Ko Samui, Thailand | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
0
No votes yet

Koh Samui, Thailand

Ko Samui (เกาะสมุย), often called just Samui (สมุย) is an island in the Gulf of Thailand, about 700 km south of Bangkok and 80 km from the eastern coastline of Southern Thailand.

Ko Samui is, all in all, a fairly big island, the second biggest in Thailand after Phuket. The most popular and commercialized beaches are Chaweng and Lamai, while the northern beaches and their adjacent villages of Mae Nam, Bophut, Bang Rak (Big Buddha) and Choeng Mon are more peaceful choices, and the west coast beaches are still (comparatively) quiet.

Clockwise from Nathon on the west coast, the main beaches are:

  • Nathon — Samui's port and administrative center, but with little to attract the tourist
  • Laem Yai — set on the northwest tip of the island, a secluded... Read more

Koh Samui, Thailand

Destination:

Ko Samui (เกาะสมุย), often called just Samui (สมุย) is an island in the Gulf of Thailand, about 700 km south of Bangkok and 80 km from the eastern coastline of Southern Thailand.

Ko Samui is, all in all, a fairly big island, the second biggest in Thailand after Phuket. The most popular and commercialized beaches are Chaweng and Lamai, while the northern beaches and their adjacent villages of Mae Nam, Bophut, Bang Rak (Big Buddha) and Choeng Mon are more peaceful choices, and the west coast beaches are still (comparatively) quiet.

Clockwise from Nathon on the west coast, the main beaches are:

  • Nathon — Samui's port and administrative center, but with little to attract the tourist
  • Laem Yai — set on the northwest tip of the island, a secluded beach overlooking the islands of Ang Thong
  • Mae Nam — a quiet and beautiful beach on the northern coast
  • Bophut — known for its Fisherman's Village, laid-back but growing fast
  • Bang Rak — at the northeastern tip, home of the Big Buddha
  • Choeng Mon — quiet north shore beach
  • Chaweng — the largest and most-developed beach, with a curious mix of luxury hotels and backpacker guesthouses and a hopping nightlife
  • Lamai — Samui's "second" beach south of Chaweng, more backpackers than Chaweng, but full of hotel tourists and a vibrant nightlife too
  • Samui South Coast — the small beaches of Ban Hua Thanon, Na Khai, Laem Set, Bang Kao and Thong Krut
  • Lipa Noi – an upcoming beach area south of Nathon


An island of great natural beauty and variety, Samui is home to some 50,000 full-time inhabitants, 90% of whom are Buddhist. The palm-fringed shoreline and coconut and fruit cultivation of the coastal lowlands rise to a central granite massif, the slopes of which are cloaked in virgin rainforest.

At 247 km², Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and the largest island in an archipelago of over 80 (mostly uninhabited) islands which form the Ang Thong National Marine Park, a kayaking and snorkeling paradise. At 25 km long and 21 km wide, Samui is big enough for serious exploration by the adventurous and fit but can be circumnavigated in just a couple of hours by motorbike or car.

The island was probably first inhabited about 15 centuries ago, settled by fishermen from the Malay Peninsula and south China. It appears on Chinese maps dating back to 1687, under the name Pulo Cornam. The name Samui is mysterious in itself. Perhaps it is an extension of the name of one of the native trees, mui, or it is a corruption of the Chinese word Saboey, meaning "safe haven".

Until the late 20th century, Samui was an isolated self-sufficient community, having little connection with the mainland of Thailand. The island was even without roads until the early 1970s, and the 15 km journey from one side of the island to the other involved a whole-day trek through the mountainous central jungles.

In the early 1970s, the first backpackers traveling on the back of a coconut boat arrived on Ko Samui. For years after that, the island just had a few bungalows and a trickle of travelers. Things started to change in the early 1990s when tourists started arriving in full boats and since then the place has grown substantially. Samui is now the second most popular island destination in Thailand (Phuket is first). Ko Samui may not be the country’s most beautiful island but it is still an oasis of natural beauty with its white sandy beaches, dazzling coral, luscious lagoons, picturesque waterfalls, swaying coconut trees, and crystal clear water. The water at Bophut Beach, though, is often murky, especially around December.

