Situated in the southern sea of Thailand, Samui is a charming island in the Gulf of Siam. Known locally as Koh Samui, this paradise is home to an array of pristine beaches, crystal clear warm seawater, and hospitable people.
1. Best Time to Visit Samui
The monsoon season in Samui cannot change the fact that the island is a favorite destination all year-round. The weather is warm throughout the year with humidity during the rainy and stormy season. Samui has three main seasons – Dry, Hot, and Rainy seasons – and the best time to travel here is during the dry season starting from mid-December to February. Although this is the perfect time to be in Samui, you might find the prices of accommodation not so friendly to the pocket at this time of year. So you might want to recheck your schedule and switch to June, that time of year when the weather is not too hot, and the accommodation rates are relatively low because it’s the rainy season. Find out more about the weather in Samui here.
2. Getting around in Koh Samui
Samui is the second largest island in Thailand. As such you will require some kind of transportation to get around. The island doesn’t have a mass transportation system yet, but it has taxi service and shared local bus service. The taxis on the island are metered but are rarely used. So the best and safe way to get a reasonably fair price is to negotiate with the driver before hopping on the vehicle to your destination.
If you are on a low budget, you can opt to use a local bus service which the locals call Songtaew. It is slower and tend to use the longer route to get more passengers, but the price is definitely cheaper than taxis.
If you have more than enough budget to spare, you can get a car rental. It is the most efficient way to roam around the island. However, you need to be aware of the local driving ways as they are totally different, and you don’t want to get caught in a traffic squabble. If you don’t want to test your driving skills in a foreign land, you can try the limousine service that comes with a chauffeur. For more information about traveling around the island, click here.
3. Where to Stay in Koh Samui
Before deciding which area to stay in Samui, it’s best to know what lifestyle you prefer. Are you looking for convenience and a vibrant nightlife? Then Chaweng is your spot. On the other hand, if you are looking for fine dining, boutique shopping outlets, and other pampering facilities, Bophut is the place to go. For those who truly seek peace and quiet relaxation, Taling Ngam is your best bet as it offers secluded accommodation and the beach. Learn more about where to stay in Koh Samui here.
4. Koh Samui Top Attractions
Not only the powdery white sand and clear blue sky but Samui also boasts of innumerable tourist attractions that are truly worth visiting. The highlight of all Samui attractions are these two landmarks – one is the natural kind, and another one is a cultural site. The Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks are the natural landmarks of Samui. These strange-looking rock formations are similar to human sex organs, attracting many visitors to the site yearly.
The Big Buddha is another majestic landmark of Samui. This gigantic Buddha image sits atop a hill on a small island connecting to Koh Samui. This massive Buddha is amazingly huge that it can be seen from afar, making it another popular spot on the island. For more attractions, click here.
5. Popular Beaches in Koh Samui
Koh Samui has numerous pristine beaches, and many of them are great for swimming and other beach activities. The most famous beach, well-equipped with modern and world-class facilities in Samui is undoubtedly Chaweng Beach. The beach has a wide sand strip suitable for all kinds of beach activities and water sport. The seawater is clear and warm, perfect for swimming or even for just soaking. Other than Chaweng, there is Lamai and Bophut Beach. Lamai Beach is not far from Chaweng and is nicknamed as the little sister of Chaweng Beach due to its similarity in terms of facilities and nightlife options. Although it shares some similarities with Chaweng, Lamai is much calmer and less noisy. For Bophut, the beach may not be as soft and white as the first two but Bophut is packed with excellent dining options, boutique shopping outlets, and spas. To find more famous beaches in Samui, click here.
Tons of beach and water activities can be enjoyed in Samui – from classic activities like snorkeling and diving to some new exciting adventures like flyboarding. All of these can be enjoyed on this island. Aside from the usual beach activities, the island is also a haven for golfers. There are several golf courses with a great view and greens.
In addition, there are other activities that you can choose to enjoy apart from going to the beach or playing a sport or two. A romantic cruise or a day-trip picnic are ideal for those who prefer a laid-back kind of thing to do. They are fun and relaxing and are perfect for those who really want to take it slow. Samui also has numerous spas offering incredible pampering packages. Each of them has different style and treatment that offers rejuvenating experiences.
While Samui is not as big as Phuket, there are still plenty of shopping venues on the island for every type of shopper. For those who are looking for standard malls, Samui has two department stores – Central Festival Samui and The Wharf Samui. Travelers can shop for designer brand clothes and bags here as well as enjoy sipping international brand coffee in between shopping.
For those who are looking for genuine bargain shopping, Samui has a horde of street bazaars to offer. Aside from local goods and imitation bags, shoppers can find different food stalls serving local delicacies and stalls selling handmade jewelry.
Samui is an island of romance and fine cuisine. There are endless fine dining options available on the island, each offering a unique feature – some are by the beach while others offer a majestic view of the ocean complete with a romantic ambiance. The island also has a number of chic beachside cafe and restaurants serving refreshing drinks and nice, delicious food. To find out more about romantic dining venues, check out here.
9. Nightlife in Koh Samui
The major venues of Samui nightlife are basically in these two areas – Chaweng and Lamai. In both places, you can party all night long or just wander into the neon jungle that offers a vibrant nightlife experience.
Image sources: madtravelshop.com, samui.thaivisa.com, Flickr.com, asiawebdirect.com