Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and the largest island in the Chumphon Archipelago, a stunning collection of natural beauties that lies in the Gulf of Thailand off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus. The Archipelago is made-up of over 80 (mostly uninhabited) islands which form the Ang Thong National Marine Park, a kayaking and snorkeling paradise.
Koh Samui is located 700 km south of Bangkok and about 80 km from the eastern coastline of Southern Thailand. Samui has 40,000 full-time inhabitants, but it could hit up to 1.5 million tourists per year becoming the second-most popular destination in Thailand after the wonderful Phuket. The island is reachable in many ways mainly via plane from the capital or from Phuket and other few smaller cities.
Koh Samui is definitely a place where to have a blast: palm-fringed beaches, coconut trees, verdant and mountainous rainforest, luxury resorts and spas. This tropical island maintains a broad appeal for every kind of tourists attracting budget travellers as well as wealthiest holidaymakers. This creates a cosmopolitan melting pot featured with a relaxed atmosphere that set it apart among other Thailand's islands.
Even the island weather is a little different from the rest of Thailand. The climate is warm and humid all year round as Thailand lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator (slightly closer to the latter) following the division in three distinct seasons: dry, hot and rainy. Temperatures are generally good all year round staying around 28°C, with humidity level standing between 70 and 85 per cent, and the optimum weather conditions are between December and August. Great weather, little rain, and lots of sun make late December until April the best time for suntanning, swimming and doing water sports. Koh Samui stays fairly dry from May to September: while most of the country has its monsoon, here there will be still plenty of sun but you will get also some rain (usually showers in the afternoon or night). October and November are the rainiest months when good beach weather can be hard to find while it is drier elsewhere in Thailand. The driest season in Samui is from January to March.
Koh Samui's range of things to do and see is varied and interesting. You can kick-off your staying with a guided city tour, or explore the rainforest with an eco safari tour where you can do some hiking and seeing splendid natural attractions such as secret waterfalls.
If you are interested in religious imagery and architecture an unmissable landmark is the 12m-tall golden Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai Temple which is located on a tiny island connected to Koh Samui by an embankment. The statue is specially worth a visit during sunset time. You can enjoy the stunning view of the stutue in a boat tour with aperitif visiting also the small island of Koh Som.
The dining experience will not disappoint you: the island is stuffed with kôw gaang shops, often flimsy wooden shacks serving southern Thai–style rice and curries and every beach location has plenty of seaside tables from which you can enjoy a romantic sunset. Our tip: look for more anonymous places following locals in the food markets, this will assure you the best meals.
If you are interested in food and culture, a Thai cooking class might be your best deal: you will enjoying the company of locals learning the simplest Thai dishes as well as the spicy regional curries.
Staying in a small island will give you the chance to visit plenty of beaches: you can choose the hustle and bustle of Chaweng Beach, the lively yet chilled atmosphere of Lamai Beach, the tropical beach paradise of Maenam and you can also visit Bophut’s Fisherman's Village with its timeless charm.
Among experiences you can choose are also private beach picnics, sunset dinners along the shoreline and boat tours in the Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine National Park.