Koh Samui, The Coast - Stein Travel
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Koh Samui

A sun lover's holiday paradise, Koh Samui ('the coconut island') is Thailand's third largest island resort and no longer the footloose and fancy-free backpacker's secret hideaway. Koh Samui now rivals Phuket as one of Thailand's most popular holiday destinations, with regular flights arriving at its own airport disgorging keen holidaymakers. A range of accommodation options exists on Koh Samui, from modest beach bungalows to luxury holiday resort hotels. The island still retains its laid-back atmosphere though, with friendly locals, good food and some not too commercial local attractions, like a crocodile farm and butterfly garden, to keep visitor's entertained. Night time is party-time with open-air discos and music bars throbbing in the darkness.

Information & Facts


As an internationally renowned diving spot, Koh Samui offers a wide range of diving and snorkelling facilities and tours to enjoy on holiday. If the beaches, watersports and underwater marine life are not enough, the island offers a variety of other activities and attractions, from elephant trekking to Thai cooking classes. For the less active, Samui also has Wellness centres, places to learn yoga, alternative therapy centres and wonderful spas that exist for pure indulgence.


Thai is the official language, although English is widely spoken in tourist areas.


The unit of currency is the Baht (THB), which is divided into 100 satang. Currency can be exchanged at the airport, banks, hotels and bureaux de change. Banks are open Monday to Friday. ATMs are available in most cities and tourist resorts. Most large hotels and shops accept travellers cheques, but a better rate will be given at banks. Most major credit cards are accepted at hotels and larger businesses.


Koh Samui's popularity as a holiday destination has resulted in overcrowding, and some might say an over-abundance of bars and street sellers.

Night Life

The nightlife on Koh Samui is rated among some of the best in Thailand with discos, cabaret shows, clubs and pubs, many of which are open till sunrise, and located mainly in Chaweng and Lamai. Chaweng is the most popular area for nightlife, featuring everything from outdoor music bands to stylish nightclubs. Lamai caters for a slightly older crowd, but also has numerous music venues and bars. The top discos on the island are the Green Mango and Reggae Pub (Chaweng), and the Bauhaus (Lamai). There are also opportunities to watch classical Thai dancing, mud wrestling and Thai boxing. Beach parties also occur regularly.


Koh Samui is highly regarded for its superb and abundant dining options, from excellent Thai cuisine to seafood, and a growing number of restaurants around the island offer a wide variety of international food and other specialities. Many restaurants have begun serving customers right on the beach for a truly scenic and tropical experience.


There are three main areas for shopping on Koh Samui: Nathon, Chaweng and Lamai, but all towns on the island offer shopping. Nathon is the main shopping centre, the town where the ferries arrive. Goods from all over Thailand are available, as well as traditional souvenirs like silk scarves. Chaweng and Nathon are excellent places to have clothes made by local tailors, while Chaweng and Lamai are the towns to find good quality western-style shops. Most towns have night and day markets, always intriguing regardless of whether one buys anything or not.


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