Koh Samui, Thailand
Koh Samui (เกาะสมุย in Thai language) is the island of the coconut trees and the third largest island in Thailand. Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand about 35 km northeast of Surat Thani and 700 km South of Bangkok. The island is a district of Surat Thani province. Its shape is almost circular and the total area is about 228 square km.
Koh Samui has been a hidden treasure for paradise seekers over the past 40 years. Koh Samui is an island of natural beauty and charm. Beautiful white sand beaches, clean, clear warm water lush tropical gardens and gentle ocean breezes await you at this ideal holiday destination.
Koh Samui has been a backpackers destination and attracting visitors since the early 1970′s. Today, tourist from the whole world go to this easygoing “paradise”. It is surrounded by more than sixty other islands, some small and inhabited, some are larger such as Koh Phangan and Koh Tao (divers island).
As the second most popular Thai island, Koh Samui is easy to get to via land, boat or air. There are numerous ferries traveling between Koh Samui and Surat Thani province on the Thai mainland as well as between neighboring islands Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
Once on the island, there are modes of transport. Rental bicycles, motorbikes and cars, both with and without drivers, are easily available as are songtaews and taxis for getting around and between beaches.
Scuba Diving in Koh Samui
The waters around Koh Samui are teeming with a wide range of fish such as tuna, red snapper, barracuda and mackerel. You will also come across whale sharks, giant groupers scribbled filefish and yellow tails amongst others.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
Ang Thong National Marine Park lies approximately 30 Km to the northwest of Koh Samui. Popularized by the movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo Di Caprio, the park comprises 80 islands and offers some of the best diving in Thailand.
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand with towering limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand beaches, fertile mangroves, waterfalls and hidden coves and lakes to explore.
Snorkelling, hiking, sea kayaking, diving, sailing and simply relaxing on one of its idyllic beaches are the main activities to enjoy on Ang Thong.
Koh Wao and Koh Yippon are the most popular dive sites, featuring incredible swim-through experiences, not to mention other encounters with caves, tunnels and passageways. The water visibility is 15-25 meters and the area is best visited between the months of September through January. The marine park is a proverbial spawning ground for many fish species and is home to hundreds of different varieties of colorful soft and hard coral.
About 70 Km north of Samui is the island of Koh Tao (Turtle Island), the 3rd largest of the Samui Archipelago islands. Meaning Turtle Island, Koh Tao is a divers paradise. There are numerous dive sites in and around Koh Tao, which is is a mini-tropical paradise offering jungle walks and white sandy beaches.
Here the water visibility ranges from 15-30 meters and includes the popular dive spots of Chumporn and Southwest Pinnacles, Nang Yuan, Green Rock, White Rock and Red Rock. The waters around Koh Tao are home to an abundant range of marine life, including barracuda, tuna, snapper and sea turtles.
The Coral Island, locally called Koh Tan, is a primitive tranquil island and spans an area is 7.5 square kilometers. The island is considered to be the neighboring island of Koh Samui. On the island lies a small pristine village and there is neither car nor road. The island, surrounded by coral reef with serene white sandy beaches, offers a perfect spot for snorkeling and sun-bathing.
World famous due to its Full Moon, Half Moon and many other parties, Koh Phangan actually only has about 10,000 fulltime inhabitants yet up to 30,000 visitors party there.
Koh Phangan, with an overall area of 167sqkm, is Thailand’s fifth biggest island. Located 70km from the mainland and just 12km from Koh Samui, Phangan does not have an airport and relies heavily on ferries from the mainland and Koh Samui.
Phangan Island is renowned for it’s bohemian daytime ambience and wild night life among young backpackers on gap years or extended holidays. Experience breathtaking Sunsets on Haad Rin Nai (sunset Beach) or if you manage to see out the full moon party until the next morning, sunrises on Haad Rin Nok (Full Moon Party Beach) If you wish to escape the crowds of Haad Rin head to the north of the island and relax on one of it’s uninhabited stretches of sand. Alternatively explore one of the many beautiful waterfalls.
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