Koh Samui a Tropical Island in the Gulf of Thailand

A great island as a holiday destination

Koh Samui has been a holiday destination since the 1980s, originally attracting the budget traveller, but now catering to the full range of accommodation from the backpacker-friendly to five-star luxury hotels, with a wide selection of villa rentals also available

Koh Samui - The Island Itself

At just 25 km x 21km Koh Samui is proof that good things do indeed come in small packages. Famous for the warmth of its welcome, fantastic Thai cuisine complemented by fine dining experiences from all corners of the world and a wealth of activities in and on the water and in the jungles of the interior, Koh Samui is a great place to spend a vacation. 

Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand off the Surat Thani coast, a short ferry crossing from Donsak. With clear waters coming from the South China Sea there are numerous coral reefs to explore, with some of the best to be found around nearby islands such as Koh Tao, or the marine park of Ang Thong that lies just a short boat-trip away.

Water Sport

Being an island means that there is a great variety of water sports available all round the island. Whether interested in sailing, wind-surfing, sea-kayaking, water skiing, parasailing, Whether your interest is sailing, wind surfing or scuba diving, Koh Samui has something to offer. Day trips to neighbouring islands such as Koh Phangan, Koh Tao or the nearby Ang Thong island group and marine National Park offer further water-based excursions, and for those not wishing to venture too far away from Banyan Villas the coral reefs of Bang Por can be accessed for snorkelling directly from the beach.

On Terra Firma

Koh Samui’s interior is dominated by mountainous jungle and coconut plantations, the latter being the major industry before tourism reached the island. The jungles provide a backdrop for elephant trekking beneath and zip-wiring through and above the forest canopy, and there are many rivers, paths and waterfalls to explore while getting in touch with this natural paradise. More mechanised enjoyment can be had with All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Go-karting. For those seeking more leisurely pursuits there are numerous spas available offering a relaxing massage, which can also be arranged in the comfort of your villa.


Whilst koh Samui may not be on the radar of many golfers it boasts a hidden secret in the Santiburi International Golf Course and Apa. Set in the hills behind Maenam and only 15 minutes drive from Banyan Villas the course offers a challenging round and with spectacular views out to sea.

History and Culture

Koh Samui was for a long time an independent community with little contact with the mainland. Before being discovered by travellers and tourists from around the world Koh Samui's economy thrived on harvesting coconuts, still an important business today. 

Koh Samui's cultural tradition is still alive and well for those wishing to dig a little deeper to discover it. Around the island you will find many Buddhist Wats (temples) and shrines, but also elements of Brahman and Animist beliefs. The largest temple on the island is Wat Phra Yai (literally “Big Buddha Temple”), where the centre piece is a huge statue of a seated Buddha that dominates the skyline.


Thais love a party, and a philosophy of “sanook” (fun) underpins much of Thai culture and general approach to life. Not surprisingly therefore there are a great many holidays and festivals throughout the year, as well as temple activities, food fairs, live music and other cultural performances. The major festivals however are: Chinese New Year (January or February, depending on lunar calendar) Songkhran (Thai New Year, 13–15 April) Loy Krathong (mid-November, exact date depends on lunar calendar each year) Complete details of these and other events can be found on the Tourism Authority of Thailand website, Festivals & Events page.

Shopping & Entertainment

The main tourist centre on the island is Chawaeng situated on the East coast of the island, here you will find 3 kilometres of shops, stalls, bars and restaurants of all descriptions! To the north and nerer to hand you will find Bohput Fisherman's village, boasting a wide variety of waterfront restaurants and with a "walking street" market every Friday night. 

Nathon, the original island capital and ferry port lies on the west coast about 10 minutes drive from Banyan Villas, shopping here is more a local flavour, with both regular stores and a wet market generating typical local aromas. Nathon being the island capital tends to be the centre for Thai festival entertainment and often has events on the waterfront.

Koh Samui Photos