| Koh Samui is a beautiful island off the south-eastern coast of Thailand. It is 80% covered with coconut plantations and circled by palm-fringed beaches. It was once an 'untouched' backpackers' mecca, but is now well on its way to becoming a fully-fledged tourist resort. Coconuts are still the mainstay of the local economy, with up to two million of them shipped to Bangkok each month. Tourism is becoming more important to he local people, and that can be felt in the service and warmth that you feel when you get here.
The most popular beaches on Koh Samui are Hat Chaweng and Hat Lamai : both have good swimming and snorkelling but are getting a little crowded. For more peace and quiet, try Mae Nam , Bo Phut and Big Buddha on the northern coast. The main town on the island is Na Thon.
Most of the beaches have plenty of traditional rustic, thatched-roofed bungalows but accommodation can still be hard to secure in the high seasons between December and February and July and August. The best time to visit is during the hot and dry season between February and June. There are flights from Bangkok to the island's Don Sak Airport. Several ferry and jetboat companies operate from Surat Thani: express boats take two and a half hours and jet boats take one and a half hours. Local transport comprises songthaews (trucks with two rows of seats in the back), though several places hire motorcycles.
Ko Samui's northern neighbour, Ko Pha-Ngan, is more tranquil, and has equally good beaches and fine snorkelling. Its renowned beach parties at Hat Rin are popular with backpackers, though not with the local police. The island is a half-hour boat ride from Ko Samui.
Ko Samui or the Coconut Island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 700 km. to the south of Bangkok. The island is in the sea about 20 km off Surat Thani. It is situated at latitude 9° N and longitude 100° E.
Samui has an area of 247 sq. km., making it the third largest island of Thailand after Phuket and Chang Island. It is the main island of a group of 48 islands.
The hot season lasts from February to May and the rainy season from June to January.
Most area of the island is a plain with a mountain range in the middle. There are 7 important streams. A 50-km. road is paved around the island.
About 44,000 (2005).
**Note** The total population includes only permanent residents.
Samui is a county (amphoe) of Surat Thani province administering 7 districts (tambons).
The Southern dialect and the standard Thai language are spoken. English is widely understood in tourist areas.
Samui is famous for its high quality coconuts growing densely everywhere.