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
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.
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
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
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
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.