One of Thailand’s most famous islands, Koh Samui (‘Koh’ means island in Thai) is heaven for tourists. White sandy beaches, amazing diving, some of the world’s best coral reefs, and clear blue water make it a sea and sun worshipers paradise and, for those who like nightlife, the famous Full Moon Party held every month is a must do. The island is also full of tropical forests, exotic birds and wildlife and natural beauty incomparable anywhere else. Koh Samui is one of the top five best places to visit in Thailand for its unbelievable beauty and also for some of the world’s best diving.
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.