°F).

Guide to
Koh Samui
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