The island of Koh Samui was discovered in 1971 by the first tourists. Four years later, there was built a few bungalows, harbingers of the future rapid development of tourism. Until the late 1980s, it remained a heaven . Many tourists traveled independently. Everything started to change since the late 1980s - early 1990s. In 1989 the construction of an airport had been completed, a number of modern hotels, which created the necessary conditions for the second wave of tourists. Since then, the influx of tourists started to increase rapidly and the island's population has increased significantly due to the emigration from the other parts of Thailand.
Today, Koh Samui is the second most popular island in Thailand. Ko Samui may not be the most beautiful island country, but this oasis of nature with white sandy beaches, coral world, attractive lagoons, picturesque waterfalls, swaying coconut palms and clear water attracts more and more tourists each year. In the middle of the 19th century the island of Koh Samui comprised the largest species of coconut palms in the world. The collection of coconut and latex from rubber trees for the production of Brazilian natural rubber still has a place in the mountainous interior of the island, but now many large-scale plantations have given way to tourism, which is currently the main source of income for the local people. Once a heaven with untouched places and clean beaches, beautiful thatched bungalows and cheap eateries along the dusty roads, Samui now has a lot of upscale resorts, expensive restaurants and posh shops spa. A large influx of tourists has caused an acute shortage of water resources and a number of environmental problems, overcrowded beaches. Having made a car trip along the island, you will still find some relatively sparsely populated beaches, but this is far from being the quiet island, as it was 10 - 15 years ago, most notably at significant increased prices.
The island of Koh Samui attracts poor tourists staying in bungalows on the beach unpretentious and very wealthy vacationers spend their holidays in luxury hotels and villas on the beach. Some resorts, where "dreams come true, and fantasy with reality," offer apartments at $ 6,000 per night during the massive influx of tourists. Who would not be able to put a tidy bag of luxury accommodation, can experience the charm of Koh Samui in just a few tens of dollars per day. The island offers accommodation at different price ranges to suit every taste. The peak tourist season runs from mid-December to mid-January, but from January to April is the best weather, then it becomes very hot and only a rare tropical storm brings a brief respite. During this period, you can relax at a pretty reasonable price and sometimes the price can be 50% of the peak of the season. October, November and early December are the most humid months. In July and August, there is usually a short-term increase in the number of tourists, but these months the western part of the island often receives higher rainfall.
The most popular attractions of Koh Samui
Without doubt, the south of Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the world, surrounded by crystal clear waters and stunning coral. This is the main reason for the increased number of divers in Thailand over the past ten years. Although the best season for diving in the area of Koh Samui is from June to August, scuba diving is practised all year round. Thailand is considered one of the safest places in the world for diving, it is ideal for beginners who have expressed a desire to dive for the first time. Most tours diving take place in the nearby National Marine Park Angthong, because the visibility around the sandy beaches of Koh Samui, with rare exceptions, leaves much to be desired. You can enjoy huge underwater rocks, coral gardens, whale sharks. The main reason to visit the island of Koh Samui is just to enjoy the beaches. Two of the most popular beaches, Chaweng and Lamai, are significantly affected by the development of mass tourism over the past two decades, but still retain their beauty and attractiveness. Further hinders the smooth beaches of building a government decree restricting the construction of buildings above the coconut palms. Relaxing on the beach on the island is too much of some interesting tourist attractions.
Big Buddha Temple
Along with the beaches, a huge painted in gold Buddha statue is a famous landmark of Koh Samui. Built in 1972, the statue of the Buddha (12 meters high) is located near the temple of Phra Yai Temple on the tiny island of Koh Phan with beautiful, unspoiled nature. This place of Samui is visited by almost every traveller on the island. The review platform of the Temple of Big Buddha overlooks the northern slopes of Koh Samui and nearby Koh Phangan.
Hin Ta and Hin Yai
Art often imitates nature, but sometimes there are cases exactly the opposite, when nature imitates art. In Thailand, all things are possible, including the island of Koh Samui, where there are natural geological formations Hin Ta and Hin Yai (translated Grandfather and Grandmother), having a form of male and female genitalia. Located between the beaches of Lamai and Hua Tanon, they cause indulgent or embarrassed giggles to all those who attend. Even more strange it seems the fact that they are close to each other, creating a legend that explains their origin.
