Dream of a tropical island paradise and you could be dreaming of Koh Samui. While it's only Thailand's 3rd largest island, chances are you've heard of it. Up until the late 20th century Koh Samui enjoyed blissful isolation in the Gulf of Thailand with little connection to the mainland. But such undiscovered natural beauty could only stay secret for so long. By the 1970s the island began making its way onto the tourism map, beginning with intrepid backpackers and amassing into the second most popular island destination in Thailand (following Phuket).
Today Koh Samui draws travellers in from all over. Its pristine beaches, lush forests, unique history and Thai cuisine proving a potent combination. Away from the chaos of Bangkok and the rowdy nights of Phuket, Koh Samui lends itself to relaxation. A destination where you don.t have to venture pass the resort pool, but if you do you'll be met with palm-fringed beaches, majestic waterfalls, big Buddhas and glistening temples. Though Koh Samui isn't without its fair share of commercialism, for all the fast food outlets and knock-off designer bags lies a paradise of dirt roads, full moons, tropical reefs, coconuts and untouched sand. The stuff that tropical island dreams are made of.
Its hard to resist a sparkling pool isn't it? And with Koh Samui packaged holidays are a dime a dozen, there are plenty of resort pools for the taking. While the balmy weather and palm tree shade may lend Koh Samui to being a place best spent pool-side, the island has much more to offer. The beaches for one are just as enticing, especially as the main resort areas of Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach boast turquoise waters. The Ang Thong National Marine Park also offers ample water fun from snorkelling to scuba diving and kayaking.
Back on dry land and Koh Samui offers just as many options. You can bear witness to the Big Buddha shrine at Wat Phra Yai or see the mummified monk at Wat Khunaram. The sparkling Namuang Waterfall is also a highlight, especially for an inland dip. When the sun sets, return to the beach for dinner enjoyed alfresco with stalls and tables set up along the water. Koh Samui nightlife will also keep you entertained well into the night with everything from cabaret shows to full moon parties, club and pubs. And when in doubt there's always the pool bar.
For more must-dos in Koh Samui, check out our things to do page and start planning your Koh Samui holiday.