Possibly the most popular tropical island of the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is a true paradise for family vacations, honeymoons and romantic holidays.
With the convenience of home just around the corner, the Western-influenced Samui makes travelling in Thailand as easy as pie.
Third-largest island in Thailand (247km²), Koh Samui offers a great number of isolated bays for those that wish to escape the crowds.
How to get to Koh Samui
Ko Samui Airport (USM), originally built for Bangkok Airways, is now also served by Thai Airways (for domestic flights Bangkok – Samui / Chiang Mai – Samui and Phuket- Samui) and by the low-cost airlines of Berjaya Air and Firefly from Malaysia.
Flights to Koh Samui may cost from 2000 bahts to 5000 bahts depending on the date of travel and the company.
You may also arrive in Koh Samui via boat from Surat Thani or Chumphon. From Surat Thani airport or train station, you will have to go to Donsak Pier, where two ferry companies operate : Seatran and SongSerm.
From Chumphon, you may travel with Lomprayah Catamaran. However, note that the boat will stop at Koh Tao and then Koh Pha Ngan before you reach Koh Samui.
Koh Samui Dive sites
Most diving in Koh Samui is done on the nearby island of Koh Tao. It takes about one hour of cruising the tropical waters of the Gulf of Thailand to reach the Turtle Island (Tao = Turtle).
Sail – Rock is one of the most popular dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand. The main attraction of this pinnacle is its coral-encrusted vertical chimney. You can access it at 6m (20 ft.) and exit at 18m (60ft). Sail Rock is a premier dive site to spot large pelagic such as chevron barracuda, tuna and at times, whale sharks !
The Dive Site Chumphon consists of one large pinnacle, surrounded by a number of smaller ones. Rich in corals, sea whips and sponges, the underwater landscape is amazing. Large pelagics, such as whale sharks, are common visitors.
Ko Samui Diving schools
Diving schools in Koh Samui generally reach dive sites by speedboat. Koh Tao dive sites are about 1-hour boat ride away.
You may dive all year round as water temperatures and visibility vary little. Water temperatures range from 27° (80.6 F) to 30° (86°F). Visibility can be affected by current, plankton, rain and other factors. Near Koh Samui, underwater visibility ranges from 5 – 30m (16 – 98 ft).
Accommodation in Koh Samui
Chaweng is Koh Samui’s most famous beach strip and offer mostly deluxe resorts and bungalows.
On a lower key, bohemian Bo-Phut on the northern part of the island offer a more relaxed atmosphere, with charming deluxe resorts right by the beach.
Hat Lamai, once the “hippy” part of Samui, is now just as busy as Chaweng, but caters to a younger crowd.
The price of accommodations on Koh Samui starts around 500 bahts for a backpacker room and can meet European prices for luxury hotels.
Cost of living in Ko Samui
More expensive than other tropical islands, Koh Samui offers a wide array of western options that come at western prices.
Dining out at an upmarket restaurant, expect to pay 150-300Baht for a starter and 400-100Baht for a main course. On the other hand, a quick meal at a street corner costs between 60-100Baht.
Beer costs between 60-100Baht depending if you are drinking it by the beach for sunset or in a smaller by-the-road restaurant. Cocktail prices range from 100Baht to 500Baht. Happy hours and special deals are common on Koh Samui.
Others activities in Koh Samui
Apart from diving, you will find many water activities such as snorkeling, trying jet-ski and kayak trips to Ang Thong National Marine Park. At the heart of the island of Ko Samui, not far from Na Thon, you will find two scenic waterfalls, best to be seen after rainy seasons.
You will find many spas on Koh Samui where to get pampered and massaged, making your holidays in Thailand quite a relaxing one !