October 2012
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Ko Samui is an island in the Gulf of Thailand – Part 2

Ko Samui which is often called just Samui is an island in the Gulf of Thailand.

Overview of Ko Samui

• Ko Samui is about 700km south of Bangkok and about 80km from the eastern coastline of Southern Thailand.
• Ko Samui Island measures some 25 km at its widest point.
• It is surrounded by about sixty other islands.
• These islands comprise of the Ang Thong Marine National Park (Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park) and include other tourist destinations (Ko Phangan, Ko Tao and Ko Nang Yuan).
• The central part of the island is an almost uninhabitable jungle mountain, Khao Pom, peaking at 635 m.
• The various lowland areas are connected together by a single 51 km road.
• These run mostly along the coast to encircle the bulk of the island.

Places to Visit in Ko Samui

Namtok Hin Lat
• This is a waterfall that is easily accessible by car.
• Some of the numerous tiny levels have a large basin for swimmers.

Namtok Na Mueang
• A local road leads to the Na Mueang 1 Waterfall.
• A walk of about 30 minutes ends up at the more scenic Na Mueang 2 Waterfall.
• Purple rocks surround the stream of water.
• This water gushes in from an impressive height of around 79 meters.

Ban Lipa Yai
This village grows high quality fruits, including rambutan, durian, mangosteen and the famed langsat.

Old House
• This is a Chinese-style house that is aged almost 200 years.
• It represents the Samui’s cultural identity.
• Grandpa Si and Grandma Maen Hancharoen, the present owner, open the house to visitors.

Other island attractions include:
• Coral beds at Laem Set and Thong Takhian.
• The nearby butterfly garden and aquarium.
• A snake farm.
• A monkey theater at Bo Phut.
• A massive seated Buddha image on Fan isle.

Wat Khunaram Ko Samui
• This temple is the island’s most famous temple for its mummified monk on display.
• The mummy sits upright in a glass casket and devotees offer it flowers and incense.
• The mummy is in fact the body of a very revered former abbot of the temple.
• He was also a meditation master that was able to predict his own death.

Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks
• These odd-looking rocks are situated on Lamai beach.
• These rocks bear a striking resemblance to male and female sexual organs.
• They have turned into one of the island’s biggest attractions.

Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo Ko Samui
• They are situated at Ban Harn beach.
• The aquarium has an amazing collection of tropical fish and other aquatic animals such as turtles and colorful coral.
• The tiger zoo is home to Bengal tigers and leopards.
• The Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo are open daily from 9AM till 6PM.
• Fauna in Ko Samui are:
– Coral fish
– Huge catfish
– Several sharks including Leopard and Black
– Southeastern Asian tigers
– Parrots
– Hornbills
– Seahawks
– Eagles

Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai)
• It is also known as the Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai).
• It has a 15 meter tall statue of the Buddha.
• It was built in 1972 and is in the north of the island.

Laem Sor Pagoda Ko Samui
• This Chedi (pagoda) situated at the Laem Sor temple is one of the most important shrines on Ko Samui.
• The structure with its yellow tiles which gives off a golden aura is quite impressive.

Samui Butterfly Garden / Insect Museum
• This butterfly garden can be found in the Southeast of the island.
• There is a huge collection of different butterflies.
• Some of them have wingspans up to 25 cm.
• Visitors can also enter the insect museum nearby to see a variety of rare bugs and a bee house.

Secret Buddha Garden
• This beautiful garden was made by a 76 year-old Ko Samui fruit farmer in 1976.
• It is surrounded by lush jungle, rocky hills and is adorned with sculptures.
• These sculptures depict both humans, in various poses, as well as various deities.
• Since the garden is the highest point on the island, there are also some awesome views to be had.
• Organized tours of the garden last for about 2 hours.

Monkey Shows
• These shows can be enjoyed in the open-air theater on the main road behind Bophut beach.
• The entertainment also includes performing elephants.
• The capturing and training of otherwise wild animals is ethically questionable.Things to do:
– The usual panoply of watersports is available.
– There are plenty of dive shops.
– Most diving is done either in the nearby Angthong Marine National Park or Ko Tao as the visibility around Samui’s sandy beaches tends to be poor.
– You can book diving day trips at dive shops.
– Most of these are based in Chaweng.
– The dive boats tend to leave from the pier at Bophut and Bang Ruk.
– Diving the south of Thailand has some of some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the world.
– These are surrounded by crystal clear water and stunning coral.
– For these reasons the number of divers coming to Thailand has steadily increased over the past decade.
– The best time year of the year to dive in the Ko Samui is between June and August.
– It is still perfectly possible to dive virtually all year round.
– Thailand is considered one of the safest destinations for diving and snorkeling in the world.
– The sea visibility in some places around Ko Samui is almost very good (distances of up to 10-30 meters).
– One can enjoy the splendid sights of underwater mountains, coral gardens, undersea rock formations, hard and soft coral and whale sharks when in season.

