Ko Samui is the largest of Thailand’s Gulf Islands on the east coast, surrounded by beautiful scenery and crystal clear waters. It’s made a name for itself as the more high-end island; backpackers and budget tourists still come here but Ko Samui prides itself on its luxury hotels and relaxing spa centres. Thai prices are always low by Western standards, so you can get much more for your money compared to most European resorts.
When Ko Samui’s tourist trade boomed resorts sprang up around all the best beaches, so you should never have to walk far to reach a beautiful beach! Chaweng is the longest beach on Ko Samui and the most well-known, with great nightlife. Lamai is also popular, as is Bophut, which is next door to the quaint Fisherman’s Village. Whichever beach you choose, you’re guaranteed impossibly blue sea and soft white sand bordered by palm trees.
If you can tear yourself away from the gorgeous beaches, there’s plenty to do on Ko Samui. First on the list has to be Ang Thong National Marine Park, a cluster of islands off the west coast of Ko Samui where you can go sea kayaking, sailing and snorkelling. The 12-metre high Big Buddha shrine is worth a visit, or if you’re feeling lazy you can just hit the spa for a Thai massage.
Ko Samui has a long history of attracting backpackers looking for a party, so the nightlife is excellent. Chaweng’s Green Mango strip is the hub for young revellers on a budget, but there are also hilltop lounge bars with great views, dinner show restaurants and cabaret bars for the older, more sophisticated crowd. If all you want is a quiet evening and a great meal, the local seafood is excellent.