Koh Samui. Beach in Thailand, Asia

Koh Samui

Beach in Thailand, Asia

Lipa Noi, Koh Samui Photo © Urs Achermann

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Koh Samui

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	Samui, Coral Cove Beach - Koh Samui
Koh Samui, Coral Cove Beach - Koh Samui. Photo by Fabio Achilli
Koh Samui was probably first inhabited about 15 centuries ago, settled by fishermen from the Malay Peninsula and southern China. It appears on Chinese maps dating back to 1687, under the name ‘Pulo Cornam’. 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 15 km journey from one side of the island to the other involved a whole-day trek through the mountainous central jungles.

In the early 1970s, the first backpackers travelling on the back of a coconut boat arrived on Ko Samui. For years after that, the island had just a few bungalows and a trickle of tourists. Things started to change in the early 1990s when tourists started arriving on full boats and since then, the place has grown substantially. Samui is now the second-most popular place as an island destination in Thailand (the first is Phuket). Ko Samui may not be the country’s most beautiful island, but it is still an oasis of natural beauty with its white sandy beaches, dazzling coral, luscious lagoons, picturesque waterfalls, swaying coconut trees, and crystal clear water. The water at Bophut Beach, though, is often murky, especially around December.

Unfortunately, development on Ko Samui is starting to take its toll, and the beaches of Chaweng and Lamai are overcrowded during the high season.

 - Koh
Koh Samui. Photo by Yeoh Thean Kheng

What to See

Koh Samui is the biggest island in Thailand’s gulf (there are three of them with population: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao) and the third biggest island in Thailand, even though it’s size is over 200 square km, it’s pretty easy to visit the whole island in a day via motorcycle or car.

Koh Samui Ladyboy Cabaret
	Show - Koh Samui
Koh Samui Ladyboy Cabaret Show - Koh Samui. Photo by Jeremy Andrews
Most of the people have the misconception that, being that Koh Samui is the most developed island of the zone, it’s also the least interesting, but far from that, Koh Samui is home to most of the best beaches of Thailand, pretty similar to the Andaman Sea beaches, for example Krabi and Phuket beaches.

Chaweng is the main town and beach of Koh Samui, where the sand is white and the water is kind of a really beautiful turquoise blue. Obviously it is one of the most populated, as in the main street of Chaweng town you can find almost everything: from supermarket to gogo bars and even golf luxury resorts.

Lamai is the second most popular place of Koh Samui, and you can also find everything here; it is a pretty large and narrow beach. Between Lamai and Hin Ta beach, you can find two rocks known as Grandpa and Grandma rocks, famous because of its genitalia shape.

Bo Phut is the third town and the most important beach of Koh Samui, where you can find a great variety of restaurants to have dinner by the beach. At the end of it, you can find the Big Buddha.

There’s also a ton of little beaches all over the island if your main intention is to be away from other tourists or resorts, like Mae Nam, Choeng Mo, or Coral Beach.





Getting There

By plane though Koh Samui Airport (USM) or by boat from Surat Thani or Chumphon, where you will find several companies with different offers to travel to and from the islands.

Culture and Mythology

An island of great natural beauty and variety, Samui is home to about 40,000 full-time inhabitants, 90% of whom are Buddhist. The palm-fringed shoreline and coconut and fruit cultivation of the coastal lowlands rise to a central granite massive, the slopes of which are cloaked in virgin rainforest.

Nearby Landmarks

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Author: gma992. Last updated: Dec 07, 2014

Pictures of Koh Samui

Sunset - Koh Samui
Sunset - Koh Samui. Photo by Ali Catterall

Koh Samui
Koh Samui. Photo by barbara k

Rocks on the beach - Koh Samui
Rocks on the beach - Koh Samui. Photo by Yeoh Thean Kheng


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