Any local resident of Koh Samui will tell you the following story: She and Yai Riem Kreng (meaning grandfather and grandmother) lived with her son in the southern Thai province of Nakhon Si Thammarat Sri. It was time for their son to marry and they turned their attention to an alliance with the daughter of Ta Monglay, who lived in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, some 400 kilometers to the north.
They went by boat to ask the girl the hand for their son, but on the way back the boat was hit by a storm and the boat sank near the island. The pair, unable to swim, drowned and turned into interesting rock formations, the proof of the bride's parents for their good intentions. Every day, thousands of tourists come to this place to take photographs of these rocks.
Paradise Park Farm
Best places for outdoor recreation than Paradise Farm Park are, perhaps rare to be found. The Park of the European type with emphasis on cleanliness, is located in a tropical forest on the highest mountain in Koh Samui, Khao Pom. Paradise Park Farm is one of the most popular attractions in Koh Samui. Good nutrition, children's playground, swimming pool, beautiful garden, a collection of exotic birds and animals, jungle, river, man-made waterfall made the park the most popular place to visit on the island. The park is equally interesting for adults and children. Paradise Park Farm is a nature reserve area of over 8 hectares, where the animals have created favorable conditions for living in a spacious natural environment. They all live in separate areas linked by walkways. Visitors to the park can wander through these paths, enjoy the natural beauty and the panoramic overview of Samui and its smaller sister, the sister island of Koh Phangan. During the day the animals are released to freedom, if desired, you can feed them and even care. The park does not forget to feed your guests. The restaurant serves delicious Thai and European cuisine.
During your stay in Samui you can visit the island of Koh Phangan, just a few kilometers far from Samui. It is an island of coconut trees and sandy beaches, which is famous in Thailand. Everything there is for a romantic getaway: beautiful beaches, beautiful coral, spectacular waterfalls. The world-famous island of Koh Phangan was founded in 1985 by a small group travel party in Full Moon (Full Moon Party). Once a month she gathers from 20 000 to 30 000 local residents and tourists from around the world. It is believed that on this island, the moon looks especially nice. Music, flashing lights, multiple bars (all included), painted faces, socializing, dancing and drinking are a constant feature of the event. Some participants used drugs (the culture of drug use is very common in Thailand), but it is associated with greater risk given the strict Thai laws on drugs. If you do not take into account the full moon parties, Koh Phangan is actually a pretty quiet island and far less obsessed with public festivals and nightlife than the island of Koh Samui. The time spent here usually means the time spent on the beach. The beaches, snorkeling, diving and kayaking are the most popular activities. The waters abound with coral and fish. To organize a trip here is not difficult because of the numerous tour operators. There are beautiful waterfalls, but they are not easy to achieve because of the terrain. Several kings of Thailand visited the Falls Thaan Sadat and left a sign on a nearby rock.
In December 1995 near the small village of Thong Krut Bay was founded by the first and only on the island of Koh Samui to the present day The Phangka Snake Farm. Since then, the snake farm was one of the most popular tourist attractions of Koh Samui. The farm is included in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest stay in the body of scorpions and centipedes. There is a small zoo with crocodiles, mongooses and some other reptiles. Twice during the day a fascinating snake show is shown to visitors. These serve as a prelude to the demonstration cockfights which have a long tradition in Thailand and many other parts of Asia. Fighting cocks in three stages and at this time to inform visitors about the origin of cock-fighting, rules, followed by a show of scorpions. The last of its kind, but not least, a snake show, which includes the demonstration tricks most poisonous snakes on the earth, the king cobra. The zoo farm, you can watch the other snakes and reptiles: crocodiles, lizards, monitor lizards, pythons.
