The island of Koh Samui is Thailand's second biggest and its location in the warm, crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand means that visitors to this tropical paradise can expect palm-fringed white beaches, pleasant bathing in the waters off these shores and spectacular sunrises.
It's no surprise then that this picturesque isle boasts a variety of beachfront hotels and resorts, open-air restaurants and bars, and a lively beach scene during the day and at night. The beaches of Chaweng and Lamai are the most popular and beautiful, with Chaweng offering a more vibrant atmosphere than the quieter, more secluded Lamai area.
While there is no official city centre, shopping streets, restaurants and attractions tend to centre around beach and tourist hubs.
For holidaymakers seeking to combine the island's cultural delights with its oceanfront wonders, Koh Samui offers a number of ancient temples and structures. Travel to the gilded 12-metre-high Buddha statue of Wat Phra Yai or the striking Thai-Chinese architecture of Wat Plai Laem temple. Journey into the island's tropical undergrowth on a leisurely elephant ride at Namuang Safari Park or take a day trip to Ang Thong Marine Park, a 42-island archipelago that provides a spectacular setting for snorkelling, sunbathing or kayaking.
The island offers something to suit all budgets and tastes. Savour the gastronomic delights of the region at five-star hotel restaurants or road-side food stalls and enjoy relaxing massages and retreats at high-end spas or low-key parlours.
Koh Samui offers year-round sunshine and warm climate. Average humidity levels stand between 70 and 85%, and temperatures average around 28?C. March to May are the hottest months of the year, with temperatures regularly reaching over 30?C. Travellers may also experience heavier rainfall from September to November during the island's monsoon season.