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Koh Samui is an island in Surat Thani Province  simply called Samui  by the locals, it is situated 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.  It is rich with natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees.

Koh Samui was probably first inhabited about 15 centuries ago, settled by fishermen from the Malay Peninsula and Southern China. It appears on Chinese maps dating back to 1687, under the name Pulo Cornam. The name Samui is mysterious in itself. Perhaps it is an extension of the name of one of the native trees, mui, or it is a corruption of the Chinese word Saboey, meaning safe haven. Ko or Koh is the Thai word for island.

Until the late 20th century, Koh Samui was an isolated self-sufficient community, having little connection with the mainland of Thailand. The island was even without roads until the early 1970's, and the 15 km journey from one side of the island to the other involved a whole-day trek through the mountainous central jungles.

Koh Samui has a population of about 55,000 (source: Samui Mayor's Office) and is based primarily on a successful tourist industry, as well as exports of coconut and rubber. It even has its own international airport, Samui Airport, with flights daily to Bangkok and other major airports in Southeast Asia such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. While the island presents an unspoiled image to the public perception, economic growth has brought not only prosperity, but changes to the island's environment and culture, a source of conflict between local residents and migrants from other parts of Thailand and other countries.

Koh Samui Page 1, Surat Thani Province, Thailand
Koh Samui Page 1, Surat Thani Province, Thailand


Koh Samui, like the rest of the south of Thailand, has only two seasons. The rainy season is from May to December, and the dry season is from January to April. Since the weather is tropical, the rain, when it does fall, does so heavily but doesn’t last long.

Tourist attractions

Angthong National Marine Park, consisting of 42 islands featuring limestone massifs, tropical rainforests, secluded beaches and wildlife, was established as a national park in 1980. Also known as the Golden Basin, the park in Koh Samui is renowned for activities like snorkelling, walking and swimming. Similar nearby islands are Koh Sam Sao, Koh Prayad, Koh Hin Dap and Koh Kha.

Wat Khunaram Koh Samui This temple is the island’s most famous temple for its mummified monk on display. The mummy sits upright in a glass casket and devotees offer it flowers and incense. The mummy is in fact the body of a very revered former abbot of the temple who was also a meditation master and was reputedly able to predict his own death.


See more about this Island under  Surat Thani Province in Q to Z Items

Surat Thani province Page 1, History and the Districts of the Province