Introducing the city

£1.00 | ฿44.87

GBP | THB

3 * Hotel p/n £15.91 | ฿713.76

One-way ticket £1.11 | ฿50.00

Beer £1.56 | ฿70.00

Main Course £1.78 | ฿80.00

About Koh Samui

Thailand's second largest island behind Phuket, Koh Samui is tropical escape of white sandy beaches and tourist-driven nightlife, located on the Gulf of Thailand.

An island of coconuts and monkeys; what more could an island-hopper want? Yet this island isn't all monkey business and dragonfruit; Koh Samui is a picture of natural beauty lined with a glorious sandy coastline, covered with lush green swaying palm trees and sprinkled with a mix of luxury hotels and budget beach-side bungalows.

With a population of around 65,000, this island has grown into one of Thailand's most popular destinations. Accessible by ferry or plane, Koh Samui attracts hordes of international visitors who come to laze on the tropical beaches by day and frolic in the lively bars by night. The area of Chaweng Beach is a haven for backpackers in search of vibrant nightlife, culture-clad villages - home to authentic establishments - remind you of life before tourism and a ton of devastatingly good restaurants, spas and attractions are all at your fingertips; Koh Samui is melting-pot of variety. And if you go bananas for coconuts, there's plenty of them too of course.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

The best time to visit is between December and February when temperatures are cooler, rainy season has past and the humidity is more bearable.

Koh Samui experiences warm weather all year round and can be broken down into three seasons: Dry season (December - February), hot season (March - August) and rainy season (September - November). The two wettest months of the year are October and November and unsurprisingly this is also considered low season. During hot season the hottest month of the year is May where an average high temperature reaches just below 34 degrees Celsius. Yet, even the coldest months in dry season reach near 30 degrees Celsius.

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Travioor top tips

Beaches
Explore
Snorkelling

Insider Info

  • Chaweng Beach is the most lively and popular beach on the island but if you don't care too much for the tourist hotspots, head to the northern side of the island for a more peaceful escape; Lipa Noi is great for watching the sunset.
  • Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and there are an array of beaches, sights and attractions to discover. If you rent a motorbike or scooter, as many people choose to do, make sure you rent from a reputable company. Alternatively, there are plenty of taxis or a bicycle is also a good option.
  • The island of Koh Tao is one of the best places to snorkel and dive in Thailand. If you haven't got the time to head there, you can do a boat day-trip tour from Koh Samui which will allow you to enjoy the spectacular coral reefs and perhaps see a turtle.

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Food and drink

Main Course £1.78 | ฿80.00

3-Course Meal £22.29 | ฿1,000.00

Cappuccino £1.66 | ฿74.29

Beer £1.56 | ฿70.00

The Scene

With southern Thailand's cuisine drawing Malay, Indonesian and Indian influence, many dishes are known for being spicier than those found in the north. Of course Thai favourites such as Pad Thai (noodle stir-fry with egg, spring onion, tofu, your choice of meat and peanuts) and khao phad (fried rice) are still found at every turn. Additionally, as Koh Samui is an island, seafood is very popular here and favourites include crab, lobster and squid. Also, due to the coconut being a huge export for the island, you can expect to find an array of coconut-based dishes, sauces and treats. One in particular to look out for is kalamae which is sweet, sticky candy made using coconut cream.

If you want to enjoy a few drinks, the liveliest place on the island is Chaweng Beach where you'll find a number of beer bars and nightclubs. Alternatively, there are other areas on the island with some up-market bars and restaurants that off an array of high-end beverages.

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History

Koh Samui’s Story

Although it is believed that Koh Samui was first inhabited some 15 centuries ago, the first notable settlements were fisherman from the Malay Peninsula and southern China. It's name was documented on Chinese maps from late 17th century as Pulo Cornam and it is somewhat of a mystery where it's current name comes originated. There are theories that suggest it is an extension of the island's native 'mui' tree or some believe it could even be derived from the Malay word 'saboey' meaning 'safe haven'.

In the 1800's the island acted as a handy stop-off point for sailors crossing the Gulf of Thailand and was held in high regard due to its range of natural resources, particularly coconuts and other tropical plants and fruits. Slowly people came from mainland Thailand to live on the island and Buddhism became the island's main religion. Before the 70's the Koh Sumai was nothing more than a self-sufficient community until roads were built and word got out about it's tropical allure.

Through the 80's and 90's, tourism continued to grow and locals adapted their lives to accommodate the influx of tourists. Today Koh Samui is one of south-east Asia's most appealing destinations and despite coconuts and rubber still remaining good exports, the island's economy is now centred around tourism.

Language

Sa-wùt dee - krúp (m) OR kà (f) | Hello
Koopkhun | Thank you

Thai

The official language on Koh Samui is Thai but due to its influx of tourists over the last 30 years, you'll find that most people (particularly in hotels, shops and restaurants) speak a level of English you'll be able to understand. However, it's always appreciated if you try to use a few basic Thai phrases every now and then like the ones below:

  • Goodbye: Sa-wùt dee krúp (m) Sa-wùt dee kà (f)
  • Please: Ga-roo-nah
  • Yes/No: Châi/Mâi

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Need to know

+66 Dialling Code
191 | 1669 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Koh Samui does have an airport so you can reach the island easily by plane. 
  • You can also get here via ferry from the mainland, Koh Tao or Koh Phangan.
  • Be aware that taxi drivers may try to rip you off, especially in the evenings around Chaweng Beach.
  • Dress appropriately when visiting places of worship and temples.
  • You will need transport to travel from one side of the island to the other.
  • ATMs tend to give you cash before they return your card. Don't walk off without your card!


VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Thailand here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Big Buddha

Arguably Koh Samui's most iconic landmark, the Big Buddha shrine can be seen from afar and is 12 metres high.

2. National Park

View the natural beauty, exotic wildlife and gorgeous scenery at Anthong National Marine Park - a stunning archipelago of 42 islands.

3. Chaweng Beach

There are many beaches to enjoy on the island but Chaweng is the most popular and the longest with clear water and powder-soft sand.

4. Hin-Ta and Hin-Yai

Also known as the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks, these genitalia-shaped stone formations are a unique and rather amusing sight.

5. Village

Fisherman's Village is one of the most beautiful spots on the island with an array of restaurants lining the beach that are best visited at night.


See What's On In Koh Samui