May Swan-Easton on 23 January 2014
We flew directly from Bangkok to Koh Samui with Bangkok airlines in just over an hour.

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second most popular island destination and located in the Gulf of Thailand roughly 700 km. south of Bangkok. Samui is the third largest island in Thailand and the largest in an archipelago of more than 80 islands that includes the Ang Thong National Marine Park, which is a day trip from Koh Samui.

The best time to visit Koh Samui is Feb-June and the wettest months are between Sep-Dec.

Samui was once home to a small community of fisherman & coconut farmers. There weren’t even any roads on the island until the early 1970’s. But once foreign visitors discovered this island with lush tropical forest, palm fringed golden sand beaches surrounded by aquamarine water, tourism quickly followed. Today the beaches of Chaweng and Lamai are bustling beach towns with fabulous beach resorts, internationally acclaimed restaurants, and world-class nightclubs.

Another popular destination is the sleepy village of Bo Phut on the island’s north shore. The traditional centre of the resort is known as the ‘Fisherman’s Village’ and is host to an array of restaurants, bars and boutiques. Compared to Lamai or Chaweng, the Fisherman’s Village is quiet in the extreme, the resort is also devoid of the more salacious types of bars found in Chaweng & Lamai, making it popular with families.

To the northeast of Bo Phut a small peninsular juts out into the Gulf of Thailand, and it's here that you'll find several of Koh Samui’s most exclusive hotels, including the romantic Tongsai Bay and exclusive Six Senses Samui. The quiet location ensures little disturbance on and around their beaches (which are all but private), but also the convenience of a short 5-10 minute hop to Bo Phut, the airport and Chaweng.

• Taxis –50baht (£1.00) for the shortest journey & remember to barter & agree on the price before setting off. • Songtaews - Red pickup trucks with benches in the back serve as ‘buses’ around the island, travelling fixed routes and allowing passengers to get on and off at will. It’s easy to flag one down; in fact, they actively solicit passengers.

• Bicycles - many resorts offer complimentary bicycles, although they can be hired for no more than a hundred baht a day. Make sure to wear a helmet and ride cautiously, there are many potholes and cars don’t give bicycles the right of way.

• Motorbike - Anywhere from 100-1000 baht, depending on the size of the bike, and can be rented in any beach town. Be aware that helmets are required by law and wearing closed toes shoes is common sense.

• Car rental – Drive on the same side of road as UK. The winding, single lane roads don’t allow for much speeding and traffic is rare (except Chaweng). But you can often hire your own driver and taxi for the day for the same price as a day’s self-car rental.

The island’s most iconic attraction is the ‘Big Buddha’ which can be found on the northeaster peninsula, plus there are waterfalls and regular dive trips to Ang Thong and Koh Tao. Thai Cookery classes are popular along with yoga instruction, Muay Thai training, scuba diving, and golf. For the ultimate night out, take the short crossing to neighbouring Koh Phangan for the famous (or infamous) monthly Full Moon Party. Plus of course there’s shopping, from boutique local designer shops to market stalls and you can even get yourself measured for a winter coat, trousers-suit, 2x dresses & tops tailor-made for around £300. Or just sunbathe and enjoy daily beach spa treatments from £2.00.

From street food to seaside dining, Samui features outstanding cuisine that’s available nearly 24 hours a day. We regularly ate at Dae Tong De Samui Seafood restaurant with its beachfront location, great prices and wonderful service (The best ever Thai green curry at £4). Yin & Yan in Fisherman’s village was also excellent – they display the days catch on counters outside the restaurant. Bangrak French bakery for fresh breakfast croissants & sweet buns. Not forgetting there’s always the street stalls for Thai pancakes, savoury crepes, breaded chicken & seafood & yes…. deep fried crunchy insects too!

The island offers a perfect holiday for families, couples and singles alike as there’s so much to see and do and offers great value for money with affordable dining & accommodation from simple beach cottages to 5* hotels.