Koh Samui is the premier island destination in the Gulf of Thailand; Samui is easily accessible, features beautiful beaches and a variety of activities, and caters to visitors on any budget. Koh Samui, Thailand’s second most popular island destination, is located in the Gulf of Thailand roughly 700km south of Bangkok and 80km from Thailand’s eastern seaboard. Samui is the third largest island in Thailand and the largest in an archipelago of more than 80 islands that includes the Ang Thong National Marine Park, a kayaking paradise and top day trip from Koh Samui. While Samui is small enough to be circumnavigated in just a couple of hours by motorbike or car, the island features such a variety of beaches and activities that it would be impossible to experience everything in a single visit. However, this was not always the case.
With nearly 500 hotels and almost 60,000 rooms, including beach bungalows, condominiums, and private villas, finding a place to stay on Koh Samui is hardly a challenge. The trick is finding the right area of the island to suit your needs. Chaweng Beach offers the most variety of accommodation options as well as the most activities, while Mae Nam Beach is more suitable for those looking for quiet, sedentary relaxation. While Samui was once a haven for backpackers who were content with thatch roof, budget bungalows, these have generally all been replaced by mid-range, air conditioned, concrete bungalows and luxurious spa resorts. Regardless, there are still a few budget options to be found, and with so many choices it would be impossible not to find some accommodation that fits your budget and provides the ideal beach environment for your Koh Samui holiday.
Food & Drink
Most restaurants on Koh Samui serve a variety of cuisines, including Thai and international foods. Most guesthouse and resorts have restaurants that serve both, while the more popular beaches, such as Chaweng Beach, feature restaurants specializing in Thai or various international cuisines, such as Italian or German. Beachside, seafood barbeque restaurants are also common on all beaches. As on most islands, the food on Koh Samui is generally higher priced than on the mainland as there is mark-up on supplies shipped to the island. Where dining options are more limited prices are even more expensive.
Shopping in Koh Samui is centered on three major areas, Nathon market, Chaweng market, and Lamai market. More accurately perhaps, other than restaurants and bars in Chaweng “town”, which flanks both sides of the road running parallel to the entire length of the beach, Chaweng is an enormous outdoor shopping mall with street stalls selling knick-knacks and knock-offs in front of boutique shops selling authentic beachwear and other international products.
(Original information sourced from Thailand Tourism Dept)