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Ko Samui is an island in the Gulf of Thailand located belonging to the province of Surat Thani.
Located about 25 km from the coast, it is the second largest island in Thailand, with an area of 228 km² and a population of 62 500 inhabitants in 2012. It enjoys many tourist natural resources: white sandy beaches, coconut palms and coral .
Geography of Koh Samui
The island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 35 km northeast of the city of Surat Thani, the center of a small archipelago of 85 islands of which 6 are inhabited, which make up the National Park Mu Ko Ang Thong (the islands of the golden bowl). Ko Phangan, also very touristy, is a few kilometers further north.
Ko Samui has a massive shape (25 km x 21 km), rather circular. Its center, which rises to 656 meters, is covered with a hostile mountain jungle. The plains are connected by a single road of 51 km which essentially follows the coast.
The main town is Nathon, a fishing port and transport between various islands, on the southwest coast of Samui. It is also the seat of local government, and the economic heart of the island.
The name of each main beaches of the island is now linked to a clean city, due to the implementation of many hotels, restaurants and box nights in recent decades.
History of Koh Samui
Nicknamed the “Pearl of the South China Sea“, the island has had only relatively late development. It was probably uninhabited until the sixth century and then settled by fishermen from Malaysia and Southern China. It appears on Chinese cards in 1687 under the name “Pulo Cornam”. The current name of Koh Samui remains mysterious. Perhaps it comes from the name of a local trees, mui, which means “safe harbor.” Ko is a Thai word meaning “island”. Until the late twentieth century, Ko Samui was a fishing community, self-sufficient and isolated, which stood little contact with Thailand. It possessed only dirt roads until the late 1980s and the arrival of the first tourists, and the crossing of the 15 km of the island required a day walking through the mountains jungle.
Administration of Koh Samui
Ko Samui is a district in the province of Surat Thani, subdivided into seven subdistricts. The entire island is a municipality (thesaban mueang). The district covers the whole island and some surrounding islands.
Economy of Koh Samui
The traditional activity is fishing and the exploitation of rubber and some 4 millions coconut trees.
The tourism industry is now its main economic activity. Its beautiful beaches have attracted a flood of tourists in the 1970s, initially hippie style when links with the continent were difficult. Building its own international airport in the 1990s, has linked the island to the rest of Asia with daily flights to Bangkok, Hong Kong or Singapore. But growth and economic prosperity of the island upset the culture and environment of Ko Samui, and were a source of conflict between indigenous and immigrants from the rest of Thailand. On the other hand, the number of new tourists caused an inflation of the price of land and the – little by little – destruction of many natural sites. Evidence of the emergence of Samui on the list of tourist destinations in scale, Queen Victoria (ship over 2,000 passengers), made a stop on the island during his world tour in 2008.
The construction of a stable broadband access in recent years has also made the island a potential implant site for IT companies, which tend to diversify the local economy. In addition, its climate and accessibility make it particularly attractive for foreign investors.
Transport network in Koh Samui
Several ferries connect Samui to the mainland. The songthaew (truck-bus close to the tuk-tuk) circulating on the coastal road, and private taxis are available throughout the island although these are criticized for their lack of reliability (random price and overload).
The international airport of Koh Samui (USM) is a private airport originally built by Bangkok Airways, which is still the main operator and was for a long time alone in proposing the link between the island and Thailand. It has no real buildings available to passengers, apart from the gift shop. It has two terminals: one for domestic flights and one for international routes.
The airport is located near the pier of the Big Buddha from where ferries depart to Ko Phangan. Fast ferries to Koh Tao and Chumphon leave from the pier in Maenam, 6 km north-west of the airport. Road freight is popular in Samui.
Accidents of Koh Samui
On 21 November 1990, a Bombardier Dash 8 (DHC-8-103) of Bangkok Airways crashed while trying to land in heavy rain and strong winds. The 38 passengers on board died.
June 23, 2000, the famous Slovak footballer Peter Dubovský died at 28 in a diving accident in this region.
August 4, 2009, flight 622 from Bangkok Airways, performed by an ATR-72 between Krabi and Ko Samui skidded off the runway, killing one of pilote.
Hospitals of Koh Samui
There are four private international hospitals in Samui:
- Samui International Hospital on Beach Road north of Chaweng
- Thai International on Lake Road in Chaweng
- Bandon Hospital on the coastal road
- Bangkok Hospital Samui Chaweng Noi
*The public hospital is located in Nathon. There are also many clinics and pharmacies, especially at Chaweng.
Climate of Koh Samui
Located in the province of Surat Thani, Samui has basically two seasons: most tropical warm year, with a brief rainy season. Unlike Phuket and most of southern Thailand, which has a six-month wet season from May to November, the climate of the island is relatively dry during the year, with a rainy season in novembre.
Tourist attractions in Koh Samui
- Chaweng: The most popular beach of Koh Samui is a large white sand beach of more than 7 km long, it is also the most beautiful beach of the island because of the shallow water. Chaweng is lined with hotels right on the beach, boutiques, shops and restaurants.
- Lamai is the second most popular beach of Koh Samui beaches are wilder and quieter than Chaweng, ideal for peace of mind.
- Nathon is Koh Samui craft port towards Surat Thani, little lively.
- Green Mango is the so Chaweng surrounded by many bars with animation at dusk
- Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai): a statue of sitting Buddha, covered with gold. It measures 12 meters high. This temple is in the north of the island.
- The rock Grandfather and Grandmother (Hin Ta and Hin Yai) rocks in the shape of male and female genitalia.
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