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Koh Samui

One of Thailand’s favorite island destinations, Koh Samui is renowned for its beautiful stretches of white sandy beaches flanked by towering coconut trees.

Samui Island Beach

A beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui has large green coconut plantations. It was once a haven of backpackers welcoming a flock of young adventurers who like to explore the exoticism of a tropical island. Even though today it becomes a prime destination, it still maintains an aura of a laidback life style. The island is roughly circular in shape and about 15km in diameter. The central part of the island consists of forested hills. Various lowland areas are connected by a single road that covers the circumference of the island.

Beaches like Hat Chaweng and Hat Lamai are the best and, inevitably, the most visited. The 7km long Chaweng beach is a center of entertainment and beach activities. The sand is soft and fine. It offers good swimming and snorkeling facilities. Beachside cafes and sophisticated cocktail bars are plentiful. A large variety of accommodation is on the offer for every budget and style.

Lamai is less busy than Chaweng. The long perfect white sand crescent of the beach is also considered to be the finest on the island. There are many options in terms of accommodation but the majority are simple bungalows and 3 star resorts.
Indeed, the island has about a dozen of nice beaches where you can sun bath and swim with relatively calm atmosphere. At Maenam Beach, the tranquility is still a main draw. It maintains the old charm of Samui. It is home to both backpackers and well-heeled guests. Some of Samui’ most expensive resorts can be found here.

Na-thon Beach, on the southwest coast of the island, is the major port for fishing and inter-island transportation where you can catch a boat to Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and the mainland in Surat Thani. It is the seat of the regional government and a commercial center of Samui islanders. Souvenir shops, bakeries, second hand bookstores, travel agents and Internet Cafes can be found here. The old Chinese shop houses along the middle street exudes an air of exotic history.

Big Buddha Beach benefits from its proximity to the airport and popular Chaweng Beach. It is named after a big-seated Buddha statue that enshrines a local temple. The beach is lined with budget to mid-price bungalows. Many of them have restaurants overlooking the beach. Big Buddha Beach is also a place where you can catch a ferry or speedboat to Had Rin on the island of Koh Pha Ngan – home of the famous Full Moon Party.

Next to Big Buddha Beach is Choeng Mon Beach. It is made up of a series of bays on the northern edge of the island. The relatively peaceful beach is dominated by some three to five star resorts.

The most remote beach on the island, Taling Ngam appeals to those who want to get away from the crowds. Le Royal Meridian Baan Taling Ngam, one of Samui’s foremost luxury resorts, is located here.

Hua Thanon and Bang Kao are perhaps the least developed beaches. Only a few resorts scatter along these serene beaches.

Koh Samui has one airport that services daily flights from Bangkok and some countries in Southeast Asia. Alternatively, you can catch a bus from Bangkok to the pier in Surat Thani; then take a ferry to the island. Reflecting Samui’s growth as a tourist destination, the Cunard ship MS Queen Victoria is scheduled to dock at Samui during its 2008 world cruise.