Talking to Clare the other night, we came to discussing her time in Koh Samui. You can fit 25 Koh Samuis inside the area surrounded by London’s M25. But, unlike London, Koh Samui is mainly rainforest! It takes about 2 hours to drive round it and, wherever you are, you are never far from a palm-lined beach. Despite its size, it is one of Thailand’s most famous tourist attractions and now, every year, 1.5 million tourists dwarf the permanant residents who live on the island.
Of course 25 years ago, when Clare was there, it was more of a trek (no airport) and consequently you stayed longer! Now, visitors can easily come and go: its popularity for being just one part of a Thai multi-centre holiday itineraries (Bangkok, Chiang Mai & Koh Samui for example) means that the average stay is around 4 days.
Of course you can get a lot of variety just by staying on the island. However you arrive – by boat or by plane, flying into the airport that has since been built at the North East tip of the island, it is then easy to explore its bar-lined tourist centres, its secluded beaches and it lush interior at your own speed, enjoying your very own multi-centre holiday… and just one place to call home.
Instead of dashing all over South East Asia it is possible to experience it in microcosm in 228square kilometres! From waterfalls to beaches, night markets to temples, marine parks to night clubs, island hopping to motorbike tours, it is surprising that so many people just visit Koh Samui for such a short time.
25 years ago, Clare stayed in a shack on the beach – all of which have been replaced by bungalos and beach resorts. Now accommodation options on Koh Samui offer the usual range that you will find on most tropical islands: hotels, hostels and apartments are dotted all over the island and all can be booked for anything between one night and one year – check your country’s visa requirements for longer stays!
For a more relaxed style of accommodation and certainly a great idea for longer stays, there are a huge range of Koh Samui apartments for rent. Whilst a great choice of luxury hotels and spas attract the short break brigade.
There are many tropical islands in the world with an awful lot less on offer than Thailand’s Koh Samui so it is quite remarkable to consider that, what is on offer, comes in such a small packet!
If you visited 25 years ago you may not recognise this Island paradise now, but at least you can still call it a paradise!