Unfortunately, development on Ko Samui is starting to take its toll and the beaches of Chaweng and Lamai are overcrowded in the high season.


Source:
Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Koh Samui, Thailand: Port Information


Cruise liners anchor off Nathon. Passengers are transported ashore by tender boats. The center of the town is 10-15 minutes away (on foot).
Taxis are available.
Besides, you can rent a scooter.

Get around Koh Samui, Thailand


As on many islands in Thailand, small motorbikes are available for rental. Compared to other nearby islands, Samui's road system is very developed and there are plenty of taxis cruising about, although it's a challenge to get them to use their meters.

By taxi

By day, Ko Samui's public transport is provided by songthaew, pick-up trucks with two rows of seats. They drive fixed routes at fixed prices per person until 18:00. After 18:00, songthaews serve as normal taxis and prices must be negotiated first. Even if you pay for a trip, however, the songthaew may stop and pick-up more passengers on the way. Metered taxi service is operated by private taxi companies. The drivers, however, are very reluctant to use their meters, and, especially on popular beaches or entry points to the island, tend to ask foreigners much more than the normal fare. 

By bus

Pickup trucks/public passenger pick-up vehicles (songthaews) also serve as group taxis.

If you want to go to a particular place, then you hire a taxi or songthaew and negotiate the price with them first.

By motorbike

Motorbikes can be rented virtually anywhere on Ko Samui. It is recommended though, to hire only from a reputable company as there have been reports of scams. Some places have been known to steal bikes that they have rented out. Also, rental motorbikes are not insured. If they tell you they have insurance, it's not true. If something happens, you can't claim for it. Read the rental agreement extra carefully, as too many (it's not typical for other parts of Thailand e.g. Chiang Mai) will state that you may not replace any broken/damaged parts yourself. This is a scam, as instead they will replace it for you for a price several times higher (sometimes also stated in the agreement) than it actually costs. They will check any old scratches and/or serial numbers, if noted in the agreement, and demand that price even if you have already replaced that part yourself! For the same reason, inspect the motorbike carefully and be sure any existing scratches/damages are written in the agreement before you have taken the motorbike. Take photographs of the bike.

Motorbike shops will likely want you to leave your passport as collateral. This is a common practice in Thailand, and, by itself, shouldn't raise much concern, however, most government travel advisory services advise against leaving your passport anywhere as a deposit for obvious reasons. Combined with the scams and bad practices mentioned above, however, it may lead to a situation where your passport is held as a hostage until you pay what they want. For this reason, it's unwise to return your motorbike just before your departure. Leave at least several hours, or perhaps a day, to settle any problems if they arise. If the shop's demands are clearly illegitimate (the agreement you have signed does not contain any silly conditions and prices, the price they ask for damages is unreasonable, or the damage was clearly done before you rented the motorbike) - call Tourist Police. They 'will' help your cause, although shop owners will try to convince you otherwise.

If hiring a motorbike doesn't appeal to you, then there are motorbike-taxis willing to take you around for a (negotiable in advance, as foreigners are commonly asked an exorbitant price) fee, as well as other modes of transportation.

By bicycle

Bicycles can be hired very cheaply on Ko Samui.

By car

There are many car hire options on Ko Samui, including the local arms of international companies such as Budget and Avis. Prices are fairly expensive, but the convenience of a small, air-conditioned car may be worth it. You can pick up and drop off at the airport or some other locations. Driving is easy on the island as long as you are not in a hurry and having a car gives you easy access to almost all areas of the island. An international driving license is required nominally, although they will accept any valid driver’s license. But you may have issues in case of an accident without the international license.

What to see in Koh Samui, Thailand


The major reason people come to Samui is, quite simply, to enjoy the beaches. Even though the two main beaches of Chaweng and Lamai have generally suffered due to mass development over the past decade they are still relatively impressive. Development has been thwarted slightly because of the island’s regulation governing height restriction, although it can be argued that this has caused sprawl.