Samran Pinnacles
• The currents in this area are often quite strong, this site is recommended therefore, for experienced divers.
• Due to the currents being like this, the site is a haven for bringing in larger pelagics such as barracuda, jacks.
• There are three submerged pinnacles near Sail Rock.

Ko Kra & Koh Losin
• These two small islands located in the Southeast of Samui.
• As it is the remotest, don’t get too many divers.
• Blacktip sharks, manta rays and hard-to-find loggerhead turtles can be seen.

Best time to visit / climate

• Samui’s weather patterns are a little different from the rest of Thailand.
• In April through September, when most of the country has its monsoon, Samui stays fairly dry, but from October to December.
• The driest season is from January to March.

Location on Google Maps

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Or click and paste the URL below on your browser:

How to get there?

1. By Plane
• Ko Samui Airport (USM) is a private airport originally built by Bangkok Airways.
• They have near-hourly departures to/from Bangkok and tickets are expensive by Thai standards, with advance bookings costing 3000-4500 baht one-way, while a walk-in booking may be twice as much.
• There are also daily flights to/from Phuket for 2000-3000 baht, Pattaya, Singapore and Hong Kong; two daily flights from Chiang Mai.
• A feature of the International Departure Gate is a courtesy corner which provides food and drinks for all passengers in a cosy sitting area.
• Awaiting boarding becomes rather comfortable with food, drinks and wifi provided.
• In addition to Bangkok Air, Ko Samui is served by two flights a day from Bangkok with Thai Airways as well as by Berjaya Air and Firefly from Subang airport and Penang International Airport in Malaysia.
• Ground transportation from the airport is readily available.
• A seat in a minibus for the 20-minute ride to Chaweng costs 120 baht/person; a faster taxi will cost 300-500 baht.
• A cheaper but less convenient option is to fly to Surat Thani by Thai Airways and low cost airlines by Air Asia and Nok Air (Depart from Donmuang Airport )and connect by road and then ferry.
• Or fly to Nakhonsithammarat by Nok Air then take bus and catamaran boat by Lompayah.

2. By Boat
• From Surat Thani train station and Surat Thani Airport (URT), there are combined bus/ferry services to Ko Samui cost 200-300 baht – some entail a 60 minute bus ride to Donsak pier followed by a 90 minute ferry crossing, others a 30 minute bus ride but the ferry takes extra time.
• Tickets are sold by numerous agents that meet each train and airport.
• It should cost certainly less than 300 baht even if bought this way.
• Raja Ferry Port operates services between Donsak pier and Lipa Noi pier on the western side of Samui.
• It includes a free air conditioned deck and several comfortable seats.
• This ferry also transports cars, so can be used should you decide to come with your own transport.
• There are fewer options for transportation there, and songthaew/taxi drivers may be more reluctant to bargain.
• Songthaew transfer from the pier at Lipa Noi on Samui to either Chaweng or Lamai will cost 100 baht per person.
• Taxis will be more expensive, with initial asking prices of up to 500 baht.
• Numerous ferry services are direct from mainland Surat Thani including an express boat.
• Lomprayah offers a combined bus/high speed catamaran ferry service from Bangkok to Ko Samui which takes about 11 hours and costs around 1250 baht.
• The bus pauses in Hua Hin and then stops at Chumphon, where it connects with the ferry, which calls at Ko Nang Yuan, Ko Tao and Ko Pha Ngan on its way to Ko Samui.
• While the route may be more scenic and the ferry itself is comparable to Seatran, the entire way to Samui will take more time, and will cost more too.

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at krabi- kosamui.org
Hotels at kosamui.com

Blogs / Sites about Thailand – Ko Samui

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at krabi- kosamui.com
Blogs at kosamui.org
Blogs and reviews at lonelyplanet.com

Images and photos of Thailand – Ko Samui

Images at google.com
Images at krabi- kosamui.com
Images at krabi- kosamui.org
Images at tripadvisor.in

Videos of Ko Smaui

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