I don't know how to describe this island -- tropical paradise, beach lovers' utopia, or scuba divers' heaven? I guess it's all that and more! Chewang (beach) was a bit too crowded for me, so after staying for a night I shifted to Lamai (beach), which is less crowded, more serene and placid for the senses. I managed to find a cottage as close as possible to the beach for less than $20 and I guess that is cheap considering the fact that I visited in February, the peak tourist season for all of Thailand. A word of caution though -- the locals tend to rip you off. I hopped in on a tuk-tuk for less than a kilometer and when I got off the driver demanded an exorbitant sum and forced me into paying up. On another occasion while visiting this waterfall I fell off my bicycle and bruised myself. The locals, realising that I couldn't ride, offered to drop me back to my cottage in their pick-up for a price! There's always a devil or two in paradise, isn't there? And yes, there are some excellent scuba diving opportunities for both amateurs and professionals with phenomenal underwater visibility.
Ko Samui is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand, located on the southeast-coast area. The easiest way to get here is by plane, but try to book your flight in advance to have better rates. Ko Samui is well known for its beautiful beaches with transparent waters and an amazing vibe -- it's much quieter and less touristic compared, for example, to Phuket, but for this reason becomes much more beautiful and special.
On this island, the most touristic area is Chaweng, which has a lot of shops, cafes, and restaurants (serving not only amazing Thai food, but also Italian, Chinese, and Indian choices). Chaweng beach is an amazing place with turquoise waters and white sand beaches -- it's the best place to relax during the day. The other places of the island are more quiet, but if you want to visit them, you can easily rent a bike or a tuk tuk (remember to negotiate the prices). During your stay, you cannot miss the chance to have a Thai massage or an oil massage -- the best and cheapest massages that you can have.
If possible, try to conciliate your trip with the full moon party event (occurs every month on the full moon, on the island of Koh Phangan) -- a party on the beach with a lot of fun, that you definitely don't want to miss (for a lot of people, this is the best full moon party of the world). You can easily get to Koh Phangan by ferry (only two hours away), and the ticket is not expensive.
While in Koh Phangan, take another ferry to visit Ko Tao Island, an amazing place to relax, swim, and snorkel.
There are a lot of hostels in Ko Samui that present good facilities with a good quality/ price relation (at full moon times, try to book in advance). Ko Samui hostels are an amazing place for you to meet a lot of people and share travel stories.
Hi, I'm Grace,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Ko Samui hostels. Welcome.