Bangkok  September 24, 2009 12:56 PMSunny83°




The Gulf Paradise

Surrounded by other gems like Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao, Samui sits snugly in the gulf of Thailand, and is located 52 miles east of Surat Thani, the provincial capital on the mainland. With soft sandy beaches shaded by towering palms, delicious fresh seafood and a vibrant nightlife, Samui has a magical formula that seems to cast its spell on everyone.



 01 Sunny Samui beaches

Many visitors are content to lounge their days away on the beach, while soaking up the sun and cooling off in the turquoise waters. Chaweng Beach on Samui’s east coast is the longest and most beautiful, with plenty of accommodations for guests. Just south of Chaweng Beach, are the playful waters of Lamai Beach, virtually a surfers’ paradise, while Hin Ta and Hin Yai’s unusual rock formations are Samui’s most photographed features. For those who want to get away from it all, there are Maenam, Bophut, Bang Rak and other beaches on the north coast, as well as beaches on the south and the west, including the renowned Taling Ngam.

02 The best diving spots for experts and amateurs alike

More than 70 islands surround Samui, and the nearby islands of Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao make this area one of the most famous dive sites in Thailand. Samui is also the best place to learn how to dive. Experienced divers, meanwhile, can encounter large creatures, like the whale sharks, manta rays, potato cods, and more.


 03 The fun and whimsical Monkey School Show

The monkey’s famed ability as coconut collectors once formed the basis of Samui’s economy. At the monkey school, the students are mostly local pig-tailed monkeys from the forests. Classes of 3-6 months are classified into three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Graduate monkeys are trained to pick only ripened coconuts from the trees. During the show, all their skills are shown for entertainment.

04 The lush and pristine nature of Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park

Just 21 miles west of Samui, this archipelago of 42 islands fits everyone’s image of a tropical paradise, with its huge limestone rocks covered in virgin rainforest rising out of the aquamarine waters. You can find fantastic viewpoints on Ko Wua Talap, a delightful concealed lagoon on Ko Mae Ko, and an opportunity to paddle a sea kayak along the limestone formations.

 05 Dance with abandon at the Full Moon Party at Ko Pha-ngan

Just 12 miles north of Samui and a short boat trip away, Ko Pha-ngan is a mountainous island ringed by secluded bays offering ideal getaways. Its most beautiful beach is Hat Rin, where the world-famous “full moon parties” are hosted, attracting thousands of visitors each month to dance their night away on the beach.

06 Dive, swim and explore: Ko Tao & Ko Nang Yuan

Ko Tao lies 28 miles north of Ko Pha-ngan and is known as the best diving sites in the Gulf of Thailand.  The turquoise water of Ko Tao is crystal clear. Coconut plantations still cover much of the landscape. There is also a unique geological phenomenon at Ko Nang Yuan, a tiny cluster of islets just off the northwest coast of Ko Tao, where a stunning causeway of sand joins the islands, offering visitors the choice of two seas to swim in.

 07 Marvelous kayaking at Khao Sok National Park

Kayaking at Khao Sok National Park in Surat Thani offers a unique experience, allowing guests to visit magnificent waterfalls and to paddle under the stalactites hanging down from the limestone formations. One can also watch hornbills, pig-tailed macaques, and white-hand gibbons in the stunning rainforests.

08 Listen to your inner voice: meditation at Suan Mokkh

Surat Thani’s Wat Suan Mokkh is a world famous place for retreats and contemplation. Founded by the venerated Buddhadasa Bhikkhu in 1932, Wat Suan Mokkh focuses on the importance of being in the present moment, and understanding the natural laws of interconnectedness and non-self. The 10-day retreats are very popular, and begin on the first of every month.


09 Shop for regional gifts and unusual treats

There are plenty of shops behind Chaweng Beach offering a wide range of souvenirs, from colorful carved soaps to chopsticks and coasters made from coconut wood. Phumriang Silk is a popular silk, hand-woven with its own unique patterns. Surat Thani specialties include Chaiya salted eggs, fresh rambutan, and galamae, a popular chewy snack.

Shopping Directory

10 Savor the freshest seafood

Samui offers all kinds of food, ranging from international fine dining to superb seafood and authentic southern Thai food. For local specialties, the night market is the most convenient. Do not miss Surat Thani’s oysters, which are well known for their size, cleanliness, taste, and smell.

Dining Directory






 How to Get There



Bangkok Airways operates daily flights from Bangkok to Samui.

Bangkok Office Tel. 0 2270 6699
Samui Office Tel. 0 7742 2234

Thai Airways International operates flights from Bangkok to Samui and Surat Thani.

Bangkok office

Tel. 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 or Hotline 1566
Surat Thani Office

Tel. 0 7727 2610, 0 7727 3710




Trains leave Bangkok’s Hualamphong Station for Surat Thani daily. The trip takes about 12 hours. Train-bus-ferry combination tickets are also available.


Bangkok Station

Tel. 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020 or Hot Line 1690



The 11-hour journey from Bangkok can be made by either air-conditioned or non air-conditioned bus, leaving Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal for Surat Thani.


Tel. 0 2435 1199, 0 2435 1200



From Bangkok, take Highway 4 via Phetchaburi and Chumphon. Then drive on to Highways 41 and 401 to Surat Thani, a total distance of 425 miles. From Surat Thani, visitors can take their cars to Ko Samui through a vehicle ferry at Donsak Pier. The ferry takes 1.30 hours.


Useful Links


Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park

Khao Sok National Park

Wat Suan Mokkh

Bangkok Airways

Thai Airways International

State Railways of Thailand