Crocodiles have never lived on Koh Samui. Thanks to the development of tourism on the island there are huge reptiles with large teeth, and bristling with flaps. On the vast farm of a total area of 8,000 thousand crocodiles inhabit, they are grown for the valuable skin to produce a variety of consumer products. For a small fee you can feed the reptiles. The main event is the crocodile show, during which the trainer puts his head and his hand into the jaws of the animal. Besides crocodiles, there are about 100 animals of various species: king cobra, python, iguanas, lizards, monkeys and more.
When you get tired of the beaches and more diverse leisure, we recommend visiting several waterfalls, located in the interior of Samui. The most popular of them enjoys a waterfall at Na Muang, so named for its purple color. In fact, the waterfall consists of several stages. The height of the lower stage is 30 meters (the highest waterfall on the island of Koh Samui), the water falls from a cliff into a deep pool suitable for swimming. To rise to the upper cascade, it is necessary to climb on foot or you will be offered an easier option - riding on an elephant.
The Aquarium and the Tiger Zoo
Not the best in Thailand, but there is an interesting aquarium and zoo tigers (Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo). An aquarium with a collection of marine flora and fauna: sharks, turtles, colorful tropical fish, the Gulf of Siam. The Zoo presents Bengal tigers, leopards and lions, one of the most dangerous natural predators.
Others The Best Places to Visit in Thailand .
Maps of Samui – Fabulous Islandmap Thailand
Others from The Best Places to Visit in Thailand
The country is often called the "land of smiles", because here there are more people smiling than in any other part of the world.
Only in Thailand you can take a cruise on a converted rice barge, you can scream upstream in a boat or bamboo raft, you can go into a dizzying journey and you can stay in jungle tree houses or homes of villagers floating on the river.
Equally memorable are the trails leading deep into the rainforest past cooling waterfalls and beautiful endless white sand caressing the translucent sea.
Do not miss the dynamic city of Bangkok, with its futuristic buildings juxtaposed against the glittering Grand Palace.
Early morning, monks dressed in robes leave the sanctuary of temples to receive alms from the people or in a dusty village or on crowded city streets.
Here Buddhism is a way of life and, with the respect people have for the monarchy, a dynasty that has maintained an independent country for centuries, resulting in a blend of tradition and contemporary living.
His Majesty King Bhumibol is the longest reigning monarch in the world, having come in 1946.
With the end of absolute monarchy, Thailand moved towards democracy, but this was thwarted by the military, who staged coups in protest at government policies.
The latest blow came in September 2006 when a bloody revolt overthrew the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and replaced him with an interim prime.
Thailand has surpassed the economic collapse of 1997, SARS, avian flu and the devastating tsunami in December 2004 to become a popular destination for tourists, with its many natural beauties and rich cultural heritage.
Thailand is a tropical country, so it's warm all year round, but the best time for tourists is from November to March during the dry season.
The main attractions • Wonder at the beautiful architecture in Bangkok Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo, a temple complex which houses a statue of the Emerald Buddha.
Further up the river are the royal barges.
They are richly decorated and are only used for special processions on the Chao Phraya River.
• Do not miss Wat Pho, Bangkok's largest temple and the place where Buddha is Down.
The statue is huge - 46m long and 15m high.
• Discover Vmanmek, a lovely palace with 18 rooms, the former royal summer residence, rebuilt in Bangkok in 1900.
Let yourself be excited by the former house of silk merchant, American Jim Thompson.
• Travel north to Chiang Mai, the second largest city of Thailand and a center for excursions to temples in the region, hill tribes and the Golden Triangle.
Climb its 300 steps to the temple of Doi Suthep to have wonderful views of the city.
• Visit Kanchanaburi, a place about the horrors of the Second World War and Allied forces forced to build the Death Railway and the Bridge over the River Kwai.
From the town you can go on trips to explore the waterfalls and the jungle region.
You could spend a night on a floating house.
• Take a trip back in time and visit Ayutthaya, the former Thai capital.
Wander among the ruins of palaces on foot,by bike, or even on the back of an elephant.
• A visit to Ayutthaya is not complete without a trip to Sukhothai, an ancient capital of the Thai.
Beyond the city walls there are ruins of ancient temples and a few ancient engravings.
• Visit the north-eastern Thai, less known, especially Phimai, one of the most important Khmer historical sites in Thailand, dating from the eleventh century.
