Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s largest island and is located off the East coast of the mainland in the Gulf of Thailand. The island is part of Surat Thani province and was said to be first inhabited about fifteen centuries ago. It can be found on Chinese maps back as far as 1687 under the name “Pulo Cornam”. No one really knows where the name Samui came from, although Koh is the Thai word for island. It has been presumed that the name is an extension of Mui, the name of the native trees or from the Malay word “Saboey” that means safe haven. The island’s capital is Nathon which is located on the west coast and is the major port for fishing and inter-island transportation.
The island is rich in natural resources and attracts millions of visitors a year. The main attraction of Koh Samui is its white sandy beaches. The island’s beaches are referred to as towns (or villages) these days as hotels and restaurants have sprung up over the years, the most well known being Chaweng, Lamai and Bophut. Back in the days, the island’s economy has been based around fishing and coconut harvesting, however, that was overtaken over by tourism in the early 1980’s. Koh Samui has its own private airport with daily local and international flighs. Although around 10% of the island has been developed, Koh Samui still has several untouched beaches and remote spots to enjoy. The island has world class spas, five star hotels and resorts, from luxury villas to budget style accommodation, hundreds of restaurants serving local delicacies and fresh seafood as well as international standard five star restaurants dishes.
Koh Samui has a lot of local attractions, lively nightlife and is only a stone’s throw away from neighboring Koh Phangan, world famous for its monthly full moon parties that are on every backpackers ‘must try’ list. Beyond Koh Phangan is another popular island Koh Tao, that is famous for its diving spots and to the west is Ang Thong National Marine Park that can be enjoyed by day trips. The laid back approach to life and the friendly locals have made the island a popular destination for retirees as well as a second home in the sun for people from every part of the globe.