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Samui hotels and travel - accommodation guide, beaches

Welcome to Samui Island ••
Samui travel and beaches information
General Information

Koh Samui
Koh SamuiIt is Surat Thani's major tourist attraction. The island has numerous lovely beaches and bays. It is almost literally an island of coconuts and forested hills, and is fast be coming a resort of international stature. Samui's best beaches line the northern and eastern coasts, the most popular being Chaweng and Lamai where, generally, the most attractive accommodation is found.
Besides beaches, other island attractions include the Hin Lat and Na Muang waterfalls the phallic rock formations at the southern end of Lamai Bay; a massive seated Buddha inage of Fan isle and Na Thon, the island's major seafront settlement where shops, restaurants, tour agencies and hotels are located.

Population Mix
Koh Samui has a personality and culture of its own. There are over 15,000 people who make the island their home on a daily basis. A vast majority of those people are Thai, but only a small minority of them were born on Koh Samui. Most are from Northern Thailand, where the weather is slightly milder, especially at higher eleveations. There are many Chinese Thai people running shops and resorts. Most of them seem to be from the Bangkok area. A growing number of foreign residents are also affecting the culture.

The history of Koh Samui is much shorter. There are old Wats in the island, but not much of a written history. On the south part of the island is a house over 150 years old. Certainly the lush tropical jungle and protected bays have attracted fishermen throughout history. The fresh water and beautiful beaches were a refuge from the sea and small villages were established.

Today there are a number of fisherman villages on Koh Samui, the largest and most notable is in Hua Thanon. In the 1960s back-packers looking for new and isolated places to explore discovered Koh Samui. Those early visitors told their friends. They returned again and again to this island paradise.

The history of Koh Samui is being made today. The Ring Road has recently been widened. Many of the smaller roads have been improved. The road construction continues. The complexions of the beaches are changing. There are new and modern lodging facilities on Chaweng Beach, where bungalows once stood. The ever popular secluded resorts are still very much a part of Koh Samui.

Getting There
Koh Samui is located some 80 kilometres off the coast of Surat Thani, about 560 kilometres from Bangkok. It can be reached by air from Bangkok, or by ferry boat from Surat Thani town.
The major access to the island is still by sea, with a large car ferry running continuously from Don Sak to the west coast and passenger craft running between Surat Thani and Na Thon. Buses carry passengers over the ferry, allowing uninterrupted travel between Samui and Bangkok, or Samui and Hat Yai.

By Ferry

Two ferry companies operating from three ferry piers along the Surat Thani coast on the main land and two on Koh Samui
Ratcha Ferry Co.
Operates the vehicle and passenger ferries from the Don Sak pier to the Thong Yang pier on Koh Samui. The ferry departs Don Sak daily at 8.00 am, 10 am,12 noon, 2 pm and 5 pm. and the crossing takes one and a half hour and cost about 25 baht.
From Samui's Thong Yang pier, there are seven daily departures at 7 am, 8 am ,10 am, 12 noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 5 pm.

Express Passenger Ferry

Songserm Travel operates the express passenger ferries from the Tha Thong pier with 3 daily departures at 7.30 am, 11.30 am, and 2 pm.
Songserm Travel also operators a slow night boat from Ban Don pier in downtown Surat Thani to Koh Samui, departing at 11 pm nightly and reaching the Nathorn pier around 5 am.

The major accommodation beaches, Lamai and Chaweng, are both on the east coast and are lined with bungalows and hotels, though most are hidden among the foliage, allowing the natural beauty to remain intact.

Getting Around
A 50-kilometre ring road skirts Samui's coastline, giving ready access to all beaches and the little administrative centre of Na Ton, a compact beachside huddle of houses, shops, restaurants and small hotels. The best form of transport is a motorbike which can be readily hired. This gives the freedom to explore at your leisure, although mini buses do ply the main routes. Organized tours to Ang Thong Marine Park are available from local travel agents.

It takes about an hour to drive completely around the island, if you don't stop along the many beaches or take to some of the side tracks. A couple of rough trails cross the mountainous interior, but this is strictly 4WD or motorcycle territory. The only real town on the island is Na Thon, the administrative and communications centre.




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