Lying some 80 kilometres from the mainland, and situated in the midst of the many smaller islands of the Angthong group, Koh Samui proudly shines as the jewel in the crown.
From the minute that you arrive, whether that be on a Bangkok Airways flight or aboard one of the many ferries that service Koh Samui, the tropical beauty of this island paradise begins to weave its spell of enchantment. The airport itself ranks in charm and floral splendour amongst the finest in the world, while the ferry ports lead directly onto palm-fringed beaches or into quaint oriental villages.
Until the relatively recent advent of tourism, coconut farming and fishing were the main sources of income here. These industries are still major operations, and the pleasant wood-smoke aroma of coconut husks charring is widespread.
The local Thai population of some 35,000 is an extremely warm and friendly people, who seem eternally happy – displaying ready smiles. Not so surprising really when you realize that they have the good fortune of enjoying Koh Samui laid-back lifestyle all year round.
The largest, and most popular beaches are Chaweng and Lamai, with their many resorts, restaurants and bars, but even in the high season between December and January they are never uncomfortably busy. But for those wishing to find quieter places, and even solitude, there are 23 other beaches to seek out.
The temperature on Koh Samui rises from 25 degrees Celsius in the cool season (from November to February), to highs of 35 degrees in the hot dry season (from April to June). Although the humidity is high in the region, the heat is never unpleasant here, fanned as Koh Samui is by the gentle sea breezes of the Gulf.