Other than lying on the beach with a cold beer in hand and ogling at the babes and hunks sauntering past, there isn't all that much to see on the island. A certain pair of rocks on Lamai amuses some visitors, Bang Rak has a large but nondescript Buddha statue, and there are some waterfalls (notably Na Muang) of minor interest.

Beaches and places

  • Ban Lipa Yai. This village grows high-quality fruits, including rambutan, durian, mangosteen and the famed langsat.
  • Bang Rak Beach. Also known as “Big Buddha Beach”, in northeast Samui, Big Buddha offers visitors good swimming and lovely views. The area has developed a lot over the past few years and there are now plenty of restaurants, shops, and bars.
  • Bophut Beach. In the north of the island, is a popular starting point for diving tours. The place isn't in any way as developed as Chaweng but there are still plenty of restaurants, shops, and bars.
  • Chaweng Beach. The major beach on Ko Samui and one that has developed tremendously since the early 1990s. Just 20 years ago the beach was home to just a sprinkle of wooden bungalows but now the place is swamped with hotels, pizza joints, pubs, and go-go bars. Samui’s nightlife is becoming legendary but unfortunately does not always attract the highest standard of tourist. Chaweng’s once hippie-only backpackers have given way to a lot of lager louts. Chaweng is the place to be if you are one of them.
  • Choeng Mon Beach. In the northeast corner of Samui just 10 minutes from Chaweng. Unlike the latter, it is a perfect place for relaxing.
  • Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks. These odd-looking rocks at the south end of Lamai Beach bear a striking resemblance to male and female genitalia and they have turned into one of the island’s biggest attractions. For those who would like to hear a legend or two surrounding the rocks, they need only ask a local.
  • Hin Lat Waterfall. Easily accessible by car. Some of the numerous tiny levels have a large basin for swimmers.
  • Lamai Beach. Like Chaweng, Lamai has been transformed from a hippie hangout into a fun, party place packed out with bars and exciting nightlife. The beach though is still in better condition than Chaweng and the place doesn’t get quite so crowded. But if it’s a quiet relaxing location you are after, then the tourist downtown, known as Lamai Beach, won’t be the ideal place for you. The quieter northeast end of the beach is lined by both good-quality luxury resorts and low-cost guesthouses and bungalows, which front along the highway towards Chaweng.
  • Mae Nam Beach. This quiet beach, in the north of the island, is decent enough for swimming and sunbathing especially for families with children due to the shallow water.
  • Na Mueang Waterfall. A local road leads to the Na Mueang 1 Waterfall just off Rte 4169. A walk of about 30 minutes ends up at the more scenic Na Mueang 2 Waterfall. Purple rocks surround the stream of water, which gushes in from an impressive height of around 79 m.
  • Old House. This Chinese-style house, almost 200 years old, represents Samui's hints at Samui's distant cultural past. Grandpa Si and Grandma Maen Hancharoen, the present owners, open the house to visitors.
  • Secret Buddha Garden

    . This beautiful garden was made by a 76-year-old Ko Samui fruit farmer in 1976. It is surrounded by lush jungle, rocky hills and is adorned with sculptures depicting both humans, in various poses, as well as various deities. Since the garden is the highest point on the island, there are also some awesome views to be had. Organized tours to the garden last for about 2 hours.

