Introducing Ko Samui
At first glance, Ko Samui could be mistaken for a giant golf course floating in the Gulf of Thailand. The greens are perfectly manicured, sand traps are plentiful, and there’s a water hazard or two thrown in for good measure. Middle-aged men strut about donning white polo shirts that contrast with their cherry-red faces, while hired lackeys carry around their stuff. But Samui is far from being an adults-only country club – a closer look reveals steaming street-side food stalls, 2am jetsetter parties, secreted Buddhist temples, and backpacker shanties plunked down on a quiet stretch of sand.
Ko Samui is very much a choose-your-own-adventure kinda place that strives, like a genie, to grant every visitor their ultimate holiday wish. You want ocean views, daily massages and personal butlers? Poof – here are the keys to your private poolside villa. It’s a holistic aura-cleansing vacation you’re after? Shazam – take a seat on your yoga mat before your afternoon colonic. Wanna party like a rockstar? Pow – trance your way down the beach with the throngs of whisky-bucket-toting tourists.
Beyond the merry-making machine, the island also offers interested visitors a glimpse into local life. Chinese merchants from Hainan Island initially settled Samui and today these unique roots have blossomed into a small community that remains hidden beneath the glossy holiday veneer.
Best places to stay in Ko Samui
Thailand - Ko Samui & the Lower Gulf (Chapter)
This family of spectacular islands lures millions of tourists every year with their powder-soft sands and emerald waters.
Ko Samui with kids
The beach is always great for children but Thailand doubles the fun. Thais love kids (especially babies) and will shower them with attention. Even grumpy taxi drivers enjoy playing já ăir (peekaboo) with little ones. Of the Thai islands, Ko Samui is the most relaxed and family friendly...
Pampering in Ko Samui
Ko Samui destination guides
Bangkok to Singapore on a Shoestring
Bliss out on world-class beaches in exotic southern Thailand before cooling off in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. This 2-week tour will introduce you to three diverse nations—and three of the region’s most vibrant cities. Sample street food or hit Bangkok’s clubs with other travellers your own age—so you can be sure to get down with those that’ll keep up.
Southern Thailand Sojourn
From Bangkok nightclubs that never close to laid-back beachside drinks on Koh Tao, experience the energy of southern Thailand. Hike through the magnificent lowland rainforest of Khao Sok National Park, where tigers still roam, or laze in a riverside hammock. This is your trip—so tread your own path.