Thailand, Koh Samui
of the beach of Koh Samui.
Ko Samui island of Surat Thani
Province (or Koh Samui) or often,
simply Samui as it is referred to by
locals, is an island off the east
coast of the Kra Isthmus in
Thailand, close to the mainland
Surat Thani town. It is Thailand's
third largest island, with an area
of 228.7 km2 and a population of
over 50,000 (2008). It is rich with
natural resources, white sandy
beaches, coral reefs and coconut
Ko Samui is located in the Gulf of
Thailand, about 35 km northeast of
Surat Thani town (9°N, 100°E). The
island measures some 25 km at its
widest point. It is surrounded by
about sixty other islands, which
compose the Ang Thong Marine
National Park (Mu Ko Ang Thong
National Park) and include other
tourist destinations (Ko Phangan, Ko
Tao and Ko Nang Yuan).
The central part of the island is an
almost uninhabitable jungle
mountain, Khao Pom, peaking at 635
m. The various lowland areas are
connected together by a single 51 km
road, running mostly along the coast
to encircle the bulk of the island.
The old capital is Nathon, on the
southwest coast of the island. It
remains the major port for fishing
and inter-island transportation.
Nathon is the seat of the regional
government, and the true commercial
hub of the Samui locals. It has a
charming pace, and is almost small
enough to walk everywhere. The old
Chinese shop houses along the middle
street whisper of an exotic history.
Each of Samui's primary beaches is
now also nominally considered as a
small town, due to the number of
hotels, restaurants and nightlife
that have sprung up in recent years.