Koh Samui is the 3rd largest island in Thailand and it was discovered by the first Western tourists only in the 1970’s. Back then there were only a few huts in the coconut groves and a few fishermen around. Miles of white sand, green valleys, beautiful waterfalls and coconut trees were something like out of the ‘Bounty” commercial. After that the island underwent a huge and rapid development project, with the result that after a little over 3 decades, it can compete with Phuket and Pattaya.
One of the most fun and exciting things to do on Koh Samui is visiting the Fisherman’s Village, especially on a Friday, when the market takes place on its main street. This is the day when from 6pm the village comes to live, fills up with tourists, locals and street vendors, who will sell you a mojito in a plastic cup for $2 and cook a Pad Thai in front of your eyes for $1. Here you can find everything from hand-made souvenirs to organic curry paste, to shorts, fried crickets, live performances, and exotic jewelry. On other days you can come here to enjoy a dinner by the sea.
To see and explore the island, it is best to rent a car and go on an island tour. The main road stretches along the shore and passes through all the main towns and villages, restaurants, beach bars and View Points, from where you can marvel at the breathtaking sea views.
When in Koh Samui, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the famous Fullmoon party at Koh Phangan – the boats leave to go there hourly and this party is really worth the visit. Imagine dancing and enjoying cocktails right on the beach or in the sea, while listening to house and progressive beats. The event gathers people of all age groups and music preferences and the island seems to turn into one big party.
Thailand is known for its national martial art called Muay Thai. While there are many camps and gyms offering specialised training where you learn the technique and the rules, it is also an interesting experience to watch a real fight. Depending on the season, these take place on a Friday or Saturday night and you can either purchase tickets from one of the numerous travel agencies around, or book it directly at the stadium. Be ready to see a bloody fight and place bets!
There are plenty of beautiful beaches to explore in Koh Samui – from the notorious Lamai and Chaweng, to more isolated and quiet Crystal Bay and Bophut. While there are many beach resorts that have sunbeds reserved only for their guests, on more popular beaches there are also beach bars and clubs that offer not only comfortable lounges, but also serve food and drinks throughout the day. Do take the time to explore the seaside and find the beach that you personally like, as they are all magical.
While in Thailand, you will hear quite frequently people screaming “massaaage” right on the street – don’t be alarmed, though the massage parlours may sometimes look strange and rather small, the massage offered in Thailand may be one of the best in Southeast Asia. Here you will be rubbed, massaged and covered with essential oils from head to toe, if you wish, for as little as $15 for an hour. The quality of the treatments that you get here are high and the competition is fierce, so everyone tries to offer something different, something a little cheaper than the place next door and you can just choose the one that appeals most to you.
Though Koh Samui has started developing its infrastructure only some 30 years ago, it has a huge hotel base, ranging from 4 and 5 * resorts, located right on the beach, restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, night markets, shopping arcades, clubs and bars that will satisfy even the most demanding customer.