Lay of the Land
Koh Samui is a small island that sits in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand off the western coast of the mainland. The 95-square-mile stretch of land is relatively undeveloped considering its popularity; exposed power lines trail along the island’s main road, which runs directly through its center, and signage is minimal if it exists at all.
Samui has luxury resorts scattered along the parameter of its coast. The best properties line the island’s northern shore, with the Four Seasons being the furthest west and the Six Senses, the furthest east. Samui’s main (and most touristy) area is Chaweng Beach, which sits in a cove on the mid-eastern side of the island. Chaweng is the center of Samui’s nightlife and shopping, and has become terribly overrun. Off the southeastern coast of Samui is the beautiful archipelago and national marine park of Mu Ko Ang Thong—a day trip not to be missed for swimming, snorkeling and diving.
When to Go
Koh Samui’s high season runs from late December through April. The ideal time to visit is somewhere in the middle of these months (January through March) when the rainy season has passed entirely and the humidity is still bearable. Avoid visiting from October through mid-December when the rain is heaviest. The summer months of June, July and August are humid and hot, though the ocean breeze helps to make it bearable. The shoulder seasons of May and September through early December bring bursts of rain and are not ideal.
Bangkok Airways own the beautiful Koh Samui airport, which has breezy thatch-roofed bungalows, gardens dotted with exotic flowers and a great arcade of shops and restaurants. The airline now offers direct flights from Bangkok (one hour), Chiang Mai (one-and-a-half hours) and Phuket (fifty minutes) making travel to the island simple and seamless. The Samui airport is located in the northeast part of the island, just north of Chaweng Beach. Transfer time to the Four Seasons (the westernmost resort on the north shore) is about thirty minutes, and the Six Senses (the eastern most resort on the north short), is about fifteen minutes away.