Diversions

  • Monkey Shows. These shows can be observed at the open-air theatre on the main road behind Bophut beach. The entertainment also includes performing elephants. However, the capturing and training of otherwise wild animals is at best ethically questionable.
  • Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo (In the southeast near Na Thian Beach south of Lamai). Daily, 09:00-18:00. The undersea world of the aquarium has an amazing collection of tropical fish and other vibrant aquatic animals such as turtles and colorful coral. The tiger zoo is home to Bengal tigers and leopards. For those who are daring enough, they can have their photograph taken with the animals.
  • Samui Butterfly Garden / Insect Museum (In the southeast near Laem Set, off Rte 4170). There is a huge collection of butterflies, some a quarter of a meter wide. In the nearby Insect Museum, you can see a variety of rare bugs and a bee house.
  • Buffalo Fighting Festival: One of the best-known festivals on Ko Samui is the Buffalo Fighting Festival which is held on special occasions such as New Year's Day and Songkran. Unlike Spanish bullfighting, the fighting on Ko Samui is fairly harmless. The fighting season varies according to some ancient customs and ceremonies. The buffalo are beautifully decorated with ribbons and gold-painted leaves. Before the contest, which lasts just two rounds, monks spray the buffalos with holy water. The winning owner typically takes home millions of baht in prize money.
  • Samui Regatta: The Samui Regatta is a sailing tournament held every year. The tournament is internationally known and competitors come from as far away as Australia, Singapore, Japan, and China. The event began in 2002.
  • Ten Stars Samui Art Party: A recurring cultural event bringing together art lovers, local Thai and international artists, and their new, original artworks. The annual event, hosted at various high-end resorts and other high-end venues on the island, focus on building the art community on Ko Samui, with presentations by featured artists.
  • Samui Triathlon: The International Triathlon Union organizes this event every year. This event draws more than five hundred participants from around the world.
  • Koh Samui THA Midnight Run: The Koh Samui Midnight Run is a charity run organized by the Thai Hotel Association (THA) and the Thai Association of Ko Samui (TAKS) on the island of Ko Samui. It is a yearly event usually held in March. With up to 2000 participants, the run is one of the biggest on Samui and in Thailand. Participants will run 5 or 10 km around the buzzy and lively streets of Chaweng Beach. The first run was held in 2013.

Temples

  • Laem Sor Pagoda Ko Samui. This chedi (pagoda) at Laem Sor temple is one of the most important shrines on Ko Samui. The structure with its yellow tiles which gives off a golden aura is quite impressive.
  • Wat Khunaram Ko Samui

    (In the island's southeast corner off Rte 4169). This temple is the island’s most famous temple for its mummified monk on display. The mummy sits upright in a glass casket and devotees offer it flowers and incense. The mummy is, in fact, the body of a very revered former abbot of the temple who was also a meditation master who was able to predict his own death.
  • Wat Phra Yai (Also known as Big Buddha Temple) (In the island's northeast). Has a 15 m tall statue of the Buddha. It was built in 1972.

What to do in Koh Samui, Thailand


The usual panoply of water sports are available, including plenty of dive shops, but most diving is done either in the nearby Ang Thong National Marine Park or Ko Tao as the visibility around Samui's sandy beaches tends to be poor. You can book diving day trips at dive shops, most of which are based in Chaweng. The dive boats tend to leave from the pier at Bophut and Bang Rak.

Diving

Without a doubt, the south of Thailand is home to some of the finest and most beautiful beaches and islands in the world, surrounded by crystal clear water and stunning coral. And that is the main reason why the number of divers coming to Thailand has escalated over the past decade or so. Even though the best time year of the year to dive in the Ko Samui is between Jun-Aug, it is still perfectly possible to dive virtually all year round. As Thailand is considered one of the safest destinations for diving and snorkeling in the world, it is perfect for novices. Undersea visibility in some places around Ko Samui is very good (distances of up to 10–30 m). One can enjoy splendid sights of underwater mountains, coral gardens, undersea rock formations, hard and soft coral, and whale sharks in season.

Ko Kra & Ko Losin: These two small islands to the southeast of Samui don't get too many divers due to their remoteness. Blacktip sharks, manta rays and hard to find loggerhead turtles can be seen.
Samran Pinnacles: Since the currents in this area are often quite strong, this site is recommended for experienced divers only. Due to the currents, the site is a haven for larger pelagics such as barracuda and jacks.

Waterpark

  • Pink Elephant Water Park, 28/41 Moo 1, Maenam Soi 1 (Close to Maenam beach, 1500 meters from the main road), ☎ +66 (0) 77423 548FORMAT, e-mail: main@samuiwaterpark.asia. Daily, 09:30-18:00. With pools, Jacuzzi, and slides. Restaurant on site, with children's menu and vegan options.

