Koh Samui is surrounded by shimmering, mother-of-pearl beaches – around forty or so in number. They vary from long swathes draped with tourists, such as Chaweng and Lamai, to pocket-sized, off-radar bays like Choeng Mon, and a pristine scoop called Taling Ngam, overlooking the islands of Ang Thong National Marine Park. Some are famous for full moon festivities and lively beach parties, others for massage and meditation, and others for their utter tranquillity. Common characteristics include silky, talc-white sands, nodding coconut trees and breathtakingly azure seas, providing a tropical backdrop for blissful relaxation.
Crystal-clear seas, colourful corals and incredible marine-life make Koh Samui a great choice for scuba enthusiasts, whether beginner or experienced – recognised courses are widely available at a selection of dive shops. Expect to see tuna, snapper, mackerel and barracuda, as well as giant grouper, yellowtails and whale sharks. Some sites are located just offshore, whilst others are further afield, but well worth the journey; experience sensational underwater adventures at Ang Thong National Marine Park and Sail Rock, featuring an amazing, naturally-formed dive wall.
Discover Koh Samui’s best bits on a 4WD tour, passing striking waterfalls, fruit orchards, rubber plantations, secret gardens and the extraordinary mummified monk. For an adventure on sea, a big game fishing trip promises excitement, scenery and a delicious, fresh-from-the-water lunch. Explore the Ang Thong Marine National Park, a region of immense natural beauty that boasts wonky, limestone outcrops, translucent waters and jungle-fringed beaches. Whether above and below the water, adventure is guaranteed; so take your pick from scuba, snorkel or sea kayak. Another sea-based highlight is a snorkelling trip to Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan, two island gems just a scenic hour away by speedboat.
No Koh Samui adventure is complete without a trip to the Ang Thong National Marine Park, a stunning archipelago of 42 islands floating off the island’s clear, turquoise shores. Whiz over by speedboat, before drifting around a fairy-tale land of crooked limestone pillars zooming out of the sea, mingled with icing-sugar beaches, dense jungle greenery, fertile mangroves, tumbling waterfalls and hidden lakes. Thankfully, the area is protected and home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Pootle about in a kayak, laze on a beach or don masks and flippers and soak up the exotic, undersea scenery.
Koh Samui’s lush landscape is peppered with cultural attractions, including a snake farm, aquarium, butterfly garden and traditional coconut plantations, at which you can sample sweet morsels of island delights freshly plucked by monkeys. The island is home to old Chinese shrines and Buddhist temples, including two standout landmarks: the Samui Big Buddha, sitting on a small, rocky island off Koh Samui’s north-eastern coast, and Wat Plai Laem, featuring a distinctive, 18-arm statue of a religious goddess. For an utterly unique experience, Wat Khunaram houses a mummified monk in a glass case – considered disturbing to many Western visitors, the monk is hugely sacred and worshipped by the Thai people.
Night Clubs & Bars
Chaweng is Ko Samui’s most popular beach spot – filled with a plethora of night clubs and bars and a considerable number of holidaymakers all keen to sample the delights of the island – to be avoided at all costs, if this is not your thing!
British Airways and Thai Airways from London Heathrow to Bangkok. Etihad Airways from London Heathrow and Manchester (via Abu dhabi) to Bangkok. Emirates from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow (via Dubai) to Bangkok. Onward connections available.
London Heathrow to Bangkok, 11 hours, 15 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.