Ko Samui, or Koh Samui is an Island situated near the Kra Isthmus east coast in Thailand. The island is located close to Surat Thani, the mainland town of Surat Thani Province. Samui, as referred by the locals, is the second largest island of Thailand, after Phuket. The population is a little over 50,000 but the island attracts nearly 1.5 million travellers each year. Samui is replete with natural resources and draws a large number of tourists to its coral reefs, white sandy beaches, and coconut trees.
The economy of Koh Samui was originally driven by fishing, subsistence agriculture, and cultivation of coconuts as the chief cash crop. After 1980, the advent of tourism has altered the economic structure of the island irreversibly. Tourism industry is now a dominant industry, which is supported by stable and high-speed internet connectivity and transport links to the place. Tourists visiting Thailand now have another destination to explore, made possible by excellent transportation and comfortable accommodation in koh samui. Bangkok Airways built the airport in Ko Samui originally. Bangkok Airways is still the major operator and for a long time remained the only airways service, connecting mainland Thailand to Koh Samui.
Tourists now have a choice of flying to Koh Samui from Bangkok via Thai Airways International; from Kuala Lumpur using Firefly Airlines; and from Singapore by SilkAir. Travellers could also choose to take a ferry service from Surat Thani Airport to reach Ko Samui. Ferries are also available at Don Sak that takes the passengers to pier in the west coast of the island, near to or in Nathon. The island is well connected to the mainland through public buses that travel to every part of the mainland, starting from a bus station in southern Nathon. Songthaews or tuk-tuks circle the ring road.
Southern Thailand is an amalgamation of Thai Chinese, Buddhists, Muslims and traditional seafaring gypsies. In general, the locals live in peace with each other without any religious tensions amongst the multiple communities. “Chao Samui” are the original inhabitants of Ko Samui that primarily follow Buddhism unlike the natives further south, where Islam is the main religion. Buffalo Fighting Festival is one of the well-known festivals of Ko Samui. The festival is organized on special occasions including Songkran and New Year’s Day.
The Buffalo Fighting of Koh Samui is not similar to the bull fighting of Spain and is quite harmless. The buffaloes are decorated beautifully using gold-painted leaves and ribbons. The contest last only for two rounds and the winner takes home a huge amount as prize money. Samui Regatta is another famous though relatively new event of the island. This sailing tournament, held annually, began in 2002 and participants come from all over the globe including Japan, Australia, China, and Singapore. The boats of all shapes and sizes are welcome in this event.
Tina is a freelance writer who writes on different topics such as travelling, beaches and social media. Her famous articles includes article on accommodation in koh samui. She loves to travel and make new friends.