Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Koh Samui


Ko Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand, approximately 84 kilometers east of Surat Thani Province, or approximately 700 kilometers south of Bangkok. Known as the Coconut Island, Ko Samui is one of the most famous and popular attractions of Thailand. With an area of 247 square kilometers, Ko Samui is the third largest island of Thailand after Phuket and Ko Chang (of Trat Province). The topography of the island is that of a plain with a mountain range in the middle and 7 important streams. In addition, there is a 50-kilometer paved road that encircles the island. Moreover, the area of the island stretches to a group of 48 surrounding islets.

Despite the fast pace of development, Ko Samui has been able to maintain its charm its classical image of a tropical beach resort fringed by coconut trees. Travelers to the island can enjoy a mixed blessing of vibrant day and nightlife along side with tranquility which can easily be found across different parts of Ko Samui as the archipelago is a peaceful home for fishermen and a natural den for seagulls and other rare birds.

Hat Chaweng and Hat Lamai are Ko Samuis most beautiful and most popular beaches. Both have a huge selection of accommodations suitable for every budget. Please note that room rates increase during the high season, from December to July, when Samui sparkles. The nightlife of each beach is different: Hat Chaweng is better for couples, women and families, while single men are drawn to the beer bar culture of Hat Lamai. These resorts, as well as Na Thon (Samui's main town), have communications, exchange and car/motorcycle hire facilities. Other beaches include Hat Choeng Mon, Hat Mae Nam in the north and Hat Na Thon, the island's major seafront settlement where shops, restaurants and tour agencies are concentrated.

Apart from its many lovely beaches and tranquil bays, Ko Samui is also noted for its high quality coconuts that grow densely everywhere. The best time to visit Ko Samui is from February to April when the sea is calm. The Southern dialect and the standard Thai language are spoken while English is widely understood in tourist areas.

Getting to Ko Samui

By air
Bangkok Airways flies from Bangkok to Ko Samui 13 times daily. The flight takes about one hour and 10 minutes. It also offers daily flights between Phuket and Samui. For more information, call its Bangkok office, 0 2229 3456, 0 2229 3434, Samui office, 0 7742 2512 - 9 or Samui Airport Office 0 7724 5601-8.

By bus
Air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal for Surat Thani several times daily. The trip takes about 11 hours. For further information, call 0 243..., 0 2435 1200 (air-con), 0 2434 5557 - 8 (non-air-con).

By car
From Bangkok, take Highway 4 (Buddha Monthon Road) through Phetchaburi and Chumphon Provinces and then drive on to Highways 41 and 401 to Surat Thani Province. From Surat Thani, visitors can take their cars to Ko Samui through a vehicle ferry at Donsak Pier. The trip takes 1.30 hours.

By rail
Several trains leave Bangkok's Hualamphong Station for Surat Thani daily. The trip takes about 12 hours. Train / bus / ferry combination tickets are also available.

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