Koh Samui is the rare gem of the Gulf of Thailand. Conserving the idyllic simplicity of a tropical hideaway, it is mostly characterized by its powdery white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and welcoming locals where you will delight yourself in a late-day Robinson Crusoe experience in comfort.
In such an idyllic setting the temptation is simply to laze peacefully on the beach and soak up a tropical sun tan. But if you want more there are amenities for water sports, such as windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling. The coastal waters are exciting to explore and are especially rich in shoals of brightly coloured fish and exotic coral formations.
The largest and most popular beaches on Samui are Chaweng, Lamai, Bo Phut and Maenam. For those looking for a quieter place to spend their holiday or business trip, there is another twenty or so other beaches to choose from.
Principal among Samui's natural sights are two picturesque waterfalls, Hin Lad and Na Muang. Island hopping is another attraction and boats can be easily hired for trips to Koh Phangan (the nearest and largest island next to Samui), and to the smaller islands of Koh Tao, where beautiful bays with colorful coral formations offer excellent conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving.
A more adventurous full day excursion can be made to Ang Thong National Marine Park, a group of 40 islands northwest of Samui. Here you will see spectacular limestone formations, caves, blue lagoons and amazingly beautiful beaches.
The local population consisting mainly of Buddhist Thai's is very friendly. Until the recent arrival of tourism, coconut farming and fishing were the main sources of income. The latter are still practiced though to a lesser extent. The fish you will eat in the majority of restaurants originate from the surrounding Gulf of Thailand waters.