An introduction to Koh Samui
Koh Samui & Surat Thani -
The Coconut Island & The Province of
By road, 644 km. from
to Surat Thani; by rail, 651 km. from Bangkok to Surat Thani; by
sea, 2-3 hrs. from Don Sak, Surat Thani, to Koh Samui; by air, 1hr.
from Bangkok to Surat Thani or Koh Samui.
||Bordering the gulf of Thailand, Surat
Thani is the largest province in the South with an area of 12,890
km² and a population of 831,378 (end of 1995). It was formally known
as Kanchanadit and then Chaiya. It got its present name, which means
the Town of Good People, only in 1915.
|Ang Thong Islands
As there are many islands along its coast, Surat Thani is also
known as the Province of a Hundred Islands. Of these, the best known
today is Koh Samui, the Coconut Island which has become a popular
resort for both Thai and foreign tourists, because of its long,
clean sandy beaches, tranquil atmosphere and countless coconut palms
all over the island. With an area of 247 km²Koh Samui is the third
largest island of Thailand after
and Koh Chang off the eastern coast.
|The most popular beaches on Koh Samui are
Chaweng Beach and
Lamai Beach. Visitors may dive to
enjoy the colourful coral off the beaches or at the nearby islets,
such as Koh Taopun, Koh Som and
Koh Mad Lang. There are two waterfalls
on the island- Hin Lat and
Na Muang, which are very beautiful
in the rainy season. Among the famous religious objects are the
huge Buddha Image on Koh Fan, Hin Ngu Buddha statue some 17 km.
from the county town, Laem So Chedi
which contains a relic of the Buddha and the Buddha's Footprint
on Khao Le Hill. A must for visitors to Koh Samui is the twin rocks
at Lamai Bay - Hin Ta and Hin Yai, both grotesquely shaped. Today
the island is a well developed tourist resort with all kinds of
accommodation, restaurants and places of entertainment. There is
also a 50 km. round-the-island highway connecting the various beaches
and the county town. As mentioned at the beginning, it can be reached
by boat from Surat Thani or by air from Bangkok. There are even
chartered flights from Europe and elsewhere during the high season.
Hin Ta rock group on Hat Lamai
Accommodation: Koh Samui
A map of
|About an hour's boat ride to the north of Koh Samui is another
island named Koh Pha-ngan. It has
an area of 192km² and has several fine beaches and a beautiful waterfall,
but is still waiting for development. Also near Koh Samui is
Ang Thong Islands National Marine Park
which is full of fascinating beaches, caves and coral formations,
but which is out of reach of the individual tourist who has to join
a group organized by a tourist agency in order to visit the place.
||Other interesting places in Surat Thani include -
Phumriang Village, famous for a local
product called Phumriang silk; Wat Phrathat
Chaiya, an ancient monastery which houses relics of Lord
Buddha; not far from the temple stands the
Chaiya National Museum, which displays
excavated ancient artefacts of Chaiya town and nearby areas;
Wat Suan Mokha Phalaram, a Buddhist
retreat visited by people from far and near who want to meditate
and to find the truth of life; the Monkey-training school, where
tourists can view dozens of wild monkeys trained as coconut collectors.
|By the way, all visitors to Surat Thani should not miss tasting
oysters, rambutans and khai khem chaiya (salted eggs) produced
in this province.