Koh Samui, in the Gulf of Thailand, is that tropical island. Previously a hub for fishing and an island adorned with coconut plantations, Samui – as it is referred to by the locals – first became marked on the tourist map in the 1970s as a backpacker destination. With the rise of tourism, roads were built making travel across the 15 kilometre island a lot more straightforward than the adventure it previously was through thick jungle.
Today, Thailand’s second biggest island draws people to its stunning beaches and is home to some of Thailand’s super luxury resorts and spas propelling Samui to the top of bucket lists across the world. A popular getaway for Bangkok folk, Samui has one of the quaintest airports in Thailand as a cute toy train meets travellers from the plane to take them to the pretty open aired terminal covered in flowers and fauna. Regular flights throughout the day travel to Bangkok and Phuket in one hour and Chiang Mai in an hour and 45 minutes give Samui’s residents the best of both worlds: island life and the easy access to the rest of Thailand and its amenities should they need to. Ferries from the island to Donsak – the main pier on the mainland – is another option taking 45 minutes, although slower options are available too.
Koh Samui has a different weather pattern than Phuket and experience less rainfall. It enjoys sun in July and August, suiting those who have a European summer and want a holiday home in Thailand. The rest of the year it is warm and humid, with September and October experiencing the highest amount of rainfall with usually brief showers of around one hour daily.
Aside from the place to enjoy watersports, Koh Samui has a Thai boxing stadium, go-kart track, shooting range, snake farm, aquarium and other animal sanctuaries, and is also the launching point for Ang Thong National Marine Park consisting of over 40 islands full of wildlife and scenery perfect for a day trip or to enjoy scuba diving. Combine this with its good range of private and international schools, shopping, nightlife, and even a cinema, is why many families find exactly what they want to call Samui their home.
Where to live
Conscious of keeping its tropical island status, Koh Samui is sympathetic to development as building regulations state that the height of building cannot exceed that of a palm tree. Spirally high condominiums do not exist and accommodation is low rise. Both condominiums and villas exists, and the island’s increasing number of new luxury villa projects have been well received, giving residents even more choice and increasing demand for such schemes.
Popular spots include Chaweng and Plai Laem both known for their entertainment scene, and also Bophut which is home to Fisherman’s Village, an example of Koh Samui’s heritage as an agricultural outpost for the country’s independent fisherman, farmers and families. Today, Fisherman’s Village’s modern buildings are carefully designed and built to ensure that they are in keeping with the traditional Chinese shophouses that this boutique shopping and dining are is now famed for.
Why should I live on Koh Samui?
1. It is paradise! A home away from home with a lot of luxury thrown into dip into should you desire.
2. The buildings are low rise and building regulations are tight to preserve the island feel.
3. Thanks to a thriving tourism sector, Samui is well looked after and extremely accessible.