The perfect blend of unspoilt natural beauty and established tourist infrastructure, Thailand’s third largest island, Koh Samui provides the perfect island getaway. Pristine palm-fringed beaches, pulsating bars and fascinating cultural attractions combine to offer a fully-rounded Thai island experience.
Known affectionately as just Samui to the locals, the Island is part of the Surat Thani Province off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus, about 750km south of the country’s capital, Bangkok. The island gained popularity as a tourist destination in the 1970s when backpackers discovered the pristine serenity. By the early 1990s, Samui was no longer a secret and to cater for the increased visitor numbers, infrastructure developed accordingly. Today it is one of Thailand’s major resort destinations.
From April through to September, when the rest of Thailand experiences monsoonal weather patterns, Koh Samui generally remains dry. The wet season lasts from October to December and therefore is probably not the best time to visit. Samui generally enjoys glorious sunny days from January through to March, making this period the best time to go. Prices are generally higher from around December to July. Day time temperatures on the island remain around the 30 degree mark year round; in winter they hover around a balmy 29 degrees and in summer they climb to 32 degrees. At night the temperature drops to around 25 degrees.
Just to the north of the island is Ko Pha-ngan, home to the famed full moon parties. In many respects Ko Pha-ngan resembles what Koh Samui was prior to the tourist discovery. Ko Pha-ngan offers a more rustic Thai experience than its glitzy cousin to the south.
There are no direct flights from Australia to the island. Airlines that fly from Australia to an airline hub such as Bangkok or Singapore and onto Koh Samui include:
Flights from Australia to Asia generally take around nine hours, with the onward flight taking one to two hours. Overall travel time can increase if the connection between flights isn’t smooth.
Koh Samui’s high-end luxury hotels and resorts offer tranquil serenity generally away from the hustle of the island’s commercial districts. Most resorts are situated on the beach and offer exquisite views from the rooms. They boast perfectly manicured gardens and extravagant pools. View Resort options
The warm, generous nature of the locals, a beautiful lush Thai island and your own private beach combine to make a memorable honeymoon. Relax in your five star resort, venture around the island, laze on a beach and most of all spend quality time with your loved one. View Honeymoon options
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Being an island, the main attraction here is the beautiful white-sandy beaches. Chaweng is the most commercial, followed very closely by Lamai. For more relaxed beaches, consider planting your beach umbrella on Choengmon or Maenam and relaxing on your piece of Thai paradise.
For a culture fix, check out the temple Wat Khunaram and its quite eerie mummified monk. Legend has it that the Abbot was able to predict his own death. In the north of the island are the Big Buddha Temple and its 15 metre statue.
At the south end of Lamai Beach, put aside any prudish behaviour and gawk at the aptly named Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks. Just remember that Mother Nature created these rock formations using standard erosion methods.
Sunscreen and insect repellent are essential. While you can purchase these on the island, they will be more pricey than bringing them from home.
Wai is a traditional Thai greeting that involves holding your palms together in a prayer and bow towards one another. The wai is also used when saying sorry or saying goodbye.
Family and respect are of the utmost most importance to Thai society and way of life. Thais avoid confrontation and criticism at all costs, believing that hostility attracts the wrath of spirits and may result in violence and tragedy.
The Thai King is held in high esteem, so always show respect towards His Highness.
Thai people are generally quiet and consider loudness to be impolite. Don’t raise your voice or laugh loudly unless in a bar or tourist resort.
Touching a Thai person on the head is perceived as an insult and should be avoided. Also remember to remove your shoes before entering a temple.
Stick to bottled water, as the tap water isn’t drinkable. Avoid drinks with ice, as the ice may be made from tap water.