BEAUTIFUL KOH SAMUI, THAILAND
Koh Samui Diving is the rare gem of the Gulf of Thailand. Conserving the idyllic simplicity of a tropical hideaway, it is mostly characterized by its powdery white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and welcoming locals where you will delight yourself in a late-day Robinson Crusoe experience in comfort. In such an idyllic setting the temptation is simply to laze peacefully on the beach and soak up a tropical sun tan.
But if you want more there are amenities for water sports, such as windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, snorkeling and Scuba Diving Koh Samui. The coastal waters are exciting to explore and are especially rich in shoals of brightly colored fish and exotic coral formations. You even have the opportunity to learn how to scuba dive in the comfort of the villa itself. The largest and most popular beaches on Samui are Chaweng, Lamai, Bo phut and Maenam. For those looking for a quieter place to spend their holiday or business trip, there is another twenty or so other beaches to choose from.
Principal among Samui’s natural sights are two picturesque waterfalls, Hin Lad and Na Muang. Island hopping is another attraction and boats can be easily hired for trips to Koh Phangan (the nearest and largest island next to Samui), and to the smaller islands of Koh Tao, where beautiful bays with colorful coral formations offer excellent conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving.
A more adventurous full day excursion can be made to Ang Thong National Marine Park, a group of 40 islands northwest of Samui. Here you will see spectacular limestone formations, caves, blue lagoons and amazingly beautiful beaches.
The local population consisting mainly of Buddhist Thai’s is very friendly. Until the recent arrival of tourism, coconut farming and fishing were the main sources of income. The latter are still practiced though to a lesser extent. The fish you will eat in the majority of restaurants originate from the surrounding Gulf of Thailand waters.
The climate of Koh Samui is tropical and therefore warm throughout the whole year. At the same time it is dominated by the monsoon winds that bring about the seasonal changes from dry to wet. There are two very hot periods of weather on Samui, the first between March and June when the average temperatures range from 32 to 38 degrees Celsius and only the occasional tropical thunderstorm brings relief from the heat. This is the least crowded time of the year.
It is also very hot between July and September with the temperatures rising to highs of about 35 degrees Celsius. There are occasional showers but these hardly last more than a few hours. The months from November to February are generally cool enough to spend more time enjoying outdoor activities. Although this is, November in particular, officially the rainy season, you will probably nonetheless see a good deal of sun and clear skies, as tropical rain showers tend to last not for long.
History of Koh Samui
According to the evidence found on Samui Island, historians believe that it was first inhabited by man at most 1,200 years ago. In 1940s, the island was still isolated from the outside world. Those wishing to travel to Samui had to travel from Surat Thani for approximately 6 hours. As in-land transportation was not well established, it took several hours for people to walk through the lush jungles to the beach. It was only in the early 1970’s that Koh Samui became a dream destination discovered by backpackers.
With the development of infrastructure, an increasing number of travelers were attracted to the island. Samui’s concrete ring road was finished in 1973 by the order of the government. Passing beautiful beaches around the island and connecting sub-district areas, the road facilitated tourism. The Tourism Authority of Thailand explored the island in 1980 and realizing the high tourism potential of Samui, a plan to develop and promote tourism on the island was implemented. As a result, it has become and will continue to be a popular tourist destination in Thailand.
Today’s Koh Samui
Despite the fast pace of development, Koh Samui has been able to maintain its charm its classical image of a tropical beach resort fringed by coconut trees. Travelers to the island can enjoy a mixed blessing of vibrant day and nightlife along side with tranquility which can easily be found across different parts of Koh Samui as the archipelago is a peaceful home for fishermen and a natural den for seagulls and other rare birds.
Hat Chaweng and Hat Lamai are Koh Samui’s most beautiful and most popular beaches. Both have a huge selection of accommodations suitable for every budget. Please note that room rates increase during the high season, from December to July, when Samui sparkles. The nightlife of each beach is different: Hat Chaweng is better for couples, women and families, while single men are drawn to the beer bar culture of Hat Lamai. These resorts, as well as Na Thon (Samui’s main town), have communications, exchange and car/motorcycle hire facilities. Other beaches include Hat Choeng Mon, Hat Mae Nam in the north and Hat Na Thon, the island’s major seafront settlement where shops, restaurants and tour agencies are concentrated. Apart from its many lovely beaches and tranquil bays, Koh Samui is also noted for its high quality coconuts that grow densely everywhere.
The best time to visit Ko Samui is from February to April when the sea is calm. The Southern dialect and the standard Thai language are spoken while English is widely understood in tourist areas.
This trip also offers some fantastic sight seeing to and from the islands of the Marine Park. These dive trips are available from Discovery as a half-day diving or full day exploration by speedboat.