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Koh Samui Destination Guide

Exclusively Elegant Travel Since 1988

For more information, please call our Travel Consultants on:01244 897 551

Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts


Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Koh Samui, created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.

Overview+

Capital Bangkok is the capital of Thailand
Language Thai, English is widely spoken
Time Difference 7 hours
Currency Thai Baht
Voltage 220 volts

Koh Samui is an oasis of natural beauty, showcasing some of the world's most pristine white-sand beaches, swaying coconut palms, dazzling coral and crystal-clear waters. Size-wise, it ranks as Thailand’s third largest island, but is small enough to circumnavigate in just a couple of hours by motorbike or car. The atmosphere on Koh Samui is a delicious mix of chilled-out and cosmopolitan, a melting pot borne from the island’s friendly locals and various visitors.

Before tourists landed, Koh Samui was a sleepy little island of fishermen and coconut farmers. In the late 1970s, international backpackers made a beeline for its shores, bringing with them an easy-going, care-free outlook. Though still frequented by laid-back globetrotters, Koh Samui is also a popular destination for the most discerning travellers, drawn to the island’s spellbinding seascapes, internationally acclaimed restaurants, swanky nightclubs and handful of seriously chic hotels.

Highlights+

Beaches
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.

Scuba Diving
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.

Adventure
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.

Culture
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.

National Parks
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.

Travel Gems+

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!

Climate+

Koh Samui experiences three seasons – dry, hot and rainy, with average temperatures hovering around 28°C. Peak season falls from December to February: the dry season, with balmy, sun-filled days and light winds. March and April are the hottest months, while May, June and July often see strong daytime sunshine and late afternoon thunderstorms. The monsoon rains fall between September and the end of November. As a rule of thumb, the optimum weather conditions for visitors fall between December and August.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Koh Samui.

  Temp °C Rain mm
January2690
February2730
March2930
April2980
May30160
June29100
July29120
August29100
September28130
October27290
November27430
December27150

Getting There+

Flight Information
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.

Flying Time
London Heathrow to Bangkok, 11 hours, 15 minutes.

Travel Documentation+

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+

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.

Talk to our Asia, Australasia and Africa Experts

Our dedicated Asia, Australasia and Africa Experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to Koh Samui. Furthermore, we have 7 Travel Consultants who have personally visited Koh Samui and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

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