Ko Samui Port is located on the Gulf of Thailand around 420 miles south of Bangkok and 48 miles from southern Thailand’s eastern coastline. Ko Samui, often just called Samui, is the third largest island in Thailand with an area of 95 square miles.
Fishermen from the Malay Peninsula first inhabited the island around 15 centuries ago. You can see the island mentioned in Chinese books dating back to 1687 under the name Pulo Cornam. The origin of the name Samui is unknown. It could have come from the extension of one of the native trees name, “mui," or altered from the Chinese word Saboey which means “safe haven."
Ko Samui is an island of wonderful natural beauty and diversity. Its climate pattern is a little bit different from the rest of Thailand. When most of Thailand has monsoon during April to September, Ko Samui stays dry. From October to December, when the rest of the country is drier, it’s wet in Ko Samui. The driest season on the island is from January to March.
The main shopping areas are in Lamai, Chaweng and Nathon but there are also other shops on the island worth visiting.
In Nathon, you can find Art Café and Shop that sells ceramic kitchenware. Beach Gallery Antiques sells assorted antiques and ornamental pieces. My Jewel offers a variety of jewelries in gold, silver and precious gems. Nathon Books is a good place to go if you’re looking for something to read. For leather shoes, drop by Samui Shoes.
In Chaweng, you’ll also find a lot of shops lined up. Chandra sells exquisite fabrics from all over Asia. If you’re looking for imported bikini and durable swimwear, go to the Australian Bikini Shop.
Shops in Lamai include Exotica; it offers handmade designer jewelries made with eye-catching stones and settings. Hin Ta Hin Yai sells shell ornaments and coconut woodcarvings. Mr Samui’s offers various accessories made of gold, silver and precious gems and Samui Hotclub has fishermen’s kaftans, trousers, printed sarong and accessories.
Things to See
For a small place, there are many things to see and do in Ko Samui.
Hinta Hinyai is one of the island’s most visited places. These are rock formations representing the female and male genitalia. At the butterfly garden, you can observe many butterfly species in a tropical natural environment. It’s a perfect destination for the entire family. Two crocodile farms can be found on the island; one is situated behind the airport and one at the south of the island. The snake farm in the area of “Taling Ngam” in the island’s south is another place to visit.
Restaurants and Bars
The Shack Bar & Grill offers excellent food and some good wines at a moderate price. A recommended food choice is the fillet steak in red wine and the salmon. The Cliff Bar & Grill offers food at a bit high price but definitely worth it. The restaurant offers great service and atmosphere.
The island’s night scene is centered on The Reggae Pub. It has a great selection of live bands that plays a variety of music. If you want a quieter bar scene, head to the Fisherman’s Village at Bophut.