Koh Samui. A large island that has seen massive over-development in the past 8 years or so.
One of the most expensive places in Thailand, second only to Bangkok and even then it often matches it in certain areas. The nightlife and watersports (in that order) are the primary draws to Koh Samui. In the main party town of Chaweng you'll experience a small-scale Pattaya unleashed. Watersports are legion here with the main ones being snorkalling, windsurfing and diving. Be aware though that only one dive site 'Sail Rock' is worth a look and that involves over an hour long boat trip (quicker by speedboat).
We've heard numerous reports that certain locals here at the tourist spots are rip-off artists and conniving to de-fraud tourists. We won't deny that the expensive nature of the place is drawing undesirables to fleece farang.
The Areas in Samui include:
Na Thon: This is the main ferry town on the west side of the island, you can get to and from Surat Thani, Chumpon and the northern islands. It's not got much else though, got a lousy beach and practically no nightlife. Not even a kareoke bar, which for it's size is a let-down. No bars, just restaurants. Cheap hotels are here (one of it's few saving graces).
Bo Phut: Northern side of Samui. bo Phut is more family orientated area and quiet. Big budget hotels, no bars or nightlife to speak of. The beach is too shallow from October to April.
Mae Nam: One of Samui's more budget areas on the north side of Samui. Plenty of cheaper accommodation but now a glut of $$$$ hotels. It's quiet with no bars and from October to April the beach runs shallow.
Bang Rak : Also known as Big Buddha Beach, close to the airport on the north side of Samui. Quite laid back and peaceful here. It's the main ferry hub on the north side of Samui. You can get to Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao from here.
Chaweng Beach: Over on the east side of the island is Chaweng; The party-town and visited by thousands of tourists, expats, desperados and travellers each week (some say each day!). You want girls, action and partying? This is the place. Unwind, let rip and relax to your hearts content. There's a coral cove on the south side for the snorkallers out there.
Lamai Beach: South of Chawengy and the 2nd most populated area on the island. Notable for the ton of granite boulders on the south side. More subdued than Chaweng Beach but still vibrant enough with bars now springing up to lure in the farang.
This is the overview of the boats that can get you out to the islands.
Boat travel around the gulf of Thailand:
Founded: circa early 1900s A.D
Population: 83,000 (Approx)
Island Size (Geographical): 25 Sq. Miles
Distance from Capital by Air: 290 miles
Distance from Capital by Road: 330 miles
Getting to Koh Samui
Getting to and from Samui is not difficult if you fly by air. In the 1990s an international grade airport was constructed and it see's plenty of flights landing each day.
By Ferry is the alternative, it's slightly cheaper (if used in a combination) and is more considered more 'adventureous' by the backpacker crowd.
Seasons in Samui.
Samui is in the far south of Thailand. It can get pretty hot here, although the offshore winds will give you plenty of cool breezes. Flooding and heavy rains remain a blight during the monsoon season. The temperature hits a peak in April. The wettest is normally September and the coldest is usually December.
Cool Season - October to February. Avg Temp - 25 C
Hot Season - March to May. Avg Temp - 32 C
Wet Season - June to September. Avg Temp - 26 C.
Provincial Map of Koh Samui