What to eat and drink in Koh Samui, Thailand


Eat

Samui is well known for its coconuts, which are available everywhere and quite tasty. Being an island, seafood is generally a good choice although in high season demand often exceeds local supply. The larger beaches have a number of international restaurants as well (often run by Thai-farang couples) with Bophut having a particularly good reputation. Southern Thai food is renowned for its spiciness. Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian, and Indian food. Favorite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry (massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (khanom jeen) and chicken birayani. Popular local foods are salted eggs and rambutan.

Dual pricing is common: some restaurants have two menus, one for tourists and the other for Thai people, at about a quarter of the tourist prices. Always check prices and menu first so you don't have to argue when the bill is served.

Drink

There are innumerable options for a drink, ranging from the loud and brash tourist pubs and girlie bars of Chaweng to the candle-lit romantic bars of Bophut. 

Beer bars

Chaweng Beach is famous for its beer bars staffed by pretty hostesses. Buy them a 'girlie drink' and you'll be in entertaining company. Beer bars can be found all over Chaweng. The bars offer pool, Connect4 and other popular bar games. Since the nightlife on Chaweng can devolve into serious debauchery at times, the local law enforcers are strict in regards to closing times. The official closing time in "entertainment zones" is 01:00, that on practice is usually somewhere between 01:00 and 02:00.

Rum distillery

There is a distillery that brews 5 flavors of rum on one of the side roads on the South Coast of the island, which offers tours during the sugar cane season and free samples any time. The flavors are natural (sugar cane), lemon, orange, pineapple, and coconut. Natural and coconut are quite tasty, lemon has a very strong pleasant citrus flavor, and you won't miss anything if you don't try the other two. They also have a delicious mixer to serve with consisting of lime juice, cinnamon, and other spices. Worth heading to if you're in the area or just for the novelty of sampling authentic Thai rum. Very friendly staff.

Shopping in Koh Samui, Thailand


Central Festival Samui, several walking streets, fresh markets, numerous souvenir shops - the choice of great locations for shopping is really wide. Koh Samui, as well as Thailand, is deservedly considered a shopping paradise. 

Safety in Koh Samui, Thailand


Tap water is generally not potable. Liquids from sealed bottles nearly always are and should be used wherever possible. Restaurants buy ice made from purified water, so don’t worry about ice. Tap water in most hotels should not be used for drinking or brushing teeth unless explicitly labeled as safe.

Motorbikes are somewhat risky, but Jeeps, trucks, and other cars for rent are readily available at very reasonable rates and are considerably safer. If you must use a motorbike always wear a helmet and never drive drunk. Make sure you have a travel insurance, as most vehicles come with the compulsory insurance only, that covers nearly nothing and the driver may be personally responsible for the damage. Rental cars from major companies, however, may have a full insurance. Roads are hazardous with many large potholes.

After a good time drinking in the party areas of Chaweng, Bophut, and Lamai taxis and motorbike-taxis are readily available to take you home. However, be careful: Generally, taxi and motorbike-taxi drivers tend to rip you off.
A recent development has been the appearance of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to rent. These are not be registered for road use and not allowed in most areas.
Be careful about beaches in night time as crimes sometimes occur there.
If presents to Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, or Ko Tao by bus, do not store any valuables in your luggage. Sometimes there are thefts from people's belongings stored in the hold. They will pick the lock and steal valuables and then reseal the luggage, and when you realize it they will be long gone. Do not let valuables out of your sight when transferring from the train to the islands.

Language spoken in Koh Samui, Thailand


Thai is the official language. English is spoken in tourist places. 

