Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why Koh Samui?

When we decided to join the Ultimate Thailand Explorers, Michael and I immediately chose  Koh Samui because of its reputation as an island paradise. More so, it seems to us  to be the least publicized among the five destination. We’ve been to Bangkok and Pattaya, heard about Chiang Mai and most specially Phuket, but Koh Samui is something new to us. And it beckons us to come and explore its shores. I once saw a Starworld feature of Koh Samui and the sights were breathtaking.

Our personal research showed us that aside being an idyllic beach town, it has so many other things to offer. You must have already noticed from our video. There’s so much to do in Koh Samui. Aside from the many natural attractions, there’s a wide array of  extreme sports to try, spa resorts to luxuriate in  and dining options to consider. There’s  golf for those who want a slower pace, shopping for the ladies,  and a vibrant nightlife to entertain partyphiles. I can’t wait to go there!   Later, I will post a list of activities that we can do in Koh Samui, but before that here are some factoids:

Some interesting facts about Koh Samui:

*Koh means “island” in Thai and Samui is said to either be derived from “Mui” name of a native tree or the chinese word “Saboey” which means “safe haven.” I am kinda leaning towards this second definition.

*Said to be circular in shape (looks heart-shaped to me), it is  the 3rd largest island in Thailand and the 2nd most popular island destination. It is surrounded by 60 big and small other islands. The most popular ones are Kao Thao (divers island), Koh Phangan, Koh Nang Yuan and  the Ang Thong National Marine Park. 

*Koh Samui or Samui, as locals prefer to call it, has its own international airport with direct flights coming in from HongKong and Singapore. There are also buses, trains and ferries to take tourists to the island.

*Koh Samui’s  population is 50,000 and the land area is 247 square kilometers. It’s possible to go around the whole island in half a day. 

*The island has a unique climate. Unlike other major destinations in Thailand which enjoy 6 months of rainy season from May to December, Koh Samui only experiences rain in November. (Glad we’re going there in December!)  It only rains an average of 20 to 60 minutes each time, which reminds me of Zamboanga City, where a rainy day for me is luxury.

*Aside from a thriving tourist industry, Koh Samui’s economy flourishes through rubber and coconut exports.

*Inhabitants of the island are called “Chao Samui.” 

*Koh Samui has been a backpacker’s haven since the 70’s. 

*The most convenient way to travel in Koh Samui is by renting cars, motorbikes and bicycles. Taxis are convenient but they don’t use the meter here so it’s good to haggle in advance. 

Michael: We will be driving around the island with a car provided for by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.  I am very eager too to drive the motorcycle!  

Koh Samui, here we come! :)   We will be there this coming Dec. 9-16! 

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