Info Koh Samui
Ko Samui (เกาะสมุย), often called just Samui (สมุย) is an island in the Gulf of Thailand, about 700 km south of Bangkok and 80 km from the eastern coastline of Southern Thailand.
Ko Samui is Thailand's second-largest island after Phuket, with an area of 228.7 km2, a population of over 63,000 and a hotel occupancy rate of 73 percent as the number of visitors increases. Abundant tourist resources, sandy beaches, coral reefs, and coconut trees are present on the island.
|TIME ZONE :||ICT (UTC+7)|
|AREA :||228.7 km2 (88.3 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||Highest elevation 635 m (2,083 ft)|
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49%|
• Female: 51%
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+66|
The expansion of tourism in Ko Samui has resulted in growth of building resorts, bungalows, and luxury private villas on the island. The island's total inventory of 17,479 hotel rooms in 2013 will be augmented by an additional 459 new rooms by 2015. A gradual shift in demand is seeing more Asian visitors and families, but the top three source markets have been Germany, the UK, and Thailand, which contribute a combined 27 percent share. Bangkok Airways continues to modernise its fleet with new Airbuses, phasing out older ATR 72 propeller planes, which will provide an 189,000 additional airline seats for Samui travelers. Bangkok Airways has already increased the number of daily flights from 36 to 50.
Ko Samui is all in all a fairly big island, the second biggest in Thailand after Phuket. The most popular and commercialised beaches are Chaweng and Lamai, while the northern beaches and their adjacent villages of Mae Nam, Bophut,Bang Rak (Big Buddha) and Choeng Mon are more peaceful choices, and the west coast beaches are still (comparatively) quiet.
An island of great natural beauty and variety, Samui is home to some 50,000 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 massif, the slopes of which are cloaked in virgin rainforest.
At 247 km², Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and the largest island in an archipelago of over 80 (mostly uninhabited) islands which form the Ang Thong National Marine Park, a kayaking and snorkelling paradise. At 25 km long and 21 km wide, Samui is big enough for serious exploration by the adventurous and fit, but can be circumnavigated in just a couple of hours by motorbike or car.
The island was probably first inhabited about 15 centuries ago, settled by fishermen from the Malay Peninsula and south 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 just had a few bungalows and a trickle of travelers. Things started to change in the early 1990s when tourists started arriving in full boats and since then the place has grown substantially. Samui is now the second most popular island destination in Thailand (Phuket is first). 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 in the high season.
The island 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. Some people believe that the word "samui" derives from the Malay word "saboey", or "safe haven", although there appears to be no credible corroboration of this. Ko is the Thai word for "island".
Until the late-20th century, Ko Samui was an isolated self-sufficient community, having little connection with the mainland of Thailand. The island was without roads until the early 1970s, and the 15 km journey from one side of the island to the other could involve a whole-day trek through the mountainous central jungles.
Ko Samui's economy now is based primarily on a successful tourist industry, as well as exports of coconut and rubber.
Economic growth has brought not only prosperity, but also major changes to the island's environment and culture.
Ko Samui features a tropical savanna climate. The island has only one true dry season month, with the average monthly precipitation in February falling below 60 mm (2 in), the threshold for a tropical dry season month. The climate is warm and humid for most of the year. However, in comparison to Phuket and most of the rest of southern Thailand, Samui's weather is relatively drier (Samui receives about 1,960 mm rain per year, Phuket 2,220 mm (87 in), while Phuket's Wet Season is spread over 6–8 months, Ko Samui's has only two months with more than 212 mm (8 in) of rain). The heaviest precipitation is typically seen in the months of October and November. For the rest of the year, given the tropical climate, rain showers are brief; 20–60 minutes duration is typical.
|Daily highs (°C)||29||30||31||32||33||32||32||32||32||31||30||33|
|Nightly lows (°C)||24||25||26||26||26||26||25||25||25||24||24||24|
Ko Samui is in the Gulf of Thailand, about 35 km northeast of Surat Thani town (9°N, 100°E). It is the most significant island in the Chumphon Archipelago. The island measures some 25 km at its widest point. To the north are the populated resort islands of Ko Phangan, Ko Tao, and Ko Nang Yuan. Close to Bangrak in NE Samui is the small uninhabited island of Koh Som, and to the northeast of Chaweng is the tiny Ko Matlang. In the southern direction are Ko Taen, Ko Matsum each of which have very small tourist facilities. To the far west are 44 other islands which together compose the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park which is accessible by a day-trip boat tour from Ko Samui.
The central part of Ko Samui island is the mostly unspoiled, natural tropical jungle, including the largest mountain named Khao Pom, peaking at 635 meters. The various lowland and coastal areas are connected by route 4169, which is a 51 km road, running primarily along the coastline and encircling the bulk of the island. Many other concrete roads branch off from 4169 to service other areas.
On the west coast of the island is the original capital, Nathon, which still houses many government offices, as well as two of the island's five major piers. Nathon is the major port for vehicular and goods transportation from the mainland; it is the centre of the fishing industry, though the seat of the regional government has been relocated further south. Nathon is the home of the public hospital. Being the location of the main port and the closest inhabited area to the mainland provided the impetus for Nathon becoming the commercial centre for Samui locals. More recently, the transition from dependence on the local coconut industry along with the continued growth and development of the tourist industry, as well as the northeastern location of the airport, has led to the increase of commercial activity in Chaweng and Bophut.
Historically, the island's economy has been based on subsistence agriculture and fishing, with coconuts as the main cash crop. From the 1980s onwards, tourism has become an economic factor and is now the dominant industry. Ko Samui transport links have made it a destination for tourists seeking to explore the other islands in the area.
Ko Samui is an amphoe (district) of Surat Thani Province, divided into seven sub-districts (tambon). The complete island is one city municipality (thesaban nakhon). The district covers the island, as well as the Ang Thong archipelago and some other small islands nearby.
Thailand also has more than its fair share of Internet cafes. The hourly charge is about 30 baht. For those in rural areas, hooking up to the Internet can be done via broadband satellite. GSM networks of all major Thai mobile operators cover the island quite well. While roaming is an option, purchasing local SIM card will save you a lot on international calls. Even more, GPRS/EDGE/3G service is a cheap and convenient way to access Internet from virtually anywhere.
Most resorts, and also many restaurants, cafés, and shopping centres offer free Wi-Fi.