Ko Samui
Surat Thani, Thailand
  • Amazing beaches Coral Cove Beach on Ko Samui island, Thailand. By Fabio Achilli [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons Amazing beaches
    Coral Cove Beach on Ko Samui island, Thailand.

Ko Samui, also known as Koh Samui, is a lush island in Thailand of 50,000 people visited annually by 1.5 million people.  Known for its white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees, the island is a growing tourist destination, which has expanded the economy and provided much-needed prosperity, but caused some minor squabbles among locals.

From coconuts to tourism

Traditionally a society based on subsistence agriculture, exports now include fishing goods, coconuts and rubber.  Today, tourism has taken over in many places on this island populated that is dominated by  Buddhists, but includes Muslims, Thai Chinese and gypsies.  Local food is spicy.  Lots of retirees live in the area because of the relaxed quality of life and affordable costs. 

Lodging generally isn’t a problem on the island, which has more rooms for visitors than people who live on the island.  For those with an active lifestyle, there’s lots to do -- diving, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and going to any of the many beaches.


  • Tropical monsoon/savanna

Physical Environment

  • Tropical island
  • Resort community
  • Beaches within 25 miles


  • Active club/bar/music scene
  • Ethnic restaurants


  • Moderate


  • $$ -- Good value for your money


  • Biking, hiking, running trails
  • Public golf course


  • International airport
  • Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods
  • Working farms within 25 miles


  • Community hospital only
  • Emergency medical services within 25 miles