The complicated structure resembles that of Angkor Wat.
• Thailand is not about just beaches and temples.
Venture Khao Sok National Park exploring the southern Thai.
Here the rainforest covers the limestone cliffs crossed by streams and waterfalls.
Experience the lifestyle of a tree house or a house on the water, made of bamboo.
• Make a day trip from Bangkok by train over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, on the bridge that was built by Allied prisoners, led by the Japanese during the Second World War.
• Admire the skills of kite fighters.
Your opponents kites male Chula and female high Pakpao in a battle of the sexes.
Do not miss playing takraw, which involves handling a cane ball from one player to another, which are disposed in a circle, using in acrobatic feet, knees, thighs and chest.
The goal is to keep the ball in the air and place it in a suspended basket.
• Take in a Thai kick-boxing match.
This traditional sport can be seen every day in stadiums across the country.
Boxing matches are preceded by elaborate ceremonies and accompanied by music.
• Get rid of all worries through meditation.
Thailand has dozens of temples and meditation centers specializing in vipassana .
You can attend one lesson or you can follow a whole.
• Meet more closely with northern Thai, especially remote provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son, hiking, riding elephants and rafting on the river.
• Join the crowd that goes to Suri, where elephants assembly occur in November.
There are demonstrations of techniques and re-training scene of episodes in history.
• Enjoy thousands of kilometers from the Thai coast on the sand or under water.
Try kayaking, canoeing in the limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay and explore the grottoes and caves that are half under water.
• Learn traditional massage and the healing properties of herbal medicine at ancient Wat Pho.
• Try Thai cooking at one of the many cookery schools.
Learn how to blend herbs and spices for the unique flavors of Thai food.
In some schools students encouraged to buy food in the market themselves.
• Take a boat trip through Bangkok's Floating Market or network of channels of the river, lined with dwellings opening directly to water.
Life has hardly changed over the centuries to those who live on canals.
• Dive with the Sharks at Siam Ocean World aquarium in Bangkok and experience to tell the tale.
• Take tea in the afternoon at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, one of the most famous hotels in the world.
The former residence of Somerset Maughan and Joseph Conrad, today is attended by kings, princes and celebrities.
Gastronomy Thai cuisine is famous for the way that balances the five fundamental flavors in all meals and dishes - spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter (optional).
Thai cuisine which includes specific four main regions of the country - North, Northeast (Isan), Central and South America.
The cuisine of each region is influenced by neighboring countries of that region.
Thai dishes include plenty of fresh, not dried herbs, spices and fish sauce.
Nam pla is a fish sauce, flavored, which is found in almost all dishes.
It is widely used and shrimp paste.
Thais are accustomed to eat so much rice at every meal even.
Most of them consider sandwiches not a meal but a snack.
Also, locals do not really sit at table, because, especially children and teens eat when hungry.
If you do meet a Thai, you may be wondering "gin khao yung" every time you meet, meaning " did you eat ?" or better said "have you eaten rice?".
If you visit Thailand and stay at a local family take care not too eat too much, your body will get fat.
History Thailand existed as several small states since 1000.
Influenced more by India, Burma and Khmer people, the region was quickly engulfed in Buddhism.
By 1350 the kingdom of Siam was created.
At a distance of more than two centuries the Portuguese arrived, along with other Europeans, dealing with trade or were missionaries.
Siam avoided European colonization but was forced to cede control of more distant areas (portions of Malay, Laos and Cambodia) France and Great Britain.
Occupied by the Japanese in 1941, Siam declared war on the United States and Great Britain, while secretly monarchy suppressed resistance movements against the Japanese.
During the Vietnam War Thailand was significant especially for the U.
Attracting investors and tourists, Thailand developed until 1996, when the military government triggered a decline in the economy.
Tips The royal family is highly esteemed in Thailand, which must be respected by visitors.
Locals are concerned with the public manifestations of anger as a fact and creates a very humiliating public image.
It also discourages emotional manifestations gender and touching a person's head or your foot to straighten, it is a lack of good manners.
Take care of your shoes before entering someone's house or a temple.