until a decade ago, Samui Island (in Thai, "Ko" = island) rivals Phuket
as Thailand's most popular beach resort. At the same time, this idyllic
island remains quite distinct from its sister resort, preserving the natural
simplicity of a tropical hideaway. In other words, Ko Samui epitomizes
the timeless attraction of sunny palm-fringed tropical beaches.
in the Gulf of Thailand, on the opposite side of the southern peninsula
from Phuket, Ko Samui is part of a true island world, being the largest
in a group of more than 80 tropical isles, only four of which are inhabited.
Samui ranks as Thailand's third largest island covering an area of 247
sq. km and measuring 21km wide and 25km in length. A mountain ridge runs
east to west and most of the hinterland comprises forested hills. The
rich hues of wild vegetation are dappled throughout with the contrasting
greens of coconut palms and emerald paddies.
fishing, the cultivation of coconuts is the traditional and principal
source of livelihood for the islanders, and Ko Samui ships some 2 million
nuts a month to Bangkok - they are reputedly the best in the country!
sights and the unspoiled natural beauty of the landscape are vignettes
of traditional culture. Mostly fisherman and coconut farmers, the islanders
pursue lifestyles very largely unchanged, and possess the self sufficiency
and easy going ways of a true tropical island paradise.
In spite of easy
access, with several flights from Bangkok and Phuket and ferry services
from Surat Thani, Samui remains very much away from it all, complete into
itself as it has been for centuries. Hence, here is the place to get away
from it all and relax in the sun without a care in the world.
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