About the island
Getting to Koh Samui
The most convenient way to get to Samui is by air from Bangkok’s main airports. Samui airport is a private airport that is owned by Bangkok Airways which operates around twelve flights a day from Suvarnabhumi airport. There is also an alternative, cheaper route into the island via Surat Thani airport with Air Asia offering low cost flights with boat transfers to the island.
Ferries connect the island with the mainland, there are car ferries (Raja Ferries and Seatran) that connect Don Sak to piers in the west of the island, in Lipa Noi and in Nathon. There are public buses to all parts of the mainland operating from the bus station north of Nathon.
The climate in Thailand is of course sunny and hot all year round. It can also get very humid, particularly after the rainy season starts. The wet season on Samui starts in mid-September when the South West Monsoon begins. At this time heavy downpours happen on most days, but are usually brief and pleasantly cooling. These heavy rains last until the first few weeks of December.
Arguably the best time of the year on Koh Samui is from December until February when the temperature and humidity is most reasonable. It is also the peak season for tourism and is generally seen as the best time to visit the island.
Towns and Beaches
The most popular beach on the island is Chaweng. This is the beach with the youngest, trendiest young people as well as families and other holiday makers. It may not be the best spot for a quiet getaway as there are a large number of restaurants and nightclubs that stay open until very late. Chaweng is also a hub for tours to surrounding islands and watersports along the beach.
The second most popular beach is Lamai, which also has a good selection of nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Slightly cheaper than Chaweng it has more of a backpacker feel. The beach is long and beautiful, with powdery white sands. The sea is deeper here and can be treacherous; swimmers must take more care on this beach.
Bo Phut with its Fisherman’s Village is a popular place for visitors to the island. This offers some of the top hotels on the island along with the most upmarket bars and restaurants.
Cheong Mon is the best known beach on the island with great sands and hotels.
The main ferry terminal is at Nathon, the old capital of Samui. Nathon has retained its traditional Thai feel. This town is where the police are, the state run hospital along with the main supply stations for the island.