LOCAL TIME

7:44 pm
November 20, 2019
Asia/Bangkok

CURRENT WEATHER

29 °C / 84.2 °F
light rain
Thu

28.42 °C/83 °F
moderate rain
Fri

28.66 °C/84 °F
light rain
Sat

28.49 °C/83 °F
light rain
Sun

28.86 °C/84 °F
broken clouds

LOCAL CURRENCY

THB

1 USD = 0 THB
1 EUR = 0 THB
1 GBP = 0 THB
1 AUD = 0 THB
1 CAD = 0 THB

Travelers recommend visiting the following places of interests



http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Wat Phra Yai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Average: 9.9 (10 votes)

Wat Phra Yai, known in English as the Big Buddha Temple, is a Buddhist temple on Ko Phan (also spelled Koh Fan or Koh Faan), a small island offshore...
Wat Khunaram, Koh Samui, Thailand
Average: 9.3 (10 votes)

Wat Khunaram is a Buddhist temple on the island of Ko Samui in Surat Thani Province, Thailand. It is most notable for being the shrine of "the Mummy...
Wat Plai Laem, Koh Samui, Thailand
Average: 9.8 (10 votes)

Wat Plai Laem is a Buddhist temple on the resort island of Ko Samui, Thailand. Like the nearby Wat Phra Yai, or Big Buddha Temple, it is a modern...
Wat Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Average: 9.2 (10 votes)

Wat Lamai is a Buddhist temple in the old part of Ban Lamai (usually known as Lamai Beach) on the resort island of Ko Samui, Thailand. Located...
The International School of Samui, Thailand
Average: 9.6 (10 votes)

The International School of Samui (ISS) is an international school on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand. The school has 300 pupils, both boys and...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Luang Pho Daeng, Koh Samui, Thailand
Average: 9 (10 votes)

Luang Pho Daeng (also Loung Por Daeng and Loung Pordaeng) was a Thai Buddhist monk who died while meditating in 1973. His mummified body is on...
Secret Buddha Garden, Koh Samui, Thailand
Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

Secret Buddha Garden, also known as Magic Garden and Heaven's Garden and Tarnim Magic Garden is a private sculpture park atop Pom Mountain (also...
Belmond Napasai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Average: 8.9 (10 votes)

Belmond Napasai is a resort hotel on the northern coast of Koh Samui, an island off the eastern edge of mainland Thailand It opened in February 2004...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Samui Airport, Thailand
Average: 9.4 (10 votes)

Samui International Airport (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานนานาชาติสมุย) (IATA: USM, ICAO: VTSM), also known as Ko Samui Airport or Koh Samui Airport, is a...

Latest travel blogs about Koh Samui, Thailand




Koh Samui. Thailand. P.2


Let's continue our tour of Koh Samui (Koh Samui. Thailand. P.1)! Samui has lots of beautiful beaches. One Thai recommended me the restaurant called "Honey Cottages". Tables are 20 meters from the water, next to the fishing boats. The island has many similar places. There is one of...

Samui is the Thailand's third largest island after Phuket and Koh Chang. The central areas of the island are covered with the thick jungle, and a strip of plantations, orchards and snow-white beaches stretches along the coast. There's the temple complex called "Wat Plai Leam"...
 And now I'll show you pictures of our sightseeing tour around  Koh Samui . This is Hevea - the rubber tree. Here's a waterfall. We rode elephants. Here we are in the butterfly garden. This is  Wat Plai Laem . Here's a mummified body of the most famous...
We decided to not celebrate New Year 2008 at home, and we chose  Koh Samui . We flew to Bangkok. Suvarnabhumi Airport amazed with its size and beauty! Our flight to  Koh Samui island  was late at night, we checked in on a flight of local airlines at 6 pm and went...
The  Samui island  can be traveled around for an hour and a half, but, despite the small size, there are a lot of places to see. The most convenient way is to explore them from a board of the open SUV. There are several companies on the  Samui island  which take...
I've never had to decide whether to live in a villa or in a hotel. I always chose to stay in the hotel, but this time my perspective has changed. On the  Samui Thailand,  we arrived by invitation of my friend. Our goal was to live in a villa, to derive pleasure and to...
Samui is the small island in Thailand with sandy beaches and warm sea. It is surrounded by the belt road where all island life boils. Locals prefer to go by mopeds and motor scooters here. Today a selection of pictures is taken from roads of  Samui island … In Asia they never...